Chicago, are you ready to eat? Taste of Chicago, the city's annual everyman's food fest that pulls from nearly every cultural group in Chicago sets up shop today in Grant Park and the dining options are pretty extensive. You can dig into everything from a hot dog, corn on the cob and ribs to Irish egg rolls, guacamole and falafel.
Navigating the Taste can be a heady experience, especially when the weekend hits and the masses swell. The festival, which goes from June 24 through July 3, will see 59 restaurants from around the city each offering six items, two of which are the special "taste of" portions that cost $2 or less. This gives people the opportunity to sample a variety of fare. While there's loads to choose from, we are highlighting five things (in no particular order) we think you should look for down at the Taste.
1) Lao Sze Chuan
What: Dry chili chicken
Why: Lao is one of the city's most acclaimed Chinese restaurants and this dish is a chef's specialty. Frankly, you could get anything here and likely be happy.
2) Adobo Grill
What: Guacamole and chips
Why: Sure, it won't be the same as when it's made tableside, but their guac is some of the creamiest, most balanced around. And when you can wash it back with a cold beer, it's even better. It may not be the most authentic Mexican at the Taste, but it's a good starter. (You can always get a fire-grilled steak taco from Carbón if you need a better fix)
3) Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen
What: Corned beef brisket sandwich and potato pancakes
Why: Um, it's Manny's. And if it's good enough for the president ...
4) Kasia's Deli
What: Pierogi (any variety)
Why: Because in a city with this many Poles, this is one of the best places to get a top-rated pierogi. And, when you're balancing food at the Taste, this is small enough to eat quickly and move on.
5) The Parrot Cage
What: Seafood gumbo
Why: How often do you get to eat food made by potentially rising culinary stars? The Parrot Cage is run by students at the Washburne Culinary Institute this gives you a glimpse into what they're doing down in South Shore.
And if you're looking for healthier options amidst the fried food options in Grant Park, look for the Humana Healthier Choice options green apple icon designation smarter food choices.