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Taste Tickets Can't Buy Class

By Hanna Aronovich in Food on Jul 6, 2006 3:58PM

If Chicago is a culinary mecca, why is the Taste of Chicago little more than a beer-and-brat fest? Some top Chicago chefs were asked just that.

According to the Sun-Times, Spiaggia’s Tony Mantuano says the Taste is missing “some other important aspects of the flavor or taste of Chicago.” And, Charlie Trotter plans to be on vacation because “it’s just obnoxious.”

Well, Chicagoist thinks the Taste is supposed to be obnoxious. We’re not looking for culinary excellence here. However, the Sun-Times decided to ask Alinea Chef Grant Achatz what restaurants he’d like to see represented at the Taste. His lineup included Charlie Trotter’s, Alinea (of course), Green Zebra and Potbelly.

Other than Potbelly, we think this list is pretty much ridiculous. Exactly how many tickets does edible paper from moto run?

Gale Gand of Tru and Graham Elliot Bowles of Avenues also weighed in. The chefs said the options should be “more ethnic, more obscure, less commercial and a pinch of upscale,” the Sun-Times reported.

Um, upscale? Have they seen who goes to the Taste? When there are men in tank tops gorging on enormous turkey legs wrapped in aluminum foil, upscale seems a million miles away.
Chicagoist thinks what the Taste does need more of is room to stand (or sit) and eat. Zephyr Café did it just right. The pink-striped ice cream stand was not only right by the ferris wheel (which we just had to ride), it also had several tables. We could eat our brownie sundae in comfort, which was perfect because we wanted to enjoy every gooey bite. The hot fudge was served warm, beneath a moist, rich brownie topped with a classic scoop of vanilla. When hot fudge is involved, sophistication need not apply.

So, we think Charlie Trotter can just keep his July vacation plans, and we’ll happily make our way through our corn on the cob, thank you very much.