Archive for June, 2008

Liz Holland, NBC5 Street Team

On Sunday I grabbed my cowboy hat and rainbow colored fan in honor of the Gay Pride Parade. In my opinion, this is one of the best events of the summer. I have lived in Lakeview (aka Boystown) for the past three years and haven’t missed the festivities yet.

Every year the parade seems to get better and better. This year, there were over 250 entries ranging from various politicians, local organizations, corporate sponsors, and a massive crowd (over 450,000 in attendance) that came out to show their support. People were practically hanging from the rafters on Halsted Street.

This is the kind of event you can expect to see anything and everything. Free expression and people from all walks of life. Expect scantily clothed almost naked dancers, elaborate costumes, impersonators, pride advocates, and well – a lot of fabulosity. There was even a remarkable Tina Turner and boy did she rock the house! But the most impressive thing to see is the energy of the crowd. Drinks flowing, people really get into it! Overall, the Gay Pride Parade is always a merry celebration. Check out more pics from this year’s event here.

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Ben Soldinger, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Yes, that is a title to one of the All-Time Great Rock songs by the band, Night Ranger! Some people may know them better as the band that sang ‘Sister Christian’. You can see this Classic Rock Band twice this week live in person and also live on WGN tv Wednesday morning between 7:00 to 8:30ish. Night Ranger is on tour to support their brand new high octane studio recording, ‘Hole In The Sun’ which is being released. . . today! On Wednesday, you can see them at Frontier Days in Arlington Heights . On Friday the 4th, you’ll be able to Rock In America on America’s birthday with the boys at (get this…) The Great Lakes Naval Base in Glenview.! Is there anything that will feel more Patriotic?

Night Ranger 2008 is:

Jack Blades – Lead Vocals and Bass
Kelly Keagy – Lead Vocals and Drums
Brad Gillis – Lead Guitar and Vocals
Joel Hoekstra – Lead Guitar
and last but certainly not least . . .
Christian Cullen – Keyboards and Vocals

Check out the new cd, see Night Ranger on WGN, and catch a show!

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Blagica Bottigliero, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

To: President Todd Stroger & Commissioner Larry Suffredin
From: Confused Chicago Resident


Dear Mr. Stroger,

Thank you for making the Cook County sales tax, effective tomorrow July 1, the highest in the country. I understand our budget needs some tweaking, however, will this tax jump truly be the answer?

With our hotel rooms at capacity and able to demand top dollar (which I know is good for the city’s tourism budget…which enables me to enjoy free concerts in Grant Park), will tourists really want to shop on our Magnificent Mile when the sales tax hike ain’t so Magnificent?

I also have a question for Commissioner Larry Suffredin, who was the swing vote on this hike in the final minutes before the midnight deadline. Mr. Suffredin, what gives? You were a strong opponent against Mr. Stroger and his hikes for some time, but you decided to change your vote after Mr. Stroger promised to privatize control of the county medical system.

So, NOW we have a new system of outsiders controlling the hospitals, in hopes of better controls, yet you decide to vote in favor of a higher sales tax – before you even know if such private controls will even work?

Mr. Stroger (you may want to update your blog, by the way) and Mr. Suffredin,  you just made the jobs of hard working city evangelists at the Department of Tourism, World Business Chicago and the Chicago Chamber of Commerce work even HARDER to convince people to come to Chicago to Work, Live and Play. You know why? Because all of that just got even MORE expensive. Congrats.

Let me know if you’d like me to pick you up with my iGo car when I visit Lake, DuPage or Will county for some Saturday shopping. I wouldn’t mind spending about 3.75% less on big ticket items, how ’bout you? 

I hope you like Michael Jackson – I do my best to reach his high ‘SHAMON!’ pitches when I drive. 


Confused and Disappointed in the South Loop

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Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team

Several weeks ago I posted a blog with a reader’s question about men’s summer fashion. I really am working on an answer to that question but clients, Michelle Obama on “The View”, the European men’s Spring 09 collections and interviews with USA Today and Women’s Wear Daily are all conspiring against me in answering that question.

(Besides, I’m concerned that Hungry Z might eat my blog entry.)

So until I get to answering the specific question I was asked, I thought I’d give you a couple of links that you might find helpful in figuring out how to look cool. As I mentioned, the major European designers just showed their collections for Spring 09. These shows always coincide with the 50-60% off sales here in the good ol’ USA on this season’s merchandise.

One of my favorite games to play is to look at what will be in for spring and summer next year and then use that as a guide when I’m sorting through the sale merchandise now. That way I can buy next year’s look now and at a deep discount to boot.

Below you will find a link to my pick for the best/most influential men’s collection from 1) Milan and 2) Paris as well a link to 3) The Sartorialist’s picks of the best dressed men who were attending the shows. Personally, I always find those pictures to be a real treat. Click on each link below for a slideshow.

From Milan, Neil Barrett for Spring 09

From Paris, Lanvin for Spring 09

The Sartorialist

For the Sartorialist, you will need to scroll down on the right hand side, as the pictures run vertically. You can also click on pictrues and dates other than the one I picked for you.

I hope you all find this useful and that it keeps you, um, hungry (for more men’s fashion tips to come).


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Rikki Greenberg, NBC5 Street Team  

Well it looks like my pep talk worked.

The Chicago White Sox came back from a less than stellar performance last weekend (with some thanks going to my words of wisdom) to sweep the Chicago Cubs in the last three games of the interleague series. It was like the White Sox woke up, realized what was going on and finally decided to play like a first place team.

Although there were so many great plays during the first of three games at U.S. Cellular Field resulting in a 10-3 Sox victory, the one that stood out to me was first baseman Nick Swisher’s grand slam in the bottom of the third. How about that?! And who could forgot Sox pitching coach Don Cooper pulling a hamstring on his way into the dugout after being thrown out of the game for arguing a call. It hasn’t been proven but I think it’s moments like these that can really bring a team together.

The second game showed more great baseball by the Sox. Right fielder Jermaine Dye had another outstanding play with a two-run homer at the bottom of the first to tie up the game 2-2. Third baseman Joe Crede looked like his former gold glove self when he made a diving grab during the third inning, robbing Cubs catcher Geovany Soto of potential runs. The final score ended in a 6-5 victory for the White Sox.

My favorite play in the third game, besides the fight between Cubs manager Lou Piniella and first base umpire Chad Fairchild (Good to see you still have some spunk left in ya Lou), was the two-run homer by designated hitter Jim Thome. I definitely can be held responsible for this one because I had a strong feeling that Thome was going to get a home run. The final game of the inter league series ended in a 6-1 victory and three-game sweep by the Sox.

Now I could go on and on about the Sox sweep, Thome’s current career record of 522 home runs and the Sox current standing of first place in the American League Central with a 1 1/2 game lead over the Twins, but I figure I might as well stop while I’m ahead.

Did I mention the Sox sweep over the Cubs? Oh, revenge is sweet!

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Back in the days when I was a TV reporter, we used to joke about some of the people we’d meet in the field who were obviously oblivious as to how TV technology worked. After the requisite explanation of what the story was about, we’d be about to begin our interview when the subject would say something along the lines of, “Wait a minute, are we live right now?” No satellite truck or a news van with an antenna mast in sight, yet this person believed we actually could have been live at that moment.

The funny thing is, those folks were actually on to something. What seemed impossible at the time, is now surprisingly easy, thanks to the technology made possible by Internet. On Friday, we documented Hungry Z’s quest to eat 65 Taste portions at the Taste of Chicago, and we streamed several hours of roving live coverage on this Web site with nothing more than an laptop connected to the Internet via a broadband card and a firewire cord connected to a video camera. Skype has become a popular way to make free Internet voice and video calls, and we used that technology to send the video feed back to the station, which we then fed through the Web site.

I know I get a little excited about this geeky tech stuff, but it’s things like this that represent a sea change in the media world — how information is gathered and disseminated to the audience at large. You may have already noticed the blurry Internet-style video on cable outlets like CNN and MSNBC.

Check out a video piece I put together this weekend that documents Hungry Z’s journey from the 5:45 a.m. news to the 6 p.m. news 12 hours later.

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The Local Tourist, NBC5 Street Team

I’ve been wanting to feature Honeyglass since I first heard them back in October. CJ’s voice is compelling in a way that’s reminiscent of Amy Lee from Evanescence and the band not only accompanies her but complements and enhances.

HoneyglassFrom the band: “Honeyglass is a new name for a seasoned Chicago band. Originally known as Rust, founding members CJ, Brian and Brian played clubs around Chicago including Joe’s on Weed Street and The Elbo Room, opening for Blue October. After showcasing at Mobfest and garnering some attention from Richard Milne on WXRT’s local anesthetic, Rust was poised for some indie label attention. The band’s momentum came to a dead stop when original guitarist Josh Carey left the band. After months of auditioning guitarists, a close friend introduced Daniel to the band. He was a perfect fit and Rust geared up with a renewed enthusiasm. However, the excitement was short lived when drummer Brian was informed that he would be transferred out of state for eighteen months. Determined not to lose a member who was as much a brother as he was the band’s drummer, they awaited his return. The time apart was a productive break and the band is back with all new material and a new name, Honeyglass. “Through The Honeyglass”, the band’s first full length CD, is packed with an eclectic blend of songs. From the infectious guitars and pop hooks of Sugar Rush, to the delicate acoustic driven Have A Good Night, Honeyglass has crafted an album that takes you across genres. The album begins with Riddles, which showcases the band’s hard rock influence, while Walking On Water is reminiscent of early U2. CJ’s sultry vocals are as powerful as they are pretty and her melodies keep singing long after the music stops. Dan and Brian also inject engaging melodies throughout the album from the smooth bass line of Behind The Wheel to the captivating guitars on Where Did The Light Go and Cold Rain. Tying everything together is savy percussion that is always a perfect compliment to the song. The band writes with a purpose as CJ’s lyrics are as insightful as they are passionate.”

Their next Chicagoland show is at Northbeach on August 1.

Honeyglass – Behind The Wheel

Type The Local Tourist into the Search bar in the upper right hand corner of the page to see my reviews, bands of the week, upcoming events, and more or just click here. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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Ron Santo Gets Candid

The Sports Bank, NBC5 Street Team

As we are in the midst of another All-Chi City, All-First Place series weekend, emotions are running high on both sides of town. Passion for both the Cubs and White Sox is rising faster than the humidity. One man with figuratively Cubbie blue blood is WGN radio broadcaster Ron Santo, a legendary figure within the organization. His #10 was the third number retired by the Cubs, honoring a stellar Cubs career that included nine All-Star appearances and five Gold Gloves. The current Cubs color analyst is known for many things outside of his playing career, including his unabashed on-air cheerleading and the success he has had in his personal struggle with diabetes during his life. He was named the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation “Person of the Year” in 2002. Two years ago, Santo, the subject of “This Old Cub,” a theatre released documentary film created by his son Jeff, came within five votes of the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. He is eligible again in 2009. When given the chance to speak with Santo, I got straight to the point and asked him who poses the biggest threat to the Cubs in the National League Central division.

RS: I think it’s going to be the Cardinals. I didn’t think so heading into the season, but you look at what we’ve done being 19 games over .500 and they are just three and half games behind. They’re playing real good baseball, so normally we’d be running away with it if it weren’t for the Cardinals.

I followed up by inquiring why so many teams (not just the Cubs) are dominating at home, but at the same time struggling on the road. Especially considering that the Cubs are a national team with a national following…

RS: Every where we go, there are Cub fans and it’s amazing. One thing I’ve learned being in Chicago since I was eight years old is that Cub fans never lose their allegiance, no matter where they move. But you’re always thinking that if you can play .500 on the road and do real well at home, that’s a winning year. You don’t expect to do better than .500 on the road. You just don’t.

For the full interview click here.

For more in-depth Chicago Sports Talk click here

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Cara CarriveauCara “Cara’s Basement” Carriveau, NBC5 Street Team

So much to do in Chicago the weekend of the Fourth Of July. Here’s one more thing to add to that massive list.

There’s a rockin’ benefit at The Double Door this Saturday, July 5. Five bands for only $8 – such a deal! It’s actually a pretty cool mix of bands covering several different music genre’s…melodic, folk, metal…quite the variety. Munroe, David Costa Is Dead, The Chemist vs. The Computer, Facing Winter and Mer will rock all night and there will be a raffle for lots of prizes including many autographed items (STP, Filter, etc) and other great prizes.

I spoke with TK from Munroe about this event for the Chicago Music Guide – get the inside scoop here:

Proceeds from this concert benefit the Shannon Sperando Cancer Fund and the Prevent Cancer Foundation. Please click on the link for Shannon and read her story. Imagine everything is fine in your life then suddenly you have a seizure and discover you have a brain tumor. I’ve never met her but can empathize with such a shocking, serious medical situation happening to a young vibrant woman. No one deserves to go through such an experience and the financial hardship that goes along with it makes it suck that much more. Helping her by going to a fun concert isn’t such a difficult thing to do – it’s an easy & fun way to help.

Doors open at 8pm, show starts at 9pm. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS. A special thanks to photographer Amy Aeillo for kindly putting together this event. See you Saturday!

Type my name in the search bar or click HERE to see/hear more of my posts including interviews with The Bravery, Alanis Morissette, Joe Taylor, Triumph’s Rik Emmett, Shooting Star, Lovehammers, Mike Tafoya comedian Lee Camp & more.


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Natalia Avilez, NBC Street Team

If you where left wondering what to do between the hours of 10 a.m.-5 p.m. today, I highly recommend Wizard World at the Donald E.Stephens Convention Center. For the last three days I have been fighting my way through fan boys and girls, meeting new

interesting people such as Green Lantern, Super-Man and R2-D2, playing free games ,and getting tons of comics from companies such as Marvel ,DC, Top Cow, Devils Due , and Legion Studios.

Today is the final day of the convention and your chance to see an encore presentation of Batman Gotham Knight ,enter the kids costume contest , or play a friendly game of Guitar Hero or Rockband. As you make your through the aisles of comics, toys, and vendors,you will find an alley of artist who are waiting to sketch you a tiny titan, or whatever your heart desires. So come on down and make your way through a Dungeon of Dragons or an array of vendors where you can get a Hero action figure or your very own Tecnhics vs Marvel T-shirt.

For those of you who are not able to make it to the convention, (kids 10 and under are free), I will post a video and show you my favorite highlights of the con, including a cameo appearance from Lou Ferrigno himself! Until then stay tuned, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.

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Marcus Riley, NBC5 Street Team (video)

Watch the weekly “Word On The Street” segment on 24/7 Chicago: Secrets of the City,” at 12:05 a.m., immediately following Saturday Night Live on NBC5.

Hanging Out Downtown

This week we used the beautiful backdrop of Millenium Park to shoot our segment. We were initially going to use Grant Park, but unfortunately there wasn’t much happeing that Tuesday nights (at least until the Outdoor Film Festival starts in a couple of weeks. But I’m getting ahead of myself.)

Anyway, there’s plenty of options for live music, dance lessons and much more from Wednesday on into the weekends, and most of it is sponsored by the City of Chicago, which does a fabulous job of providing free and interesting entertainment in what’s often referred to as Chicago’s front yard. Here’s a few Web sites if you’re looking for some ideas.

Mayor’s Office Of Special Events
Chicago Park District
Millenium Park Web Site
The Local Tourist Festival Guide

Wii Wars at Harry Caray’s Tavern

I hesited before including this item this week. After all, the Crosstown Classic is on the South Side. And I’m not sure about this new Harry Caray’s in Wrigleyville. I’ve been once, and quite frankly, it felt a little sterile and lacked personality. The joint they had in there before was always jumping after Cubs games, and you were always guaranteed some good entertainment when the tipsy crowd whipped itself into a frenzy — especially after a Cubs win.

But I digress. It takes time for bars to develop a personality. And every Tuesday should be fun when Harry Caray’s allows you to match your skills against a celebrity at Wii Wars. It kicked off on June 17th when visitors had a chance to play Home Run Derby with none other than Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks. Brian Urlacher and former Cub Ryne Sandberg will also participate this summer.

Festival Of Life

I don’t get a lot of opportunities to really experience my Caribbean roots in this city — although the odd trek to Uncle Joe’s on the south side for some jerk chicken hits the spot — so that’s why I always look forward to the yearly African Caribbean celebration in Washington Park, which kicks off on Thursday.

Not only is it a fun time during the day, with a huge amount of food and merchandise vendors, but the music is off the hook as well. This year, Beenie Man is back on Friday (check out our 2006 interview). A name that true roots reggae heads will recognize is Gregory Isaacs, who will perform Saturday. And fellas, make sure you take your lady to this one, because no one sings a love song like Gregory Isaacs (sample). And on Saturday night, another reggae legend, Junior Reid, headlines. Check the Web site for more info.

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Amy Zanglin, Nude Hippo, NBC5 Street Team (Video)

What’s up Chicago? It’s Amy from NUDE HIPPO.

So it was Thursday morning and it had just been a loooong week at work; all I wanted to do was go home and sleep when my friend Tony asked to do something after work. I felt bad, but I was just too tired. I couldn’t think of anything I’d want to do after work until he told me that he was going to the opening night in Chicago of Cirque Du Soleil’s Kooza. OK, THAT I would make an exception for!!

I had my first taste of Cirque Du Soleil last year when Nude Hippo went down to Walt Disney World and we got to go see the Cirque show down there, La Nouba; and I have been a HUGE fan ever since. The whole concept of Cirque Du Soleil shows to me are just magical; to me it’s like the French Circus meets Vaudeville with this element of beauty mixed in. I am always fascinated from beginning to end and this time was no different.

“KOOZA tells the story of The Innocent, a melancholy loner in search of his place in the world”; now I didn’t know that going in, and you really don’t have to, some of the fun is trying to put together the story in your head and figure out what each different act represents.

For me, my favorites are always the contortionists, it is SO beautiful the way they move their bodies; it is just mesmerizing. I also love the fun, high-energy acts of trapeze, high wire, balancing acts, etc. although they tend to either make my heart race or make me want to throw up from being so nervous for the performers, but of course all goes well and every act is always graceful.

But the entire event from the clowns, to the live singing & music, to each and every breath taking acrobatic performance complete with beautiful costuming is such a perfect summer event to go and see with the family or friends. (Although I don’t recommend it for little ones; I do think children under the age of 5 or 6 might be frightened by some of the performances). You have to hurry though, Kooza is only in town for about a month the show runs from June 26 to July 27, 2008.

Here’s additional helpful information as well:

KOOZA – Cirque du Soleil @ the United Center (Not actually inside the United Center; it’s located in a giant tent in the parking lot; even more fun!!)

Tickets: $55.00-215.00

You can find addtional information at: http://tinyurl.com/6hund3

Such a great show to see in the summer!! Tell me your thoughts, opinions or complaints! E-mail me at NudeHippo@nbc5.com

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

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 PubPiece 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!
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.
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)
Saganaki:Not really saganaki. Not flaming cheese. More like a mozzarella square. Tastes ok(2007)
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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 BaoChicken 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!

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

Well, my day is done here at the 2008 Taste of Chicago, and unfortunately my quest for 65 was not fullfilled. The heat and my ambitous time frame, eventually did me in. Delays by 2 of the first 3 vendors, long lines, and the humidity definately slowed me down. After the clouds rolled in I caught my second wind and started chugging along again, but once we got to 41(Lou Malnatti’s wasn’t blogged), we were already an hour into overtime, and we were all starting to feel it.

While I didn’t taste all 65 booths, I feel that we were able to offer a fairly extensive guide to the Taste today, a guide that the crew and myself can be proud of. I want to thank the amazing crew that helped make this possible including Mr. Marcus Riley, Megan, Kay, Greg, Ryan, and my beautiful wife who played the role of photographer today.

One last note, if you want to have a handy guide of all my eating to take with you, just click on my site and print it up or take a look at my next post. In an effort to make the guide more complete, I’ll include my opinions on some of the booths I missed this year, with my comments from 2007.

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

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.

This will be my last post here at the Taste. I wish I would have had more time — the long lines and technical difficulties at some booths definitely slowed us down, but I think we have a good representation of what we’ve had at the Taste.

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

One 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!

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

Plain Popcorn: Truth to be told, it tastes stale. The popcorn is chewy and it’s sticking to my teeth. Thumbs down.

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

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!

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

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.

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

Cheese Pizza: When you get this one, check out the bottom of the crust. It’s golden brown with butter! The sauce is slightly sour but not sweet. A definite thumbs up!

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

Rainbow Ice Cream: 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!

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

Turtle: Sweet caramel filling compliments nicely with a slight salty pecan. Very rich and creamy milk chocolate. A definite winner!

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Hungry Z, NBC5 Street Team

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.

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