Sunday, July 08, 2007

e's Love Affair with the Frozen S'more Begins - Taste of Chicago 2007

Another Taste of Chicago has come and gone, and I have once again lived to tell the tale of my eating adventures. Nerdy P came in from Michigan to brave the Taste with me, as she has done for many years (I posted about our 2006 experience, too). As we did not want to relive my brush with heat stroke from last year, we chose to head over to Grant Park right after Nerdy P arrived (on... the MegaBus! Awwwww, yeah!) Friday afternoon, knowing that Saturday and Sunday were supposed to be in the high 90s.

You may recall that I'd already been to the Taste grounds two times this year - the first was to see Kenny Rogers on June 30 and then once again to see John Mayer on the 4th of July. But I only grabbed a slice of deep-dish spinach pizza both of those times - I hadn't yet endured the long strip of food tents down Columbus Drive, which is the true heart of the festival. But that time had come. For some reason, I had convinced myself that Nerdy P and I would each need 4 strips of food tickets (11 tickets for $7 = one strip), because a full portion of any given item at a tent will run you 7 to 8 tickets. Once our tickets were in hand, we immediately visited the deep-dish pizza stand so I could get my third helping of the spinach pie (Nerdy P got the "Taste" portion, which is appetizer size). Every year we also get "cheesy garlic bread" at a different stand - and this year was no different. But we each only got the Taste size, which was still one huge slice of the bread. Hmmm... we couldn't possibly already be feeling full already, could we? We had to push through!

As we waded through the crowds, deciding on our next stop - I noticed one of the craziest things I've seen in a while - PIZZA IN A CONE. Check this out:

I cannot figure out if I think this is genius, or evil. Evil genius, perhaps? If you can't tell from the picture, the cone is pizza dough. I regret not trying one now.

Next stop was Bobtail Soda Fountain, which had set up shop in an already-existing small building near Buckingham Fountain - away from the chaos of the food tents. I was very intrigued by their menu because they were offering Frozen S'mores, Ice Cream Cake on a Stick, and Merlot and/or Chocolate Bourbon ice cream cones. I liked ALL of that! On top of being psyched about the great selections, I was happy because there is a Bobtail shop fairly close to where I live, so I figured if I really liked something, I would be able to get it again after the T-o-C was over.

The Frozen S'more was the most intriguing pick, so that's what I ordered first. Nerdy P went along for the ride, too. While it wasn't in the 90s outside, it was still in the 80s, so we attempted to find a place to stand in the shade and eat our highly anticipated treats before they started melting. What exactly IS a Frozen S'more, you may be asking? I will tell you what it is - it is PERFECTION. It is the best thing I've had at the Taste for a decade, and I was very, very happy to have discovered it. I consider myself somewhat of a dessert connoisseur, anything having to do with chocolate being my specialty, and so I was anxious to try something new that seemed to have immense potential for future enjoyment, as well.

But I still haven't told you what the Frozen S'more is made of! It is chocolate ice cream in the center, a layer of marshmallow (only on one side), then graham crackers and then the entire thing is covered with hardened dark chocolate (and thick, too - they didn't skimp on the chocolate by any means). It's a rectangular shape - about the length of your palm and two inches thick... all on a stick. Witness the brilliant concoction for yourself:

That picture makes it look smaller than it actually is - so you just need to trust me that it was a good size and that I felt very full after finishing it off. Although the second I was done with it, I started considering whether I would get another one before leaving for the day.

Break time came next... we found a table underneath a tent and spent a while people-watching. Highlights were:
- A woman sitting next to us sifting through a plastic bag she had brought with her of what appeared to be Tums.
- Two ladies with what looked to be rice field worker hats - or really bad lampshades - on their heads.
- A large man who vaguely resembled Hulk Hogan with a SPONGE strapped to his forehead. Apparently it was some sort of makeshift sweatband, but I think it would've been easier to have just bought a normal sweatband, don't you? The more I sat there and looked at him, the more I thought that having a sponge stuck to your head wouldn't even help keep you cool, would it? Would that sponge actually absorb sweat? If someone has an idea about that, leave a comment, please. It intrigues me.

We still had three strips of tickets left, each!??!?! We had to push through - we just had to! I marched back over to the Bobtail building and got the Ice Cream Cake on a Stick. It was exactly that - so no surprises there... but it didn't hold a candle to the Frozen S'more. I couldn't even finish it, I was getting sick.

It was around 4 pm, and we decided to take leave of the Taste and walk over to Navy Pier to go on a speedboat ride while Round One of food was digesting. Nerdy P got three pierogies on the way out of the park - those were her favorite of the trip this time around.

Even though we became fairly sweaty, it actually felt really good to walk for about 40 minutes to the pier. I've gone on the Sea Dog boat ride many times - it's one of my favorite things to do in Chicago because it provides such a great view of the city, and they always play fun songs as the boat zooms up and down the shore ("Hey Ya!" and "Shook Me All Night Long" were two this time). Friday was simply a beautiful day to be out on the water.

The ride was excellent, and we were re-motivated to have one more go at the Taste. The walk back, however, made us more thirsty than hungry, so we each got frozen SoCo and Lime drinks, which were quite good. I feared they would be too sour or sweet, but they were perfect. It was a great way to end another successful visit to the Taste.

We gave our left-over tickets to my husband (who had arrived in time to see The Black Crowes play (Nerdy P and I didn't stay for that, though) and a homeless guy who seemed to be collecting them.

Fast-forward to Saturday... Nerdy P and I were out and about in the city, and I was craving a Frozen S'more once again. I decided to call the Bobtail shop by my place to ensure I could always get one at any time in the future. To my horror - THEY DO NOT SELL THEM??!??! The woman explained that the Frozen S'more was just something they made for the festival, but that they never sold them in their permanent locations, nor did they intend to.

"OK, now, you listen to me. I want you to tell the owner that he is a damn fool! The Frozen S'more is the BEST THING EVER and he NEEDS to sell them! I live right by your store and I will seriously be in there every other day buying one, if you sell them."

Uncomfortable silence. "OK, ma'am, I'll tell him."

"Don't you get it? This makes no sense! Why would you sell something at the Taste and then not offer it in your stores - that's the whole point of the Taste! To reel people in to visit your restaurant later!!!!!"

"I will tell him."

GAAAAHHHHHH! I hung up in disgust. Nerdy P just shook her head and laughed. But no one can deny that I'm right on this one - that's just bad business. I'm so mad at Bobtail over this, that I will boycott them from here on out. Is it a sign that I'm getting really old if I am considering writing a complaint letter about this?

To make myself feel better about it, I chant the following mantra: "It is better to have eaten a Frozen S'more and experienced five minutes of ecstasy than to never have eaten one at all."

- e

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm a cross over from your blog from the early days when it was sent out on email... I rarely ever comment, but wanted to say THANK YOU. I check your blog a few times a week, and enjoy everything you write! Sounds like the TASTE was amazing. Just wondering though if you have any new face creams to blog about. That is my fav. entry- your assessment of all the overpriced face creams and their claims- you have saved me hundreds of dollars!!
Thanks for your blog!