Last Saturday, I attended Chicago Gourmet by Bon Appetit which was held here in Chicago at Millenium Park. I received 2 Media passes to attend. I didn’t really know what to expect from this event, but I was super excited to check it out. I heard good things from a few people I knew who had attended in the past. I also looked on trusty Yelp to see what other people had to say. Long lines and more available alcohol than food were common themes–but the reviews ranged from not so good to awesome.
Media check-in started at 11:30, and Mer and I got there right before 12. The check in process was so easy and we received our swag bag complete with a wine glass and tasting tray. They had an awesome ‘media’ area with a carpeted tent and lots of good food—including Chicago style hot dogs. I passed it up since we weren’t even inside yet but I totally should have gotten one.
Once inside, we hit up the first booth that we saw—the Blue Moon tent!
Next up was the fancy Target tent—which was offering tons of wine samples of their boxed wine (which I know from prior experience is actually pretty good) and they also had 2 different pasta dishes, some snack-y type foods and a peach dessert.
They also gave us a free bag of pasta to add to our swag bag. I thought the two prepared dishes were just okay—but I also am not a big pasta fan. I also was not a fan of the peach dessert and ended up throwing it out—I knew there was lots more food to come!
It was right around this time that I was wishing I would have gone to the event a little bit later in the day so that I could have enjoyed the alcohol a little more. Those yelpers were right—there was alcohol everywhere. Way more alcohol than food and the lines for most of the alcohol were short/nonexistant whereas there were lines for most of the food—especially the bigger name restaurants. It was also unseasonably hot out, which was great. But doesn’t make for the best drinking mood (for me) or line waiting mood.
I won’t go through every single thing we ate and drank because this post is already getting long and we sampled a lot.
We tried different takes on seafood from some big name restaurants—including the Purple Pig and Michael Jordan’s restaurant.
Pictured from left are: lobster roll, similar lobster bread thing, a tuna dish on chips, seafood salad and seafood pad thai. Also at this booth was a shrimp curry type dish from The Purple Pig. We were moved through the line so fast that I don’t remember all of the restaurants and I should, they were all big ones.
I have to admit, I was really disappointed with the dish from the Purple Pig—it was gross and I threw it out after one small bite. I had higher hopes for that one considering how much I love that place. The lobster roll was the best thing on the plate—and I of course, can’t remember where it was from–I’m going to try and find out though.
The tuna was good too as was the seafood salad which was from Michael Jordan Steakhouse. The pad thai was gross–seconded by Meredith who likes pad thai more than anyone so you know it’s true. It was a cute presentation though in the mini take out box.
What made up for some disappointment above was the best bloody mary I think I have ever had—and we even got to keep the shot glasses! Apparently, the bloody mary mix is from Whole Foods so I will let you guys know if I find the right one-I’m going to look for it this weekend.
Vosgues was there and giving out tons of chocolate. I probably ate 20 dollars alone in chocolate. They also had chocolate chip waffle mixes which were pretty much the best thing ever. I went online to find the link and realized it wasn’t just chocolate chip but bacon chocolate chip. No wonder it was so good! Seriously, buy it.
As far as drinking, I stuck to sparkling wine samples and the bloody mary (wish I would have had about 5 more). There were so many more alcohol vendors that I wish I would have tried but at the time I just wasn’t feeling it so early in the day.
We ended up staying at the event for about 2 hours. It was awesome when we got there and a little too crowded by the time we left. I thought about staying a little bit longer but the lines were just so long. I think next time my game plan would be to get a drink (or two) and then stand in a food line so that the time waiting would also be spent sampling drinks. I also heard from a few friends that the crowds on Sunday were not nearly as bad—so maybe that would be a better option.
Overall though, this is SUCH a cool event and I highly recommend it. You can easily eat and drink your ticket price—especially with some of the bigger name restaurants that attend. That being said, be prepared to wait in line especially if you go later in the day. And be prepared to drink.
So glad I got to attend such a fun event on one of the best fall days we have had so far!