Taste of Chicago 2011 | What to hit, what to skip, plus photos
More than 40 tasting portions reviewed plus complete menus for every stand
Published: June 24, 2011
24 The Noodle Vietnamese Cuisine, 2336 S. Wentworth
Bahn Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich) with Beef or Chicken; Breaded Chicken with Butter Rice; Crab Rangoon; Red Bean, Boba Shaved Ice with Milk & Jelly
“Taste Of”: Sesame Beef on a Stick; Crab Rangoon
Notes: Given a choice between the sesame beef on a stick and the crab Rangoon, we chose the latter. Resisting fried foods at an outdoor festival is nearly impossible. The wonton itself was crisp and flaky. However, the innards were a downer: runny cheesy and very little crab essence.
35 Oak Street Beach Café, 5700 S. Cicero Ave.
Grilled Slippertail Lobster with Potato; Grilled Shrimp Skewer with Potato; Grilled Bourbon Chicken Wrap with Potato; Nachos with Cheese/Jalapenos
“Taste Of”: Bourbon Chicken; Garlic Potatoes
We tried: Bourbon Chicken, 4 tickets
Notes: This was a less-sweet version of teriyaki chicken, stuffed into a little triangle of whole wheat wrap. The sticky sauce clung to moist dark-meat chicken and had a nice bourbony aftertaste.
46 O'Brien's, 1528 N. Wells St.
Celtic Corn on the Cob; Gourmet Beef Hot Dog (Chicago Style); Buffalo Popcorn Shrimp; French Fries
“Taste Of”: Cherry Dumpling; French Fries
Notes: Sacrilege. The Chicago-style hot dog here (six tickets) came in a naked bun (read: no poppy seeds), had no tomato, no onion, no celery salt, the wrong relish and, we kid you not, ketchup. Ketchup. The only reason to visit these guys is to chase them out of town.
42 Original Rainbow Cone, 9233 S. Western Ave.
Original Rainbow Cone (Cake Cone); Cookie Dough or Cookies and Cream; Waffle Cone Sundae; Original Rainbow Cone (Waffle Cone)
“Taste Of”: Taster Cup of Rainbow; Dream Cup (Vanilla Yogurt and Orange Sherbert)
52 *Parrot Cage Restaurant, 7059 S. South Shore Dr.
Turkey Meatloaf “Cupcakes”; Seafood Gumbo; Seafood Salad; Red Velvet Cupcake
“Taste Of”: Red Velvet Cupcake; Seafood Gumbo
We tried: Red Velvet cupcake, 3 tickets (taste portion)
Notes: Red-velvet cake, cream-cheese frosting. What could go wrong? This little one was still defrosting when we bit into it.
50 Pegasus, 130 S. Halsted St.
Gyros; Greek Chicken on Pita; Loukaneko (Greek Sausage); Soutzoukia (Greek Meatball)
“Taste Of”: Loukaneko (Greek Sausage); Baklava
Notes: The loukaneko here (a tasting potion of the Greek sausage goes for four tickets) is perhaps the best bang for your buck: It's a whole sauage wrapped in a dense pita. But note: This sausage needs sauce, and the tzatziki costs an extra ticket.
13 Polka Sausage & Deli, 8753 S. Commercial
Polish Sausage Sandwich with Kraut; Bratwurst Sandwich with Kraut; Grilled Chicken Breast with Onions; Pierogis with Sour Cream
“Taste Of”: Bratwurst Sandwich; Pierogi
37 Polo Café and Catering, 3322 S. Morgan
BBQ Grilled Boneless Pork Chop Slider with Grilled Onions; Baked Salmon Mini Burger; Crab Cake Nuggets (baked); Garlic Mozzarella Cheese Bread
“Taste Of”: Cheesy Homemade Cajun Chips; Garlic Mozzarella Cheese Bread
We tried: garlic mozzarella cheese bread, 4 tickets
Notes: The first taste portion we actually finished, this generously sized pizza bread sans tomato sauce will be sure to keep the kids quiet and content as they munch on crunchy, greasy, cheesy deliciousness.
41 Reggio’s Pizza, 1339 S. Halsted St.
Turkey Sausage Pizza on Wheat Crust; Sausage Pizza; Cheese Pizza; Red, White & Blue Italian Ice
“Taste Of”: Cherry Italian Ice; Cheese Pizza