Sunday, July 10, 2011

What I Ate But Didn't Make: Chicago

I was in Chicago for Step 2 CS Friday July 1.  My sister and I have gotten in a habit of dragging our parents to Chi-town on holiday weekends so we can take required examinations.  Kristi took the MCAT Memorial Day weekend a few years ago and now we're in Chicago again on Independence Day weekend this year.  BUT, I must say I have better planning because it was also Taste of Chicago.  Growing up 1.5 hours from the big city, we often avoided it when we knew there would be more traffic than the usual insanity, so we had never been.  Well after one evening spent tasting lots of amazing food, I'll definitely be braving the crazy drivers for this again!  Or at least the 40 minute train ride into the city :-)
Mom had printed a vendor list from the website, so I had already picked out a few "must try" items.  First of which were french fries dusted with mango powder and served with tamarind chutney.  AMAZING.  I'll be figuring out how to make these in the future for sure.

Dad tried mustard fried catfish and a Greek sausage served on a pita bread bun.
Mom ate dessert first with chocolate cheesecake from Eli's.  Then she tried fried ravioli.
Pad thai was good, but nothing special.

There was an abundance of free drink stations.  Sparkling Ocean Spray cranberry juice (really good), Sierra Mist "all natural," Monster (yuck!), and Pepsi Max which I had just for Ron Overs.  Definitely learned not to chug the free beverages because then none of us were hungry enough to use the rest of the food coupons.
I had seen a frozen yogurt or "kiefer" as Starfruit Cafe calls it on the vendor list.  The Taste size flavors were listed as original and pomegranate.  The pomegranate intrigued me, so I made a mental note to keep an eye out for that booth.  Well, to my extreme pleasure the pomegranate flavor mysteriously transformed into MANGO!  And this is by far the best frozen mango dessert I've had.  So good that we looked for the shop downtown Saturday and after walking several blocks discovered it in the underground train station, but it was closed :-(  Wish I had gotten a full size treat instead of the sample...  Mom tried a coconut ice and after much deliberation we decided to use the last 6 tickets on an egg roll and Rainbow ice cream.  The ice cream is layers of orange sherbert, pistacio, chocolate, strawberry, and Italian vanilla with cherries and walnuts.  Definitely interesting.

Taste of Chicago was a great experience, one that I will repeat many more times.  However, the best food of the weekend was eaten at Rick Bayless' Frontera Fresco in Macy's on State St.  A small Mexican "fast food" restaurant.  First of all they have mango limeade.  MANGO!!  Rick Bayless is a genius.  Dad had pork tacos and I had shrimp tacos.  Both were delicious.  My mouth is watering now just thinking about it...
Oh how I wish this was a real photo with Rick!


  1. yummy yummy yummy! it all looks delish! and this blog looks great!

  2. LOVE! You will have to show me how to make the little collages of pictures!