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Taste of Chicago 2007 – Vegan Options

We took a Metra train into the city and hopped on a free trolley to Grant Park for the Taste of Chicago today. It was fun and I will definitely go back next year. Vegan options weren’t plentiful but we enjoyed most of the ones that were available.

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Tickets are sold at the cost of 11 tickets for $7. However, earlier in the week, we picked up discounted tickets at Dominick’s. They sold 11 tickets for $5.50, with a limit of 44 tickets that could be purchased. We saved $6 on our tickets.

You are allowed to bring your own bottled water so I brought a few bottles with us. I’m not going to waste my tickets on overpriced beverages. I do have to give mad props to the City of Chicago for providing recycling bins at Taste. I was happy I didn’t have to lug my empty bottles back home to put in my recycle bin.

I plotted out our route ahead of time so I knew the locations of the booths we wanted to visit. We started off at Pars Cove Persian Cuisine’s booth for a taste portion of their Hummus Shirazi. It is “fresh herb-tomato-cucumber salad over a bed of hummus”. It was served with a tiny pita wedge and cost 3 tickets. It was yummy!

Booth:

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Taste of Hummus Shirazi – hand modeling exclusively provided by Rob ๐Ÿ˜€

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Next we headed over to Zam Zam which had a fantastic falafel sandwich. It was 8 tickets and well worth it. Definitely a must-try if you like falafel sandwiches. This booth was right near the Fox Chicago stage where the band Woogie was playing. We sat at a bench off to the side in the shade and ate our sandwiches listening to Woogie’s cover of “When You Were Young” by the Killers.

Booth:

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Falafel Sandwich:

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We stopped for a few minutes to check out Buckingham Fountain:

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Then we were off to the A Natural Harvest’s booth. I inquired about what was vegan and they told me the tamales minus cheese and the tofu cutlets were vegan. We decided to each get two tamales (we each got one spicy and one mild) and one order of tofu cutlets to split. The total was 21 tickets. The tamales were tasty but pricey for what you got. The tofu cutlets were good but what a rip-off. An extremely stingy portion and I suggest you avoid it. If there was even 1/4 of a block of tofu for what I got, I’d be shocked. I also read their napkins while I was eating. It specified what was vegan. It said their corn on the cob with soy butter was vegan but their employee didn’t mention that. I never assume soy butter is vegan as some brands have dairy products in them. Overall, I’m not impressed with A Natural Harvest and won’t be going to their booth if they are there next year. Save your tickets for something else.

Booth:

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Don’t bother getting the tofu cutlets. They are even smaller than they look in the picture. This was a full order, not a taste portion:

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Tamales. Darn it, you can see the cheese at this booth in my picture of the tamales. Boo! A non-vegan food showing on my blog.

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The last booth we went to was Arya Bhavan, which is right behind A Natural Harvest’s booth. I inquired about what was vegan. They even checked with the older woman who was cooking and everything is vegan except the bread which has milk in it. We got a taste of a Samosa, which I loved in spite of the fact it had peas in it! I think that says a lot for how tasty it was. We also tried the Bhel which is “puffed rice, sev and puri mixed with diced potatoes, onions, cilantro, garlic, and hot and sweet chutney sauces.” It was delicious! The bhel and the taste Samosa were only 11 tickets. I thought that was a good deal. ๐Ÿ™‚

Booth:

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Samosa and Bhel:

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We had a great day. Yummy food and beautiful weather!!! We took the free trolley back (the trolleys were crowded and we had to stand) to Union Station for our train ride home.

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Hope you have a wonderful day ๐Ÿ™‚

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • selina June 30, 2007, 10:08 pm

    Wow! I am on Vacation this week & hoping to make it to Taste of Chicago. Thanks for the report. Now I know what to eat & what not to eat. Awesome!!

  • K June 30, 2007, 10:47 pm

    Wow, what a total blast!! Thanks for a trip down memory lane and for all the great photographs. Total fun. The food all looks soooooo good, too! Nice to find vegan options there, ‘eh? Even a few are better than none. And way to bring your own drinks (you are a woman after my own heart!) and also to get discount tix at Dominick’s (Dominick’s!!! Memories…) – you rule!

    Oh! Sweet and happy day!

    Rob’s a groovy hand model. He might want to re-think his career. What do you think?!

    BUCKINGHAM FOUNTAIN!! *sigh* So amazing by day and even better at night, no?

    i got your e-mail – thank you!! – and will write you back at some point this weekend.

  • Randi July 1, 2007, 8:23 am

    Looks like you had a lot of fun. Chicago is on my list of places to visit. I’m impressed that you had the vegan options that you did. You’d starve in my tiny town. I recently worked at a wedding where 3 people requested salmon for dinner because they were vegetarians. LOL.

  • bazu July 1, 2007, 9:58 pm

    That looks like such a fun event! Last year, I went to taste of Syracuse, and there were some really good eats. This year, unfortunately, we missed it, because we were gone for most of June. =(

  • pinknest July 2, 2007, 9:03 pm

    wow, this looks so awesome! the indian food looked yummy.

  • bazu July 3, 2007, 8:32 am

    P.S. Just came back to say I really laughed when you got mad that the cheese snuck into your picture of the tamales! That’s really cool that no non-vegan food has ever snuck onto your blog before. Living with a not-quite-vegan, I can’t say the same thing for myself! =l

  • atxvegn July 4, 2007, 1:02 pm

    What a fun outing! I would be perfectly happy eating falafels and Indian food all day.

  • vicki July 6, 2007, 7:26 pm

    How awesome to take the trolley to such a great event! Looks like lots of fun. And I enjoyed looking back at your garden posts!

  • Jody (vegchic) July 9, 2007, 4:11 pm

    That looks like a great day even if you were a little disappointed with some of the foods.

    Your garden looks awesome. Last year I tried to plant a small veggie patch in my yard instead of container gardening. The slugs attacked everything except the cucumbers, so I gave up. This year I joined a CSA. The garden is way cheaper if I have more patience next year.

  • Vegan_Noodle July 12, 2007, 10:15 am

    Did you hear about the 70 cases of salmonella from the Pars Cove booth? (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070712/ap_on_re_us/food_fest_salmonella) It was probably just the meat… kind of scary though!!

  • Donna July 17, 2007, 1:01 pm

    Actually, unfortunately, the salmonella has been traced to the Hummus shirazi, the first dish Vegan Diva featured above. By July 15, nearly 500 people had been reported sickened by the salmonella. You can read about it here http://www.promedmail.org/pls/promed/f?p=2400:1001:6646737529460059467::NO::F2400_P1001_BACK_PAGE,F2400_P1001_PUB_MAIL_ID:1000,38381.

    I sure hope Vega Diva and her friends were not among them!