Along with the food comes the heat, so cooling off is usually of utmost importance at the Taste. That's why Starfruit is among the dozen new vendors this year, selling its frozen kefir - a cousin to yogurt, but with more active cultures.
"This is going to be under the Humana healthier choices kind of healthy dessert treats, we're one of five healthier desserts," said Julie Smolyansky, the owner of Starfruit. Along with flavors like strawberry, birthday cake and vanilla, festival goers can choose toppings such as chocolate chips, granola, blueberries or sprinkles.
"When that thermometer hits 100 degrees in Chicago during the Taste like it usually does, this is going to be the place to go for that tart and tangy treat," Smolyansky said.
Alongside the requisite egg rolls and fried rice, festival goers will find tongue-searing chili chicken, plus salt and pepper pork chops and the creamy-sweet-crispy shrimp from Chinatown's Lao Sze Chuan, which is also new to the Taste this year.
There's also meatloaf cupcakes, crab salad and red velvet cupcakes on the menu this year thanks to the culinary students at Washburne, who operate the Parrot Cage restaurant inside the South Shore Cultural Center.
"This year with the changes, with the Park District taking it over and so on, we decided we wanted to be, we wanted to promote our restaurant more than the school," said Bill Reynolds, the Provost of Washburne Culinary Institute. Crab salad is the restaurant's most popular appetizer and it's going to be served in pretzel cones. Gumbo is another option.
"Well gumbo is also one of our most popular dishes here at the restaurant, so we'll be serving that. That's easy to get out to a large number of people in a relatively short period of time," Reynolds said.
For something sweet, try the red velvet cupcakes. Reynolds says serving thousands of guests over the course of a week will be great experience for his students.
"Well not only dealing with the masses during the Taste, that's one part of it. But more importantly, preparing all that food back at the school. You don't get that kind of production and we're making thousands of cupcakes," he said.
The way these Washburne students have festival-ized the crab salad is ingenious because typically it's served on nice china, with a knife and fork. But thanks to this handy-dandy pretzel cone, it's now completely portable, like everything, of course, has to be at Taste.
Taste of Chicago Details
(Release) The number of food vendors increased by seven this year and new vendors include: Alhambra Palace, Banana Leaf Restaurant, Beggars Pizza, Chicago Sweet Connection Bakery, The Fudge Pot, Lao Sze Chuan, Loving Hut, Parrot Cage Restaurant, Ryba's Fudge Shops, Smoke Daddy, Starfruit Caf?, and Texas de Brazil.
Each vendor will serve six items, two of which are special "Taste Of" portions priced at $2 or less. The "Taste Of" portion gives attendees the opportunity to sample a wide variety of items.
Patrons should keep their eyes peeled for the Humana Healthier Choices green apple icon that designates healthy options on the menu boards. There's also the opportunity to run those calories away at the Humana Race to Taste, Sunday, June 26. Visit www.chicagoracetotaste.us for more info.
The Dominick's Cooking Corner features seven daily chef demos such as Chef Paul Lo Duca, Adobo Grill on June 24; Chef Jimmy Madla, Coobah on June 25; Kocoa Scott-Winbush, Kocoa's Kitchen on June 26; Melissa Graham, Purple Asparagus on June 27; Chef Mustafa Guler, Turquoise Restaurant on June 28; Chef Mario Palaggi, Sen's Rhine Bar & Grill on June 29; Chef Paul Fehribach, Big Jones on June 30; Jimmy Bannos & Jimmy Bannos, Jr., Heaven on Seven, Purple Pig, and Giada De Laurentiis, presented by Bella Sella Wines of Italy on July 1; Chef Vicente Duran, VIVO Restaurant on July 2; and Chef Armando Vasquez, LaScarola Restaurant on July 3.
Taste aims to enhance the customer experience this year with more dining pavilions and seating throughout the entire event. New Taste parking lots are available for a special discounted rate. Take the free McDonald's Family Trolley from the Taste lots to the event. See TasteofChicago.us for more details, lot locations and maps.
Take public transportation to the Taste. For CTA, RTA and Metra travel routes, call 836-7000 in all Chicago area codes, 312-836-4949 (TTY) or visit transitchicago.com
Hours at the Taste of Chicago are 11 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. from June 24-July 2 and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on July 3. Admission to Taste of Chicago is free. Food and beverage tickets are sold in strips of 12 for $8 (includes $2 charge for Taste amenities).
Restaurants at the 2011 Taste of Chicago:
3420 W. Grace St.
Roasted Corn on the Cob; Fish and Chips (Fries); Irish Egg Rolls
"Taste Of": Fries with Curry; Irish Egg Rolls
105 E. 47th St.
Caramel Cupcake; Blueberry Muffin; Caramel Pecan Cupcake; Brownie
"Taste Of": Butter Cookies; Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
1610 N. Wells
Guacamole and Chips; Pork Tacos; Chicken Tamale; Churros
"Taste Of": Cheese Empanada; Churro
1240 W. Randolph St.
Falafel Sandwich with Jerusalem Salad; Chicken Kabob Basket; Beef Shwarma Sandwich; Hummus
"Taste Of": Falafel with Hummus; Baklava
2508 W. Devon
Samosa; Chana Masala; Geera (Cumin) Rice; Bhel
"Taste Of": Samosa; Bhel
Bacinos Pizza of Lincoln Park
2204 N. Lincoln Ave.
Stuffed Spinach Pizza Slice; Stuffed Sausage Pizza Slice; Thin Crust Cheese Pizza Slice; Thin Crust
Sausage Pizza Slice
"Taste Of": Stuffed Spinach Pizza Slice; Thin Crust Cheese Pizza Slice
Banana Leaf Restaurant
1948 E. 79th St.
Four Jerk Wings with Rice; Blackened Tilapia with Rice; Jerk Lamb Chop with Rice; Curry Vegetable Stir Fry
"Taste Of": Two Jerk Wings; Curry Vegetable Stir Fry
310 S. Clinton
Thin Crust Cheese Pizza Slice; Thin Crust Sausage Pizza Slice; Thin Crust Pepperoni Pizza Slice; Deep Dish Sausage Pizza Slice
"Taste Of": Thin Crust Sausage or Pepperoni Pizza; Mostaciolli with Marinara Sauce
Billy Goat Tavern & Grill
1535 W. Madison Ave.
Rib Eye Steak Sandwich; Double Cheeseburger; Single Cheeseburger
"Taste Of": Baked Potato Chips; 1/2 Cheeseburger
BJ's Market & Bakery
8734 S. Stony Island Ave.
Mustard-Fried Catfish; BBQ Turkey Tips; Fish Taco; Sweet Potato Chips
"Taste Of": Mustard-Fried Catfish; Peach Cobbler
Bobak Sausage Company
5275 S. Archer Ave
Maxwell Polish Sausage; Beer Bratwurst Sausage; All Natural Chipotle Chicken Sausage; Ultimate Sausage Sampler Platter
"Taste Of": Mini Maxwell Street Polish Sausage; Mini Chipotle Chicken Sausage
300 W. 26th St.
Fire-Grilled Steak Taco; Tortilla Encrusted Tilapia Taco; Marinated Grilled Chicken Breast Taco; Sampler Platter (all four tacos)
"Taste Of": Fire Grilled Steak Taco; Fire Roasted Veggie Taco
C'est Si Bon!
643 E. 47th St.
Sweet Potato Cheesecake; Collard Green Egg Roll; Cajun Meatballs; Spicy Chicken Wingettes & Sweet Potato Biscuit
"Taste Of": Cajun Meatballs; Fresh Fruit Cup
Chicago Sweet Connection Bakery
5569 N. Northwest Hwy.
Atomic Cake; Eclairs; Sweets on a Stick; Parfait cup, Oreo
"Taste Of": Parfait cup, Oreo; Eclairs
2256 W. Irving Park Rd.
Popcorn Shrimp with Fries; Calamari with Fries; Jumbo Fried Shrimp with Fries; Cheesy Seasoned Fries
"Taste Of": Cheesy Seasoned Fries; Firehouse Chili
2214 S. Wolcott Ave.
Churros; Funnel Cake; Ice Cream; Frozen Bananas
"Taste Of": Churritos; Bunelos
2373 S. Archer Ave.
Deep Dish Cheese Pizza Slice; Deep Dish Sausage Pizza Slice; 10" Gluten Free Pizza Slice; Frozen Banana
"Taste Of": Mini Meatball Sandwich; Slice of Gluten Free Pizza
1059 W. Addison St.
Garlic Fries; BBQ Beef Sandwich; Mac and Cheese Bites; Maine Lobster Roll
"Taste Of": Mac and Cheese Bites; White Chicken Chili
Red/Green Seedless Grapes; Cherries; Watermelon Slice; Roasted Ultra Sweet Corn on the Cob
"Taste Of": 1/2 Watermelon Slice; Pineapple Bites
Eli's Cheesecake Company
6701 W. Forest Preserve Dr.
Eli's Frozen Chocolate Chip Crunch Dipper; Eli's Cookie Crazy Oreo Smoosh with Vanilla Ice Cream; Eli's Turtle Cheesecake; Eli's Original Plain Cheesecake; Eli's Original Plain Cheesecake w/ Strawberries
"Taste Of": Eli's Original Plain Cheesecake; Eli's "Skinny Chocolate" Cheesecake
300 W. 31st St.
Italian Ice Combo (Lemon, watermelon, blue raspberry); Italian Lemon or Watermelon Ice; Homemade
Strawberry Gelato; Homemade Staciatella Gelato
"Taste Of": Italian Lemon Ice; Italian Watermelon Ice
The Fudge Pot
1532 N. Wells
Chocolate Dipped Strawberry; Chocolate Dipped Frozen Banana; Combination: Strawberry, Fudge, Banana
"Taste Of": Baby Chocolate Frozen Banana; Chocolate Fudge
Garrett Popcorn Shops
Popcornsicle; The Chicago Mix; 1/2 lb. Mixed Nuts; Ice Cream
"Taste Of": Popcorn Ball; Mixed Nuts Sampler
Guey Lon Restaurant
3968 N. Elston Ave.
Orange Chicken w/ Fried Rice; Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura; Egg Roll; Crab Rangoon
"Taste Of": Vegetable Tempura; Pot Stickers
Harold's Chicken # 71
2109 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicken Wings; Chicken Nuggets; Fried Okra; Fries
"Taste Of": Fried String Beans; 1 Wing and Fried Okra
Harry Caray's Restaurant
33 W. Kinzie St.
Holy Cow Potato Chips; Fried Dough; Toasted Cheese Ravioli
"Taste Of": Toasted Cheese Ravioli; Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
731 W. Maxwell St.
Sweet Potato Fries; Sweet Potato Hashbrowns; Maxwell Street Burger; BBQ Meatballs
"Taste Of": Sweet Potato Fries; Sweet Potato Hashbrowns
Home Run Inn Pizza
4254 W. 31st St.
Cheese Pizza Slice; Sausage Pizza Slice; Six Wings; Cookie with Ice Cream
"Taste Of": Two Wings; Harvest Salad
4623 N. Broadway St.
Rice & Beans with Jerk and Plantain; Jollof & Oxtail; Coconut Rice w/ Sauteed Beef; Bissop Sorbet
"Taste Of": Bissop Sorbet; Jerk Chicken
JR Dessert Bakery
2841 W. Howard St.
Plain Cheesecake (with Fresh Strawberry or Caramel Pecan Sauce); Frozen Chocolate Dipped
Cheesecake Bar; Key Lime Pie; Chocolate Molten Lava Cake (with or without Ice Cream)
"Taste Of": Plain Cheesecake; Ice Cream with Fresh Strawberry Sauce
2101 W. Chicago Ave.
Pierogi (Potato, Sauerkraut, Beef, Cheddar Jalapeno); Polish Sausage Sandwich with Onion or Kraut;
Potato Pancakes with Apple Sauce or Sour Cream; Chicken/Sausage kabob with Vegetable Rice
"Taste Of": Pierogi Potato; Cheese/Strawberry Blintz w/ Chocolate Topping
3901 W. 26th St.
Enchiladas; Steak Taco with Pico de Gallo; Nachos (Steak or Chicken)
"Taste Of": Enchilada (1); Chicken Breast Taco
Lagniappe-Creole Cajun Joynt
1525 W. 79th St.
Catfish Po'Boy; Crawfish Boil; Chicken & Waffles; Beignets
"Taste Of": Pralines and Cream; Beignets
Lao Sze Chuan
2172 S. Archer Ave.
Dry Chili Chicken; Salt & Pepper Pork Rib; Crispy Shrimp in Lemon Sauce; Vegetable Fried Rice
"Taste Of": Dry Chili Chicken; Spring Roll (vegetarian)
Lou Malnati's Pizzeria
805 S. State St.
Cheese Pizza Slice; Sausage Pizza Slice; Malnati Salad (chopped); Bruschetta
"Taste Of": Malnati Salad (chopped); Bruschetta
5812 N. Broadway
Home Run Ball (Fried Vegetable Textured Protein with Sweet/Spicy Sauce); Drumsticks; Kung Pao with Rice
"Taste Of": Drumsticks; Tiramisu
Manny's Cafeteria and Delicatessen
1141 S. Jefferson St.
Barbequed Turkey Leg; Corned Beef Brisket Sandwich; Potato Pancakes; Apple Pie Square
"Taste Of": Apple Pie Square; Macaroni and Cheese
The Noodle Vietnamese Cuisine
2336 S. Wentworth
Bahn Mi (Vietnamese Sandwich) with Beef or Chicken; Breaded Chicken with Butter Rice; Crab Rangoon; Red Bean, Boba Shaved Ice with Milk & Jelly
"Taste Of": Sesame Beef on a Stick; Crab Rangoon
Oak Street Beach Cafe
5700 S. Cicero Ave.
Grilled Slippertail Lobster with Potato; Grilled Shrimp Skewer with Potato; Grilled Bourbon Chicken Wrap with Potato; Nachos with Cheese/Jalapenos
"Taste Of": Bourbon Chicken; Garlic Potatoes
1528 N. Wells St.
Celtic Corn on the Cob; Gourmet Beef Hot Dog (Chicago Style); Buffalo Popcorn Shrimp; French Fries
"Taste Of": Cherry Dumpling; French Fries
Original Rainbow Cone
9233 S. Western Ave.
Original Rainbow Cone (Cake Cone); Cookie Dough or Cookies and Cream; Waffle Cone Sundae; Original Rainbow Cone (Waffle Cone)
"Taste Of": Taster Cup of Rainbow; Dream Cup (Vanilla Yogurt and Orange Sherbert)
Parrot Cage Restaurant
7059 S. South Shore Dr.
Turkey Meatloaf "Cupcakes"; Seafood Gumbo; Seafood Salad; Red Velvet Cupcake
"Taste Of": Red Velvet Cupcake; Seafood Gumbo
130 S. Halsted
Gyros; Greek Chicken on Pita; Loukaneko (Greek Sausage); Soutzoukia (Greek Meatball)
"Taste Of": Loukaneko (Greek Sausage); Baklava
Polka Sausage & Deli
8753 S. Commercial
Polish Sausage Sandwich with Kraut; Bratwurst Sandwich with Kraut; Grilled Chicken Breast with Onions;
Pierogis with Sour Cream
"Taste Of": Bratwurst Sandwich; Pierogi
Polo Cafe and Catering
3322 S. Morgan BBQ Grilled Boneless Pork Chop Slider with Grilled Onions; Baked Salmon Mini Burger; Crab Cake
Nuggets (baked); Garlic Mozzarella Cheese Bread
"Taste Of": Cheesy Homemade Cajun Chips; Garlic Mozzarella Cheese Bread
1339 S. Halsted
Turkey Sausage Pizza on Wheat Crust; Sausage Pizza; Cheese Pizza; Red, White & Blue Italian Ice
"Taste Of": Cherry Italian Ice; Cheese Pizza
252 W. 26th St.
Italian Breaded Steak; Beef & Sausage Combo; Fresh Cut Fries with Cheese; Boneless Buffalo Chicken Wings
"Taste Of": Italian Breaded Steak; Breaded Eggplant Sandwich
Robinsons No. 1 Ribs
225 S. Canal
BBQ Ribs; Rib Tip; Boneless Rib Sandwich; Chicken Tenders w/ Sweet Potato Fries
"Taste Of": Chicken Tenders; Sweet Potato Fries
Rybas Fudge Shops
600 E. Grand
Half Slice of Fudge; Full Slice of Fudge; Caramel Apples; Chocolate Covered Strawberry
"Taste Of": Two Pieces Fudge Sample; Pecan Turtle
The Smoke Daddy
1804 W. Division
Pulled Pork; Pulled Chicken; BBQ Chips
"Taste Of": Pulled Pork; Pulled Chicken
Star of Siam
11 E. Illinois
Pot Stickers (Chicken and Vegetable); Pad Thai Noodles; Grilled Chicken Satay; Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura
"Taste Of": Pad Thai Noodles; Pot Stickers (Chicken and Vegetable)
2142 N. Halsted
Original Flavor Frozen Kefir with 2 toppings; Pomengranate Frozen Kefir with 2 toppings; Birthday Cake
Frozen Kefir with 2 toppings; Strawberry Flavor Frozen Kefir with 2 toppings
"Taste Of": Pomengranate Frozen Kefir; Original Flavor Frozen Kefir
Texas de Brazil
51 E. Ohio
Combo Platter (combo of the following items); Signature Garlic-Marinated Picanha; Brazilian Sausage;
Chicken Breast Wrapped in Bacon
"Taste Of": Quinoa Salad; Brazilian Sausage or Chicken Wrapped in Bacon
622 N. Fairbanks Ct.
Buffalo Wings with Ranch; Chicken Fingers & Tots; Footlong Corn Dog; Cheezy Tater Tots
"Taste Of": Buffalo Wings with Ranch; Fresh Carrots, Celery & Ranch
1014 W. Taylor St.
Italian Beef Sandwich; Italian Sausage Sandwich; Italian Turkey Meatballs; Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich
"Taste Of": Toasted Cheese Ravioli; Italian Sausage Sandwich
501 S. Wells St.
Fried Ravioli - Marinara; Steak Burger with Blue Cheese; Grilled Chicken Mozzarella Sandwich; Lemon-Lime Ice
"Taste Of": Italian Ice; Seasoned Fries
Vee-Vee's African Restaurant
6232 N. Broadway
Fried Plantain with Sauteed Goat Meat; Red Beans & Rice with Grilled Jerk Chicken; Jollof Rice with
Sauteed Goat Meat; Red Beans & Rice with Fried Plantain
"Taste Of": Red Beans & Rice with Grilled Jerk Chicken; Jollof Rice with Sauteed Goat Meat
10 W. Hubbard
Chimichurri Popcorn Shrimp; Grilled Chicken Kabab, Tomatillo Potatoes, Charred Onions; "The Maharaja Sandwich" Pulled Beef, Crisped Onion, Mint Mayo; Ginger Dusted Crisp Apple Fritter, Mango Cardamom Sauce
"Taste Of": Mango Dusted Fries, Tamarind Chutney; Grilled Chicken Kabab, Tomatillo Potatoes, Charred Onion
Vienna Beef/Gold Coast Dogs
Hot Dog (Chicago Style or Plain); Maxwell Street Polish Sausage or Plain; Fire Dogs (Mustard or Plain); French Fries
"Taste Of": Pickle on a Stick; Mini corn dogs