Today’s the day I experienced Chicago-style pizza. Generally, I like the lighter Italian-style pizzas, but when I saw that Chicago-native James Yu was doing a series of pop-up showcasing Chicago-style pizzas, I decided to try them. The pop-up I went to was at Cali Kitchen in Gyeongridan. I pre-ordered my slices — a mushroom slice and a spinach slice — and they cost 7,500 per slices. When I arrived at Cali Kitchen, I met James. After we exchanged pleasantries, he told me upfront that he’d miscalculated the cooking time with the oven in Cali Kitchen, so the pizzas came out a bit overdone. Undaunted — I mean, really, the pizzas looked perfectly fine to me — I went ahead and tried my slices.
Visually, these looked nothing like the pizzas I’m used to. I mean, I’ve seen rectangular/square pizzas here and there, so the shape didn’t bother me. If anything, I was more surprised by the sauce being on top of the toppings and cheese! But I read up about Chicago-style pizzas, and that’s the norm due to the longer baking time required for the deep crust. Or so says Wikipedia.
Anyway, this pizza was love at first bite. I ate the mushroom one first, and it was super delicious. The crust had a good crunch due to its longer cooking time, of which I prefer. The sauce was full of flavour with a bit of a zesty kick. By the way, the crust and the sauce were all made from scratch! And the mushroom. Holy yum, I never thought I would find a mushroom pizza like this. I devoured that slice with gusto. Then I tried to finish the spinach one, but I couldn’t eat it all! These were surprisingly filling, so I ended up taking the spinach one home. I can see two slices being enough for someone with a heartier appetite, but if you eat light, then one slice is plenty. Of the two, I really like the mushroom better. The spinach one was good, too, but I’m forever team mushroom!
It’s thanks to James that I tried out Chicago-style pizza for the first time. I’m glad I waited all these years to try his because at least I know it’s a lot more authentic than what I’d find in Korean pizza joints. If James ever opens up a permanent restaurant, I’ll be a regular for sure! Look up James’ Windy City Pizza on Facebook. Follow the page to keep updated on his next pop-up or when he opens up a restaurant. This is one pizza experience I recommend!