Kelly the Culinarian: Tasty tours: Taste of Chicago!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Tasty tours: Taste of Chicago!

It's finally here! I am fully convinced everyone should attend the Taste of Chicago. There's really something for everyone -- vegetarians, barbecue enthusiasts, healthy eaters, the gluttonous, music lovers, kids, the elderly and everyone in between. I suppose the only people who shouldn't attend are those on a diet.

The Taste is a compilation of various types and styles of cuisine throughout the Chicago area and includes famous favorites and around the corner dives you just can't resist. You'll find traditional festival-type foods such as roasted corn and barbecue turkey legs along with classier alternatives such as fresh gazpacho or smooth, homemade gelato.

There's no admission price, you just pay for your food. You must first get tickets, which are 12 for $8. Spend $16 and I guarantee you'll walk away full, if you know how to play the game.

It's easy to spend the whole day at the Taste. I recommend taking public transportation; it's close to the El. You can always take a blanket and make an afternoon out of people watching and there's live music throughout the day.

When you arrive, bring cash. The lines are shorter if you use cash to buy the tickets. And don't buy at the first ticket booth you see -- there will be ticket booths inside with shorter lines. Ask for a map too, it's invaluable!

My biggest tip is to try the tasting portions. They're generous portions and it allows you to try a little bit of everything at three to four tickets a piece.

Another tip is to bring some bottled water. The prices for water aren't horrible, but it's always cheaper to pack your own.

And definitely don't drink alcohol at the Taste. It's a simple matter of economy. Most adult beverages are nine or 10 tickets. That means that puny, non-potent vodka lemonade you're barely enjoying is costing a whopping $6.50! There are much more effective ways to spend that money.

You'll have to try the frozen cheesecake dipped in chocolate and on a stick -- a rich, savory treat that's perfect for the weather. There's also a taste portion of mixed berry gelato that is amazing, you can really taste all the fruits in a bitter yet sweet and creamy treat. I also enjoyed the taste portion of a dipped in chocolate frozen banana. It's fruit, so it's healthy ... right?

In terms of food, I really like the fried ravioli with marinara, Tim very much enjoyed some steak tacos and mustard-fried catfish and I liked a taste portion of gazpacho with onion, avocado and creme fraiche.

Clear your agenda, pack a backpack, slather on some sunscreen and head out to the Taste with an empty stomach!

1 comment:

coffee and queso said...

Yumm-my! This gets me excited about our possible, maybe future visit or move to Chicago!