Tag Archives: Chicago

Trucks at the Taste

This article didn’t make it to Roaming Hunger this month, but I still wanted to share it! Here’s an article I wrote about the Food Trucks at the Taste of Chicago.

Trucks at the Taste of Chicago

IMG_4093

In 1980 a group of restaurateurs approached the Mayor of Chicago with the idea of a food festival on the 4th of July. Just like that, the Taste of Chicago was born. Originally held on Michigan Ave. between the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower, this one-day festival drew more crowds than expected and in 1981 Mayor Jane Byrne decided it would be held in Grant Park.

It was a huge success, (250,000 attended the first “Taste,” and food and soda sales grossed $330,000). Due to the overwhelming response from the huge attendance records, the Taste was greatly expanded in size and scope, growing to a 10-day free event with more food vendors, as well as musical performances. This allowed visitors to sample Chicago’s finest cuisine while enjoying a variety of popular music.

In 2012, the Taste of Chicago ran for five days from July 11th to July 15th. The mayor transferred power over to the Department of Special Events and it was shortened to five days to help ease the overcrowding from the Independence Day fireworks.

In 2013, the Taste of Chicago turned a profit for the first time in six years with sales totaling $272,000. To continue off that success, the Rahm Emanuel Administration introduced food trucks to the Taste of Chicago, feeding off the popular craze and adding a new twist to a different type of dining experience.

Two years later, the food truck idea is still thriving.

When I recently visited, I met up with our friend John Nguyen at Chicago Lunchbox. His wife Tanya offered from their menu: Vietnamese Pork Tacos, Firecracker Rangoon’s and the popular Korean Beef Tacos.

As previously referenced, the Korean beef is marinated for three days before being cooked on the grill. I asked John how he didn’t sell out by 4pm, he responded, “We came prepared.”

Which is a good thing, because in 2007 unpreparedness caused an outbreak of salmonella that sickened many people. Today, precautions are being taken to avoid another occurrence.

At 8am, food trucks were already arriving at the scene of the Taste. Freshly delivering their common fare from their brick-and-mortar kitchens where they immediately prepared for a long day. Staffing could be a family event in itself where volunteers can include friends and relatives.

Among the food trucks in attendance were familiar names such as: The Yum Dum Truck, and The Fat Shallot.

Some unexplored truck names were Harold’s Chicken Shack, Jerk Modern Jamaican Grill, La Cocinita, Starfruit Café and Jack’s Fork in the Road. Another one included The Crave Bar, which sold out of Handcrafted Pretzel Ice Cream Bars and departed the festival by 5pm.

The 2015 Taste of Chicago was held July 8-12th. Food and beverage tickets are sold in strips of 12 tickets for $8.50 (includes $2.50 charge for Taste amenities). “Taste of” portions are priced at $2.50 or less. Food and beverage ticket strips are available at the festival.

Plenty of foresight and planning go into the organization for the Taste of Chicago, ensuring visitors a memorable experience when they visit America’s picnic in Chicago’s front yard.

FullSizeRender            DSC04431

Terrified Sister Moment

Saturday my family and I went to a festival in a nearby neighborhood. While feeding Sean, my littlest brother who you all can read about in earlier posts, ended up in the hospital. 

He is physically and mentally challenged, and was recently diagnosed in December of 2013 (with his older brother Jason). He can’t feed himself, and while my mother was feeding him a hotdog, he choked and vomited it up. It all came out, but then he began to puke up phlegm. He did that for 30 minutes straight, which turned into an hour. His mouth then began to foam, followed by heaving and labored breathing. On that note, we immediately rushed him to the hospital where he was incubated and put on a ventilator.

After that I lost it. Looking at him sedated and struggling broke my heart. I spent all the time I could with him in the ER with my mom and couldn’t stand leaving him alone. I did go home the night it happened around 4am to sleep, as she stayed with him at the hospital. 

Jason had to be at a special needs summer camp out in Grayslake, where he stays for a week with friends, so I relieved my mom at 2pm so that she and my dad could take him. Jason missed his brother. He kept pointing and questioned what was happening.

My Aunt and Uncle kept me company for a few hours and my parents relieved me around 8:45 with McDonald’s coffee. 

As of right now, he is breathing on his own and doing well. He’s fussy and putting up a fight with the nurses when he’s awake, but when he’s asleep it’s because he’s comfortable.

He aspirated, so there will be a video swallow done today to determine when he comes home.

I know he will soon. It’s just hard trying to sleep knowing that this happy little boy is not in his own bed.  

 

Weird Al Yankovic

Ok so the concert was two weeks ago but it was so memorable that I had to post about it. Also, I’m on my lunch break and noticed that I need to play catch up with my blog posts. 

If you have never been to a Weird Al Yankovic concert, do yourself a favor and attend a show. He changes his attire for every single song he sings. I can’t even describe the awesomeness in words. In between costume changes he’ll show clips of every single movie or TV show his name has ever been in.

Major respect to Weird Al. It’s not easy writing songs, let alone parodies and it’s about damn time he won Best Album of the year. 

 

Chicago’s Freshest Food Truck: The Corner Farmacy

These underdogs are doing something wonderful for the Chicago community. Not only do Emily, Laura and Lindsay dish out delicious food that looks like this, they only use fresh ingredients from local producers. At the end of the day when the food doesn’t sell they donate their food to families in need. Spread the word of freshness and go support them if you are in Chicagoland area.

IMG_3961

Brittney Payton will be filming her Chicago’s Best TV Show at the truck on the 10th of July, so go and tell her why you love The Corner Farmacy!

Chicago’s Freshest Food Truck: The Corner Farmacy

Best Year Ever! (So far)

The other night, my dad asked me if The Little Mermaid on Broadway ever came to Chicago. I began to rant about when I discovered the play in 2012 they weren’t performing anywhere near here. Little did I know, he set me up for total excitement because when he turned around he showed me this wonderful photo! I immediately jumped up and down like a child and shouted that I needed to book the tickets that minute. He told me that I was in charge of getting them and that we would go to celebrate my new job. I’ve waited years for this! I’ve told people that if I could book a vacation it would be to spend a weekend in New York just to see this play. So not only am I starting a big girl job, the Little Mermaid is performing at Navy Pier and I feel like a kid on Christmas morning!!

I’m rooting for you, 2015. Let’s keep it up.

FullSizeRender

I’m Getting Senile…

I have done something every single day this week and I JUST WANT TO BE A BUM.

Last Sunday my FitBit told me that I had 3,500 steps by the end of the day, which meant that my lazy Sunday had been a success. Monday (my OFF day) I picked up a shift at a different branch because they are desperate for help and I am desperate for extra hours. Tuesday I had my in-person interview for ANOTHER possible job opportunity however this one is in my field as a copywriter and I do not want to jinx anything by all means, so I’m shutting up now.

It was over by 11:00am and the Shedd Aquarium was hosting a free day for Illinois residents, so my boyfriend and I took a trip downtown. He hates the city, but when he suggests a date in downtown I’m the first to shout, “I’ll drive!” While standing in line, I received the best phone call ever from a recruiter (for the company) that I’ve been working with and she told me that I made a great impression on the folks I spoke with and they want to move forward. Insert enthusiastic woo-hoo here!

There are only so many fish you can look at, so after spending 90 minutes at the Shedd we headed over to Eataly aka my Heaven. That place deserves its own blog. I was exhausted by the end of the night and Wednesday I had to work early in the morning. With no nap, I pushed through the day, just to be up early again the next morning and work Friday and Saturday as well.

Today I had no freaking patience and after telling people ALL week that I’ve been looking forward to being a complete sack of sh!t tomorrow I forgot that we have a family reunion to attend. I swear I forgot about this three times this week…

I love keeping busy, but I’m busy so often that I’ve learned to appreciate my days of nothingness. I mean I’m only human and even God rested on Sundays. On the bright side I can sleep till at least noon tomorrow, that is until I have to wake up and make myself look presentable to the planet.

Oh, and I want to give a heads up to the folks (like me) who get sucked into those cutesy blemish free photos that they take of you and your entourage before entering a museum, Niagara Falls, aquarium, etc…save that little photo card so you can go online on your phone and look at the photo…then screenshot it so you don’t have to pay for it.

You’re welcome.

FullSizeRender

Hiiiii.

I feel the need to shout “I’m back!” Since I haven’t posted in awhile, here’s some news.

I took a cooking class at Eataly with Lidia Bastianich. The woman is a remarkable soul who knows how to cook.

As of next month I will have an article that I structured/edited published in Special Parent magazine. It’s about a wonderful family of a child with Down Syndrome and its a project that’s close to my heart.

I just wrapped up my article for Roaming Hunger this month and today I got to eat some bad ass French fries or “Frites” as they are called at this establishment.

And I FINALLY got an update from my recruiter and have a phone interview for a FT job tomorrow morning. She’s going to prep me and everything, so…fingers crossed! 

I’m also taking a mini train trip to Denver next week to hopefully celebrate this new chapter!

Now stare at some French fries made with home made bacon, yes, bacon made in house, cheese sauce and scallions.