Eat Right Around Chicago

I Heart Lou Malnati's Chicago Pizza

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Mindy from Lou Malnati's was nice enough to supply some photos!

After spending five days with registered dietitians and session after session focused on some aspect of good nutrition, I landed in Chicago with one thing on my mind:  Chicago-style deep dish pizza (hotly debated by food critics on RedEye - thin or thick - I say both, but tonight, it's deep all the way!).  
If there is ever a "best time" for a thick, hearty, cheesy, chunky tomato bit of love, it's after being out away from the city with country's best cuisine for more than a weekend.  I knew that this choice would challenge my aim to eat right, but I needed a meal made for comfort.  

Although Chicago offers several well-known deep dish havens, I decided to take my order to the renowned Lou Malnati.  You may have seen Lou with Bobby Flay on Throwdown where they had a mouthwatering pizza cook-off.  Lou is so caring that he let the Food Network post his recipe even!   

I shared a small, onion, green pepper and sausage with my dinner mate.  I must admit we were a little nervous at first look about the petite pizza box.  Then I held it.  I think it weighed the same as a small cat or a jug of milk.  The weight is attributed to its hefty layering of perfectly baked crust, chewy mozzarella, diced onion and green pepper and savory sausage, affectionately covered by chunky tomatoes.  I like a heavy dose of veggies on my pizza and Lou understood this by evenly smothering my dish with chopped onions and peppers. Don't forget the benefits of tomatoes, see my previous post on Tocco's tomatoes.   
 
I took a chance with the sausage because I heard it was Lou's signature topping.  The thing is, I only "tolerate", not "love" sausage on pizza.  I certainly enjoy a homemade or creative sausage creation, but I find the the traditional pig on a pizza bland, cheap, salty and overall, uninspiring. None of these words apply to Lou's sausage selections.  It was more sausage than fat, carefully spiced and thoughtfully covering to the pie.  

As I outlined in my diet disclosures (see "About" page), I love pizza.  Love it like an old friend - maybe more.  Although I appreciate every bite of every pie, I have to say that Lou blew my mind.  It was flavorful, easy to eat, priced right and absolutely delightful.  While my only advice to eat right is to split a small with a mate (and exercise a little harder that day) , I encourage you to order yourself a Lou Malnati pie...it's worthy every bite, calorie and gram of fat.  And if you'd like to know how many calories and fat that is, Lou posts his nutritional analysis on his site.  Looks like I ate 780 calories and 45 grams of fat (put that in perspective, I need about 1800-2000 calories a day and 45 grams is a wee bit high since 60 grams would be my daily allowance). 

But oh, it's good to be back in Chicago.  

I heart Lou. And I want to add that Lou participated in a program called Pizza4Patriots and he sent deep dish love to Iraq last year.  Goodness gracious, what a guy.   

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5 Comments

Shari Weiss said:

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Do you know if Lou's is healthier than the rest? I'm a Giordano's kind of girl...

EatRightAroundChicago said:

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Such a good question, Shari, since there are so many fabulous deep dish options in Chicago! Well, it's difficult to say which is "healthier". Honestly, I would choose the pie that you prefer the taste of because although they are covered with tomatoes, they both will serve up a hefty amount of calories, fat and sodium. Giordano's doesn't have their nutrition facts on their site, but according to www.dailyplate.com, they are quite similar (7 oz. of Giordano's stuffed cheese feeds up 550 calories, 25 g of fat and 950 mg of sodium while 4 oz. of Lou's sausage pie is 280 calories, 16 g of fat and 400 mg of sodium).

It's great that your considering nutrition when you choose your pizza pie, but I think it's a wash and I'd choose what you enjoy...sparingly and with a side of daily exercise!

Thanks for reading, Shari!!!

Shari Weiss said:

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Thanks for the info!

Jennifer Neily said:

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What a terrific post Jenna! As a fellow registered dietitian, love the blog and you've really got me longing for my beloved Chicago food and deep dish pizza! But alas...have been away from the city since 1992 - escaped to the milder climate in Dallas. But I will be back at Christmas visiting the family...I'll have to check out Lou's! Thanks and keep up the great work.

EatRightAroundChicago said:

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Thanks Jennifer! I know you, you know...I know where you work and we've emailed before! It's a small dietitian world, I tellya.

Thanks so much for reading and especially for commenting! I am sorry to hear that you have traded taste for weather. hehe, at least you have family here! There are some great places to try and I've barely scraped the surface.

If you eat right when you're home for the holidays, please send me an update and I'll share your insights!

Sincerely,
Jenna

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