The making of a proper deep-dish pie is a two-step process. First, massive quantities of dough are smooshed into a high-walled pan, pulled up and


Second City Pies at Jet City Places

The making of a proper deep-dish pie is a two-step process. First, massive quantities of dough are smooshed into a high-walled pan, pulled up and parbaked in order to give the crust a bit of strength. Some would argue that this is to make it better able to hold all the ingredients that will be heaped on later. I say it is because the people of Chicago don't really want a pizza at all, but rather a fresh-baked, open-face tomato and cheese sandwich. But I digress.

When an order comes in, the parbaked crust (read: half-done Italian sandwich) is filled and given a second run through the oven to finish. This multi-stage process allows for some tinkering to be done with the crust, which, seeing as a deep-dish pizza is almost all crust, is important. The best thing any Chicago pizza-maker can do at this point? Having already greased the hell out of the walls of his pizza pan before parbaking, he can now grease the double-hell out of the risen edge of the crust and the lip of it inside the pan, which, once the cooking is done, should result in fantastically greasy, crisp fried edges--the sole redeeming quality of the Chicago system.

A couple weeks ago, we all had ourselves a nice little discussions about Chicago-style deep-dish pizza: what it is, where to get it in Seattle, who does it well and who does it poorly. My position on the subject was that Chicago-style pizza was not really pizza at all, but some sort of strange tomato and cheese casserole or, at best, a savory raised pie. Most of you responded by calling me an idiot, telling me I had no idea what I was talking about, and then, kindly, suggesting some places in Seattle where I could go for a taste of the real thing--or at least a taste that came as close to the real thing as I was going to find a couple thousand miles gone from the deep-dish's ancestral home.

We argued back and forth over which restaurants were best and I promised that if a consensus was reached, I would go, eat some pizza, and then report back on my feelings toward Seattle's take on this Windy City classic.

Surprisingly, a consensus (of sorts) was finally arrived at. While generally, when dealing with an issue as contentious as thin-vs-thick crust pizza and a crowd as unlikely to agree on anything as Seattleites usually are, the odds of coming up with a single, defining answer are nil. But you folks actually got close--settling, more or less, on two local operations which did deep-dish pies best: one of them a newcomer (Kylie's Chicago Pizza), one a classic (Wallingford Pizza House).

And because I'm as good as my word, I decided to review them both. Which means, come tomorrow, the food section will be all about pizza pie, with my opinions on both operations, some asides about God and Lou Malnati, and a whole lot of smack-talk about Chicago's place in the hierarchy of great pizza towns. Check it out online or on the stands whenever you get a free minute. And keep checking back with the Voracious food blog because I'm sure there'll be some some nice food fights started by this topic that'll turn ugly quick.

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