Tasting the “Taste 2012” – Munching through Grant Park

I know that it’s crowded and I know that it is hot but I really enjoy it when it’s time for the Taste of Chicago. Although it is shorter this year only 5 days and there are less stalls but it is still good. There is the addition of ‘Pop Up’ resturants on each day where three different resturants are just there for one day, and the addition of a Chef du Jour as well. I went on this Thursday, but it runs through Fri, Sat, Sunday 16th July. The cost of food is using tickets which were $8 for 12 tickets.  So about $3.50 for most small plates. The Taste is in Grant Park and they have all sorts of food items for sale, see their website http://tasteofchicago2012.eventbrite.com/

But what did I munch my way through? (36 tickets worth)


On the day I went one of the Pop-out resturants was ‘Tre Kronor’ and their Tasting option was  swedish meatballs for 5 tickets. They came with a small pot of ligonberry jam as well and they were enough to tempt me up to try out their resturant proper on Foster Avenue some day.  Apparantly they are going to be on Diner’s Drive ins and Dive’s on  Monday, August 24 at 9 pm (CST) and that is good enough for me to be sampling.

Website: http://www.trekronorrestaurant.com/

Tre Kronor on Urbanspoon


Thursday’s Chef du Jour was Tony Mantuano from Spiaggia and he was offering a Grilled Chicken sandwich for 10 tickets. It did not look much on the plate but it was a very tasty sandwich, the roasted tomato, aruguala and burrata cheese blended well with the olive oil coated semolina bread. Not too dense or filling which is what you need at the taste. 



Spiaggia on Urbanspoon


Lao Sze Chuan were offering their House special dry ribs  for 5 tickets, although there seemed to be a lot of bone and on first inspection very little meat, this was deceptive as the crisp rib meat that was on them was salty and spicy, not too much, but enough to send me hunting for my first drink of the evening. Even once I had eaten the meat I was sucking the dry bits off the bone. Highly Recommended but leave some more for me.

View via website: http://www.tonygourmetgroup.com/

Taste of Chicago Selections:

Main Options: Dry Chili Chicken; Salt & Pepper Pork Rib; Crispy Shrimp in Lemon Sauce; Vegetable Fried Rice
Tasting Options: Dry Chili Chicken; Vegetarian Spring Roll

Lao Sze Chuan on Urbanspoon


I have had the Mustard fried catfish from BJ’s market at previous years ‘Tastes’ and I have to say it is one of my favorites and one that I was seeking out when I came here. You get a reasonable portion  for 5 tickets and it pairs nicely with their sweet honey mustard sauce. I also like that the mustard coating mixes well with the moist earthy tasting catfish, although this year the fish seemed less muddy in taste. Again these are very good.

Website: http://bjsmarket.com/

Taste of Chicago Selections:

Main Options: Mustard-Fried Catfish; BBQ Turkey Tips; Fish Taco; Sweet Potato Chips
Tasting Options: Mustard-Fried Catfish; Peach Cobbler

Bj's Market & Bakery on Urbanspoon


Another of my favorite Taste Options are the Potstickers from Star of Siam. These come with a sweet slightly spicy sauce and for 5 tickets you usually get about 5 potstickers, although on occasion I have been lucky enough to get six. I always drink the sauce out of the carton after I have eaten them as well, it really is that tasty. I spent some time watching the guy flipping the stickers while I ate too, It makes you hungry just watching, hopefully the drool will have dried up by now

Website: http://www.starofsiamchicago.com/

Taste of Chicago Selections:

Main options: Pot Stickers; Pad Thai Noodles; Grilled Chicken Satay; Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura
Tasting Options: Pot Stickers; Pad Thai Noodles

Star of Siam on Urbanspoon


I also had to have a bit of sausage and since I was down to my last 6 tickets I went to Bobaks stall and got one of their Mini Maxwell Street Polish with grilled onions for 5 tickets. With a bit of mustard on the side it was just about right to finish off this particular visit to the taste.

Taste of Chicago Selections:

Main options: Maxwell Polish Sausage; Beer Bratwurst Sausage; All Natural Chipotle Chicken Sausage; Ultimate Sausage Sampler Platter
Tasting options: Mini Maxwell Street Polish Sausage; Mini Chipotle Chicken Sausage

Bobaks website is at http://www.bobak.com/, you can follow on twitter and facebook from there too.

Bobak's Sausage Company on Urbanspoon

As for getting to the taste by the El Line

You can pretty much get off at any of the Loop Stops to walk to the Taste although the closest are probably Madison and Wabash, or Adams and Wabash

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