Alright, here is the official HungryZ guide to the taste. Print this up and take it along with you as you explore this years festivities. As you know I sampled 41 vendors this year. To make the guide a little more complete, I included my reviews from last year for some of the places I missed (noted) and thus bringing the total to 48. Enjoy!
Abbey Pub-Piece of cod fish: The fish was very tender, flaky and fresh. Plus, it had excellent batter with a crunchy coating. It was delicious!
Aunt Diana’s- Chocolate frozen banana:I liked that I could see steam coming off of it because it was so frozen. I was close to heaven just looking at it. It has nice milk chocolate and a thick frozen banana. Definitely hits the spot on a hot day. Thumbs up!
Billy Goat Inn- 1/2 Cheeseburger: The buns are nice and fluffly and I’m a big fan of the doubles and triples. Of course, ya gotta love the Billy Goat, so you gotta love the ‘cheeseboigas’.
B.J.’s Market- Mustard Fried Catfish: This portion has a great bread crumb coating with sweet mustard sauce on top. The fish is nice and flaky. A definite winner!
Bolat African Cuisine- Grilled plantain with spicy peanut sauce: The plantain was nice, crisp and sweet. The sauce was a spicy peanut butter, but very smooth — unlike a normal thai sauce not like thai. Overall, it’s a little different but worth a thumbs up!
Bucino’s- Stuffed sausage pizza: It had a nice sturdy and flaky crust, however the sausage seemed to be hiding a bit. There was loads of cheese that was melted well. Thumbs up.
Buona- Canoli: Very creamy center with chocolate chips running throughout. It has a nice crisp outer shell. It could have used some pistachios, but overall a thumbs up.
C’est Si Bon!- Meatballs. It’s very spicy. You can definitely taste the cayenne pepper, but I was disappointed with the texture. It tasted too over-processed. Thumbs down.
Canady Le Chocolatier- Rasberry and Blueberry Sorbet: This hits the spot, it’s the perfect treat on a hot day like this. This is definitely a must stop on the ‘Taste’ trail. However, if fruit sorbet isn’t your thing, you can sample any gelato flavor at this stand!
Celebration Creamery- Cup Of Vanilla Ice Cream: It has a rich and creamy flavor. Delicious. Not much else you can say for vanilla ice cream, but in 90+ degree weather- it’s heaven sent. Thumbs up!
Chicago Chocolate Company- Turtle: Sweet caramel filling compliments nicely with a slight salty pecan. Very rich and creamy milk chocolate. A definite winner!
Chicago Joe’s- Chili: The chili con carne is very good. It’s very rich and meaty. However, it’s so hot out today I wish I wasn’t eating chili. This is a thumbs up and definitely worth trying.
Connie’s Pizza- Meatball sandwich: Tasty but not spectacular. Pizza should have been taste portion.(2007)
Costa’s- Saganaki:Not really saganaki. Not flaming cheese. More like a mozzarella square. Tastes ok(2007)
Dominicks- 1/2 Watermelon: Really nice. The melon is about 3 inches thick and there is nothing better on a hot summer day. It was dripping on me, but you should take the plunge and try some, but move on to eat more.
Eli’s Cheesecake- Plain Cheesecake: It’s excellent with a good cheese flavor. The cake is dense with a nice browned top. It’s a must try at the Taste.
Father & Son- Cheese Pizza: When you get this one, check out the bottom of the crust. It’s golden brown with butter! The sauce is slightly spicy but not sweet. A definite thumbs up!
Fireplace Inn- BBQ meatballs: Meaty and saucy. Sauce is on the sweet side.(2007)
Grazie!- 1/2 BBQ buffalo burger: I had to add extra sauce, but it was still a little dry, gamey and overcooked. Too chewy for my tastes. I’m not a fan of this one.
Grill on the Alley- Gazpacho with avocado and chopped chives: Very refreshing. There is a lot of tomatoes, but not a lot of onions. There’s a good crunch with a different texture. If you’re a fan of gazpacho, this is a winner on a hot day! Be adventurous and check it out.
Guey Lon- Vegetable tempura: If my mother would have fed me vegatables that were fried, I would have eaten them more often. It was nicely battered and not too crispy. Plus, the little bit of sweet and sour sauce was a perfect touch.
Harold’s Chicken- Chicken Wings: Best chicken in the city. They’re slightly salty with a fresh crunch. Overall, it’s nice, moist fresh chicken. Thumbs up!
Hash Browns- Sweet potato hash browns: I really like this. It’s a little breakfast at lunch. A little different, a little change of pace, but definitely good.
JR Dessert Bakery- Plain Cheesecake Square: Nice and dense. Very rich, but not quite as good as Eli’s because it’s missing the carmelization on top. Thumbs up.
Lagniappe- Beignet: greasy and not very good. Disappointing.(2007)
La Justicia- Enchilada: The enchiladas had a tough exterior. It was a tad bland, even salt and pepper would liven up this dish. This one’s not a winner-thumbs down.
Los Dos Laredos- Steak Taco: fresh ingredients, tasty, steak could be more charred.(2007)
Lou Malnati’s- Chopped Salad: Crisp lettuce, bacon, and mushrooms are dressed beautifully in their sweet onion dressing. Thumbs up.
Mazzone’s-Blue raspberry Italian Ice: This italian ice is SO COLD! It has a good flavor and it’s definitely not watered down. This is a thumbs up, especially in this weather.
Noodle, The-Sesame beef on a stick. It’s a good-sized portion. The sesame flavor is good, but the beef is slightly tough and very chewy. Thumbs down. Good flavor but the texture is too tough and chewy.
Now We’re Poppin’- Plain Popcorn: Truth to be told, it tastes stale. The popcorn is chewy and it’s sticking to my teeth. Thumbs down.
O’Briens-Celtic Corn: Sweet/ buttery. Adding the Celtic seasoning= the best corn at the taste.Must try!(2007)
Original Rainbow Cone-Rainbow cone: This portion is a ‘Taste’ staple. There’s real pistachio chunks, real strawberry pieces and palmer cherry pieces. This combination is beyond normal neopolitan. A thumb’s up!
Polka Sausage & Deli- Pierogie: Lightly sweetened and could use some sour cream, but the cheese is nice and creamy. Good carmelization! Overall, I’d say a thumbs up.
Polo Cafe- Garlic Mozzerella Cheese Bread: It has a nice layer of paprika on top giving it a great smoky flavor. It’s very buttery, very garlicy, and very good. Thumbs up.
Reggio’s Pizza- Italian Ice: The little lemon on top is a nice touch. However, quite honestly, there is more ice than flavor. It’s not as good as the rasberry italian ice at Celebration’s.
Ricobene’s-Italian breaded steak sandwich: The sandwich is a huge portion, but really good. The steak is sliced thin and breaded very nicely. I’m tempted not to talk, just so I can enjoy it! If I could, I wouldn’t be anywhere else than at this tent and my wife agrees whole-heartedly.
Robinson’s #1 Ribs- BBQ Rib Tips: This was a HUGE portion of ribs. The sauce is sweet and the meat has a good, smoky flavor. I give it a thumbs up!
Sole Vegetarian- Vegetarian BBQ twists. It was almost like a meatloaf. The texture was spongy, but thank goodness for the carmelized sauce. Overall, it was a marginal thumbs up
Sweet Baby Rays-Boneless rib sandwich: Sweet sauce & tender pork make this a winner(2007)
Superossa- Thin crust sausage pizza: It had a good crust and good sausage, but the cheese ruined it. The cheese might have been made with low-fat milk. In my opinion, cheese is such an important part in a pizza. I’m going to have to give this one a thumbs down.
Tiparos Thai Cuisine- Shrimp Fried Rice: It took too long too cook and they were took stingy on the portion size!! However, the scallions on top gave it a nice bite.
Tuscany- Toasted Cheese Ravioli: It has a nice crisp coating. It’s fillied with riccota cheese with flakes of parsley and basil inside. Definitely one of my favorite tastes today!
Tutto Italiano- Italian Fries: This portion resembles curly fries with lots of extra seasonings. It tastes very good. The seasoning includes arregano and romano cheese. It’s a thumbs up for sure!
Vee-Vee’s African Cuisine- Jerk Chicken With Rice and Beans: The chicken is not anywhere near as spicy as jerken should be — not a good thing. The rice and beans are very dry. Not a winner.
Vermilion Latin/Indian Cuisine- Mango cumin-dusted fries with chutney: It had a smoky flavor with a sweet sauce. It’s a nice twist on regular firies. A thumbs up!
Vienna Beef/Gold Coast- 1/2 Hot Dog: It’s a nice steamed bun. The extra special touch is definitely the poppyseed encrusted. The only problem is that it has a pickle slice instead of a spear.
Wow Bao- Chicken Teryaki Bao: I never had this before even though it’s a Michigan Ave. staple. The doughiness threw me off at first, but that’ s ok. The red pepper and green onions in there are a nice touch. It’s a nice portable way to eat. A definite winner!