Chicagoans got a little preview of this year’s Taste of Chicago (running July 10-14 in Grant Park) when the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events opened eight Taste booths and a cooking demonstration tent during the lunch hours Tuesday in Daley Plaza.
Hungry Loop workers with a few extra bucks in their pockets were able to sample various tacos from Taco Joint Urban Taqueria, pulled-pork sandwiches and cornbread from The Smoke Daddy, meatball sliders from Pazzo’s Cucina Italiana and apple strudel from Cafe Vienna, along with well-known offerings from Connie’s Pizza, The Fudge Pot and Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs.
Making a case for Booth Not to Miss in July was Wishbone, participating in Taste for the first time since 1984; the Southern-themed restaurant was dishing up a very good Hoppin’ John salad, a spicy-enough chicken etouffe and a pulled-pork sandwich topped with crunchy slaw.
The city also released the names of 14 food trucks that will be parked on the east concrete path (parallel to Lake Shore Drive) along the Petrillo Music Shell lawn during Taste of Chicago concerts. There will be seven trucks permitted each day (six trucks on July 14, Taste’s final and shortest day), selling food one hour before the late-afternoon and evening concerts.
The trucks, many of which have cook-on-board licenses, include Beaver’s Coffee + Donuts, Bombay Wraps, Cheesies, Chicago Cupcake, The Fat Shallot, Giordano’s, Ice Cubed, The Jerk, The Salsa Truck and Taquero Fusion.
Coincidentally, Tuesday also was the day when Lollapalooza (running Aug. 2-4 in Grant Park) released the list of restaurants that will gather at Chow Town, two strips of food booths within the Lollapalooza gates; not so coincidentally, a handful of Chow Town restaurants are also Taste of Chicago veterans: BJ’s Market and Bakery, Oak Street Beach Cafe, Original Rainbow Cone, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, The Smoke Daddy and Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs.
They’ll be joined by 28 other food and beverage vendors, among them Bar Toma, Edzo’s Burger Shop, Franks ‘N’ Dawgs, Goose Island Brewpub, Grahamwich, Kamehachi, M Burger, Porkchop, Tuscany on Taylor and Wao Bao.
The full Taste lineup can be seen at tasteofchicago.us; Lollapalooza participants are listed at lollapalooza.com.