Taste of Chicago is the largest free open air taste fest in the United States. Food has been a cornerstone in my immediate family since before I was alive. I’ve been kinda down over the past few weeks. So, when Shawn sent me an email from Amtrak to Chicago. I couldn’t refuse. I’ll give you the play by play of the event and taste we experienced during our first trip to this event.
You can’t turn down a chance to go to Chicago or Toronto when you’re from Detroit. A getaway with the packing is a bonus. I called us an Über and we were on our way to the closet size Detroit station to board the train. The ride lasted longer than expected but we reached out to Amtrak Customer Support to discuss this foolishness.
Let me tell you, when we two get together it’s a wonderful combination of the practical bougie. We’ll hop on the bus, catch a cab, ride a train or walk if we can’t have valet. So our 1st stop out of Union Station was Starbucks for Mango Black Tea Lemonades.🙂 From there we headed straight to Zara. They were having a massive sale and we took full advantage of it. My hunt for floral pants is officially over and I copped another leather piece for my closet. From there we headed straight to Grant Park to try out the local food options.
Let me tell you there was so much food- there’s no way for you to taste everything in one visit. There’s a million stations down the main walkway then there’s a right turn full of food as well. It reminded me of the way the old festivals use to be in Detroit. Food and people from everywhere. We made a plan to share our taste portions and experience new things. Don’t be mad at me if our taste buds don’t agree on a specific fare. Here we go!!
Rattlesnake & Rabbit Sausage
This had to be the scariest thing I’ve ever ate because I told her to get the alligator sausage. Thank God do the cheese on the sample that’s the only way I has it through this one. I told everyone it was worm & squirrel sausage. ++
Missed Opportunity – Lobster on Board
The line told us this was the bomb but we certainly wanted to make the most of our time. So when the guy from off the truck started talking to us without an offer to slide us a sample without the wait. We dismissed his small talk and proceeded with our plan on this 88 degree day in the sun. We walked past the famous Buckingham Fountain.
Bacon on a Stick – Bobak’s
There was no way I was walking pass this. It was literally the thickest slice of bacon I had even seen on a stick. Let’s not even talk about the fat!😉. This was a favorite of mine but we had so much more to try I had to keep my options open. How could you NOT? ++++
Fried Cheese Ravioli – Punky’s
Absolutely delicious. Everything was perfect from the sauce to the temperature of the ravioli. They gave us a great portion to taste. I may have to try this at home. As you can see, we destroyed the appetizer before I remembered to take a picture. It was that good! ++++
Papas Bravas – Bruges Bros
You can tell by the sign and the black truck this was going to be serious. One of my favorite foods covered in some things I had never considered pairing them with. here’s a look.
This was an interestingly good pairing of flavors. It reminded me of the Detroit favorite Chilli cheese fries with and additional twist. The chorizo was unexpected but very welcomed. ++++
The next stop blew me away.
Seafood Ceviche – MAD
This may not be the best picture but I was overcome by the relief of the shaded area. This ceviche was top-notch. The right amount of squid, shrimp and veggies. It was prepared just the way I like it. All I needed was a larger bowl of this and some chips. +++++
Malnati Salad – Lou Malnati’s
So, tell me how we decide to take it light and get a salad after the ceviche only to end up with lettuce coupled with bad dressing. I’ll tell you how – we stopped at Lou Malnati’s. This salad was horrid. I love black olives and Parmesan cheese like any other person but it did NOT work on this salad. We ended up throwing it away. ++
Mustard-Fried Catfish – BJ’s Market & Bakery
OMG! The last few stations proved to be the worst so far. The worm and squirrel sausage was moving up in the rankings. This was the worst. I couldn’t even finish it. At first bite, you can feel the southern inspiration then the mustard aftertaste hits you and the regret sets in. I’ve never been a real fan of mustard. I confessed my inability to finish that nugget and pitched it in the trash. +
Fruit Popsicle – Mexicana
We had walked at least 4 miles in 85+ degree weather and struck out 3x. A sure thing was the best thing we had going for us right now. She chose watermelon and I got mango. Scurrying to grab a piece of the shade we sat and ate while we cooled off. There isn’t much to report about these other than they were very good. No processed sugars or artificial flavors. I’d buy one again. +++++
A walk through Millennium Park and we were back off to Union Station. We saw 2 little ones in the fountain making wishes on other’s dimes, quarters and nickels. A young lady squat to pee in the same water and I was almost attacked by a bee. On our way back, I got a picture of the sign that ushered us in and out of a great day.
The Taste of Chicago is an experience each person that has an opportunity should attend. We had a blast but will we be lacing up our shoes to hit it next year – not necessarily. This was a mutual understanding. Now, if my beau asks me to go, I’ll have to oblige.
This was just what I needed to knock me out of the funk I was in. For a short while, I was free from my worries.🙂