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March 2013

How Chicago Food Planet Spent the Off-Season

Ploy Thirati, one of Chicago Food Planet's tour guides, chowing down.

Ploy Thirati, one of Chicago Food Planet's tour guides, chowing down.

It's hard to believe we've been in the off-season for a few months already…and suddenly, it's late March, and we're getting ready to kick off our 2013 season.

Chicago Food Planet still has some unique food tour plans in the works and under wraps to showcase the best culinary experiences Chicago has to offer — and you'll be able to find them here and on our Facebook and Twitter pages when we finalize them.

But in the meantime, we've been getting a lot of questions about how our staff spends their off-season (besides dreaming of future tours, of course).


Behind the scenes of our Chicago food tours

Well, our founder, Shane, has spent yet another off-season traveling. This year's journey completed his more than three-year odyssey driving from Chicago to the southernmost city in the world — on his motorcycle! (For those of you keeping score: That's 32,367 miles, 29 border crossings and 16 countries… Plus nine tires and two crashes.)

He recently returned to Chicago just in time to kick off our new season.

Chicago Food Planet's social media coordinator, Ismael, spent his fall and winter like he always does: obsessing over the Chicago Bears! In his spare time, he runs a well-read blog plus Twitter and Instagram accounts dedicated to Chicago's beloved football team. (And yeah, he's been pretty excited about the new season starting since the disappointing end to our Bears' season…)

Food tour guides — eating!

Our tour guides, of course, have been busy boning up on Chicago's food culture for a new season of food tasting and cultural walking tours in Chinatown, Bucktown/Wicker Park, and the Near North. They've been getting plenty of rest and, of course, checking out their neighborhoods' newest eating establishments and watering holes.

Here's what one tour guide, Ploy Thirati, had to say about her off-season:

Central Standard opened in my 'hood over the winter. One of the chefs told me they heavily feature Midwest-sourced ingredients and present interesting twists on classic American cuisines. I love the fact that they have BACON and BUTTER in almost everything they serve.

Firecakes also just opened on Hubbard. Butterscotch pralines… Pineapple maple bacon doughnuts… Need I say more!? I love all things carb-y and creamy. *2017 Update - Firecakes can now be tasted on our Best In Chow Food Tour (Sundays in Summer only.)

And I'm especially excited about Tony Hu's upcoming venture, LAO 18, opening up in River North, the newest territory for Tony Hu to conquer! (As you know, Tony Hu owns several of our stops around Chinatown.)

Read more about Ploy's culinary exploits on her Twitter account, or just take a tour with her!

AND — vote for Alia as the next Check, Please! host

Finally, you may have heard that Alpana Singh resigned from her post as host of WTTW's "Check, Please!" and that thousands of Chicago foodies threw their hats in the ring to replace her. Well, one of Chicago Food Planet's expert tour guides was one of just 17 finalists to make the cut.

Vote for Alia Dalal as the next host of Check, Please! If her Chicago Food Planet credentials aren't enough to get your vote, maybe her awesome audition video will…

Chicago Food Planet tours are ON!

Interested in taking a Chicago food tasting and cultural walking tour with Ploy, Alia or one of our many other talented and charismatic tour guides? You're in luck: tours now run year-round!

Try One of Our Tours!

Savor the true heart of Chicago with our fun, expert guides. Visitors get a taste of the real deal, and locals discover new go-to favorites.