Taste of Chicago
Bear with me. I took photos when I went yesterday, but since those photos include my friend's daughter, I won't post them here. Instead, I'll feature the biggest reason I returned to the Taste this year: the Original Rainbow Cone. I introduced myself to this addicting delight last year. The only day I had off to go to the Taste was on the last Saturday of the event (I believe) and it was the worst day to go. Everyone and their aunt-uncle-cousin-grandma-greatgrandpa-was there. I had to fight to get to the food, fight my way out to Buckingham Fountain to enjoy the view of the lake and to eat my food without an elbow in my face, then fight my way back into the crowd to start all over again. I don't know how I ended up in the monster of a line for the ORC, but I did know that it had to be worth it, seeing as how I practically had to fight to keep my place in line. When I finally got to the counter, I took my cone back out to free space and began to enjoy the best ice cream in the world (sorry Bluebell). Unfortunately I'd used all my tickets and was really in the mood to go home, but I vowed then and there to return the next year even if only for another ORC and so far I've lived up to the promise.
What, exactly is an ORC? It's composed of five flavors--chocolate, strawberry, pistachio and Palmer House (cherry flavored, with chunks of cherry and walnut) ice creams, along with orange sherbet--packed into a wedge atop your choice of waffle or wafer cone. Now, I know what you're thinking and I thought the same thing: how can all those flavors taste good together? Well, trust me, they're addictive! You start with the orange sherbet (flavors listed are scooped in reverse order) and each swipe of the tongue picks up another flavor with each lick you take. Sometimes it's mostly orange sherbet, and sometimes you pick up a bit of cherry, walnut, and orange, or chocolate, strawberry, palmer; you never taste the same thing twice. This year I had one yesterday when I went with my friend and her daughter. Engrossed in my ice cream, even a six year-old couldn't tear my attention away from the object of my obsession (I mean, I didn't lose her in the crowd, I just told her to stay within sight, and she chased circles around me, making me dizzy). I truly wanted to take a photo to share with you all, but my friend braved the crowds to go get a beer and by the time she returned, the brief affair was over and I felt selfish for not even taking one pic, even if it was a blurry one, to share with everyone. At the end of our day, I found 6 tickets in my purse and almost cried; I was just 1 ticket away from another ORC-one measley ticket! I was sad, but then I figured I'd just get two Taste Sizes, small as they were, and try again next year. But, lo and behold, I found a single ticket in my pocket, put it with the other 6 in my purse and promised to return the next day.
Today I woke with a mission. I went back downtown and took my time, looking around, taking photos in small parks surrounding Grant Park, sitting on a stone bench in the shade (we had beautiful weather on both of my off days). I knew my plan of attack. I walked along Michigan Ave until I reached the point I knew would take me right into the heart of the beast where I turned south and walked with the anticipation of one who is meeting a lover. I approached the booth, placed my tickets in front of the young man and ordered my cone. When he returned with my waffle cone of five flavors, I hightailed it to the edge of the crowd to start clicking the shutter. I was not ashamed to be taking photos of a cone in my hand, no, not I-I was triumphant! I only licked a couple of drips, I was not going to start eating until I had some photos to share. I am lucky to have a camera with a rotating lens so I could take a photo of myself and be able to see what I was capturing. Every few bites, I would take another and another photo, who knows if that last one was blurry, right? I finished my prize on the steps overlooking the lake. Even when a couple of guys stopped to chat with me, I still enjoyed my cone to the end. No one gets between me and my cone, I tell you!
There are a couple of other photos up on Flickr if you're interested. I mean, I saw a giant ear, um, got some shots of some roses, and the crowd from the ferris wheel, stuff like that. But only if you want to see them.
Until next year!