The “Taste of Chicago”


As a Washingtonian, I’m always excited to explore local taste events surrounding the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area; Taste of DC, Taste of Maryland, Taste of Virginia and so forth. However, this time, I packed my bags and headed to the windy city for the delicious Taste of Chicago! Although this was not my first visit to the mid-west, I was extremely excited to be apart of the world’s largest food festival.


Before I get started on this amazing festival, lets take a look at the history. The Taste of Chicago was created by Arnie Morton, the man who founded Morton’s Steakhouse. Arnie saw a similar festival in New York and knew Chicago could do it better. He lined up the restaurants and persuaded the city to block off Michigan Avenue for the inaugural fest on July 4, 1980.  They expected 100,000, but over 250,000 people showed up. The city moved it to Grant Park the following year where it has taken place every year since.

The Taste of Chicago kicked off July 11, 2012 until July 15, 2012 this year, food and beverage tickets were sold in strips of 12 tickets for $8 at the festival and advance tickets at Dominick’s for $7. This year, over 30 restaurants participated at event. Vendors offered 8 items 4-5 of which were “Taste Of” portions. Provided, my goal was to try every vendor, anything larger than the “Taste Of” portions would have slowed down my taste consumption process {my mouth waters as I shift back to the remarkable smell and taste portions I devoured}. Each vendor taste portions were simply amazing! Events such as this need to take place every weekend in each city. Okay, okayyy I’ll shutdown my foodista dreams now and head back to reality.

Furthermore, the taste included Pop-Up Restaurants, which was designed to allowed 15 restaurants to participate at the taste without the cost and time commitment of staffing and booth for five days.

Chaka Khan
Raphael Saadiq

Moving along to the taste entertainment; with today’s abundance of online deal websites, Groupon offered $40 Celebrity Chef du Jour where each day a noted chef prepared a three-course meal and mingled with the guests. The participating celebrity chef’s were Carlos Gaytan, Tony Mantuano, Graham Elliot, Stephanie Izard and Jimmy Bannos. In addition, outdoor concert tickets priced at $25. I had the chance to see Chicago’s very own native Chaka Khan perform live! Also, a few other concerts included: Jennifer Hudson, Luke James, Death Cab for Cuties, Fitz & The Tantrums and many more.


I have officially added the Taste of Chicago as a new yearly tradition!

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