Chicago sends Dallas ... Portillo's!
The NBA is important, y'all, but sometimes we have to write about food
We covered this ground in Monday Musings, but I should probably stress again from the jump: There is no tangible evidence to suggest that the Chicago Bulls are prepared to launch into the break-up-the-team fire sale that many fans (and perhaps even rival front offices) have been wishing for.
(There’s an excerpt from Monday's piece included at the bottom if you want to re-consume it.)
There is some big Windy City-related news in my sphere that demands a full post:
Portillo's, friends, has really opened in The Colony, Texas!
Which means the region I live in now boasts: In-N-Out and Portillo's ... America's two most delectable fast-food establishments according to The Committe (of One).
The official ribbon-cutting-ceremony for the first Portillo's in Texas is not until Jan. 18, but the restaurant indeed quietly went ahead with a soft opening this week. I tried to time my first visit between lunch and dinner but still had to grind through a two-hour process (plus one remade order) to get my go-to Portillo's fix via dine-in: Italian Beef sandwich alongside a Maxwell Street Polish sausage.
Delicious execution that was worth every stressful second:
Our very first Portillo's was supposed to open in 2022 but got pushed into 2023. Food-minded readers will surely remember that I've written about more than one visit to the Portillo's Beef Bus food truck that was dispatched to the area on multiple occasions during the delay to help us Italian Beef addicts survive the wait for the brick-and-mortar location to open its doors.
This Portillo's is a bit of a haul from where I actually live, but it's a paltry sacrifice to have top-shelf Italian Beef available in DFW once again.
In 2015 we briefly had an Al's #1 Italian Beef outpost — also shipped here from Chicago — much closer to Dallas proper. I was absolutely stunned that it didn't make it, given the reverence in these parts for all things meat, but I have no fears about Portillo's Texas expansion.
The social media anticipation surrounding the grand opening, crazy long lines in the summer at those truck visits, police cars all over the parking lot to manage the traffic snarl now that The Colony location is really open ... it's all reminiscent of when In-N-Out mercifully injected the Lone Star State with its signature, unmatchable Southern California goodness by opening a number of Texas locations starting in May 2011.
You might recall that the Mavericks won a championship in June 2011, so Dallas won big twice that spring.
The size of the Portillo’s space is also massive compared to the Al’s that was here … some 8,000 square feet. A few scene pics? I’ve got those, too:
OK, OK. That's it for Food Reviewer Mode (for now).
Back to basketball.
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🏀 Interesting theory passed along by a Western Conference team official regarding the Chicago Bulls and the similar-to-Toronto anticipation among rival teams that the Bulls will decide to trade various core players before the deadline: "The word out there is that every time the Bulls get close to breaking the team up, they get a big win that changes their mind.” Since surrendering 150 points to struggling Minnesota on Dec. 18, Chicago has quietly gone 8-3.