I'm planning on writing more about my trip to Chicago/Milwaukee later, but one important aspect to start: Hamburgers. I think that the next time I hear some dumb NYer (or even Serach) question, "What's the difference? A burger is a burger!", I'll probably deck them (unless it's Serach). [Sometimes it is said about pizza, too.] Let's explain - not all burgers are created equal.
When I go down the block to Kosher Deluxe, and order a burger, I get a 1/4 inch high (if that) slab of meat with a diameter of maybe 3.5 inches. This little piece of "meat" has been steamed or something of the sort for a few minutes, and really has little taste (and KD's burgers aren't even that bad). Meanwhile, when I was in Ken's Diner in Skokie yesterday, I ordered their famous Burger Buddy. This hunk of meat is closer to 5 inches across, 1/2 an inch thick (or more), and was grilled - and has TASTE. Many people (generally NYers, whose restaurants don't need quality food to keep themselves in business - speed is more important) don't seem to understand the difference between the two. Not only that, in New York, you have to overpay for your not-so-filling-or-enjoyable meal; in the Midwest in general, you get a whole lot of food for a really small amount of cash.
As with most comparisons of the Midwest and New York, the food you get in the Midwest is both bigger and better than what they're serving up here. It's high time we started expecting more value for our money in the tri-state area, don't you think?