Best of the Best at Chicago Gourmet 2017

Chicago Gourmet is my favorite food event of the year. Unlimited food and drinks from the best restaurants in the city and world, right smack in the middle of Millennium Park. I'll take it!

I don't even care if it IS 90 degrees and humid at the end of September.

Best of Chicago Gourmet via 312food

Here’s a quick recap of my weekend – and YOUR weekends:

  • My favorite bites
  • Your favorite bites
  • And where to get them!

The best of the best at Chicago Gourmet 2017.

BEST BITES

How do you pick the best bites at Chicago Gourmet? It's a festival FULL of the best food all around the city and world.

I've narrowed it down to the only things that I ate TWICE. If it's worth the additional space for seconds, you KNOW it's good.

1. Chicago Donut from Stan's

WHAT IS IT:

A Stan's donut, covered in caramel and Wells Street Popcorn Chicago mix, and filled with CHEESE CUSTARD. Yes, you read that right.

WHERE TO GET IT [updated]:

UPDATE -- it's on Stan's menus NOW through the end of next week (around 10/14). Better go try it soon! 

 

Stan's Donuts Chicago Gourmet 2017 via 312food

2. Cochinitas Pibil from Mexico

WHAT IS IT:

The Mexico tent was amazing. They flew in all of their chefs and food from Mexico (with 25 suitcases full of ingredients!). Saturday's dishes were from Guadalajara, and Sunday's dishes were from Yucatán. 

My favorite of all was the cochinitas pibil, in part because it reminded me of my trip to Yucatán earlier this year, and in part because it was insanely delicious. I also loved the shrimp tacos with jicama shells!

WHERE TO GET IT:

Cochinitas pibil is a Yucatecan specialty, found all over Yucatán.

The best place I've eaten it locally is at Mezcalina, located in Lakeshore East.

 

3. Ribs from Weber Grill

WHAT IS IT:

We loooooved these ribs -- they were our favorites out of the many options delicious in the BBQ tent. They were so juicy and flavorful!

I think my husband went back to this specific tent about 5 times (...sorry).

WHERE TO GET IT:

You can get them all the time at Weber Grill.

 

Weber Grill Ribs Chicago Gourmet 2017 via 312food

4. Fried Chicken Nachos from Honey Butter

WHAT IS IT:

Honey Butter always crushes it at events, and these fried chicken nachos at the nighttime Ballpark Fare event were no exception. They were so delicious! You have got to try them.

WHERE TO GET IT:

HBFC offers fried chicken nachos (with even more toppings) in their restaurant in Avondale on Thursdays only. You're welcome.

 

5. Gourmet Hot Dog from The Purple Pig

WHAT IS IT:

You just can't beat Chef Jimmy Bannos, Jr.'s gourmet Chicago dog, made with a blend of beef and pork and then smoked for an hour. YUM.

WHERE TO GET IT:

You can find it on the lunch menu at The Purple Pig, on Michigan Avenue.

Tip: the restaurant is tiny and there's usually a line, but here are the best times to go if you don't want to wait:

  • Right when they open for lunch (11:30am every day)
  • Between lunch and dinner (like 2-4pm)
  • Breakfast (counter service on Fridays-Sundays, 8-11am. You won't be able to get the Chicago dog, but their breakfast menu is legit)

 

BEST DRINKS: My favorites

It's hard to pick favorite drinks from Chicago Gourmet because there is alcohol EVERYWHERE -- and no possible way to try it all (as much as I might have tried 🤷🏻‍♀️).

Here are two things I tried that really stood out above the rest:

1. Aperol Spritz from Mionetto

WHAT IS IT:

A delicious -- and immensely refreshing -- orange cocktail made with aperol, Mionetto prosecco, and sparkling water. It was beyond perfect for the 90-degree weather, and I saw them in hands everywhere throughout the weekend.

WHERE TO GET IT:

You should be able to buy the ingredients at any liquor or grocery store in Chicago. You just need:

  • Aperol (an Italian liqueur)
  • Prosecco (they have Mionetto prosecco at Binny's)
  • Sparkling water

Aperol Spritz Chicago Gourmet 2017 via 312food

2. Blueberry Acai Vodka Lemonade from Van Gogh Vodka

WHAT IS IT:

Another refreshing cocktail, made with Van Gogh blueberry acai vodka and lemonade. Simple but delicious - and the vodka is flavored naturally, which is important to me.

WHERE TO GET IT:

Binny's! They have tons of flavors, and their bottles are gorgeous. Apparently they recently redesigned the bottles to better appeal to Millennials -- and hey, it worked on me. 😂

*I forgot to take a photo of this one; image courtesy of Van Gogh Vodka.

Van Gogh Vodka Chicago Gourmet via 312food

BEST SHOW

MAC & CHEESE COMPETITION

My favorite competition this year (and every year) is between three Chicago legends and BFFs: Chefs John Hogan, Tony Mantuano, and Jimmy Bannos. Last year was grilled cheese; this year was mac & cheese.

The cooking is great, of course, but the best part is the banter -- they spend the entire time cracking jokes at each others' expense. It's a Chicago Gourmet must!

Cheesebae Chicago Gourmet 2017 via 312food 

BEST PHOTOS: YOURS

These are some of my favorite pics and other favorite bites at Chicago Gourmet.

Thanks to those of you who tagged #312food and/or @312food!

BEST OF THE BEST AT CHICAGO GOURMET

I hope you enjoyed my recap! If you did, please help me out by sharing and pinning it using the buttons below.

I hope you have fun checking out some of the places on this list! Please also check out some of my other guides below! 🖤-Erin

Best Bites from Chicago Gourmet - and where to get it in Chicago all year long.

2 Comments

  1. October 5, 2017 / 9:24 am

    Everything looks so yummy! Can’t wait for that Stan’s donut!

    • 312food
      October 5, 2017 / 9:35 am

      Me neither. Although my waistline could stand to wait a bit longer, so maybe it’s ok. 😂

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