I had a week in Chicago and it’s quite hard to eat everything. There’s only so many restaurants I can go to in one day. I contemplated for a long time if I should take a food tour or not. 7 restaurants in 3 hours is always enticing for a foodie for $50.
Chicago Food Planet Food Tours offered a tour of Gold Coast and Old Town‘s best eats. It’s a cool neighbourhood, but the only reason I went on the tour was to try a slice of deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s. I really didn’t want to eat a whole pizza to myself or eat alone.
- Lou Malnati’s
- Delightful Pastries
- Kamehachi Old Town
- The Fudge Pot
- The Spice House
- Old Town Oil
- Tea Gschwendner
The group was only 16 people, so it was a nice decent size. What made me feel awkward was that everyone else came to the tour as a group or a couple. It made me feel like an awkward turtle.
Our first stop was Lou Malnati’s for their famous deep dish pizza. This was the starting point of the tour. They are an iconic Chicago-Style Deep Dish pizzeria. It’s been around since 1971.
All 16 of us sat down and started beginning chowing down on our meal.
We began with a salad.
Then the deep dish pizza! So satisfying and the crust is so crispy. Definitely the highlight of the tour.
We then walked a short distance to Tea Gschwendner. They are Europe’s leading specialty loose Green, Black, Oolong and White teas merchant and have been around since 1987.
We were given a little lesson about different types of tea and how to make tea.
Iced tea was given to everyone as a refresher after the yummy pizza. As it was a hot summer we definitely needed.
We then headed into Old Town and was told about the history of some notable buildings and history.
Kamehachi Old Town
Kamehachi Old Town is Chicago’s first Japanese-style restaurant, sake cafe and sushi bar . It has been around since 1967.
We had 2 types of maki rolls, but only 2 pieces. It was ok, but not great. Coming from Vancouver, this doesn’t even compare to what good sushi is like.
The Fudge Pot
The Fudge pot is Chicago’s oldest chocolate confectioner, butter toffee and home-made fudge shop. They have been around since 1963 making delicious sweets.
We were taken to their kitchen to hear the history of the Fudge Pot and their production.
The butter toffee samples we received were pretty awesome. So addictive.
We then stopped by the world-famous merchant of hand-prepared spices, blends and artisan seasonings. Once you step close to the door of this place, you’ll definitely smell the amazing flavours. It’s quite strong stuff.
They have hundreds of spices! They have even made their own special blends. You can probably find any spice you’re looking for.
We looked around the shop and then taken to the back to get a lesson on different spices, best ways to store spices and how to get the most flavourful spices. Interesting stop on this tour, but we only smelled spices.
Old Town Oil
Old Town Oil is America’s premiere supplier of aged balsamic vinegars and 100% extra-virgin olive oils. I’ve never seen so many tins of olive oil and balsamic vinegar before.
We were able to try all the flavours we wanted. Interesting flavours.
We continued walking around the neighbourhood and heard more about the history.
Our last stop of the tour was at Delightful Pastries. It’s an authentic Polish-European bakery serving pastries, pierogies and pies.
Two different types of perogies.
The Chicago Food Planet Tour of Old Town and Gold Coast was fun and enjoyable, but if you are a hardcore foodie, a majority of the places aren’t super amazing. The shops are unique and have a long history, but it won’t keep you coming back. Especially if you are a local.
As a tourist, it was a good use of 3 hours to visit so many shops and restaurants, plus learn a little bit of history in these 2 areas. The 2 restaurants that stood out to me was Lou Malnati’s and The Fudge Pot. Mmmm pizza and chocolate.
Our tour guide was great! He was funny and was very personable to each person on the tour.