The Taste of Chicago was thought of in 1980 when restaurateurs collaborated and approached the Mayor with the idea of a Fourth of July food festival. The first Taste of Chicago was held in the three-block area of Michigan Ave with the Chicago River as its border. Since then and with the incredible growth of the city, it now overtakes Chicago’s front yard, known as Grant Park.
This year’s 35th Taste of Chicago was held July 8-12th and over 60 vendors offered customer favorites and specialty items off their menus, from giant turkey legs to Italian ice, they had it and the food as usual, attracted thousands. From 10am until 9pm people from all over were out eating the city’s cuisines.
Jenna Flomo 26, of Maple Grove Minnesota, wanted to try something new with her husband. “We wanted to experience a variety of foods that we don’t get in Minnesota and wanted to experience what Chicago had to offer. We googled upcoming attractions in Chicago and thought this would be a perfect weekend to go.”
Jenna went July 11th on a Saturday and experienced the madness of the city she said, “It was in a beautiful area which made it that much more enjoyable but we also had a hard time moving through the crowd as the lines were extremely long at some food stations and ended up running into the station that was across the street from it.”
Jenna exclaimed she would come back just to grub down on some Giordano’s Pizza (Chicago’s very own “Deep Dish” styled pizza) some say it’s an acquired taste, but most pizza lovers enjoy every thick bit! Or maybe it’s just me, regardless it’s a Chicago Tradition to try.
Using a single word to describe the taste Jenna said, “I would use the word variation–A variation of people, backgrounds, and food!” I would agree with her, Chicago is full of cultures so many are bound to eating something new and different whether at The Taste of Chicago or just visiting.
Jenna says she used all but 2 of her 48 tickets with her husband, which most booths have a 5 ticket minimum just for a sample portion of the food, which to me is not enough food– I would say job well done to Jenna and her husband!!
Not all Taste attendees are from afar, some are just a 30 minute drive away. Kahla Radilla, 28 of Romeoville, Illinois enjoyed a family day out at, what most Chicagoans call “The Taste” on its last day July 13th. Kahla and her husband Armando Radilla had their two children Nadiyah and Jaylin and says it was not as much of a hassle as she remembered. “Ticketing lines moved faster and the food lines were quicker too and also the bag/purse search.”
Kahla now married with kids, stated she hadn’t been for years. “I haven’t gone in 6 years. Prior to attending six years ago, I used to catch the Lisle train and attend with friends until Motherhood. Kahla admitted she had to slow down coming out to the Taste due to Chicago’s infamous ongoing street crime, “Most importantly violence halted that decision to continue going.”
But after many years and with her own family, she still looks forward to enjoying a sweet treat from vendors, “I always have to get a funnel cake, but instead I got the churro.”
Sunday is usually a slower day in most places, Kahla says it was much speedier than she remembered which made the experience less of a hassle. “Ticketing lines moved faster and the food lines were quicker too. Also the bag and purse search.” With only 36 tickets, Kahla said her and her family used them all, only to leave the taste and dine in somewhere nearby for half the cost, which to me is smart tasting!
Although it is a food festival, The Taste of Chicago won’t just satisfy your appetite, you also get a chance to see free music performances. People were grooving to artists such as Erykah Badu, Weezer and The Cheiftains throughout the day this year.
Let us know about your favorite foods and festivals around the World we’d love to visit, from your heart to our stomach, Bon Appetit!