June 26, 2008

A "Healthy" Taste of Chicago

The Taste of Chicago is a pretty major summer event, with concerts, activities ... and most importantly, FOOD! I devotedly attended this event every year, but as I got older I just didnt appreciate the crowds and heat anymore, and the food seems pretty much the same each year. One thing is for sure, if you are watching your diet (like, perhaps, training for a marathon!) the Taste of Chicago might not be for you. If I could think of one word to describe the event I would have to pick "gluttony". Each booth seems to try to top the other with the most ridiculous items possible. One of the historically famous items at the taste is the two-pound BBQ turkey leg. Does that sound like a dieters dream or what? Last year (2007), festival goers consumed 127,360 ears of corn, 165,000 lbs of turkey legs, 293,600 slices of pizza - and more than 430,000 glasses of Budweiser products. But maybe those who want to enjoy the Taste but still keep their training schedules have a chance. New this year the City is requiring each vendor to offer a "healthy choice". On the other hand, don't start getting all confident that you can now successfully navigate this monstrous event and still be able to do your 20-miler the next morning. In typical Chicago style, there appears to be a great deal of leniency when it comes to what a "healthy choice" item is. Participating eateries were asked to nominate at least one healthier menu item and submit nutritional facts, such as fat and sugar content as well as total calorie count. The information was used to pull together a list of the healthiest choices. Taste attendees will be able to get a free copy of this list (available at the Human Senior Dining Pavilion and Humana's booth on Columbus Drive) along with a map showing where they will be offered. Not all restaurants made the list - though each is claiming to offer a "healthy choice" item on their list. Some of those that were submitted? Potato chips from Billy Goat's Tavern, apple pie with ice cream from JR Dessert Bakery and plain cheesecake from Eli's. Now thats MY idea of healthy food ... but is it really appropriate? So if you decide to tell your healthy lifestyle to "screw it" and head down to the Taste of Chicago, here is some info you will need: Where: Grant Park -- north/south between Monroe Avenue and Balbo Drive, east/west between Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive. When: June 27 through July 6, 2008 Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (the festival closes at 10:00 p.m. on July 3, 6:00 p.m. on July 6) Admission: Admission and events are free, but you need to pay for food and drinks with tickets. Tickets are sold in strips of 12 for $8. Large items are generally 9-10 tickets, side portions 6-7 tickets, soft drinks 4 tickets. All daily restaurants offer a small "Taste" portion for 2-3 tickets -- a great way to sample a large variety of all the food available. Calendar of Events


Jess said...

That sounds like a fun event. Even if it does ruin the diets!

Mike said...

Sounds like a great event...I'll have to check it out sometime. Thanks!!