Taste of Chicago

My family went to Taste of Chicago today and I realized that I wanted to review the Taste on my blog. I had thought I would only review movies and TV shows – but I now know that it will be more.

Every summer for the last 18 years, my husband and I have attended Taste of Chicago.  As each of our children turned 11, we included them in our trip.  We love to expose them to the many cultures, people, and food that the Taste offers.

This year some major changes were made to the Taste.  There were 20 less vendors, vendors were only allowed on one side of the street, and instead of being over the 4th of July for 10 days, it began today and will only run for 5 days.

On the train ride home my children, husband, brother-in-law Dean, and I began talking about our day.


  • The vendors on only one side of the street:  This made for wide open spaces for people to walk, allowed more room for strollers/wagons, and helped one to avoid feeling smothered by a throng of people.
  • Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill – my favorite foods of the day: Tequila-lime Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast Taco and the 1/2 Tamale Wrapped in Corn Silk.
  • The variety of ethnic foods from many cultures: Taste of Chicago gives you the opportunity to try new foods you may never experience otherwise. My husband tried Korean food for the first time. The Chap Chae was his favorite dish of the day.
  • The cleanliness of this event: Chicago does a great job of running this event and keeping things clean.


  •  The smaller number of vendors:  Large crowds visiting less vendors meant longer lines.  Some lines went halfway across the street.  People strolling had to walk through the lines and this created a little confusion and opportunities for cutting in line.  The smaller number of vendors also meant needing less time to make the rounds of the tents.  It normally takes us 2-3 hours to make an entire circuit.  This year we were done in 1 1/2 hours. That’s okay if you work downtown and are visiting on your lunch hour; but not okay if you spent money for 5 people to travel downtown for the day.
  • The price increases: Metra’s train fare increase and the increased prices of food made this a costly family event.  In the past, “taste portions” were 2-4 tickets, with most averaging 3 tickets ($1.50). This year, “taste portions” were 4 or 5 tickets ($2.00-$2.50). We did not see any 3 ticket “taste portions.” The cost of drinks also went up substantially. From 3 tickets to 5 tickets. And in case you are wondering – “taste portions” are smaller amounts of an entree dish.  This is perfect if you want to be adventurous and try small amounts of several dishes.


  • Hearing Jennifer Hudson doing her sound check while we walked the Taste.
  • Being two feet away from Mayor Rahm Emanuel: His body guards protected him while he shook hands with both the vendors and the public.  See pictures below.
  • Time spent with my family
  • refreshing our tired feet in the dangling creek (in the gardens across the street from Taste)

If you would like more information on The Taste of Chicago, visit:

Taste of Chicago


5 Responses to “Taste of Chicago”

  1. 1 Doug
    July 12, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    If you go to the Taste – you may want to drive depending on the number of people in your group. In the past, Taste was during the 4th holiday week and we could get round trip train tickets from Elgin to Chicago for $5 each.

    Since they moved the Taste to the following week – regular train fares were in effect. It would have been cheaper for our family of 5 to drive and park at Millenium gargage.

    Check out your transportation options.

  2. July 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Suz — I went to the Taste one afternoon this year to see Dierks Bentley (with Amy actually!) and we walked around the food portion after his show was over. I have to tell you that as we walked through, I thought exactly what you wrote here — if an entire family made this a day trip to come in from the suburbs (and all the $$ that includes!) … you would be sorely disappointed! Of course the food that WAS still there was still super yummy (albeit more expensive) but if walking around and enjoying the food was your sole agenda for the day, it was definitely a quick afternoon! I bet a lot of people felt your same reaction this year. I will be curious to see what happens next year!

    • July 21, 2012 at 10:49 pm

      Our day at the Taste cost us almost $200. My oldest two basically eat like adults so they used more tickets than my youngest. Unless they make some changes, we will probably think twice before going next year or plan this as our lunch while visiting somewhere else downtown.

      • 4 theparalyzer
        July 31, 2012 at 3:17 am

        When I used to shop, the checker at Jewel would ask me if I were throwing a huge party. I said, “No. I have a 16-year-old son.” Boys eat a lot!

  3. 5 Angie Gulliford
    July 27, 2012 at 1:40 am

    I have been going to the Taste since the beginning. I have taken my childen since they were small, and it’s become an annual event until this year. I just couldn’t find time to go wth that crazy paper writing. I love that you heard Jennifer Hudson. It’s always a fun time, especially if you get there when it opens for lunch to avoid the crowds!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: