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Loop List: Taste of Chicago 2014

Taste of Chicago is upon us for its 34th year. For seasoned Taste-goers it may feel like going to one is going to them all, but that's hardly the case thanks to new food offerings and a concert lineup that the Chicago Tribune says has "never been stronger." If you’re looking for some incentives to get you to Grant Park for this year’s festival, we’ve got a few!

1. Royalty at the Petrillo Bandshell

The Q.U.E.E.N. herself will be performing this year on Thursday, July 10. Known for her funky soul/R&B mix, Janelle Monae has collected six Grammy nominations. You also don’t want to miss Gary Clark Jr.’s award-winning vocal and guitar skills, so get there early for good seats!

2. Retail Therapy

Guaranteed to wake you up out of your food coma, the Made in Chicago Market is offering up 12 new vendors which should put a fresh spin on things. As the name suggests, the merchandise was made right here in Chicago and is a great opportunity to support local business.

3. Take-Home Inspiration

This year, Mariano’s is coming on board to bring you live cooking demonstrations. The upscale grocery chain has 27 locations across Illinois, providing several different features including an oyster bar and spice shop. If all the different food stands inspire you to whip up something new at home, this could be a worthwhile stop.

4. In With the New and the Old

This year’s festival boasts nearly double the vendors from last year, coming in at 64 different options. Some of the tried and true classics that you can’t miss include Cheesecake on a Stick from Eli’s Cheesecake, a boneless rib sandwich from the trusted Robinson’s Ribs and one of Manny’s giant BBQ turkey legs, which have come out of retirement.

On the newer side, seven different food trucks and eight pop-up restaurants will be making stops at this year’s Taste festival as well. Which ones you catch depends on the day you’re there, but if you’re going to see Janelle Monae, The Fat Shallot and Chicago Cupcake are definitely in your stars.

5.  Chef for a Day

If you’re feeling really fancy, Pure Leaf’s Celebrity Chef Du Jour air conditioned tent may be your spot. There, you can enjoy a four-course meal prepared by a renowned chef. Each day presents a different chef and menu. Tickets are $45 per person.

(Photo: Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events)


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