Some people see Lollapalooza as the pinnacle of the Chicago summer, with its three days of partying, top-notch lineup, and, most importantly, hipsters babies in headphones. Others see it as a cesspool of sweaty crowds, expensive beer and porta-potties. So, for those in the latter category (or those smart enough to eat during the fest), there are still other—albeit, less thrilling—ways to celebrate Chicago’s big weekend.
Magnolia Bakery is serving a Lolla cupcake in vanilla or chocolate, topped with the festival’s iconic blue and orange colors Friday through Sunday. For each cupcake sold, Magnolia plans to donate $1 to Rock for Kids, a non-profit that provides music education to children in need.
If you think you'll need some protein to make it through the marathon that is Lolla, head to Brasserie by LM on Saturday or Sunday during the festival for a $15 burger-and-beer special.
The Florentine looked to the diets of artists including vegan Ozzy Osbourne and carnivore Calvin Harris when constructing its Lollapalooza menu. The specials available Friday through Sunday include vegan options, steaks, octopus, melons and specialty cocktails.
Lockdown Bar & Grill is also drawing inspiration from Black Sabbath, more specifically the song, “War Pigs.” The burger is constructed from bacon, Angus beef, prosciutto and carnitas and is obviously not-so vegan.
Or, maybe you want the best of both worlds and bought a one-day pass. Head to any of I Dream of Falafel's three loop locations on Friday or Saturday and present your wristband to get a wrap and a drink for $5.
We've been licking our chops ever since reading The Feed in this week's magazine—highlighting six spots around town that really know how to serve up a great cake. That inspired us to take on the torturous task of sifting through dozens of photos of cupcakes for this week's edition of TOC Foodspotting Fridays.
Wondering what Foodspotting is? It's a social network for foodies, where you can find and recommend dishes, not just restaurants. Follow us on Foodspotting and spot your favorite dishes, or follow our guides, including Sweet Scoops and Best Bar Food.
[Ed. note: Welcome back to Lunch Meets, our weekly online column where TOC's Food & Drink intern, John Irvine, infiltrates the anonymous lunch masses in the Loop and asks the tough food questions. This week, to coincide with our story on retro icebox cakes, John asks the men and women of the street this question: What was the dessert of your childhood? The answer—and why everybody is thinking ice cream—is after the jump.]
PT isn't the only summer pop-up in town: Two more are, uh, popping up this weekend. On Saturday, July 21 and Sunday, July 22 Lush Wine & Spirits in West Town hosts a couple TRU veterans, chef Tim Graham (now at Paris Club) and mixologist Adam Seger (now of Hum). The concept is a combination restaurant and gastropup; the menu is comprised of a seven-course tasting menu with drink pairings. You could say the menu was built in reverse: Graham chose to build his menu from Seger's drinks.
Also happening on Sunday 22 is a collaboration between Sunday Dinner and Azimuth Projects, where Sunday Dinner will present their famous farmers' market burger (pictured) at an outdoor art event. (The somewhat steep price of $20 includes a side dish. And the art.)
Lush Wine & Spirits Pop-up Gastro-Bar July 21-22, 6-10pm. 1412 W Chicago Ave (312-666-6900). $9-49.
Sunday Dinner Club Pop-Up Backyard Burgers July 22, 4-8pm. 2704 N Whipple St (sundaydinnerbbq.eventbrite.com). $20.
My obsession with the Olympics is predetermined—I was literally born as the Olympics were playing in the hospital waiting room. But serendipity aside, how can anybody hate the saccharine patriotism and benevolence that the games inspire? And have you seen those P&G videos about raising Olympians? Killer.
Luckily, many Chicago restaurants and bars agree that this joyous occasion that comes every two years is reason to celebrate, and you don't have to wait to start your celebrations. The Anthem is hosting Olympic trivia on Tuesdays through August 14th with specials on domestic beers.
The Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club is hosting an Opening Ceremony viewing party on July 27 complete with an America-themed martini and drag show. Mahoney’s is also having a viewing party during the ceremony, but on Saturday July 28; the Summer Bar Olympic Games will be played. Pong, flippy cup, bags and more will determine who takes home the gold.
If you don’t make it out to these, Moonshine Brewing Company will hold the Beerlympics from the July 27 to August 12. Each day, a different beer region from around the world will be on highlighted, and the favorite will be crowned victorious during the Closing Ceremonies and remain on special. Also offering daily food-and-drink specials is Division Ale House. Because nothing is more patriotic than cheap-ish burgers booze.
If food is your libation of choice, Sidebar Grille has an Olympic Burger Menu during the games. Some highlights are the Japan (grilled tuna burger with soy-ginger mayo and cucumber salad) and the Sweden burgers (veal sirloin burger with apricot jam and pickled cucumbers.) And if you don't feel like leaving the house, West Town Tavern is offering 20 percent off carry-out orders during the games.
But perhaps you're more of a marathoner. In that case, make it to all seven of Four-Star Restaurant Group's restaurants during the month of August to be entered to win round-trip airfare to London.
If you aren’t on the balance beam, in the pool or at the starting line, represent America in the next best way: eating and drinking.
The speculation that Bleeding Heart Bakery & Café’s West Town location was in turmoil is now a confirmed fact: After closing time on July 22, the location will no longer be associated with the BHB brand—which of course includes Michelle and Vinny Garcia. Upon reopening on July 28, owners Greg Mohr and Scott Weiner (Roots Handmade Pizza) will reopen the space as West Town Bakery & Diner. Those seeking Michelle and Vinny can hit up their new Belmont location.
At yesterday's Green City Market BBQ, One Off Hospitality (Blackbird, Avec, the Publican, etc) represented with barbacoa. Traditionally, barbacoa—Mexico's answer to barbecue—happens when you rub beef (or another protein) with chilies and spices, throw it into a huge, smoldering barbecue pit in the ground, and let it sit there for half a day. Almost no restaurant makes it like that anymore. But on Wednesday afternoon a group of chefs from Publican Quality Meats led by Erling Wu Bower started digging in the yard of a suburban home in Long Grove. When the pit was ready, they doused it with lighter fluid, lit a flame, waited for the flame to die and then tossed in about 400 pounds of marinated steer. Then they covered the entire thing with cattails, burlap and sheet trays to trap the heat; filled the pit with dirt; and crossed their fingers. It would be fourteen hours later until they knew if it was a success. Which, of course, it was. The shredded beef was served on house-made foccacia and covered in cherry-tomato salsa verde and was, according to one TOC employee who was lucky enough to try one, "the best the BBQ had to offer."
[Ed. note: Welcome back to Lunch Meets, our weekly online column where TOC's Food & Drink intern, John Irvine, infiltrates the anonymous lunch masses in the Loop and asks the tough food questions. This week, to coincide with our cover story on summer drinking, John asks the men and women of the street this question: what makes the perfect margarita? The answer seems to be gin. And tonic.]
You know the drill—every year, pretty much the whole city of Chicago heads over to the Taste to consume as much food as humanly possible. Of course, in a festival as massive as the Taste, it's hard to know where to spend your money (or tickets, as the case may be). So we sifted through some of the booths for you, and here's our take on the best—and the worst—the Taste has to offer.
Damn if this isn't the most random piece of news we've heard in a long time: Last night, Rhapsody—the go-to restaurant for Chicago Symphony Orchestra lovers and one of the only fine-dining options in the Loop—closed.
(I'll wait while you make a mental joke about a violin wailing. What? You said that joke out loud? Oh, wow.)
There's almost no news about what will replace Rhapsody other than a name and a projected opening date: Tesori is slated to open in the space in September.
Answers to your burning questions:
- Will Tesori be Italian? Probably.
- Will Dean Zanella (pictured) still be the chef? No. But honestly, that's okay with me—his talents never seemed to gel with that space anyway. Get that man a smallish neighborhood restaurant!
- Will I post more details here if I get any? Certainly!