A few years ago a friend told me about some group that threw lots of parties with complimentary food and drink a few times a month and that all I had to do is write some reviews on businesses. I remember the first party I went to was called Yelp Around the World at the German Cultural Center at Dankhaus and it was fantastic. Food galore from all over the city and beer, liquor, and a full house to complement the free for all feeding frenzy made for a tantalizing introduction to the Yelp universe.
Three years later, I’m still writing on Yelp, happy to share my thoughts and ideas on all of the places I go while enjoying Chicago. Yelp is one of the main reasons I started the Chicago Bucket List, since people always ask the same questions about Chicago, so a visit to one of their biggest bashes of the year was well warranted. Me and another Yelp friend arrived to the Irish American Heritage Center on the deep northwest side to check out the latest event. We were greeted by Amp energy drink girls who were giving away free cans and a long line of folks ready to open up the party.
Checking in the signup desk and always greeting the ubiquitous Colleen C., I am always amazed by her encyclopedic memory of the thousands of people who come to these epic parties. We navigated through the maze of desserts and headed out to the back lot and were greeted by beer, more beer, and MORE beer! I took a quick liking to the Half Acre Daisy Cutters and donated to the charity tip jar. The Daisy Cutters featured the rich flavor of Half Acre and there’s nothing better than drinking a cold fine Chicago microbrew on a sultry evening. There were nearly 20 beers, with cider, vodka, tea and all sorts of drinks everywhere. As was the usual case when going to a Yelp party, I made sure to bring plenty of friends to try out everything and they fit right in with the rest of the organized chaos.
Foodwise, I made a great discovery of rice and lumpia from Isla Filipina which is less than a mile from me! I let them know that I thought their food was great and so awesome and the one guy working yelled back,”We are the best!” Nothing like great attitude to go along with delicious bites. I am definitely putting Isla Filipina high on my to-eat list. Next to Isla Filipina was a long line for sushi from Mio Bento, but by the time I got to the front there was only seaweed salad! Around the corner we found local entrepreneur @Ramon_DeLeon feeding everyone with the new delicious Domino’s Pizza and a sign showcasing all of his locations. I grabbed a few slices and I noticed he had a spot right in Lincoln Park where we would grab $5 pizzas for lunch and eat them in Oz Park – small world in a crowd of thousands of people! He had his Twitter handle on his sign so I made quick note to check it out later after the party.
There was a dunk tank going on for charity and one friend shaved Elite ’10 on his chest. Another friend had floaties so he wouldn’t get into too much trouble at the dunk tank. It was 2 throws for $1 or 2 throws at closer range for $1, but I saw lots of misses and no hits. There was a live band, action photo, and a lot more food that I skipped over since I had my fill from Domino’s and Isla Filipina. Everything got more crowded but I had time to smoke a fine Bolivan cigar that warded off some of the mosquitoes and helped myself to more Daisy Cutters. It got really crowded, but everyone was behaving and all the hard work paid off. Inside we found burlesque dancers, photobooth, and great people all around. Yelp Summerfest is one of the best parties around time and I can only imagine that they get better.