While most around the city might just be hopping on the CTA to visit family on the holidays, plenty of Chicagoans will be traveling larger distances for the holidays.
A post on Reddit the other day raised a very interesting question: what Chicago culinary treats does one bring to family when traveling home for Thanksgiving?
Naturally, giardiniera was the highest upvoted gift. But with so many options how do you choose which one to bring?
The folks at Serious Eats rated all of the giardiniera the could find. The top choices were Bunyons, Victoria Brand, and Potbelly, but they also decided “there wasn’t a bad brand in the bunch” and “every single one of these would do in a pinch.”
Keep in mind, traveling with the spiced, pickled vegetables may present some challenges at the airport:
That’s an important reminder to check TSA regulations to make sure you are able to bring the food on the plane. You may need to check some items in stored luggage. You don’t want to be the guy that tries that gets his Malort confiscated at the airport and ruins Thanksgiving for everyone.
Another popular choice was Garrett’s Popcorn and of course the Chicago Mix was the go-to variety. No, it’s not the Garrett Mix. Don’t you know how stubborn Chicagoans are with name changes by this point? If you’re flying out of O’Hare, you can find Garrett’s at Terminal 1 and Terminal 3.
Lots of candy has been made in Chicago over the years. While some brands have developed a more national identity or moved out the city, some options still work for nostalgia’s sake.
Frango mints was another popular option as well as El Milagro tortillas (although some users pointed out that they do have locations in Atlanta and Austin as well) and spices from the Spice House.
Not able to make it home? Lou Malnati’s has a website dedicated to shipping food items around the country in various ideas. And it’s not just frozen pizza that they ship. Other options include:
- Portillo’s Italian Beef
- Wildfire Steaks
- Real Urban BBQ
- Vienna Beef Hot Dogs
- Bobak’s Polish Sausage
- Long Grove Apple Pie
There are combo packages, holiday specials, monthly deals, and birthday options as well. (Full disclosure: the author of this article also works with Lou Malnati’s).
Goldbely is another website that ships food around the country. Some of their options include Allen Brothers steaks, Gino’s East pizza, Vosges Haut-Chocolat, Eli’s Cheesecake Company, and more.
With Thanksgiving travel expected to be worse this year than ever, no one would blame you if you opted to ship these Chicago treats instead.