Jane and Michael Stern have achieved fame and status for their Roadfood brand: a dedicated rundown of America’s best authentic, regional eats, the kind of foods worth planning an itinerary around. In promoting their new book 500 Things to Eat Before It’s Too Late, the Wall Street Journal asked Michael to round up his fifteen all-time favorite summer Roadfoods. In a list that includes a Lockhart, Texas “hot gut” (a smoked beef sausage), whole-belly fried clams in Ipswitch, Massachusetts, and whole-hog barbecue in Ayden, North Carolina, Stern’s Chicago pick was … Chicken Vesuvio from Harry Caray’s. Forgive us, but what the hell?! Yes, Vesuvio is a regional specialty, and yes, if you’re in the mood for it, you could do worse than Harry’s, whose version is admirably garlicky and juicy. But on a list of the fifteen can’t-miss regional delicacies, that item — at that restaurant — wouldn’t exactly be near the top of our list. Whither the Hot Doug’s shout out? The Al’s No 1? There’s gotta be a better choice. What would you have picked for Chicago’s best roadfood destination?
[Pictured: Harry Caray’s Chicken Vesuvio, via Roadfood.com]