Taste of Chicago Burgers

The Taste of Chicago 2017 is scheduled for July 5th-9th, and you should be there. On my first trip to the festival, I fell in love with Chicago. I also learned how much of a food city it really is. Over the years, I’ve picked up a few tricks of the trade that truly help make the most of the Taste of Chicago. As you plan on Traveling While Hungry to Chicago, here are a few things to know for the Taste of Chicago 2017.

Taste of Chicago Food Truck

     1. Plan to travel with a friend who likes to share their food (even if it’s only sometimes)

The Taste of Chicago works by ticket system. You purchase by cash or credit card, the amount of tickets you’d like and redeem them with vendors for either a taste or a heavier plate, considered somewhat of a full meal. The taste cost less and makes a ton of more sense to be shared with a friend because you’ll likely have more than one item on your plate. This way you truly get a Taste of Chicago and don’t run out of your tickets as fast. You can always order more if you think you should have shared less.

Taste of Chicago Burgers

      2. Get there early

One of the amazing parts about the Taste of Chicago is that they host pop up restaurants. They’re there for a limited time and then you may not see them again for the remainder of the festival so it’s a good idea to go early and catch them. The more popular ones are likely to run out of food by the time you’ve recovered from day drinking and seeing the sights. So if you’ve gotten a chance to see the line up early, be sure to arrive early for the vendors you don’t want to miss.

      3. Bring a Blanket

The Taste of Chicago is always packed and they’ve been doing a great job as securing more and more seating every year. However, at the peak hours it may be pretty difficult to find a seat or two, especially if you’re with a group. Being able to pull a blanket out of bag is going to be the best idea you’ve had in a while when the sun is shining and the burgers are calling. Totally, BYOB appropriate (B for Blanket guys).

Taste of Chicago dumplings

     4. Leave your diet at home

You knew this already but the Taste of Chicago 2017 will not be the place for anyone who recently decided to go on a diet. Everything you’ve ever wanted to eat, and things you didn’t even know you wanted, will be at the festival. Be sure to detox AFTER the Taste if you feel strongly about it, but certainly not before.

Taste of Chicago Mini donuts

     5. Pack a bottle of water

There’s a misconception that you can’t bring any outside food or beverages to the Taste but you actually can. No alcoholic beverages are allowed considering you can buy them once you’re inside. A bottle of water however, is what you’ll have a thirst for after walking under the sun for hours. You’ll be upset you wasted your food tickets on something you could have brung on your own so pack it!

Taste of Chicago

     6. Try something new

Who knows when the next time will be that you’ll have a poutine, chocolate covered bananas, and foie gras on a burger at your disposal? Live a little and try something you’ve never had before. You’re interested in going to the Taste of Chicago because you want to experience it all. You’ll get to drink, be at the concert, make new friends, get free stuff and eat. Make the most of it by doing it all, being present in the moment and going back home with something to talk about.

With these tips in mind, what are you looking forward to the most about the Taste of Chicago 2017?

Peach Sake Sangria Mirai Sushi Chicago

Casandra Rosario

Many of our readers know about my long standing infatuation with the city of Chicago. So finding some of the best sushi in Chicago could help reinforce it. Brunch, however, has sustained that love for the past few years with visits like Yolk, and Batters & Berries. When I was last in town for the Natural Hair Brunch Affair, I had some time where I was working the event and needed a good bite to eat. Having never eaten sushi in Chicago, I was determined to find the very best! Although, that quest was no easy feat.

Mirai Sushi Chicago

I decided on the Wicker Park location and stumbled into a relatively empty restaurant. It was still pretty early in the day, so I wasn’t too worried about the emptiness of the place. To help keep that worry to a minimum, I ordered a glass of their Peach Sake Sangria. While on the hunt for the best sushi in Chicago, I stumbled upon the best sangria in Chicago.  It was absolutely delicious. Every flavor in that sangria was right on the money and I was in need of another round.

Mirai Sushi Chicago

With hunger pains going to work on my insides, I ended up over ordering. I started with the Honey Glazed Shrimp and the Tempura Soft Shell Crab. The shrimp was lathered in the rich glaze but still somewhat crispy which made the textures fun. The soft shell crab was tender as expected  with the right crunch in the right places. Surprisingly, I was ready for more.

best sushi in chicago

For the first time, and maybe the last, I tried the Spicy Mono which is a octopus roll topped with spicy tuna. It wasn’t my preference of the afternoon so I found myself digging into the shrimp tempura roll, however, it was certainly interesting. The roll was very flavorful but the flavors just weren’t for me, someone else however, might think it’s the best sushi in Chicago. They certainly come close and have plenty of other options on their menu that can make that come true. Personally, I would love to go back for another Peach Sake Sangria.

best sushi in chicagobest sushi in chicago

Mercadito Cocktail

The last delight I enjoyed in Chicago was Mercadito, which I would consider upscale dining in the Chi. Completely dressed up for the occasion, I got the NYC Hurricane club ambiance here, especially considering the detailed layout and energy of the staff. It was obvious that this crowded night was the usual for them.


Hungry as usual, I ordered two appetizers: The Guacamole and the Shrimp Ceviche. The Guacamole definitely tasted better than it looks, and it was nice mash up with the mango engulfed into the mix. I’m not too crazy about ceviche but the flavors were very fresh and fun.


Then onto the fancy tacos. They have more than enough options here and my favorite were the Carnita’s. There were multiple layers of flavor in this bad boy, which always causes for a party. Not to mention, they bring out the most amazing green sauce to accompany your plantains on the side.

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batters and berries chicken

It is too good for words. Though Harold’s still stands as my favorite chicken spot in the Chi, Batter’s and Berries really had me thinking what do they really put in the chicken in Chicago? Seriously.

Batter’s and Berries was an hour wait, BYOB, popular brunch spot that was worth every second I stood in line. The 7-eleven a few blocks away is easily accessible and ready to make your champagne wishes come true. The restaurant doesn’t have a corkage fee but they will charge for flutes if you want to get fancy with it. Aside from their menu, sounding simply mouth watering, they run a number of specials every weekend. Not being able to decide between the rumchatta French toast and the ones on the menu, I opted for a super flight. The flight, gives you EACH of the french toast on the menu, in addition to the special. Yes, this is my kind of party.

batters and berriesBlueberry, Strawberry, Rumchatta, and the lemon French toast all graced my plate to my anticipation. Each piece was infused with the flavor it called for and I must admit, that strawberry French toast was like nothing I ever tasted before. I could sit here and have flights all day, which I recommend for those who just can’t help themselves to everything. It would be a disservice to your tastebuds, to just try one.

batters and berries

But then I reached across the table and had the chicken. Again, what do they put in the chicken in Chicago!? Sweet Potato waffles and a beautiful piece of chicken breast sat across from me with the batter & berries in-house hot sauce  on the side. I meant to only have a piece, but this was an amazing thing – I had to go on and order my own. When was the last time you had something so good off someone else’s plate that you had to go and order your own? It was THAT good. The meat peeled right off my fork, evenly crisp on the outside and succulent on the inside. With the appropriate amount of sauce on the top, I knew they were onto something here.

Batters and Berries

Not only was my server a doll, but the food was also amazing and the vibe at batter’s and berries was busy but not congested. It’s definitely not a brunch you want to pass up in Chicago

Lokal French Toast

Listen, the best french toast I have had in my entire LIFE is at Lokal in Chicago. A friend and I shared this and, with all due respect to her, I wish I hadn’t. This was stuffed French toast filled with bananas and nutella, topped with whipped cream, fresh strawberries and blue berries; made softer than Lord knows. Can you say Foodgasm?

Lokal French Toast

This French toast was more than delightful. I could probably eat this everyday for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. We both agreed that it tasted like funnel cake. Lokal also does a bottomless brunch and has great artwork all over the restaurant. I then ordered the steak and eggs to really get my dining on. I got the eggs sunny side up which was the best idea, and .the steak well which was tough but not quite overdone. Luckily, it was juicy enough to make it memorable and delicious.

Lokal Steak and Eggs

I liked that Lokal wasn’t too busy and we were left alone for the most part which was different but refreshing. The place was entirely laid back so we were able to enjoy our food and keep the day going.

Lokal Caprese Sandwich

texas de brazil.chocolate mousse

But it’s still Chicago week here at Food Before love and if you haven’t booked a flight to go there yet due to my recap, you must be a fool. I am getting super nostalgic about this place, like you would think this is home for me so I KNOW I’m selling some of you on it.

When we were in Chicago it was restaurant week ofcourse and we decided to dine at Texas De Brazil.

texas de brazil 

Marcy and I had already made plans to go to the New York location, so the fact that it was about 10 steps away from our hotel, really sold us on making a reservation immediately. Little did we know that after Kumas Corner , we’d be walking into a buffet. You couldn’t tell me that Marcy?

The best part about this place is that they walk around with all different types of meats on a stick for consumption at your convenience. Filet Mignon wrapped in bacon, brazilian sausage, lamb chops and then some , are passed, served fresh and ready to eat during your entire dinner.Literally, during the ENTIRE dinner, we almost didn’t want anymore but they do say Brazilian meat is the best ……It wasn’t super loud in here either so I really got to enjoy the company of my date #heyboo . I also ordered something like a pina colada which was delicious while Marcy had a classic mojito.

texas de brazil.cocktail

For Dessert, which was the real winner of the evening, we thoroughly enjoyed the chocolate mousse cake and the cheesecake.

texas de brazil. cheesecake

texas de brazil.chocolate mousse

The chocolate cake is for true chocolate lovers only because it truly was a triple dose of chocolate yum. It was rich, moist and seemed to be never-ending but I wasn’t complaining! The cheesecake according to Marcy was nothing short of “AMAZING” . The package for the dessert to take home was the cutest thing too! Maybe it’s not just the meat they’re good for…..The service here was truly delightful. Our server, Andres was attentive, kind and funny so we really appreciated that aspect of the experience.

All of the sides served in the buffet were good and because of the variety of items it wasn’t boring either. We had absolutely no complaints about anything. Talking about this makes me want to go there this weekend but definitely , if you can’t make it to Chicago for this, try New York.