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Sep 13, 2011 06:05 AM

Chicago Gourmet Food and Wine fest 2011

Did anyone attend Chicago Gourmet Food and Wine fest at millenium park last year? If so thoughts? Quite a high price tag at $150 a ticket especially for something outside with possible weather issues. For a couple is the $300 price tag worth it or would you prefer to just do a great tasting menu at one of our top restaurants? Thanks!

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  1. I went last year (and also in previous years) and I was disappointed. I arrived before they opened the gates, yet even in the first hour the lines at almost all the food booths were VERY long (20-30 minute waits were typical, for a sample sized portion of food). Some of the food was interesting and good, but much of it wasn't. Also, the selections in the wine booths were less interesting than they had been in the past.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nsxtasy

      What about the Windy City Wine Festival? We stopped going at least five years ago. It had become way overcrowded and people were rude. You didn't have time to talk to any of the vendors because of the crowds. The event had just become a zoo. Has it gotten any better?

      1. re: nsxtasy

        Pretty much completely agree with this assessment, although last year was the only one I attended. I had a discounted Groupon ticket and it still wasn't worth it. I have no patience to wait that long for tiny portions of food. Only positives were seeing a couple of Food Network chefs in person, plus an interesting tasting of Penfolds Shiraz. But I would not recommend it if it is set up like last year.

      2. I think it depends what you enjoy about the restaurant experience. If your main thrill is service and being pampered, Chicago Gourmet would not be worth the money. If you're all about the food, then you will probably like Chicago Gourmet. The technical demonstrations are pretty cool too, although Youtube is just as good in some ways. To summarize, its expensive, there are long waits, but there is great food and interesting demos.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mgofood

          Agree with mgofood. It's also fun to see some of these chefs in person - they do demos, book signings and are serving their food, so I've always found that to be fun. But, the food lines are long and it almost seems to be more drink (wine and spirits) than food, which may be a good or bad thing depending on the type of experience you want, but I've always had a really good time at Chicago Gourmet.

        2. The Chefs on the Grill event at The Park Grill atcMillenium park was great. 55 bucks for great food from about 12 restaurants in the loop. Free Bacardi, jack Daniels, gin etc. From liquor sponsors.

          No lines. Great people. Nice venue. It also was to support Special Olympics.

          Park Grill
          11 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60602

          1. I attended yesterday and we had a lot of fun and some really good food plus boatloads more alcohol than I can remember consuming on any given Saturday in the last two decades. I wish that my stomach capacity was larger but it isn't so I couldn't sample all that was offered. At a few places I was actively angry that my capacity for consumption was so small. The braised short rib tacos for example I could have happily dined on for weeks but I couldn't finish one! We got there at noon and we stayed till closing time. We attended two wine seminars, two cooking demonstrations and one I am not sure what it was. All were interesting. Is the $150.00 price tag worth it? For me a semi "no". I was pretty impressed with what I got and the quality of the chefs and speakers. The crowd is friendly in the "we are all into food" sort of way AND (unvoiced) we payed $150 per for this event so the riffraff ain't here (they mostly weren't).

            I would willingly spend this money for this experience if it was for a good cause. That would be a great idea and I'd come back happily. But for letting relatively well to do people eat really good food in the rain and mud and muck I don't think I'll be back.