Every year, the third week of May brings with it some predictable events in Chicago. There's Craft Beer Week, of course, but there's also the scrum to try to get a restaurant reservation in this city when there's an extra 100,000 or so food lovers in town for the National Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show. But this year, there was also the International Wine, Spirits and Beer event at McCormick Place, as well as the Sweets & Snacks Expo; no wonder Rick Bayless tweeted that his three restaurants had their best Saturday EVER this past weekend.
I walked the floor on Monday, and came across some cool innovations, as well as some unique, little mom-and-pop businesses. I kind of dug the smoked olive oils from The Smoked Olive in Santa Rosa, California, but I was just as in love with the mini pies from Achatz Handmade Pies in Chesterfield, Michigan. If you think you've heard a lot about food trucks lately, you should have seen the number of trucks on hand this year - you just know that when Chicago's City Council eventually passes an ordinance, the trucks are going to be as prevalent as potholes. Well, maybe not that bad...
Here's a link to some more slides from the show on Monday, as I wandered around:
(photos courtesy Joseph Storch)