Yesterday, I went to the Taste of Chicago and it felt necessary to share my experience with you this morning rather than Monday morning in case someone out there is debating whether they should go or not and are dying to know what I thought about it.
For those that don’t know, It’s a food festival where various local restaurants and food vendors set up booths so people can come and sample some of their popular dishes. Basically, a foodie’s heaven!
How it works is, once you are in, you buy tickets at the gate which ends up being your “money” to purchase the food. For 12 tickets it’s $8.50 which I thought was pretty reasonable. The cool thing is that most of the vendors had sample size portions for 3-5 tickets so you can try more than one place and not feeling like you are going to explode. I went with a friend so we even shared some of the sample sizes and we were fine with that!
We went to a few places and I will share with you a list from my most favorite place to my least favorite place.
- Punky’s Pizza & Pasta – Fried Ravioli
This was my favorite thing that I tried. Fried pasta filled with cheese, what’s not to love? I took a bit and the cheese melted out in a long string, that’s when you know it’s good! It was perfectly breaded and fried and I wanted more!La Mexicana – Strawberry Pops
This isn’t technically food but oh my God was this delicious and SO refreshing in the heat. It tasted like actual strawberries and was only 3 tickets for a sample size which I thought was big enough!
- Ricobene’s – Fried Steak & Cheese Fries
This was pretty good. They serve it with red sauce only but ask for the giardiniera sauce on it too, it makes it so much better and flavorful! I was worried about the fries not being fresh enough, but they were nice and crispy and the cheese sauce was delicious as well!
- Xurro – Funnel Cake
We probably should have gotten churros from here but I love funnel cake so we got that instead. And although I prefer my funnel cakes classic with only powdered sugar and without any syrup, I let my friend get the chocolate on it. Which is why this is at number 4 and not 3. It could have been 3 without the syrup. Lol! Also this was for 12 tickets which means it was $8.50 so I kind of felt like that was a bit expensive. And it would have been cool if they could make taste size portions of this as well.
- Oak Street Beach Cafe – Chicken Sliders
These were nice and tender. However, I wish it came with other things on it because it was just the chicken between the bun! I would have also liked to try their garlic potatoes but decided not to (because we had cheese fries earlier).
- Stan’s Donuts – Mini Glazed Donut
I do not understand the hype about these. I’m not a huge fan of donuts but I mean I think I can tell if it’s good or not. It just didn’t taste fresh enough in my opinion. Maybe I’d have to go to the store and try it?
- Billy Goat’s Tavern – Cheeseburgers
These were…meh. They were cold and not juicy and the buns also felt too dry. Sorry Billy Goat. 🙁
There was much more that I wanted to try, but only so much our stomachs could handle. So maybe I will be back to this great festival again next year!
One of the other things I liked about it is the location of this place. It’s in the heart of Chicago in Grant Park so we got to enjoy some local sites after we were done. We grabbed the funnel cake and walked over to the Buckingham Fountain and found a spot on a bench and ate it there.
Then, we crossed Lake Shore Dr. and walked over to Lake Michigan. We sat here and had the view of Navy Pier and the Monroe Harbor. We watched boats and the ducks float by which was such a great way to relax before we had to get up and walk over to Union Station to catch our train back home.
I missed coming to the city (it’s so hard to come in the winter because it’s freezing and the winds make your face numb) so this was such a great way to start the summer.
Thank you Chicago!