Imagine an uber chic, bite sized, indoor food truck festival, with tons of extra fancy people, surrounded by stuffed animals, crystals and earthly relics and you basically have this years The First Bites Bash!
If you are a foodie and didn’t make it this year then your FOMO should be kicked into high gear.
As the official kick-off event for Chicago Restaurant Week, it was filled with an overabundance of delicious and enjoyable foods. This year the event was held at the Field Museum again and according to a couple of people I spoke with has been the best venue thus far.
Let’s start off with the dress code, it states that business or cocktail attire is suggested. However, many people were dressed extremely casual (including myself, as I didn’t read the ticket – insert face palm emoji here). Plus it is freezing outside in January. A plus was that coat check was free but the line gets long so get there early. The event started at 6pm and I got there around start time and the line was already fairly half way to the rear wall.
One major con was the fact that we had to walk around the entire building basically to get to the front door. If it wasn’t rainy, snowy and freezing it wouldn’t have been an issue but c’est la vie.
Cost will vary depending on the ticket you choose of course. The early bird is $123 and they go up from there. Parking will run you $25 for 3 hours and $30 for 4 or more.
It is super crowded, so be prepared to bump into random strangers and apologize a lot!
The event is over at 9pm and the crowd started to thin out about 8:30pm as did the food.
Also, there were raffles galore. I was told to enter as many as I could by one of the attendees. She won three prizes from different restaurants the year prior. Most of the raffles were for free or discounted meals.
Now let’s get to the good stuff, the food!
For some reason I ate lunch that day and really wish I hadn’t made that rookie mistake because the greediness in me wanted to eat all the things, but my stomach just wouldn’t let me. Unfortunately I had to leave some things on the table, but the majority of what I did get to taste was absolutely delish!
Some of the food combinations were a bit off the cuff, but tasted much better than imagined. My taste buds went crazy for the smoked whitefish toast from the Cherry Circle Room, it sounds a little plain I know but it is literally a party in your mouth, I went back for seconds.
My mom went back for seconds and wanted thirds of the Sweet Corn Ravioli from Bar Siena. She is a vegetarian and unfortunately there weren’t many options available for her.
One meatless meal that surprised me was the light taste of The Albert’s Celeriac Pudding. It was a nice break from all the hearty meats being served.
For desserts the hummingbird cake bites from the Blue Door Kitchen & Garden and the brownies from Rock Bottom were a hit.
One thing to keep in mind is that some stations will run out of food, so if you have a restaurant that you really want to sample then make a bee line for it. There are maps set up to let you know where everything is.
At the end of the night there were still some stations with food left and I really hope it didn’t just all end up in the trash. I left full (probably for a week), happy and satisfied. All in all, it was a great event and I’ll definitely be back next year.
If you went to the bash this year, share your favorites with us!