My tour of the Near North with Chicago Food Planet Food Tours was the first food tour I'd ever taken. Our guide was a younger guy who enjoys traveling and meeting new people, and he took the time to connect with every person in the group during the tour. Our group was an international one of about 10 people, which was a great size for getting to know one another.
The amount of food served on the tour was just right--not too much, but definitely enough, with the heavier food tasted at the beginning and end of the tour. While I didn't think that visiting a tea or olive oil shop would be interesting, I thought that those were the most unique experiences--we learned a lot about the benefits, history, and preparation of tea, and got to taste oils and vinegars that were very high quality and specially flavored. The one weak link in the tour, in my opinion, was our visit to a spice shop. The shop had many interesting items, but instead we focused on tasting different types of cinnamon. It was interesting, but there probably were more interesting potential topics.
Overall, I really appreciated the variety of places we visited, the energy of our guide, the small size of the group, and the opportunity to walk along some of the most beautiful parts of Chicago that are NOT on Michigan Avenue!
I would recommend this tour to both visitors and Chicago natives.You should note, however, that this tour did not allow time for purchasing items, so it would be ideal NOT to do this tour on your last day in Chicago, because you might want to re-visit some place you saw and use some of the coupons that the company has arranged for participants. Our tour was supposed to last about 3 hours, but ended up being 3 hours and 20 minutes, so it will take up a good portion of your afternoon. You should eat something substantial about an hour before the tour, but don't stuff yourself. We walked a good distance, so wear comfortable shoes, and bring sunglasses, a bottle of water, and your camera.
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