12 new booths add great flavor to Taste

June 25, 2010 9:49:07 AM PDT
The Taste of Chicago celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. The annual food fest features dozens of local restaurants, and every year, a few new ones are added to the lineup.

Our Hungry Hound says this year's additions are helping add even more great flavors to Grant Park.

New rules this year include: you have to have at least one store within the city limits. Organizers have pared things down a bit -- just 53 booths this year, nearly a dozen of which are newcomers. That's quite a bit more than the three newcomers last year. We spoke to a few of those new additions about what they're serving this year, and there's a lot more than just pizza and hot dogs.

There are nearly a dozen new additions to the Taste this year, and they span the globe: Mexico, Poland, Africa, even the Ukraine. At Shokolad, a Ukrainian Village cafe and bakery, it's the savory items that will shine. One, in the form of cheese and potato-stuffed verenyky, or dumplings; also homemade crepes stuffed with either spinach, mushroom and feta or sweet cheese with fruit.

"The sweet cheese crepes are, well, we say when we write on the menu, we'll say 'Ukrainian crepes' and these are sweet cheese. The one that you saw my mom preparing has a little bit of vanilla, a little sugar and it's garnished with berry compote," said Anna Fedus, owner of Shokolad.

Another newcomer is Carbon, located beneath the Dan Ryan. This serious taco joint will offer its famous tacos, all in smaller portions at lower prices.

"We decided for our first year we'd have all Taste portions. So all five of our new menu items will be Taste portions. We have fire grilled steak tacos, tequila lime-marinated chicken tacos, tortilla-encrusted tilapia and then we also have roasted veggie tacos too. The veggies we're serving on a whole wheat tortilla," said Carbon co-owner Russ Ricobene.

Greektown's Pegasus is another newcomer. They'll offer a few wraps, like chicken or gyros, plus Greek sausage on a pita.

"Me, personally, having gone down to the Taste the last few years, noticed that Greek restaurants and Mediterranean restaurants weren't well-represented at the time, and we had the opportunity to be a part of it this year, and we took full advantage of that," said Ceasar Melidis, owner of Pegasus.

The well-known spinach-cheese pies, called spanakopita, will be for sale, as well as another Greek specialty.

"Tiropitakia, which is a feta cheese which is whipped and also made in a pie, and we're going to do something-- 'keftedes ragu,' which are braised meatballs, which we also serve on here on our roof garden. The Greeks have always been good at. When I say street food, I mean festival food, and have always operated with that mindset."

Other newcomers this year include the Churro Factory and West African food from Iyanze.

Some other big food news at the Taste: "Molto" Mario Batali is at Taste for a 1 p.m. cooking demo. Giada De Laurentiis is at Taste on July 1.

Shokolad Pastry and Cafe
2524 W. Chicago Ave.
773-276-6402

Carbon
300 W. 26th St.
312-225-3200

Pegasus Restaurant & Taverna
130 S. Halsted St.
312-226-3377
www.pegasuschicago.com

Some other new additions to Taste this year:

Abundance Bakery
105 E. 47th St.
773-373-1971

Bobak Sausage Company
5275 S. Archer Ave.
773-735-5334
www.bobak.com

Churro Factory 2214 S. Wolcott Ave. 312-823-9571

Cubby Bear
1059 W. Addison St.
773-327-1662
www.cubbybear.com

Doreen's Gourmet Pizza
13201 S. Baltimore Ave.
www.doreenspizza.com

Iyanze
4623 N. Broadway St.
773-944-1417

Summer Noodle & Rice
1123 W. Granville Ave.
773-761-8500
www.summerchicago.com

Timothy O'Toole's Pub
622 N. Fairbanks Ct.
312-642-0700
www.timothyotooles.com


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