The Guilty Pleasure: Chocolate Cake Shake Where To Get It: Portillo's, Shea just east of Loop 101 The Price:$3.19 small, $3.99 large (and they mean large) What It Really Costs: Hopeless addiction.
When Portillo's opened in Scottsdale, I had quite the reminder that a) There are a lot of expatriate Chicagoans in the Valley of the Sun, and b) Chicagoans are incredibly fond of their native foodstuffs. Never mind that Taylor Street in Tempe has an excellent Italian beef or that Chicago Hamburger Company does a spot-on dragged-through-the-garden hot dog; Chicagoans treated Portillo's opening here with a fervor not seen since the Valley premiere of In-N-Out Burger.
Portillo's has earned solid marks from me for turning out above-average (for Phoenix) Italian beef sandwiches. While there, I noticed that a surprising number of trays bore a slice of chocolate cake in addition to the entrées. Apparently, they're famous for this cake. I tried one, and . . . It's chocolate cake. Tender and moist chocolate cake, but it didn't quite live up to the hype.