See what I did there in that headline? It’s a food-related play on words on a post about food. Pretty clever, right? Of course it is.
But let’s get back to the meat of the story, shall we? (OK, that one’s just ridiculous, and I’ll stop now.)
For more than 30 years, the Chicago food world gets some tents and sets up shop in a park and offers the hungry masses a taste of what Chicago’s restaurants have to offer.
Here’s what they have to say about it all on their website:
Taste of Chicago is the nation’s premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s dining community. The delicious array of food served at Taste of Chicago is complemented by music and exciting activities for the entire family. Every summer since 1980, Chicago’s beautiful Grant Park on the city’s magnificent lakefront has been home to the world’s largest food festival.
Seriously, people, lots of really good food available here. But why do we say half-baked, then? There were some problems with this Taste of Chicago 2013 that could really be easily fixed. First of all, it’s miserable hot out there, and the festival is on pavement? Nice going. Whatever, though, it’s probably easier to maneuver the grills and all the equipment. But then all the shaded areas are fenced off? Do you want me to die of heat stroke, Chicago?
Second, in addition to not having any shaded places available, there were no places to sit, either.
Anyway, I’m sure it’s nicer in the evenings. And the weather probably isn’t Taste of Chicago’s fault. But whatever with that. Spring for some chairs and tables, you guys.
Other than that, though, the food was delicious, as we expected. For $16, we had some red beans and rice with jerk chicken from Vee Vee’s African Restaurant, a pulled-pork mini from The Smoke Daddy, a veggie chickpea bowl from Bombay Spice Grill, two slices of cheesecake (key lime and regular) from Eli’s Cheesecake Co., and a cup of sherbet from Original Rainbow Cone.
Overall, even though my stupid bald spot got sunburned, the cheesecake and sherbet made up for it.
Some of you might have noticed that we like to eat. For a lot of people, eating is something they do to stay alive. They call it a necessity.
But for us, eating is a hobby.
Lucky for us, Chicago has a few places to indulge us. We’ve been pretty busy, and we’ll talk about some more of these in greater detail later, but for now, here’s a list of some of this city’s amazing food offerings we’ve enjoyed:
- Uncle Sammy’s: Our first night in Chicago, we were having a horrible time finding a place to park a UHaul truck. At about midnight, we finally found a place and were walking home when we stumbled onto this gem. The Pilgrim is a very fine sandwich.
- Kitchen Sink: Good, simple sandwiches.
- Floriole: Adrienne loved it. I thought it was only OK. Quiche, apparently, is to die for.
- Pasta Bowl: Delicious and affordable pasta.
- Tzatziki Grill: Excellent Greek place that also has a pretty solid Italian Beef sandwich.
- Margie’s Candies: It’s like time travel at Margie’s. Egg-salad sandwich and the Terrapin Sundae: Recommended.
- Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria: Our favorite pizza in Chicago so far. Pizza in Chicago is like barbecue in other towns: Everyone has a very strong opinion. We loved Lou’s, but we’re still open to trying others.
- Lito’s Empanadas: Delicious — and cheap. For $2.50, one of these little guys is great for a snack. Get two, and it’s lunch.
- Del Seoul: Weird little Asian dumplings that are oddly addictive.
- Paciugo: Gelato. Can’t go wrong with gelato.
- Pret a Manger: This is Target’s cafe. Yes, I know. Why eat out at Target? But you see, here in Chicago, even going to Target is a dining experience.
- Brown’s Chicken: Fried chicken place in one of the downtown pedways. Scenery wasn’t great, but loved the biscuits and mashed potatoes.
- Bobtail Ice Cream: An almost-overwhelming amount of goodness.
- The Edge: Cake!
- The Grove: More time travel. Open-face turkey or meatloaf sandwich, with bottomless coffee.
- Red Hen Bread: Tip: Get the day-old stuff for a little less money (same deliciousness, though).
- Taco Joint: Best Mexican so far in Chicago. Lebanese Pork Taco: must have (available only on Thursdays).
- Chicago’s Dog House: Our favorite dog place in Chicago so far. Good choices, good service, good prices.
- Clark Street Dog: Got caught in a storm and waited it out in here with a couple of dogs and a couple of beers. There are worse places to end up when it’s raining.
- Red Hot Ranch: Our first hot dogs in Chicago. Our first experience with french fries on a hot dog. Interesting.
- Big Star: Gourmet tacos. Service was only OK, but the decor was great. After Taco Joint, though, hard to compare.
- Gibson’s Bar and Steakhouse: Best service of any of the restaurants we’ve been to. A shoutout to our server, who happens to be a Lincoln Park neighbor! Desserts are insane. And tall. You’ll need to share. Oh, and also: $$$
- Filini: Ultra-modern, ultra-hip dining at the signature downtown building Aqua. Sotto Bosco pizza was impressive. As was the Carciofini spinach dip.
- Rosebud: Best Italian so far in Chicago. Two must-tries: Penne Bolognese and their Cavatelli Alla Rosebud.
- Toast: Great service. Outstanding breakfast burrito.
- Stella’s: Delightful breakfast options.
- The Bourgeois Pig Cafe: Carrot cake!
- Goose Island Brewpub: We didn’t eat here, but for some great local brews, it’s worth a try.
- Dunlays on Clark: $5 Cheeseburger special = delicious.
- The Burwood Tap: One of the oldest continuously operating bars in Chicago. Really good free food Mondays through Thursdays (my fave was the chicken).
- Smoque: Been having a hard time finding some barbecue out here, but this was fantastic.
- Pizzeria Due: After a too-long wait at Malnati’s, we ended up here. Not quite as good as Lou Malnati’s, but if LMs is a 10, Pizzeria Due is a 9. Very good.
- Portillo’s: Iconic. Worth it for the atmosphere. Still, Chicago’s Dog House wins out.
- Potbelly Sandwich Shop: Grilled Chicken Mediterranean is a fine, fine sandwich.
- Matisse: Did not expect deliciousness when we ordered the Reuben Potstickers. We were pleasantly surprised.
- Do-Rite Donuts: You’ll find lots of Dunkin’ Donuts here, but few local places. These guys do donuts right.
- Wow Bao: Quirky little place with neat little fluffy dumplings. A must-try.
- Devil Dawgs: It’s worthwhile to try all of Chicago’s hot dogs.
So much food in this town — how do people here ever get anything done?
We got so busy in the last few months we were in Colorado Springs that we didn’t have time to do very many posts. So I’m going to do a few Colorado wrap-up posts in the next few weeks before embarking on full force Chicago entries.
These are some of our favorite restaurants in The Springs. Give them a try if you haven’t been.
Detz Cafe: (not sure what’s going on with the pictures on this website, they’re for sure not of their food):
So there you have it, the first of my Colorado Springs wrap-up posts. Be sure to visit these places and let me know what you think!