22 July 2013

Taste of Chicago

I love Chicago (or at least, the touristy areas I visited)! My fellow students and I went to Chicago for the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Conference (which was
and we had a couple of free days to lounge around and explore Chicago. So of course, I drank it all in and spent more time wandering around the city than in my comfortable half of the hotel bed.

Our trip coincided with the Taste of Chicago Festival near Millenium Park. This reminded me of the BBQ Festival in NYC I stumbled upon many years ago (I didn't try anything there that time, though), except that it was more diverse. Apart from the plain-cheese deep dish pizza, there was also lots of cliche Asian fare, African goat + plantain stew things, and frozen bananas on sticks (wrapped in opaque plastic packaging, so they probably didn't hand dip them an hour prior...).

For $8, one could obtain 12 tickets. Food samples/servings were about 4 to 12 tickets. Bottled water was 6 (or was it 8?) tickets, and there were no water fountains. There were free samples of juice and tea that certain companies were distributing, and I did have my reusable water bottle, so I was not entirely dehydrated. The hand-washing stations outside the portable toilets stated "Water is not potable".

Coincidentally, everything I got had chicken in it.

I did not get anything from here, but the slogan is pretty Good (see what I did there?). 

Classic Chicago-style hot dog, lacking ketchup.

I got a tamale here but I didn't get to eat it until I returned to the hotel. It was just ok. The chicken was kind of stringy, dry, and tough. Is that how it's supposed to be in tamales? In 粽子(zong4 zi3), the meat is usually pretty overcooked and stringy, and I don't find that texture very enjoyable. The corn part was good though! 4 tickets.

I found schnitzel! I've wanted to try schnitzel ever since Chowder (the TV show)! I was pretty disappointed. It just tasted like a crunchy-coated chicken chunk that was kind of tough and bland. What happened to thin slices? Pummelled with a hammer? Tender? So maybe this was mediocre schnitzel, or maybe I find schnitzel banal. 4 tickets.

Finally...chicken etouffee with rice! I've never had etouffee before. The broth was extremely flavourful! It was simultaneously mellow, smooth, and a crazy explosion. The chicken was just ok though; slightly tough. I will try crawfish etouffee at the next opportunity!

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