We came, we saw, we bought tickets and traded them for small paper plates of food. Day one of the Taste was a bit cooler than usual, just what we needed for running around several dozen stands to bring you TOC's hits and skips of the Taste 2011.
11 Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace St.
Roasted Corn on the Cob; Fish and Chips (Fries); Irish Egg Rolls
“Taste Of”: Fries with Curry; Irish Egg Rolls
We tried: Fries with Poutin gravy, 4 tickets
Notes: This Irish pub (complete with a real Irish guy) is famous across multiple festivals for juicy grilled corn on the cob dripping with butter and sea salt—its bursting yellow kernels get stuck in the teeth of Taste-going tourists and music-festival hipsters alike. And after trying these soggy fries swimming in flavorless gravy (Fries with Poutin gravy, 4 tickets), I was jealous of all the suits gnawing on cobs around me.
Verdict: SKIP (or get the cob with butter)
48 Adobo Grill, 1610 N. Wells St.
Guacamole and Chips; Pork Tacos; Chicken Tamale; Churros
“Taste Of”: Cheese Empanada; Churro
We tried: Cochinita pibil tacos, 10 tickets
Notes: The cochinita pibil tacos (two bulky tacos for ten tickets) looked great with their crown of pink pickled red onions. But in reality, the pork needed something. BYO salsa.
Notes: Poor Alhambra was experiencing an electricity outage when we visited, so the options were limited. However, this mega-hunk of baklava (Baklava, 4 tickets) exceeded our expectations. Its flaky layers were not too sweet, not too syrupy and layered with fresh nutty goodness. The size is so generous two or three people can get a decent-sized bite out of one order.
56 Arya Bhavan, 2508 W. Devon Ave.
Samosa; Chana Masala; Geera (Cumin) Rice; Bhel
“Taste Of”: Samosa; Bhel
10 Bacino’s Pizza of Lincoln Park, 2204 N. Lincoln Ave.