A few things you should know about the Taste of Chicago, which opens 17 days from now, for those of you who live for such things:
* Each booth now will offer two smaller "taste" portions this year, "our little nod" to the recession, spokeswoman Cindy Gatziolis says.
* There are 10 fewer booths this year. The three newbies are Manny's, Blue Bayou and Garrett Popcorn Shop, whose signature items will be, respectively, barbecued turkey legs, gator sausage on a stick and the popcornsicle (a la Top Chef-er Richard Blais - see video for clarification).
* You can get a preview of what's to come at Taste at a mini-Taste from 11 a.m. To 2 p.m. Wednesday at Daley Plaza. It's open to the public.
* If you walk the Taste route from Monroe to Balboa and back, it's a mile and a half.
Update: About that popcornsicle, Jack Aiello, Garrett's vice president of marketing, tells us the company's decision to join Taste for the first time hinged upon the ability to offer Taste-goers a product "perfect for a hot summer day in Chicago" (provided it ever gets hot).
The Taste marks the popcornsicle's paid debut (it was given away for free during promotions with Blais in New York last year).
As for the popcornsicle's provenance, Aiello says the PR firm representing Garrett in New York knew Blais and connected him with the company.
At the Garrett booth, vendors will be dipping the popcorn balls to order in vats of liquid nitrogen. The popcornsicles -- six tickets each -- should stay cold for a few minutes, Aiello says.