Chicago is a city pulsing with energy in the vibrant downtown and eclectic neighborhoods offering numerous attractions both for tourists and locals including cultural museums and exhibitions, architectural boat tours, elegant shopping and competitive sports. However, if you're looking to take a different approach to exploring the city, there are countless creative classes, activities and even date ideas to chose from. Vimbly, which recently launched in Chicago, is an excellent site to search for classes including dance, cooking, scotch pairings, improv shows, food adventures and photography.
Having never ventured on a food tour in Chicago before and considering my passion for food and strong interest in the trendy and impressive restaurant scene this city has to offer, I was immediately drawn to this option. Among them, Behind-the-scenes Pizza Tour, River North Food Tour, Wine Making Class, Mixology Bartending Course, and Chinatown Food Tour.
Given that Wicker Park and Bucktown are neighborhoods I do not frequent, in fact I am consistently confused as to where Wicker Park ends and Bucktown begins, there was no need to be indecisive regarding which food adventure I would select.
The three hour food tour consisted of about 15 guests and an assiduous tour guide, stopping at six local establishments. First to the table was a Chicago-style hot dog from George's Hot Dogs on Damen. George's, which first opened in 1948 and was recently voted one of the best hot dogs in the city, did not disappoint in serving the classic Chicago dog accompanied by mustard, onions, pickle, tomatoes, peppers and a dash of celery salt.
Next stop, Mindy's Hot Chocolate (located on Damen as well), where we were greeted with a cup of hot chocolate topped with a homemade marshmallow. Having had brunch at Mindy's several times, I have deprived myself of the hot chocolate. Finally tasting its rich and creamy flavor for the first time on the food tour, I was immediately impressed of course, and would describe this experience much like drinking a brownie.
We moseyed on to Goddess and Grocer, a local gourmet deli and caterer, where we tasted a freshly made Tuscan kale salad while admiring or maybe drooling over the delicately prepared pastries and freshly made entrees and sides.
Our fourth stop on the tour was Piece, located on North, which arguably serves the best thin crust pizza in the city. In addition to pizza, the restaurant also produces hand-crafted beers. We sipped on house-made beer while devouring a slice of freshly made Margherita pizza.
Taking a break from eating, our knowledgeable guide took us on an architectural and historical tour through the neighborhoods highlighting homes, statues, differences between Bucktown and Wicker and providing us with an image of how the area was presented both before and after the Chicago fire.
After our walking tour, we popped into Sultan's Market, a Mediterranean establishment, located just a few doors down from Piece for some homemade falafel. We ended our tour at iCream, located on Milwaukee Avenue, which is not your average ice cream parlor. At iCream, you are invited to create your own ice cream, frozen yogurt, sorbet, hot pudding, or shake. The store holds several liquid nitrogen machines that instantly freeze your customized concoction which results into a smooth, creamy, and unique dessert.
We tasted white chocolate and cream soda with nutella, and it was irresistibly delicious.
This food adventure was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon. There is certainly something for everyone on Vimbly, simply find the class that suites you, take a different approach to exploring Chicago, and sign up.
For my next adventure I want to attend the Chinatown Tour!
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