Some Helpful Hints for Taste of Chicago 2011
By Anthony Todd in Food on Jun 24, 2011 3:00PM
Taste of Chicago starts today. We all know that it can be hot, sweaty, loud and annoying - but we go anyway, and we want to help make it the best experience possible. Here are some helpful tips to have the best Taste that you possibly can.
1) Download the app right now. The Taste App is really, really nice. Not only does it have a map and a list of all the vendors, but it also has the complete menus for each vendor. So, you don't have to wander around looking for the right dish. Any vendor that is offering a "healthy" item is marked in green, and all the artists, musicians and chefs are also listed. Best of all, there is a "Now!" button, so you can find out exactly what is happening at any given moment. The app is free.
2) Check out the restaurants you wouldn't normally get to. Lou Malnati's and Garrett Popcorn are great and all, but be sure to try some of the vendors that are out of the way. How often do you get up to Iyanze for Bissap Sorbet, or Vee Vee's African for Fried Plantains and Goat? Using your handy App, go through the list - if you've never heard of a restaurant before, think about eating at that stand.
3) Be sure to visit the new, interesting vendors - if they make money, they'll come back. Smoke Daddy, a favorite of Chicagoist, will be serving up pulled pork sandwiches and banana pudding, and Lao Sze Chuan will have dry chili chicken and salt and pepper pork ribs.
4) Remember Phil Vettel's 5 stages of Taste of Chicago Grief - our favorite piece on the Taste. The stages include Depression ("Who am I kidding? Taste is an unstoppable machine, as predictable as an escalator ride and about as surprising. Five pizza booths is at least two too many, and do we really need six booths serving chicken wings or - gads - chicken tenders? Apparently we do. Resistance is futile.") and Acceptance ("You know what? Any event that unites Bobak sausages, Garrett Popcorn, Lou Malnati's pizza, Manny's corned beef, Vienna Beef hot dogs and Eli's Cheesecake - Chicago icons all - can't be all bad.")
Enjoy the Taste!