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Hey guys, Robin H-B again. As I’ve said in previous blog posts, I’ve lived in this city my entire life. I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Even with the crazy snowstorms and blazing summers, I love it. I love the food the most. Deep-dish pizza, hot dogs (NO KETCHUP), and chicken from Harold’s (the best one is on 87th off the Dan Ryan). I’m a South Side girl all the way.

The one Chicago delicacy I have never tried is an Italian Beef sandwich.

Italian beef

Yes, I know, I suck as a Chicagoan.

Every time I tell someone I have never had the dipped sandwich they respond with “Whaaaaaaat? Why not?!” I can tell you why not! I grew up in a household where we didn’t eat meat. I lived off of turkey, chicken, and fish. I didn’t eat red meat until last year at Ribfest, a moment that changed my life forever. How could I have gone all this time without knowing about the deliciousness that is red meat?! But even after Ribfest, I still don’t eat red meat. Maybe every once in a while but I never have a craving for it.

Once Lent was over (I gave up chicken, turkey, and fish), I, Robin Hackett-Bradley, would finally have my first Italian beef sandwich.

I am going to be 100% honest with you guys. I won’t fake like it’s the best thing in the world if I’m not loving it just because I’m from Chicago and don’t want to give my city a bad review on one of its most iconic foods. If I hate it, I’m going to tell you!

Here goes!

Friday April 25, 2014, lunchtime.

I just got back from Portillo’s with my Italian beef sandwich combo. That includes fries, the sandwich and a pop. I went for a Coke and small fry. A large fry would take me all day and I will never get to the sandwich. On my Italian beef I have sweet peppers and mozzarella cheese. I decided not to dip mine for fear of it being soggy. Some people go for hot peppers, no cheese, extra soggy sandwich. I didn’t think that was my thing, so I played it safe.


First bite: It’s wet. I’m not used to wet bread. (I’m sure I asked them not to dip it…*)

Second bite: Ok, I’m past the wet bread. This meat is good, well seasoned. I could eat this all day.

Third bite: I just realized that I have completely ignored my fries and Coke.

I have successfully finished my first Italian beef sandwich. It was delicious, but I don’t see myself becoming one of those people who eat them every single day. However, I could eat Portillo’s Italian strawberry shortcake everyday.

I am now a legit Chicagoan.

*Feeny (also a part of Billy’s team) has informed me that its wet from the juice off the meat, not dipped.

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