On a scorching-hot 95 degree day, Chicagoins from all over the area gathered along Randolph Street in the West Loop neighborhood for the annual Taste of Randolph festival. The West Loop has recently become one of Chicago’s top culinary hotspots with chefs moving in from all over the world to open up restaurants. Although most of the exhibitors had amazing food, here are a few highlights from this year’s festival.
Moroccan cuisine is one most people don’t think about when deciding on a restaurant. Alhambra Palace with its meat kebobs were one of the biggest and most colorful highlights of the taste this year. Grilled meat and peppers on a stick. Simple, but amazing. The kebobs were meant to be an introductory sample for those not familiar with the cuisine. The full restaurant has a very large menu and an exquisite dining area.
The lamb and pork belly sausages from The Publican was probably the best food at the taste this year. These sausages were grilled over a charcoal flame then placed on a slice of Texas toast with a roasted red pepper sauce and cilantro. The Publican blew away all the competition with this concoction.
De Cero hit the festival with their famous grilled aracherra tacos. Living in Mexican neighborhoods most of my life, I am very picky about my tacos. De Cero’s tacos were a very pleasant surprise, and probably made the top 5 all-time best tacos I’ve ever had. The taco is mostly authentic style with a homemade tortilla, marinated grilled aracherra, cilantro, and onion. It also has an unusual spicy crema sauce that gave it a nice kick.
One other notable exhibitor worth mentioning was so good I failed to take a picture of the food. That vendor was Porkchop with their ribs and pulled pork sliders. I love my bbq, and good bbq is hard to come by in the Chicago area. Porkchop is not true bbq, but it’s still pretty damn good. The ribs were roasted for hours until they were fall-off-the-bone tender, then grilled over a charcoal flame with a spicy, mildly tangy bbq sauce.