Monday, July 2, 2007

Spontaneous Trip to "Cago"

Ben asked where we were going? Chicago. "Cago?" Yes, Ben. Cago.

Yesterday morning I randomly mentioned to Theo, "I wish we could go to the Taste of Chicago." He said, "Let's Go!" So we sort of ran out the door. We live about 2 hours from downtown... but have only been there once since we moved back to the midwest in 2003.

While I've lived in the midwest on/off for half of my life, I have never been to the Taste before. For those of you out of our region, the Taste is one of the world's largest food festivals. Each summer, during the week of Independence Day, millions of people pile into Grant park, right on Lake Shore Drive along Lake Michigan, to sample and gorge on delights from over 70 unique Chicago vendors. At the free enterance you purchase tickets, and use them to acquire tastes or whole portions of food from wherever you choose. A little bit of tummy heaven, if you ask me.

Here are some pictures of the setting, a park nestled beneath the towering skyline.
Millenium Park is beside Grant Park; we parked beneath this park, and walked through it to get to the Taste:

These are the vendors, and lines...

Our first taste: a Chicago style hot dog. Theo gives the boys a bite.
No hot dogs for me, but I did dive into a Lou Malnati's cheese pizza slice.
Theo played games and had a great time.
We walked over by Buckingham Fountain, a true Chicago landmark.
The fountain is right on Lake Shore Drive near Lake Michigan. So beautiful, and the weather was perfect, 79, sunny, and breezy.
Some Chicago police rode horses near the fountain; Theo brought Ben up close to see them.
Hunter naps... too much food!
A local Country Radio Station had these, and I couldn't resist.
We found refuge in the shade.
For the boys, the highlight of the food was Watermelon--perfectly sweet and juicy.
These bouncy houses were free for kids. The gentleman manning the door asked if Ben would be okay, as he was smaller than the rest of the kids. Are you kidding? He had a blast!
We ended the afternoon with a concert, Craig Morgan. Hunter ran all around the concert grounds, laughing and soaking it all in.
The sun was taking it's toll. I should have worn one of the hats Theo makes fun of. Even with a double-applied coat of sunscreen I burned.
For Hunter and I, the top pick of food was Harry Caray's Fried Dough. We went back for a full serving after sampling.
Here the boys watch the concert:
This is Craig Morgan:
Overall, we had such a fantastic time. I wish I would have had a cell phone with all my friend's phone numbers in it. I'm sure some of you were even walking around the place with us. I kept my eyes open the whole time, but I did not see a single familiar face. Next time, more carfeul planning.
The city was so beautiful and clean, as usual. The planters were overflowing with stunning plants, and the shops in Michigan Ave beckoned me with their bright colors. I have missed the city so much, and plan on returning more often.


Sarah said...

so fun! ben and hunter eating watermelon is ADORABLE, and so is ben in the bounce house-- he can bounce so high!!

Leena said...

I am very jealous of you right now. Not even for going to the Taste...simply for being in a kick ass city on a beautiful day. By the by, I am pretty sure you can see the building we got married in in one of your skyline shots!

Amy said...

Don't worry... at least I wasn't in town this weekend (we're on the east coast visiting in-laws). But next time you come back, let me know for sure! I can give you my cell phone number or whatever..