Ten @ 10: Favorites from Taste of Chicago

Mike Granbowksi, left, and Carol Nurse enjoyed ribs from Robinsons Ribs at Taste of Chicago. (Brant Lewis/Chicago Tribune)

The 2011 edition of Taste of Chicago is underway in Grant Park now through July 3. With some 59 vendors offering six items each, it would be a challenge for almost anyone to eat all the food that will be available. To help make your choosing easier, the Stew crew offers its Taste food faves.

“I’d encourage folks to sample bites from Lao Sze Chuan, which is new on the scene this year. Even better, go to the Chinatown restaurant in person for some of the best regional Chinese food in the city.” – Lauren Viera

“This is so not a typical fair food, but I do enjoy a pierogi mix (maybe potato and sauerkraut) from Kasia’s Deli  or go Fred Flinstone and get a turkey leg from Manny’s.” – Judy Hevrdejs

 “I was excited to find out that my favorite restaurant, Loving Hut, is making its debut at Taste. I like almost everything they serve in their restaurant (minus the drumsticks), so I’ll grab a Kung Pao Home Run Ball, after I get vegetable fried rice from my third favorite restaurant, Lao Sze Chuan. But there’s no way I’m leaving the Taste of Chicago without a couple chocolate-covered strawberries from The Fudge Pot, too.” – Shamontiel L. Vaughn

“Lou Malnati’s has participated in every Taste of Chicago but the first one (at the time, Malnati’s had just the Lincolnwood location and did not qualify as a city restaurant), and they still make every pizza, by hand, on site (I’ll forgive their mixing and proofing pizza dough back at the shop). Let’s hear it for tradition.” – Phil Vettel

“If I hit Taste – and every year I do, preferably on, say, a Tuesday after work – I’m always sure to get a collard green egg roll from C'est Si Bon! Not exactly summer street food, but it’s the only time of the year I go out of my way to eat one.” – Josh Noel

 "Alcapurria at Sabor Latino: Earthy and flavorful fried green plantain fritter studded with tasty pork. Chicken and waffles at Lagniappe Creole Cajun Joynt: Flavorful fried chicken marries beautifully with crisp waffle and syrup.” – Monica Eng

"I have a very deep appreciation for the mustard-fried catfish at B.J. Market – it’s one of the few things at Taste that retains a sense of personality. It’s even fried well, and the fish is delicate. And that’s rare at a sit-down restaurant.” -  Chris Borrelli

"Garretts popcorn booth for their ice cream sample." - Darcel D. Rockett

“My preference would be staying at home, but if I were forced to go out into the steaming humidity surrounded by 500,000 people, I'd skip the fried foods and go for a slice of cold watermelon from the Dominick's booth.” – Kevin Pang

"I’ve never been a huge fan of the food at the actual Tuscany restaurant, but for some reason the toasted cheese ravioli is one of the best taste portions I’ve ever had at Taste. It is a must-try every time I’m at the Taste." – Matthew Wood