I spent some time in NYC this summer, and enjoyed taking part in several free sightseeing and food tours. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any free tours in Chicago. So I did the standard research and narrowed down the tours based on ratings and type. I decided that rather than pay for a sightseeing tour which would range from $15-$50, I decided instead to purchase several food tours instead and do all the sightseeing on my own. There are several popular food tours offered in Chicago, and I decided to go with the best rated one’s. The first food tour I participated in with was the Tastebud Tours Company (http://tastebudtours.com/), called “The Taste of Chicago Tour.” Including the tax $4.51 + processing fee of $2.00, the total amount I paid was $48.51.
The 6 food stops on this tour were:
Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta: Excellent pizza. I particularly enjoyed the thin crust pizza (Oprah’s favorite pizza apparently). We got several small slices of each.
Heaven on Seven: Very small portion of gumbo, but quite delicious.
Sugar Bliss: We tasted chocolate cupcakes. They were good, but there was nothing spectacular about them. But then again, I am not a huge fan of chocolate.
Gold Coast Dogs: We had a Chicago-style hot dog. The hot dog is topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt. I asked for no onions on mine. I prefer my hot dogs with a minimal amount of toppings, such as mustard or ketchup. So I was not a fan of this one.
Fannie May: We tasted an array of chocolates and we got some samples to go. Pretty good chocolate.
Berghoff: I am shocked to admit this, but I was too full to even try the food at this stop. Plus, I had to be at the docks for a tour at 3pm and I was running late. So I stopped in and said my goodbyes to the tour participants and guides, and ran several blocks to the docks to catch my boat for the Architectural Tour (which by the way was the highlight of my trip!)
*Please note that the stops have changed slightly on their website
I was quite apprehensive about participating in this food tour because you are paying for the food in advance. See, what I enjoyed about the free tours in NYC (beside the “free” part), was that you only had to buy what you wanted to eat. So if something did not seem appealing to you, you did not have to buy it. With a pre-paid tour however, if you chose not to eat something, you had already paid for it anyway.
The food on this tour was pretty good. In particular, I really enjoyed the pizza. But interestingly enough, it was not the food that I remember the most about this tour, but rather, I remember the walk we took of the city. As we made our way around to our next food stop, our tour guide and owner were exceptional in showing us the “famous” sites of the city such as Millennium Park, The Magnificent Mile, The Cloud Gate, Chicago Cultural Center, Picasso Statute, etc.
The combination of sightseeing and food made this tour worth the cost. If the tour had only consisted of food, I would not recommend it, but everything combined made this purchase and experience a worthwhile one.