Taste of Chicago

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, on Sunday, Ian and I ventured down to Grant Park to participate in the Taste of Chicago.

It was incredibly hot, as it always is the week of the taste, but we decided to go anyway and play Chicago tourist. Plus, Ian was not too keen on missing an opportunity to enjoy one of these babies.

Behold, the original rainbow cone.

To give you a little background on the Taste of Chicago, historically the food festival has offered more than 300 menu items from over 70 restaurants and food vendors (this year was a bit smaller). The food highlights typical Chicago cuisine as well as many of the city’s ethnic influences. The festival also includes concerts (free throughout the day) and cooking demonstrations. Food is purchased by ticket with most “taste” portions averaging between 4 and 6 tickets ($2-$3) and most larger portions around 10-12 tickets ($5-$6) (source).

As usual, Ian and I each made lists of the restaurants we wanted to visit before hand (yeah… we went there). Obviously, my list was quite a bit shorter this year and included the two restaurants that featured a gluten free, vegan dish, Pazzo’s and Chicago Raw.

The first restaurant we stumbled upon that was on one of our lists was Pazzo’s.

I ordered a taste of the chopped salad that came with romaine, corn (I omitted), avocado, and an amazing dressing.

It was really tasty and made me a happy girl.

Next, we went to Harold’s Chicken so Ian could try their chicken nuggets with fries.

Verdict? He liked them and LOVED their barbecue sauce. He couldn’t get over how good it was.

Then it was time for my main. I ordered the lasagna from Chicago Raw, a restaurant that I’ve been meaning to check out for ages!

I loved how the ingredients were presented on the box and were natural, simple foods. Definitely not your typical street food.

I really liked the lasagna. It was fresh and full of flavor but my absolute favorite was the walnut pesto served on the side. Delicious!

While I munched away, Ian tasted the rib tips from Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs as well as an irish egg roll from Abbey Pub. He really liked the ribs but wished the egg roll had come with a sauce. He said it was a little too dry for his liking.

After eating we walked around for a bit and tried our hardest to stay in the shade. We did have to take a fountain picture though. Like I said, we were playing tourist :).

Then it was time for dessert. I had a slice of watermelon from the Dominick’s stand.

It was so refreshing and just what I needed to cool me down!

And Ian finally got his Original Rainbow Cone!

For those who don’t know, the rainbow cone is layered with the following flavors: chocolate, strawberry, palmer house (New York vanilla with cherries and walnuts), pistachio, and orange sherbet. It may sound random and overwhelming but the flavors work together and it really is delicious!

Rainbow cone and watermelon slice in hand, we decided to head home. It was just too hot to stay outside! Until next year Taste of Chicago (fingers crossed it is still in existence!).

Have you ever been to a food festival (or the actual Taste of Chicago)? What did you think? I’ve only been to the Taste of Chicago but I really enjoy going. It’s fun to see everyone out trying new foods!