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For fabulous food, my vote goes to Chicago

As we wind down to the presidential election, a few things occurred to me about polls. I mention polls because we cannot escape them. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has had a substantial lead in various polls the last month. But a recent Washington Post poll indicated that the race is nearly deadlocked.

So, what gives? I have found that some of these polls are little fickle. They tend to be immediate and respond to recent news events. In the case of the race between Clinton and reality TV star Donald Trump, that means just about every day there are new headlines. Clinton had taken a surmountable lead after reports that Trump had groped various women and had been making disparaging remarks about them as well.

Clinton began to rise in the polls after those reports until this past week. The FBI has indicated they are reopening the investigation into Clinton’s emails. It has something to do with disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner, who is also the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, the top aide for Clinton. FBI director James Comey said Friday that there might be more unread emails from Clinton, or about Clinton, in regards to Weiner, who can’t seem to stop from texting messages and sending lurid cellphone photos of himself to women and girls.

I don’t oppose polls. They provide a barometer of what people are thinking about at a given time.

Last month, we received information about World Food Day, which was Oct. 16. The personal-finance website WalletHub took a survey of the “Best and Worst Foodie Cities.” The criteria for some of these polls or surveys are somewhat vague. Perhaps I should become more knowledgeable about these lists. For instance, I did not know Oct. 16 was World Food Day.

But in terms of food, I would believe Chicago would rank right up there with the best. I think most Chicagoans, even Cubs and White Sox fans, would agree that the food in restaurants and fast food chains would be near the top.

WalletHub compared the 150 most populated cities across 21 key metrics, ranging from “cost of groceries” to “affordability and accessibility of high-quality restaurants” to “number of food festivals per capita” for their list.

According to WalletHub, Orlando ranks first, followed by Portland, Ore.; Miami, Tampa and San Francisco. Looking over the top five, I could see San Francisco in there. I’m not sure why Orlando is at the top. Disney World is there and other themed amusement parks are there. Maybe the quality of food for the amount you pay is a bargain.

So I look over the list from six to 10 expecting to see Chicago in there. But to my surprise, it is nowhere to be seen. The rest of the top 10 includes Cincinnati, St. Louis, Salt Lake City and Richmond, Va. I’ve been to Cincinnati and don’t recall being knocked out by the quality of the food or their prices. St. Louis has a range of quality restaurants. I won’t argue with that.

But so far I have not seen Chicago. For that matter, I have not seen Los Angeles, New York City and Boston. Turns out I have to keep going deeper into this list. Boston shows up at 51st. The food I had in Boston was very good. Maybe it is down on the list because of expense. Los Angeles shows up as 53rd on the WalletHub list. Right after LA is New York City at 54th. Again, I try to reason that the food in their restaurants is too pricy.

But I still have not seen Chicago. I have to continue to go through the list and there it is, at 70th. How can this be? Chicago has expensive restaurants, but it also has reasonably-priced items at restaurants in the city and the suburbs. All you have to do is go through the southwest suburbs and most residents can find a restaurant they like that doesn’t dig too deep into their pocketbook.

Bakersfield, Calif., for instance, ranks higher than Chicago at 56th on the list. And in the case of pizza, name another American city that has better quality pizza than Chicago? I’ve gone to other cities and towns and I’m disappointed in the quality of pizza. I’ve always said that even our more marginal pizzas are superior to what I’ve eaten elsewhere.

I guess it could be worse. We could live in Aurora, Ill., which ranks 145th. North Las Vegas is last on the WalletHub list at 150th.

According to WalletHub, Orlando has the most restaurants per 100,000 residents. But they don’t point out the quality of the restaurants or the overall prices. That’s great that Orlando has a lot of restaurants in comparison to their population, but I believe Chicago can match that.

These polls just show latest fads and trends. Like the presidential election, people will decide what is best. Just pass me a thin slice or a deep dish pizza. I don’t need a poll or survey to tell me that Chicago food ranks with the best.

Joe Boyle is the editor of The Reporter. He can be reached at [email protected]

        

        

 

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