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Summer usually has me heading towards the nearest beachside lobster roll shack, but you still can't deny the ultimate crowd pleaser: pizza. The timeless snack — a veritable late-night favorite that works just as well during daylight hours, paired with a green salad, savory olive oil and a favorite vintage wine — is seeing numerous gourmet iterations stateside that make serious eaters reach for the nearest red-and-white checkered bib.

My upcoming Curated Travel Guide to Chicago will reveal my top pie pick, but here's a teaser. While nothing beats the overwhelming slices in the land of deep-dish pizza, I couldn’t resist indulging in the delicious thin slices at Macello. With a menu brimming with old-school Italian favorites, their artisanal pizza stands out with its crispy crust and savory toppings like Cerignola olives and barese sausage. Similarly, Coco Pazzo offers a delectable pizza with onion confit and pancetta that always hits the spot.

Nicoletta in NYC's East Village is Chef Michael White’s love letter to the Midwestern slice. A Wisconsin native, White's group pies are generous, to say the least. The Funghi is to die for with roasted wild mushrooms, sautéed spinach and a porcini marsala cream sauce. When all is said and done, make sure to cleanse your palate with a scoop of gelato topped with strawberry balsamic jam.

The boundary-pushing Portland offers its own spin on the slice, of course. Dove Vivi, a rustic-chic pizza bistro, specializes in pies with a distinct-tasting cornmeal crust. This being Portland, the cornmeal is organic and sourced from Southern Oregon and Northeast California, with all toppings sourced locally and prepared in-house daily. Opt for adventure and order one of their sublime vegan pies — my favorite is the Corn Cashew (vegan roasted red pepper & cashew cheese, fresh sweet corn, and caramelized onions). Now that's amore.

Be sure to subscribe to Travel Curator and receive more pizza picks when my guide to The Windy City drops next week.

Happy Journeys!

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