Chicago, IL Edition: Portillo's

By Candace Nelson - 10:00 AM

PortillosSo far in Chicago, I've had the popcorn. I've had the deep dish pizza (2x!). Now it's time for the Chicago-style hot dog.

PortillosA Chicago-style hot dog is topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled sport peppers and a dash of celery salt on a poppyseed bun. It's said to be "dragged through the garden" with so many toppings. And, it's much different from the West Virginia hot dog (chili, slaw, mustard and onions).

PortillosPortillo's is kind of a one-stop-shop for Chicago-style food. You can get your hot dogs, Italian beef, and a ton more. They are also known for their chocolate cake shakes, which is a milkshake with bits of chocolate cake mixed up.

The ordering process is a bit scattered and confusing. We grabbed menus, walked up to one of the many lines that were forming and initially told a woman with a handful of bags what our order was. She scribbled some shorthand and then we proceeded to the counter. They confirmed our order (which was actually wrong, and they erased and rewrote it on the bag), and we paid.

PortillosWe found our way up to a table and dug in. The cake shake, which I know is a THING, is weird. I mean, it's a chocolate shake, so that's not bad. But the small, piecey, almost gritty pieces of cake just disrupted the texture of what I thought a milkshake should be. It wasn't bad, of course, but I think I'll take my future milkshakes cake-free.

PortillosThe hot dog was SO good. I didn't think I'd be a big fan of a hot dog with so many veggies on it (because, grumble, gimme my chili and slaw), but it was delicious! The hot dog was snappy and good quality, and I loved the steamed poppyseed bun. It's a different experience - one that's fresh and not super heavy. Very good.

PortillosA side of fries and cheese was just the cherry on top. Nothing especially exciting, but when they give you a cup of cheese, how can it go wrong?

Grade: A
Portillo's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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