Apple & Chorizo Quesadillas | Apple Season Recipes

It’s a brisk morning as I write this post and the final sips of my morning coffee have gone cold. I’m fighting to keep my eyes open, my sleeves are pulled as far over my hands as possible without impeding my ability to type and all I can think is that I could really use a nap. It’s not even 9AM but the call of a warm blanket is strong. Do you ever have one of those days where it’s the perfect weather outside and energy in the air to chill on the couch and watch Halloween Baking Championship reruns on the Food Network? I’ve taken one too many days off this month though and really need to put my head down and be productive. I guarantee it will include another cup of coffee...this time, one that I’ll hopefully finish before it gets cold…

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Guide to Summer in Chicago

It’s officially the first day of summer! Because winters are long and brutal, Chicagoans go all out from squeezing in patios wherever there’s space to extra long beach days. Even if it’s 100 degrees and humid, you’ll see patios and rooftops packed. And while you’ll find me hibernating for a better part of the warm season, it’s fun to get into a summer dress and enjoy an ice cold glass of rose. Whether you’re a local or visiting for a few days these next few months, we’ve got your guide to summer in Chicago from where to eat to how to escape the heat when it becomes too much. Grab your sandals and let’s start the celebration!

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WHERE TO EAT
Breakfast at the Allis

Start the day in style at the Allis in Soho House. One of my favorite places in Chicago, the Allis has a unique, welcoming environment with design elements that scream to be shared on Instagram. Choose from house made baked goods, cold pressed juices, and delightful egg selections. The French Toast with berries and vanilla creme anglaise are delightful. The Baked Eggs in arrabbiata sauce are a unique choice with tons of flavor or build your own omelet. I’ve had almost the entire breakfast menu at the Allis and I haven’t been disappointed yet.

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Lunch at City Winery on the Riverwalk
The riverwalk has recently gone through a makeover in the last couple of years. Previously a place that locals and visitors avoided, the City of Chicago has put a lot of money into cleaning it up and making it a place for people to enjoy. There are plenty of areas to sit back and relax, landscaping has been added and there are a sprinkling of restaurants and grab-and-go food joints. One of the restaurants in particular that I love to enjoy after a long day is City Winery on the Riverwalk. City Winery is a pretty popular establishment with a few locations scattered across the country. They’re known for wine, of course, and also live music performances. City Winery at the Riverwalk is a casual spot with a fantastic wine selection and delicious shared plates. They’re a great option for lunch because it tends to get crowded later in the day and the shared plates make munching easier when it’s warm outside. If you happen to be coming in the cooler months, they have heated domes so you can still enjoy the gorgeous views even if it’s below freezing.

Afternoon Tea at LondonHouse
Get out of the heat with afternoon tea at Bridges in LondonHouse. Their menu features sweet and savory bites, a variety of teas, and lovely wine selection for those looking to embrace the “rose all day” mentality. For a complete experience, order the LondonHouse Tea for a $50 flat fee per person. It comes with all their sweet and savory treats in a beautiful tiered presentation and your choice of tea. Sip a cup of Earl Grey or glass of Whispering Angel while enjoying unbeatable views of the Chicago River in a comfortable, sophisticated environment. It’s a lovely way to spend an afternoon.

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Dinner at Shore Club
Possibly the hottest new spot to hit the scene this year, Shore Club takes beach casual and merges it with sophistication. Located on North Avenue Beach, Shore Club has gorgeous views of the lake and a variety of seating and dining options. Enjoy a romantic dinner for two in the restaurant or get the night started with the girls in one of the cabanas. Their menu is inspired by Mediterranean cuisine and has something for everyone. This is the #1 spot on my summer bucket list and I hope to see you there as well!

Dessert at Smallcakes Cupcakery & Creamery
The hottest dessert craze in Chicago at the moment, Smallcakes offers homemade cupcakes and ice cream to anyone with a sweet tooth. Their Limited Edition Mason Jars with Smallcakes SMASH has taken over social media and for good reason too. Cupcake meets ice cream in a mason jar filled over the brim with all kinds of goodness. You choose a cupcake and two scoops of ice cream. They stuff a mason jar. Try one of their regular cupcake flavors like the Chocoholic or Cookies n Cream. They also feature monthly flavors with a different one for each day of the week. It’s the ultimate summer treat.

WHERE TO GET OUT OF THE HEAT
Browse Impressionist Art at the Art Institute of Chicago

Illinois residents, save a buck at the Art Institute of Chicago on Thursday nights after 5pm with free entry! Browse the well-renowned modern wing, see ancient artifacts, or walk through the 2nd largest collection of Impressionist art in the world. Outside of the D’Orsay in Paris, a museum strictly for Impressionism, the Art Institute has the largest collection with pieces from Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, and more. I can get lost in the paintings from this era. Make sure to check out upcoming events at the Art Institute as well. They have them regularly and might provide a nice activity for your visit.

Experience TV History at SNL: The Experience
Last fall, the Museum of Broadcast Communications launched SNL: The Experience, something Chicago is very proud of. Second City has given Chicago a name in the world of comedy. Many of the comedians that have performed and worked at Second City have also made a name for themselves on SNL like Tina Fey, John Belushi, Steve Carell, Bill Murray, and Stephen Colbert. The exhibit takes you through the entire SNL experience from the first meetings of the week to what happens after the show. They also have recreations of famous sets like Wayne’s World and Weekend Update, plus a replica of Studio 8H.

See Chicago From 94 Floors Up
360 Chicago
has one of the best, if not the best, views of Chicago. With a 360 degree view of the city 1000 feet up, there’s nothing quite as ethereal like seeing the lake extend out for miles during sunset. Lucky for you summertime visitors, the 360 Chi Series is all summer long and features special events and activities throughout the week. Enjoy yoga in the mornings on Saturdays, Sunday Funday for families or my favorite, happy hour on Thursdays! If you have the guts you can also try Tilt which has you leaning over the city. It’s the craziest thrill seeking adventure that I’ll ever do.

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THINGS TO DO
Hit the Beach!

From the South Side to North Shore, Chicago is full of beaches along the lake. It isn’t summer in Chicago if you don’t visit at least one of them. My personal favorite is Oak Street Beach tucked away near Navy Pier. It’s smaller and not as well known so it doesn’t get as crowded as the likes of North Avenue Beach. Of course, North Avenue is one of the places to be if you’re heading to the lake and I encourage the experience at least once. Montrose Beach is another great option farther north of the city close to the Uptown neighborhood. And if you’re willing to go even further, Rogers Park (the last neighborhood in Chicago before hitting Evanston) has beautiful parks along with the beaches up there. The beaches on the south side have unbeatable views of the skyline, FYI. For a complete guide to beaches in Chicago, I suggest checking out this recent article from Thrillist.

Enjoy one of the MANY Festivals.
With summer being such a short season in Chicago, we’ve learned how to pack in all the good stuff and that is including festivals. From May through September, it’s a safe bet to expect several festivals every single weekend throughout the city. Windy City Smokeout coming up in a few short weeks is one of my personal favorites. Barbecue joints from around the country come and serve their favorite dishes like BBQ Pulled Pork, Ribs, Fried Chicken and more. And what’s barbecue without a little country music?! A few bands and artists I’ve seen perform at Smokeout include Maren Morris, Dan + Shay, Chris Young, Big & Rich, Billy Currington, and Kacey Musgraves. A few other festivals I’d recommend are Logan Square Food Truck Social (because, food trucks, duh!), Northalsted Market Days, and Chicago Gourmet. RedEye Chicago has a complete guide to Chicago festivals and Choose Chicago breaks down the biggest ones by month in case you need help shuffling through the mess.

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Take a Ride on the Water.
The best part about Chicago being located on a lake is that the lake tours are one-of-a-kind and spectacular. Shoreline Sightseeing has really affordable boat tours. Take an architectural tour that goes along the Chicago river and into Lake Michigan or just take a Classic Lake Tour. While it doesn’t have all the history of the architectural tour, it does share a few facts and you’ll be on the lake the entire time instead of the river. They’re also shorter which is nice if you have kids or a short attention span. Tour times are available all day long but if you’d love a great sight, Chicago at sunset from Lake Michigan is unbeatable. Check your weather app and get in line early to make sure you grab a spot.

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Watch a Movie in Millennium Park
Tuesdays through August, see a free movie in Millennium Park. Get there early to grab one of the seats in front or take a picnic basket filled with snacks and a blanket to kick back on the green. It’s a local favorite. You’ll find lots of couples enjoying a date night and groups of friends having wine and a dinner they pulled together on their way over from the office. If you’re visiting Chicago on your own, there are plenty of people who enjoy the free movies in the park on their own as well so you’ll be in good company. A few of the movies playing this summer are WALL-E, Coco, Slumdog Millionaire, and Get Out.

Where Has Summer Gone? Taste of Chicago Recap

Remember that weekend I went to the Taste of Chicago? I posted like crazy about it on Instagram. Well, we're practically a month later now. How did that happen? I'm not sure about you guys but this summer...no, this year is flying by. On one hand, I could cry tears of joy that fall is on the horizon but on the other hand, I wish I could slow time down a bit. Because of Chicago's long and grueling winter, we tend to go nuts in the summertime with festivals and events. Even when it's unbearably hot and humid outside, you can still see people digging into a heaping bowl of mac and cheese or eating their way through a slab of barbecue ribs. Bikini season? No. This is food season. Welcome to summer in Chicago!

I was invited to the Taste of Chicago again this year by Humana and had a blast making my way through the participating restaurants. If you're not familiar, the Taste of Chicago is an annual food event in July when dozens of Chicago restaurants offer some of their best dishes in full and taste portions. It's been around for almost 40 years and draws people in from a local and global scale. It's one of the world's largest food festivals, if not the largest. Humana has been a partner with the Taste of Chicago for a few years now with the goal to introduce healthier choices. It might seem a bit of a let down for a food festival (I mean come on...extra cheese, please) but it really isn't. You'd be surprised how many options make the Healthier Choices list that also feel indulgent and taste delicious. Here are a few of my favorite tastes from the festival.

Pulled Chicken Slider at PorkChop: light and tasty, this guy was a great start. NOTE - I always aim for the taste portions because I'd rather have a lot of little things instead of a few big ones. Besides, some of the taste portions are enormous.

Pad Thai Noodes and Mango Ice Cream from Star of Siam: the Pad Thai Noodles were bomb. This is an example of an enormous taste portion. Pad Thai is a favorite of mine so I couldn't pass it up. The Mango Ice Cream was a refreshing break from the heat. 

Chili Lime Watermelon from Farmer's Fridge: an interesting and unique flavor combination, I was obsessed with this. Farmer's Fridge is a different kind of "restaurant." Instead of sit-down spots, they have fridges throughout Chicago with salads, breakfast items and snacks all in jars. It's like a healthy, fresh-food vending machine. Pretty cool, huh?

Bacon on a Stick from Bobak's: In full disclosure, this was not my choice. My little cousin is a bacon addict and his thing every year at the Taste is getting a taste-size bacon on a stick. This is not one of the healthier choices, not by a long shot. But he weighs nothing and plays outside all day so it's a little more forgiving for him. 

Italian Watermelon Ice from Franco's Ristorante: another refreshing break in the heat. My cousins liked this more than the Mango Ice Cream but I am a firm believer that they are both delicious.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry from The Fudge Pot: I will never understand why my family insists on wasting tickets on one strawberry every single year but they do. I guess chocolate covered strawberries are just that irresistible plus it's one of those indulgent healthier choices.

Bao to the Pork Taste from Pork & Mindy's: I saved the two BEST for last. I have been dying to try Pork & Mindy's for a while now and I got a chance at the taste this year with their pop-up shop. They didn't disappoint. Jeff Mauro knows what he's doing. The Bao to the Pork sandwich is by far one of the best I've ever had.

Havarti Mac and Cheese from Mad Social: another restaurant I am dying to try with probably the best mac and cheese I've ever had. The flavors in this version are practically orgasmic. I will never look at mac and cheese the same again. You can call me an official "Mac and Cheese Snob."

Did you got to the Taste of Chicago? Tell me what your favorite bites were in the comments.

Get Ready For Windy City Smokeout!

Windy City Smokeout is quite possibly my favorite Chicago festival. With barbecue from all over the country and some of the hottest country music acts, it's one big party. I don't know if it's because it's new or they do a fantastic job of managing ticket availability but my favorite thing about Smokeout is that it doesn't get overly crowded. Thanks to the amazing team at Windy City Smokeout, I'll be enjoying the festival for the 2nd year in a row with complimentary passes. Hopefully I will see you there! Check out the details below and scroll all the way to the bottom for a promo code to get a deal on tickets.

Photo courtesy of Windy City Smokeout

Photo courtesy of Windy City Smokeout

ABOUT WINDY CITY SMOKEOUT
When: July 15th - July 17th
Where: 560 West Grand Avenue in Chicago
What: Windy City Smokeout—the foremost BBQ and country music festival in the Midwest—is returning to Chicago Friday, July 15 through Sunday, July 17 for its fourth year. Hosted by Chicago’s BBQ destination, Bub City, and ACM award-winning Joe’s Bar, Windy City Smokeout promises to bring some of the best BBQ talent and craft breweries from around the nation as well as an impressive lineup of country music stars and up-and-coming talent. 

The award-wining music lineup will include: Maren Morris, Old Dominion, Chase Rice, Billy Currington, Corey Smith, Big & Rich with special guest Cowboy Troy, Phil Vassar, Jessie James Decker, Whiskey Myers, Walker County and Whiskey Jam. The culinary lineup features a fantastic group of pitmasters including, world champion pit master and television star Myron Mixon, the St. Louis staple Pappy’s Smokehouse, Tennessee’s renowned Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint, and of course a few local Chicago favorites including Lillie’s Q, Bub City, Chicago Q and Smoque. In addition to the delicious BBQ lineup, Windy City Smokeout will also cater to tastes across the board with offerings from Big Gay Ice Cream, Three Dots and a Dash, Sir Kensington’s, Drago's Seafood, and The Salsa Truck. Additional information on this year’s festival can be found online here: http://www.windycitysmokeout.com/

Friday night kicks off with headliners like Jessie James Decker, Phil Vassar and Chase Rice. I am personally excited to see Jessie James Decker. Saturday continues with acts like Billy Currington and Big & Rich who I am also a huge fan of. Sunday finishes strong with Maren Morris, Corey Smithe and Old Dominion. So whether you are only going one day or stopping by all three days, you'll enjoy a treat of fantastic music and even better food.

Last year, a few of my favorite bites at Windy City Smokeout included the Pulled Pork Sundae from Chicago Q, Memphis Walking Taco from Lillie's and the BBQ Nachos from Bub City. Last year I was only able to attend the festival for 2 days but this year I'll be there all 3 so you can bet I will be trying as many restaurants as I possibly can. Make sure you follow me on Instagram to follow along over the weekend and follow Windy City Smokeout at @WCSmokeout on Twitter and Instagram using #WCSmokeout for all the latest details and information. Now for the promo code info...

From now until JULY 7TH ONLY, Purchase 3-DAY PASSES To Windy City Smokeout for $75 Using Code 'LATTES' At Checkout. Purchase tickets HERE.

Time For The Taste Of Chicago!

The Taste of Chicago begins one week from today. It's an event that people all over the world have come to the city to experience and one that I particularly love to attend. Restaurants from all over the city come together in one places offering some of their most popular and most unique menu items. It's a great opportunity to push outside of your box and taste a few things that you might not feel comfortable with typically.

Humana has generously provided Lattes, Life & Luggage with tickets to enjoy the Taste of Chicago. All opinions expressed remain my own.

Humana is returning to the Taste of Chicago this year with their Healthier Choices options. This year's program features 75 healthy food options from 29 Chicago restaurants that met the nutritional criteria. I had the opportunity to taste a few of the healthier options at last year-s event and was blown away by how delicious they were. Just because food is labeled as healthier does not mean it's lacking in flavor. See below for details regarding the Humana Healthier Choices program and scroll even farther for the full menu. A panel of five top Chicago-area physicians with expertise in diet and nutrition collaboratively judged each item to assure that nutritional values were met. Take a look and tell me in the comments what you're most looking forward to taste.

  • The Humana Healthier Choices will be identified by a new logo for 2016 – a green “H” with a circular arrow around it – which can be found on the menu boards at participating restaurant booths.
  • The Humana Healthier Choices list of items will be handed out at the Humana tent and can be downloaded at the Taste of Chicago website, via facebook.com/TheTasteOfChicago and through the newly established Taste of Chicago app.
  • For the second consecutive year, the 2016 list will also spotlight 49 vegetarian options – nearly two-thirds of the list – to cater to a larger sampling of health-conscious attendees
  • The program is also promoting six gluten-free items from the restaurant, Dia De Los Tamales, to accommodate the evolution of changing dietary restrictions and preferences.
  • All of the restaurants participating in the 2016 Taste of Chicago were invited to submit their menu items for consideration for the Humana Healthier Choices program.
    • or an item to be considered, restaurants must submit nutritional details including calories, sodium content, saturated fat and the list of ingredients

About the Humana Healthier Choices Rewards Program:

  • After receiving a free Humana Healthier Choices Tag, which comes with a lanyard for a hands-free and convenient experience, participants can collect stamps by sampling any Humana Healthier Choices food item or participating in healthy activities at the Humana tent.
  • Once Taste-goers receive six stamps, they can drop off their badge at the Humana tent to be entered into random prize drawings, donated by the Taste of Chicago restaurants.
    • Prize winners will be announced on the evening of July 10.
    • On social media, Taste-goers are encouraged to join the conversation and share their Humana Healthier Choices food items on Instagram, mentioning @Humana, #TasteofChi and #HealthierChoices. 

About Humana's HappIEST Hour: Mocktail Challenge For Charity
Humana, along with WXRT-FM,  will host a healthy mocktail challenge between Catherine De Orio, host of WTTW-TV’s “Check, Please!,” and WXRT DJ Mary Dixon, who will defend her title as the winner of the healthy salsa challenge Humana hosted at the 2015 Taste of Chicago. The event will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, and include recipes filled with ingredients that provide healthier alternatives to common drinks. The panel of guest judges will include Chicago Bears alum Jay Hilgenberg and Jeff Joniak, WXRT DJ Johnny Mars and Supreme Lobster & Seafood Co.’s Carl Galvan. Following the event, Humana will award a donation to the winner’s charity of choice.

About the Humana Tent at Taste of Chicago
Take a break from the July heat by enjoying a shaded seating area in the Humana tent, which will feature basic ways of staying healthy, including jumping rope, hula hooping and dancing, as well as a photo booth and prize wheels. The tent will be located on Columbus Drive between Jackson Blvd and the Buckingham Fountain.

HUMANA HEALTHIER CHOICES FOR TASTE OF CHICAGO 2016 (vegan options noted by a V)

Appetizers/Starters – Less than 320 calories, 300 mg sodium and 2 g saturated fat

  • Taste Portion of Seaweed Salad (V) – Arami
  • Taste Portion of Buta Hara – Arami
  • Taste Portion of Veggie Burger (V) – Beat Kitchen
  • Taste Portion of Mustard Fried Catfish – BJ’s Market
  • Taste Portion of Grilled Chicken Taco – Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill
  • Taste Portion of Chicken Sambussa – Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
  • Taste Portion of Vegetarian Messob Misir Wat and Tikle Gomen (V) – Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
  • Taste Portion of Doner Box – Doner Men
  • Chili Lime Watermelon (V) – Farmer’s Fridge
  • Taste Portion of Chili Lime Watermelon (V) – Farmer’s Fridge
  • Taste Portion of Avocado Toast (V) – Farmer’s Fridge
  • Taste Portion of Chicken Sandwich (without cheese) – Gino’s Steaks Truck
  • Ginger Garlic Wings – Iyanze
  • Taste Portion of Chap Chae (V) – Jin Ju
  • Taste Portion of Chicken Tacos – La Cocinita
  • Taste Portion of Malnati Salad (V) – Lou Malnati’s
  • Taste Portion of Cauliflower Salad (V) – nana
  • Taste Portion of Avocado Fries (V) – nana
  • Celtic Corn on the Cob (V) – O’Brien’s Restaurant
  • Sweet Potato Potato Salad (V) – Pork & Mindy’s
  • Taste Portion of Bao to the Pork – Pork & Mindy’s
  • Taste Portion of Pulled Chicken Slider – Pork chop
  • Taste Portion of Reverse Coney (V) – Taco in a Bag

Main Dishes – Less than 500 calories, 500 mg sodium and 4 g saturated fat

  • Veggie Burger (V) – Beat Kitchen
  • Mustard Fried Catfish – BJ’s Market
  • Grilled Steak Taco – Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill
  • Grilled Chicken Taco – Carbón Live Fire Mexican Grill
  • Taste Portion of Smoked Alligator - Chicago's Dog House
  • Taste Portion of Smoked Rattlesnake with Rabbit - Chicago's Dog House
  • Taste Portion of Chicken Sambussa – Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
  • Vegetarian Messob Misir Wat and Tikle Gomen (V) – Demera Ethiopian Restaurant
  • Donër Box – Donër Men
  • Avocado Toast (V) – Farmer’s Fridge
  • Chicken Sandwich (without cheese) – Gino’s Steaks Truck
  • Vegetarian Greens and Plantains (V) – Iyanze
  • Jerk Chicken – Iyanze
  • Chap Chae (V) – Jin Ju
  • Chicken Ke-Bob Curry Rice with Vegetables – Kasia Deli
  • Black Bean & Cheese Arepa with Salsa Verde – La Cocinita
  • Chicken Taco – La Cocinita
  • Malnati Salad (V) – Lou Malnati’s
  • Avocado Fries (V) – nana
  • Cauliflower Salad (V) – nana
  • Pulled Chicken Sandwich – Pork chop
  • Taste Portion of Grilled Chicken Satay – Star of Siam
  • Taste Portion of Pot Stickers – Star of Siam
  • Taste Portion of Pad Thai Noodles – Star of Siam
  • Reverse Coney (V) – Taco in a Bag
  • Taste Portion of Grilled Cheese (V) – The Fat Shallot
  • Taste Portion of Plantain and Jollof (V) - Vee Vee’s African Restaurant

Desserts – Less than 320 calories, 300 mg sodium and 2 g saturated fat

  • Taste Portion of Lemon Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato
  • Lemon Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato
  • Taste Portion of Blood Orange Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato
  • Blood Orange Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato
  • Taste Portion of Pineapple Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato
  • Pineapple Sorbet (V) – Caffe Gelato
  • Taste Portion of Peanut Butter Brownie (V) – Caffe Gelato
  • Dinky Donut (2) (V) – Dinky Donuts
  • Italian Lemon Ice (V) – Franco's Ristorante
  • Taste Portion of Italian Lemon Ice (V) – Franco’s Ristorante
  • Italian Watermelon Ice (V) – Franco's Ristorante
  • Taste Portion of Italian Watermelon Ice (V) – Franco’s Ristorante
  • Lemon-Lime Paleta (V) – La Mexicana
  • Mango Paleta (V) – La Mexicana
  • Strawberry Paleta (V) – La Mexicana
  • Taste Portion of Strawberry Paleta (V) - La Mexicana
  • Watermelon Paleta (V) – La Mexicana
  • Taste Portion of Watermelon Paleta (V) - La Mexicana
  • Southern Red Velvet Morsel of Love (V) - Ms. Tittle's Cupcake
  • Mango Sorbet (V) - Star of Siam
  • Chocolate Dipped Strawberry (V) – The Fudge Pot
  • Frozen Mango Kefir (V) - The Lifeway Kefir Shop
  • Taste Portion of Mango Kefir (V) - The Lifeway Kefir Shop
  • Frozen Original Kefir (V) - The Lifeway Kefir Shop
  • Taste Portion of Original Kefir (V) - The Lifeway Kefir Shop

The following six items, provided by the restaurant Dia De Los Tamales, do not meet the Humana Healthier Choices nutrition criteria but provide options for Taste-goers with gluten-free dietary restrictions:

  • Slow Roasted Cuban Pork Tamale with Cuban Fricase
  • Taste Portion of Slow Roasted Cuban Pork Tamale with Cuban Fricase
  • Spicy Black Bean & Corn Tamale with Salsa Roja (V)
  • Taste Portion of Spicy Black Bean & Corn Tamale with Salsa Roja (V)
  • Buffalo Chicken Tamale with Blue Cheese, Shredded Carrot and Celery
  • Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Tamale with Red Pepper Crema (V)

8 Things To Do In Chicago This Summer

Chicago doesn't get a long summer so we like to take advantage of the beautiful weather when it's here. That means, lots of festivals and events. Weekends are packed with them, especially the deeper into summer it is. Sometimes it can be hard to choose which ones to go to. Today, we have a few of our favorites that we'd like to share. Check them out and let us know in the comments if you have any favorites of your own. I'll also be attending quite a few myself so make sure to follow us on Instagram!

Lincoln Park Wine Festival
What: Enjoy a weekend full of great wine, good food and even better company. The 2nd annual Lincoln Park Wine Festival features music, artisans and bites in an open-air market complete with food and wine pavilions. Listen to brand amassadors and sommeliers speak, listen to live music, enjoy food and wine pairings and much more
When: Saturday May 21st and Sunday, May 22nd, 1pm - 6pm
Where: Jonquil Park
1001 West Wrightwood Avenue
Chicago, IL 60614
Cost: General Admission Tickets: $50; VIP Admission Tickets: $75; 2-Day Tasting Package: $90; Designated Driver Admission: $20 (not included)
USE CODE 'LLL' TO GET $50 OFF GENERAL ADMISSION SATURDAY OR SUNDAY
Visit the event site for more information and to purchase tickets.

photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Wine Festival

photo courtesy of Lincoln Park Wine Festival

Windy City Lakeshake
What: Chicago's very own country music festival is here for the 3rd year in a row. The lineup includes some of country's best like Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Brooks & Dunn and more. 
When: Friday, June 17th - Sunday, June 19th
Where: FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
1300 South Linn White Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
Cost: 1-Day General Admission: $99.50; 3-Day General Admission: $225; Grandstand Reserved Pass: $299.50; VIP Lounge Reserved Pass: $599.50
Visit lakeshakefestival.com for more information and to buy tickets.

Square Roots Festival
What: Experience Lincoln Square on another level at the Square Roots Craft Brew & Music Festival. The 5th annual festival will feature more than 40 local craft brews (including special batch and limited release taps), food from local artisans and restaurants, plenty of entertainment for the whole family and 70 live music acts across 4 stages.
When: Friday, July 8th, 5-10pm; Saturday, July 9th, 12-10pm; Sunday, July 10th, 12-9pm
Where: 4400 - 4560 North Lincoln Avenue (from Wilson to Montrose)
Cost: Suggested donations - Adults $10, Kids/Seniors $5, Families $20
Visit squareroots.org for more information.

photo courtesy of Square Roots Festival

photo courtesy of Square Roots Festival

Feedback Chicago
What: Rachael Ray is bringing her SXSW event to Chicago for the first time in celebration of music and food. Feedback will feature some of Rachael's favorite musical acts, food creations, beer and wine pairings and more. Arists performing include Grace Potter, Los Colognes and more.
When: Saturday, June 5th
Where: Lincoln Park Zoo
2001 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614
Cost: $49.50 - $299
Visit feedbackchicago.com for more information.

Zoo Ball
What: Join the Women's Board of Lincoln Park Zoo for a romantic midsummer's eve of dreams, dining, dancing and entertainment. The night will celebrate the anticipated return of African penguins and feature warm ombre tones of burnt orange, red and yellow throughout the venue to promote the feeling of watching a beautiful South African sunset. This year's Zoo Ball is presented by Powershares QQQ. Funds raised will support the Women's Board's leadership pledge to fund new initiatives at the zoo, such as the new Mayari and Robert Pritzker Penguin Cove.
When: Friday, July 15th, 6:30pm - 12am
Where: Cannon Drive at Fullerton Parkway
East Gate Entrance
Chicago, IL 60614
Cost: Tickets begin at $700/person; table packages begin at $7,000
Visit lpzooball.org for more information.

Windy City Smokeout
What: Enjoy the best barbecue in the country while listening to some of the hottest country music talent at Windy City Smokeout. This food and music festival features all your favorite beer on tap, everything from pulled pork to brisket and more. Musical acts this year include Billy Currington, Big & Rich and Chase Rice.
When: Friday, July 15th - Sunday, July 17th
Where: 560 West Grand Avenue
Chicago, IL 60654
Cost: General Admission: $30-45; VIP: $150-199; 3-Day Pass: $100 for General Admission, $475 for VIP
Visit windycitysmokeout.com for more information.

The Taste of Lincoln Avenue
What: Hosted by the Wrightwood Neighbors Association, the Taste of Lincoln Avenue features flavors from around the neighborhood. 
When: Saturday, August 6th - Sunday, August 7th from 12-10pm
Where: Located at Lincoln and Fullerton
Cost: $10 at the gate for all day entry
Visit tasteoflincolnchicago.com for more information.

Naperville Wine Festival
What: Sample your choice of 300 wines from around the world at the Naperville Wine Festival. The event includes wine seminars and cooking demonstrations held by exhibiting wineries, sponsors, chefs and restaurateurs as well as live music.
When: Friday, August 12th - Saturday, August 13th from 5-10:30pm
Where: CityGate Centre
2155 City Gate Lane
Naperville, IL 60563
Cost: $32 in advance or $40 at the door; Designated Driver Ticket $15
Visit napervillewinefestival.com for more information.