Another Lollapalooza is in the books. This year’s three-day music party was especially fun since my sister and brother-in-law made the trip to Chicago from Montana. I was the official tour guide, which included picking fun festival eats, as well as musical acts. There has been no shortage of good food at Lolla since Chef Graham Elliot took the reigns and created Chow Town, a blend of restaurants offering a street-food take on their regular fare. Unlike other festivals, you have more options than just a slice of Connie’s Pizza. This year, between the three of us including one vegetarian, we tried to sample as many dishes as possible.
Day one’s dinner was slightly frustrating as the lines were way long. The staff at Wao Bao simply couldn’t keep up with the crowd’s demand for hot asian buns. Once we got our BBQ Pork and Teriyaki Chicken bao,
we were happy, though certainly not full. The whole wheat Vegetable Bao featuring edamame was a miss for our vegetarian. The Farmer’s Market wasn’t as popular a destination so my brother-in-law supplemented his meal with a curry from Rock N’ Roll Noodle Company and ice cream from Original Rainbow Cone.
Being a little gun shy about the lines at dinner time, we took a different approach on day two. The plan: have a large lunch on the sailboat ride over to the fest (that’s a whole other story!), eat snacks prior to prime dining time and finish up with dinner after the show at my favorite pizza place: Piece Pizzeria. With a lack of good Indian cuisine in Montana, my sister and brother-in-law set their sights on Veerasway and enjoyed the Veggie Samosas and Chicken Tikka Flatbread. We snacked on Grahamwich’s Truffle Parmesan Popcorn as we left Eminem’s set and watched the kids coming out of Perry’s dance/DJ tent on our way out. Now that’s good people watching!
A friend joined us for day three and brought along Kuma Corner’s Neurosis burger, a scaled down version of their well-seasoned patty with plenty of cheese and their famous pretzel roll. My brother in law indulged in both offerings from The Gage: Scotch Egg & Henri Ban Mi, which was really just a shrimp poboy. I thought it was strange to offer a Scotch Egg during what is typically three days of sweltering Chicago heat, but the impending rain dropped the temperature to make eating it a pleasant experience. Of course, being from the South, we washed it all down with lots of Sweet Leaf Tea and the occasional beer.
This festival continues to improve each year and this year’s food and music
did not disappoint. I was a little bummed that Perry Ferrell’s surprise guest was his former bandmate from Porno for Pyros instead of the rumored Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters. However, I quickly got over it after watching amazing sets by Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Deftones, The Kills and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Two torrential downpours and the resulting mud pits on Sunday couldn’t even dampen the spirit of the crowd. Now that the family is back on a plane to Montana, it’s time to wade out of this food and music coma. I’m already looking forward to next year!