Thursday, July 5, 2007

Little Appetite for Taste of Chicago

A few summertime musings:

--After Taste of Chicago. Until a few days ago, I managed to stay away from the Taste of Chicago for nearly 20 years. It may be another twenty before I return.
I just don't get why this food fest is such a summertime happening. Never did.
On my recent visit, I found the experience to be costly and mostly unsatisfying. Taking a family of three means paying a small fortune. You get eleven tickets for $7, which on the surface sounds OK until you realize that a soft drink is four or five tickets, a "Taste" portion is three, a full portion runs between six to nine tickets.
Visit a couple of booths and those tickets start adding up.
Also, when you break it down---the prices seem to be on the high side. Each ticket is worth roughly 63 cents. So a soft drink that "costs" four tickets is actually selling for $2.52, while one slice of pizza (at seven tickets) is $4.41. Add a few "Taste" portions--worth three tickets each--and you're looking at a $9 or $10 tab per person or $30, $40, $50 per family or group.
Moreover, since you're buying in lots of 11 tickets each--and you don't want anyone to go hungry or not sample something they want--you end up buying more tickets than are needed for the evening.
I left with about 10 unused tickets. Bad planning on my part, for sure, but a nice bounty for the city (Memo to Mayor Daley: Please feel free to apply that extra amount to any of my outstanding parking tickets.)
What's more, I didn't think the food was all that tasty--even the fare from restaurants that I know are very good.
Something must get lost in translation when an eatery packs up and moves it's kitchen operation to Grant Park to serve a hungry horde. Under those circumstances, there's not much room for subtle flavoring and recipes.
Yes, I appreciate that having all these eateries in one location for a limited time allows many people to sample foods they haven't had or let's them connect with restaurants that aren't in their neighborhoods.
And I like that the city has a festival that lures people downtown on summer nights (attracting over 3 million visitors annually).
That said, I've had my fill of the Taste for awhile.

--CBOT Owners to Merc: More Moola, Please. One of the best takeover battles in the country is going on in our backyard. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is fighting to acquire the Chicago Board of Trade. But the CBOT shareholders are also being wooed by Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE). CBOT's shareholders think their exchange is worth around $11 billion. ICE is offering about $10-billion, while the Merc is offering just under that price. Strategically, a MERC-CBOT deal makes the most sense for the Chicago-based futures market and for both companies. However, CBOT owners are not going to take a hair cut for the good of the industry. The MERC would be in a stronger position if it had come in with a
preemptive bid of over $10-billion. That was the point of this recent post .

--Chicago Tonight Week In Review. I'll be taking part in a reporters' panel discussion on Friday's Chicago Tonight The Week in Review show, moderated by Joel Weisman. It's on Channel 11 at 7 P.M. Tune in!

No comments: