Two new specials at Paulie Gee’s Pizza in Wicker Park and Logan Square have different goals. One is the product of a former employee’s experimentation with leftover Halloween candy, and the other supports a good cause.
Candy corn pizza is a trend that emerged in 2018 when home cooks began looking for new ways to use leftover Halloween candy. Over at Paulie Gee’s on noon on Thursday in Wicker Park, they’ll sling New York-style candy corn pizza in limited quantities. It’s a thin-crust pie topped with, yes, candy corn, and also peanuts, and finished with scallions and a squirt of sriracha.
Dennis Lee, a local food writer from the Takeout, told the story of the pizza’s genesis in his newsletter “Food is Stupid.” Lee, a former Paulie Gee’s chef, developed the recipe on Halloween afternoon with the assistance of Paulie Gee’s Wicker Park managing partner Tony DeZutter and Chicago Reader music writer Leor Galil.
“On paper, it’s a stupid-sounding combo,” Lee wrote, “but in practice, it was pretty great.”
Meanwhile, the Logan Square Detroit-style special, the Trippin Billy, lasts all month and is a thoughtfully composed pizza, not a stunt. Billy Zureikat, a home cook and baker who lives in Logan Square, collaborated with Paulie Gee’s on the recipe and describes it in an email as a square pizza with a thick, chewy crust, topped with shishito pepper cream sauce, corn, pickled jalapanos, scallions, and caramelized cheddar and mozzarella cheeses.
The name, Zureikat writes, is more than a play on a Dave Matthews Band song: it’s a reference to his diagnosis last March with limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD), a form of muscular dystrophy that targets the leg muscles. “LGMD can cause difficulty rising out of chairs, climbing stairs, and balance issues,” he writes. “It can also cause frequent falls, which is something that I experience regularly.” The goal of the pizza is to raise awareness of both muscular dystrophy and LGMD and funds for a possible cure: $2 from the sale of every Trippin Billy pizza will be donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
WhiskyFest to Return on Friday
Massive booze event WhiskyFest will return to Chicago on Friday after last year’s pandemic hiatus with hundreds of varieties for whiskey fans to taste, ranging from single malt and blended Scotch to Tennessee, Canadian, and Japanese varieties. Attendees can supplement their buzz with educational seminars from industry experts like the founder of Chicago-area hit Few Spirits and a rep from Kentucky-based Heaven Hill Distillery. Tickets ($295) and more details are available online. It’s slated for 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, November 5 at the Hyatt Regency hotel in the Loop. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required for entry.
Wendy’s Tries Smack Talk to Sell Fries in Chicago
Fast-food giant Wendy’s is trolling Chicago-based McDonald’s on its home turf this month, dotting the city with billboards touting the brand’s new Hot & Crispy Fries. The mammoth ads are placed in key locations like across from McDonald’s Hamburger University training facility in West Loop and across the street from the futuristic replacement for Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonald’s on LaSalle, according to a rep. Brand beefs can get cringy fast, but this rivalry has history: Wendy’s has a running partnership with former McD’s chef Mike Hracz, who will appear in an upcoming video series for the Ohio-based burger chain.
A Farewell Fete for Mon Ami Gabi After Two Decades in the Suburbs
Chicago’s largest restaurant group, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, will bid a formal adieu to its suburban French restaurant Mon Ami Gabi with an event on Wednesday, November 10, according to a rep. The 21-year-old restaurant in Oakbrook Center will continue operating until Thanksgiving, but sad fans can say a special goodbye from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. with cocktails and a French hors d’oeuvres menu from executive chef Bruce Williams. Tickets ($75) and more details are available via Tock.