After an eventful morning at the NRA Show, it was time to piece a meal together before heading into the afternoon. Armed with foot-friendly shoes and a license to lunch, I hit the showroom floor at Chicago’s McCormick Place. These were a few of the highlights:
Before making my rounds, I needed a palate cleanser, and Sugar Creek’s soft-serve gelato proved to be just the thing. I tried their Belgian cookie flavor, a creamy and refreshing nod to the recent Speculoos trend. I finished up with a sample of their cherry gelati, a sweet, tart blend of cherry Italian ice and smooth vanilla soft serve.
While passing Trident Seafoods’ booth, I grabbed a quarter-sandwich to try. The brand’s Alaskan Whitefish Burger, made with wild-caught Alaska pollock, was a hearty bite, with a nice, toothy texture and a balanced flavor that wasn’t too fishy.
A flatbread offering from Olympia Foods was next on my list. Faced with several choices—lamb, pork and spicy chicken, among others—I went with the chicken. It was warm, hearty and delicious, and topped with a tzatziki-like sauce.
I continued my Greek streak with a stop at Kronos Foods booth, where sizable samples of loaded Greek fries were being served up. The fries were fresh and crisp, topped with lamb, chopped peppers and onions, a creamy sauce and a healthy helping of crumbled feta.
All of this sampling was making me thirsty. Luckily, the Jones Soda booth was just around the corner. The company expanded its bottled soda line with a soda fountain program earlier this year, and I was eager to see how the product translated to its new format. I was pleasantly surprised, as the orange-and-cream flavor I tried was fizzy, refreshing and not too sweet.
From there, I followed the scent of something fried and found myself at the booth of manufacturer Baily, which was offering samples of its many noodle dishes and egg rolls. I opted for a crunchy pork egg roll and sesame ball, which had a hearty nutty taste and chewy texture.
At part of its sleek, modern display, Chobani was offering small parfaits made with its popular Greek yogurt, likely one of the day’s healthier indulgences. The lemon meringue—lemon yogurt topped with nuts and small meringue pieces—was a tart and satisfying option.
The standout part of my cobbled-together lunch came toward the end, when I dove into a donut from the Belshow Adamatic booth. Fresh from the fryer and coated in cinnamon and sugar right on the spot, its pillowy, almost creamy interior was worth the few-minute wait.