"Changes and Spaces in Pilsen Food Tour"
July 7 Pilsen Food Tour Considers Neighborhood Change
Five-star-rated tour company Chicago Detours announces "Changes and Spaces in Pilsen Food Tour," an insightful and educational tour available as a one-off event on Saturday, July 7.
The tour focuses on the last 50 years of Pilsen’s history, which coincides with Mexican immigration here. Pilsen has historically been a working-class neighborhood, but it is currently being gentrified by young professionals. This tour considers the emotionally packed process of gentrification and what it means for the community in Pilsen. Tour guests will taste a variety of Mexican food, and they'll also reflect on their own role in neighborhood changes.
Additionally, as Chicago Detours brings tourists into less touristed neighborhoods, it seeks to be a socially conscious tour company. For this one-time special event, tour guide and Chicago Detours Executive Director Amanda Scotese will donate 100% of gratuities and a portion of ticket sales to The Resurrection Project. This Pilsen-based community organization will give to the Casa Studente, which is a new model of affordable university student housing that the group visits on the tour.
Groups will encounter dramatic contrasts of gentrifying change on the tour's various stops. They will see politically charged community murals juxtaposed with trendy street art, and ponder the differences between the two. Tour guests will peek through the dilapidated facade of a 19th-century building to see a manicured secret garden hiding behind. The irony of gourmet tacos, originally fuel for a working man, will be discussed.
Alexai Galaviz-Budziszewski’s novel, Painted Cities, informs some of the tour's stories of both the beauty and brutality of life in Pilsen in the '70s. Using examples from his book, the tour explores the complex changes of Pilsen from the gritty inner city of the recent past to the Yuppie playgrounds of the present and future.
This Pilsen tour is a sort of "People's History” of the neighborhood. Instead of focusing on skyscrapers and mansions, this tour looks at the regular buildings that make up the spectacularly everyday cityscape of our Chicago neighborhoods. Guests will learn why buildings are "sunken" below the street level. At one site, the tour guide will explain why a hodgepodge of personal knickknacks is displayed in a former storefront window. The tour tells of the honorary street signs that pepper our neighborhoods and how they laud the everyday people who make this city great. Tour guests will also consider the role of artists in Pilsen, and the various eras of painted public art, from community murals, to graffiti, and the street art of today.
Three stops for authentic Mexican food are integrated into the exploration of the neighborhood. Since Chicago has the second-largest Mexican population outside of Mexico, guests will feast on delicious foods that reflect the culinary diversity of Mexico. Included is a meal of family-style grilled skirt steak inside the rustic, woodsy surroundings of Canton Regio, owned by the same family which ran the of the famous Nuevo Leon restaurant. 5 Rabanitos, owned by former workers of Rick Bayless' Frontera, offer a tasting of savory bites, such as plantains topped with ancho chile sauce and roasted pecans. Dessert is a guests' choice of fresh paleta ice cream bar, with flavor options from strawberries and cream to cinnamon rice pudding.
The tour will be guided by Amanda Scotese, the Founder and Executive Director of Chicago Detours. This tour is limited to an exclusive group of 14 guests and Chicago Detours is offering this special event only once this year. "Changes and Spaces in Pilsen Food Tour" will run from 2pm-5pm on Saturday, July 7.
Tickets to "Changes and Spaces in Pilsen Food Tour" are $52 and include expert tour guide commentary; meal of grilled skirt steak (arrachera) served with fire roasted chiles, grilled panela cheese and more; small tastes of vegetarian sope, chicken mole, and plantains; paleta sorbet or ice cream bar; and special gifts. Reservations are required via chicagodetours.com.
The tour starts inside Pilsen Community Books, 1102 W. 18th St. Walking tour ends at 5 Rabanitos, 1758 W 18th St, a block from the 18th Street Pink Line CTA station.
Chicago Detours regular offers several tours this summer: Loop Interior Architecture Walking Tour, Historic Chicago Walking Bar Tour, Old Polonia and Wicker Park Walking Tour with Food, 1893 World's Fair Tour with Bars and the new Factories to Calories Fulton Market Food Tour.
ABOUT CHICAGO DETOURS
Chicago Detours offers guided tours of the city's architecture, history and culture that bring people to explore stories and places locals don't even know. It is staffed by a passionate team of educators, historians, artists and storytellers, and is proud to be one of very few tour companies in Chicago that is rated five stars on both Yelp and TripAdvisor. These are not your grandma’s architecture tours! Led by passionate, expert guides, tours with Chicago Detours include an interactive dynamic, presentation of historic photos and videos, and gifts like artistically-composed photographic postcards.
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