Happy 3rd of July; I hope you’re enjoying the long weekend!
(Random Fact: I dislike using too many exclamation marks. I find it annoying when people punctuate sentences like this!!! Unless you’re really excited, there’s really no need. But not using exclamation marks runs the risk of people thinking you’re A) bored, B) uninterested, or C) mad. Rest assured I’m neither of the three, haha.)
Every summer in Chicago, there’s a food festival called, “The Taste of Chicago.” Vendors from around Chicago set up booths and pick a few items from their menus to feature. You can buy a full-sized portion or a smaller portion, called the “Taste portion,” and you redeem tickets instead of cash for the food.
I’ve gone twice before, and loved walking around the city and seeing all the different food. Most of the food is hot and greasy, but that’s the whole point. It’s a Taste of Chicago, not a Taste of What Claire Likes to Eat, haha (I wish).
Being entirely friendless this summer, I was going to go alone till my parents decided to come along. This proved to be excellent, as now I didn’t have to pay for it (Dear Mom and Dad, I hope you’re not reading this). Knowing my aversion to the sun, we picked the hottest and sunniest day to go: 95, high humidity, and no cloud cover. What more could I ask for? I wore the coolest thing I could find, slathered on sunblock, and prepared to sweat. Perhaps it didn’t help that I just ran 8 miles and looked like I fell into a pool.
We arrived just at 11, when it opened.
Stepping out into the street was like jumping head first into a toasty, wet sleeping bag (not that I’d know this from experience or anything. No, really, I wouldn’t know.). Armed with tickets, we faced the heat.
There were a ton of vendors with free beverage samples, like Sierra Mist, Ocean Spray, and Rockstar (free!), but many of them were Hispanic drink companies. I tried a mango flavored fruit drink, mainly because I was t-h-i-r-s-t-y.
Pierogi were spied, so we decided to try some sauerkraut pierogi. Sour cream with beef filled ones for the ‘rents.
I was surprised at how HOT these were, temperature-wise. It was like adding insult to injury in the already blazing sun. They were good, but not as good as my mother’s (and no, she did not pay me to say this…I wish).
We took a break for a picture at the Buckingham fountain.
Next up, my mom wanted to try frozen kefir. If you don’t know, kefir is a cultured milk product, and so when it’s frozen, it’s basically like frozen yogurt.
I am really trying to like falafel (and I’m not entirely sure why, as it’s a fried food), so I tried some falafel and hummus. The hummus portion was HUGE, and it came on a pita. Honestly, it wasn’t that great, but hey, it was hummus.
Of course, what better to top off hummus than a chocolate covered banana? Okay, so maybe you were going to say Turkish delight, but…what? You weren’t going to say that?
But probably my favorite spot of all was the Dominick’s (a local grocery store) booth. They were offering grilled corn on the cob, grapes, cherries, watermelon, and pineapple. Guess what I got?
This was MASSIVE and quite hard to eat. It’s quite a pity that it wasn’t a tad larger, because then I could have easily fit my head between the two sides to eat in the middle. It felt quite animalistic to be eating chunks of watermelon, with juice streaming from your mouth. (Ugh, I just grossed myself out with that analogy; my apologies.)
It was at this point when, dripping with sweat (and really, I mean dripping) and my face covered in watermelon juice, I met a friend from high school that I hadn’t seen in years. Can you say awkward? It made me feel 10,000x better that she came with her parents, too.
After exchanging pleasantries, we shared a cheese plate with apricots and a beer while cooling off. After demolishing the apricots, I amused myself by taking pictures of a nearby fountain in Grant Park.
We left the Taste and walked around the city a bit.
It must have been my lucky day, because we passed this on the sidewalk. Guesses?
Take a closer look:
Sabra Hummus was handing out free hummus packs with Stacey’s Pita Chips AND coupons. Wow. All I could mutter was “Free,” before feebly outstretching my hands to receive God’s gift to man. Melodramatic much?
We capped off the day with dinner. And more watermelon. What? It was hot…
Have you been to food festivals near you? Spill…I want to know all about it!