Another weekend, another “Taste of…” event in the books.
Christopher and I headed to Chicago to meet up with my dad and brother, Kyle, for the Taste of Chicago, which bills itself as the nation’s premier outdoor food festival.
We spent Saturday and Sunday afternoons roaming through Grant Park and through a sea of smells and tastes from more than 50 Chicago eateries.
We took the same approach we did at the Taste of Muskegon—we opted to first try things we’ve never had or things we couldn’t get elsewhere and then to try things we just wanted to eat. We also agreed to divide and conquer—we all bought tickets and got what we wanted, but we shared everything with the group so we could taste more items.
Here’s what the four of us sampled (Beware, it’s a long list!):
- Chicken tamale from Adobo Grill
- Dry chili chicken from Lao Sze Chuan
- Combination platter (Brazilian sausage, bacon-wrapped chicken breast, garlic-marinated picanha (sirloin) and quinoa salad) from Texas de Brazil
- Mustard-fried catfish from BJ’s Market and Bakery
- Jollof rice and oxtail from Iyanze
- Crawfish boil and chicken and waffles from Lagniappe
- Textured vegetable protein nuggets with sweet and spicy sauce from Loving Hut
- Grilled bourbon chicken wrap from Oak Street Beach Cafe
- Buffalo popcorn shrimp from O’Brien’s
- Deep-dish sausage pizza from Reggio’s
- Steak jibarito sandwich from Sabor Latino
- Pulled pork slider and pulled chicken slider from Smoke Daddy
- Pad Thai noodles from Star of Siam
- Red beans and rice with grilled jerk chicken and jollof rice with sautéed goat meat from Vee-Vee’s
- Cajun chips with cheese from Polo Cafe and Catering
- Falafel and hummus with pita bread from Alhambra Palace
- Samosa and bhel from Arya Bhavan
- Collard-greens egg roll and Cajun meatballs from C’est si bon!
- Pierogi from Kasia’s Deli
- Pork-filled banana dumpling from Sabor Latino
- Potstickers from Star of Siam
- Atomic cake from Chicago Sweet Connection Bakery
- “Skinny” chocolate cheesecake from Eli’s
- Lemon Italian ice from Franco’s Ristorante
- Bissap sorbet from Iyanze
- Molten chocolate lava cake with ice cream, key lime pie and plain cheesecake with caramel-pecan sauce from JR Dessert Bakery
- Boba shaved ice with milk and jelly from The Noodle
We had some amazing food and some not-so-amazing food. But the standouts are hard to forget.
Christopher’s favorites were the jollof rice with oxtail, dry chili chicken and chicken and waffles.
My favorites were the potstickers, chicken tamale and falafel and hummus with pita bread.
Everyone’s favorite sweets were the atomic cake and the molten chocolate lava cake.
I’m drooling just thinking about all of it again.
We walked through the loop area of the city to search for a place to stop for drinks and then for a place to have dinner. We visited The Public House (which had the coolest legend for its beer list) and Harry Caray’s (where we enjoyed unlimited homemade potato chips at the bar) for drinks and stopped at Eatt, a diner-style restaurant (where I ate a meatloaf for the ages), for dinner.
We also ran the Race to Taste 5K on Sunday morning, but I’ll do a full race recap on that another day.
All in all, we had a fabulous time strolling through our second-favorite city, sampling the delicious fare from some amazing restaurants and catching up with my dad and brother.