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« Trans Fat Ban Finds Its Way into State Fair An Alternative Taste of Chicago »

Publication Thu Jul 05 2007

Trib reporter rates the entire Taste. I do the booze.

By now you've probably read about Monica Eng's $1100 Taste experiment; having a bite of each and every offering at Taste of Chicago and living to tell about it. Today she reports back with a rating of everything she ate. A very useful "get it," "eh" or "forget it" system along with her top picks and best overall booths. So, if you're going to brave the greasy mouthed masses, you can make a game plan ahead of time.

The only thing Monica didn't hit was the booze. I did. Yes indeed, you can count on me to scope out the reasonably quaffable adult beverages at any outdoor festival. Read on for my less comprehensive, but all important, drink recommendations.

You're probably best off drinking beer. None of its great, and the usual Goose Island offerings are sadly absent this year. Just get a Bud and try not to think about how much you're actually paying for it. UPDATE: There is Goose Island to be found! It's near the North entrance. (Thanks, Kelly!)

Skip the "mojito" from Bacardi. I expected some kind of slushy albeit, pre mixed concoction, but...oh no. It was much worse. The "mojito" is in fact a mojito-flavored malt beverage. In a can. In Monica's words, "forget it."

As for wine, the Gallo Wine Garden is the only place to get a taste of the grape. It's a nice spot to relax away from the crowd, but the hefty ticket price for a lilliputian plastic wine glass of juice is a bit hard to swallow. If you decide to brave it, get the Turning Leaf Pinot Noir. It's the best of the bunch. If you must have white, the Bella Sera Pinot Grigio is light, crisp, and well... better than the Chardonnay. As you might guess though, the crowd favorite is the White Zinfandel.

So, there you have it. I have about nine tickets left over from my Monday night visit and I'll probably spend them on food. I'm a St. Louis native and Taste is my only local opportunity to eat my hometown classic: Toasted Ravioli. This year there are four booths offering the breaded and fried cheesy treat with marinara. Maybe I'll just get a Diet Coke to wash'em down.

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mike schramm / July 5, 2007 3:57 PM

Cheer for Toasted Ravoli! I'm also a STL native, and I was very excited to see it at Taste. I only tried the Bella Luna, and wasn't really thrilled-- I've had much better in St. Louis (at Cecil's, although Milo's on the Hill is tasty as well). Wonder why it isn't seen more often in Chitown.

Winediva / July 5, 2007 5:19 PM

I hear ya Mike. I had no idea it was a STL only thing until I moved to Chicago. Thanks for the heads up on Bella Luna, I won't waste my tickets there. Tuscany's were only OK. Oh how I miss the toasted ravioli at Frank Pappa's, Charlie Gitto's, and even The Pasta House! In other St. Louis, oh how I miss it chow...Imo's Pizza and Ted Drewes concretes. Actually, Ted Drewes will ship in dry ice overnight with a minimum order. Mmmmm...maybe this weekend!

kelly / July 6, 2007 9:46 AM

Goose Island is available - but only at the drink booth at the northern-most entrance. I believe Summertime is what they're serving.

Anyone try the margaritas at taste? I was tempted, but haven't tried them yet...

Winediva / July 6, 2007 9:53 AM

Thanks Kelly!
Rats, I looked all over for Goose Island! I guess I just didn't see that booth. (I entered the Taste from the South end.) I hereby change my recommendation. Drink the Goose Summertime for your 8-10 ticket thirst.

As for the margaritas, in years past I tried one of the slushy kinds and it was overly sweet for my taste. Didn't get one this year. Anyone else?

kelly / July 6, 2007 3:22 PM

Gto help! Last year we discovered that seemed to be the only tent with goose island so we knew where to enter the taste this year. ;)

kelly / July 6, 2007 3:22 PM

Glad to help! Last year we discovered that seemed to be the only tent with goose island so we knew where to enter the taste this year. ;)

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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