Well I’ve come to the end of my 2008 Taste of Chicago experience. The 3rd of July is not for the faint of heart. Not saying I was, but at a point you grow out of crowds.
So, we come to my last analysis of the Taste and how you react according to your stage of life. At 30 I’m mainly there to try new food, discover new restaurants, and hang with my friends. Since my mid-late 20s to now at 30 I go to the Taste exclusively after work with friends. We don’t drink because it’s too expensive. We don’t act like idiots because we have sense. We still don’t care what people say. Sometimes though, we do still flirt and sneak in alcohol.
This brings me to the last burger at the Taste: A burger with which many Chicagoans and I are very familiar. Billy Goat. I will review the burger in one of the taverns one day and then I will recount my first experience. But for now let’s focus on why this is by far the best burger at the Taste.
First and foremost let’s establish that this is the exact same burger you will get in any Billy Goat anywhere, anytime. Go to Lower Michigan, same. Go to Wells, same. Go to Merchandise Mart or Midway airport, and you get the same burger. There is a comfort knowing that they can do what they do all day and night everywhere.
They bring in their grills and fry them on the spot just like in the restaurant. No changing the cooking method to fit the venue. No special burger to fit the occasion. Just Cheeborger, Cheeborger. Once you fall in love with this you will be happy that it is a reliable burger. Comfort food, if you will. I chose this as the last burger because I knew what to expect and honestly was not looking forward to it. I rarely get food at the Taste that I have had before. No Connie’s pizza, Robinson’s ribs, or even cheesecake. But by the time I was ready for my Billy Goat, I was really ready for my Billy Goat. And, it was so worth it.
I got a basic Double Cheeseburger for 9 tickets, or $6. This is expensive for the double burger. It is normally 4 something at the restaurants. But, that’s the price you pay at the Taste. It came wrapped in this nice wax paper that became transparent with grease. Always a good sign. It also held in the heat as I made my way to a table next to the booth to eat. It was served with pickle and yellow mustard. It needs nothing else.
I have always found the bun to be a bit excessive but that is a whole diatribe for another time. Here, as with other burgers at the Taste, it helped to make sure you did not drop your food. But a third patty is always better.
It was a great haven at the end of the night when the young crazies were descending upon Grant Park for the fireworks. I got out just in time.