TASTE OF CHICAGO 2010: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU HEAD TO THE TASTE.

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TASTE CELEBRATES 30 YEARS.

HUNGRY?

The 30th Annual Taste of Chicago kicks off Friday, June 25 at 11:00a.m. in Grant and Millennium Parks.  This year's food and fun fest will feature 53 daily vendors, nine restaurants and over 300 menu choices. Entertainment will take place on seven stages. The guide below will help you navigate.

UNIQUE FOOD CHOICES:

Try the Jibarito ( pronounced "hee-bah-ree-to)Sandwich from Sabor Latino (#36 on the east side of Columbus Drive halfway between Jackson and Balbo).  The tasty treat invented in Chicago in 1993  features a variety of ingredients placed between flattened fried green plantains. It has become a favorite with Latinos and is catching on with many others around town and around the country.

Ukrainian Village's Shokolad Pastry and Cafe, new to this year's Taste, is offering Varenyky, a dumpling-like creation, that has been called the "National Dish of Ukraine," in regular and "Taste of" size portions. You'll have to go to their restaurant (2524 W. Chicago Ave.) for their popular "cheesecake lollipop." (Taste location: #47 on the east side of Columbus, about a block south of Balbo).

Also new to this year's Taste, Iyanze brings a West African vibe to tastebuds with Jollof and Oxtail (coconut rice and sauteed goat), only in Taste size portion. (#2, second vendor just north of Monroe on the east side of Columbus).

Top off any of the above offerings with Garrett Popcorn's Popcornsicle--caramel corn fast-frozen on a stick. (#53, final vendor, east side of Columbus, almost to Balbo).

HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES:

If you are looking for the Taste of Chicago Diet Plan, Humana, is offering its Healthier Choices for the 2010 Taste of

Chicago menu.  Some choices weigh in at as little as 320 calories and 300 mg. sodium.  If that's what you are looking for, try any of the following:

  • Gazpacho or Grilled Anjou Pear Salad from the Grill on the Alley, location, #12.
  • Whole Wheat Potato Pierogi, Kasia's Deli, location, #35.
  • Oven Baked Crab Cake Nuggets from Polo Cafe, location #33.

For a complete list go to: Healthychoices

FAMILY FUN.
Throughout the Taste there will be entertainment and activities for kids of all ages  on the Fun Time Stage and the Family Village.  Most events continue all day. Highlights include WXRT's "Little Rockers Day" on June 30. For a complete list go to: www.tasteofchicago.us

MUSIC.
The Taste of Chicago musical stages offer a cornicopia of musical talent and acts from rappers to the joker.    For a complete line-up of free concerts throughout Taste go to: www.tasteofchicago.us

DATES:
June 25 through July 4.

HOURS:
June 25 through July 2, 11:00a.m. to 9p.m.
July 3, 11:00a.m. to 7p.m.
Sunday, July 4.11:00a.m. to 6p.m.
NOTE: The City's big fireworks extravaganza has been moved from the 3rd to the 4th.

LOCATION:
Grant and Millennium Parks.
Main Entrance, Michigan Ave. and Congress Dr.

ADMISSION:
Free admission to Festival grounds and concerts.

FOOD TICKETS:
Tickets are sold in a strip of 12 for $8.00 for a strip. Small "Taste of" portions should be available at all vendors for 2 to 4 tickets.  Larger portions vary, but no food item costs more than 12 tickets.  Visa, Mastercard and American Express are accepted but you will be asked for an I.D. when making a credit card purchase.

GETTING THERE:
Public Transportation, highly recommended. transitchicago.
Driving: Good luck, if you drive. For parking your best bet is the Millennium Garages, under the park.  millenniumgarages.com
Bike: Bike parking is available on the perimeter of Grant and Millennium Parks

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS:
If you are a foodie, two food network "stars" will be at the Taste.
Friday, June 25.
Iron Chef Mario Batali will be cooking up some Italian fare from his new book "MOLTO GUSTO: Easy Italian Cooking at Dominick's Cooking Corner. 1:00p.m. Stick around for his book signing at 2:00p.m.
Thursday, July 1.
Giada De Laurentiis, will be looking good demonstrating her seasonal recipe favorites, paired with  Bella Sera wines.  Dominick's Cooking Corner. 3:00p.m.

Other local and national chefs including Chicago's Hardy Boys, Heaven on Seven and the Purple Pig's Bannos men, Ida Pinkney from Ina's and many more will be on stage daily from 11:00a.m. until closing.  Dominick's Cooking Corner.

On Monday, June 28, Taste of Chicago will partner with Broadway in Chicago for a family friendly evening featuring the cast of Chicago's Billy Elliot, Shrek, Wicked, Rock of Ages, Traces, Million Dollar Quartet and others. 6p.m. Petrillo Music Shell.

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  • Fencing off the taste of Chicago this year was a bad idea all the way around, sure it helps police keep control of foot traffic and eases all around crowding, but is'nt that what taste has always been about??? all chicagoans walking, eating, laughing and having fun together...? there has never been a problem of major overcrowding at taste in its 29 year history (aside from the july 3rd fireworks)The taste of chicago has always worked itself out as far as big crowds...as many people entered the park on a daily basis, just as many were exiting in perfect unison and on a staedy flow, it was never a stallmate because there was just too much to do and see for taste to ever get overcrowded. So along comes Megan Mcdoanald (mayors office of special events) and a few other like-minded city paid employees and they decide to put a fence around all entrances to grant park, in fact they fenced off the entire area, making taste look like a prison-camp. so I take the red line downtown to see salt & pepa perform knowing I would'nt get a seat inside the petrillo I was cool just to sit in the grassy area and enjoy the music...but NO! the mayors offfice has now fenced off all of the grassy area also, so those of us who have loved the grass all these years were'nt allowed to even enter that area (what a major bummer). the security guards at the gate told us it was for security / overcrowding reasons, but the grassy area was nearly 50% empty behind the fence...! I dont get it. In all of its 29 years the majority of taste concertgoers have enjoyed the privalige of the grassy areas from grandmas who did'nt want to sit too close to the music, to parents with young children who did'nt want they're little ones to get lost in the big crowds up front..the grassy area has been our friend, a place to kick our feet up and listen to summer sounds as we chill after a long work week, but now all that may be lost due to a few ideas by a few people from the mayors offfice of special events.
    I urge and plead for all chicagoans to write the mayors office! post blogs on the tribune and sun-times websites, tell 'em to take down the fences at the taste of chicago, tell them to re-open the jackson street entrance, tell them to give us more than one entrance and one exit, let them no that the majority of incidents at the taste of Chicago occoured after the park was shut down and was always outside of the park not inside. Let them know that fencing off the taste only means less money for the food vendors who depend on the original open-air market style setup to draw people to they're booths, especially before and after the big concerts By doing this, we the citizens of chicago can fully enjoy the taste of chicago without feeling like test mice in a maze-like setting that is nearly impossible to figure out.
    give us the taste of chicago the way it used to be.
    thats all we ask.
    Dave posey

  • In reply to ChicagoDavid:

    You have some very good points that I hadn't even thought about. I was at the Taste yesterday and was visually turned off by the fence--prison camp is a fairly apt description. On top of that, the fencing material is ugly. They were also checking people's bags and purses before they entered. This may be a good thing but then again someone that wants to bring in something not allowed will find another way. On crowded days checking every bag is really going to slow things down. Since there is no entry fee to the Taste it is unfortunate that the City felt necessary to make this change. It really takes away from the spirit of the event.

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