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Month: July 2016

The First Annual
Three Times Per Day Lollapalooza Dining Guide

The Chow Town vendor list has been released, so I only feel it is my civic duty to create a list of the must-try vendors at Lollapalooza this year.

As a general rule, it is usually “safer” eating at a vendor that normally operates as or otherwise has a food truck, since they’re more used to cooking outside of a traditional restaurant. That said, a good chunk of Chow Town does not and some still knock it out of the park. Don’t expect any of the food to be life changing — even if you’re in VIP — or cheap. But follow this guide to improve your chances of getting something that won’t be disappointing.

Note: I’m not sure yet what specifically each vendor is bringing, so as of now the list is based on my expectations. I’ll update as much as I can throughout the festival with my fave (and least fave) items!

The Safe Bets
Tried and true, these stops are unlikely to disappoint.

Momofuku Milk Bar – This is at the absolute top of my list. A brand new edition to Chow Town that somehow (and THANKFULLY) is coming to Lollapalooza despite not even having a store in Chicago, Momofuku is world-famous. PIF waited in line all by his lonesome while on a biz trip to New York just so he could bring back some crack pie and a compost cookie for me to try. I’ve never had Milk Bar at a festival, but knowing how used to large crowds its stores are, I have absolute faith in it nailing it at Lolla. If you get to the festival early enough for there to not be a line, def a place to stop by.

The Goddess and the Grocer – These guys are catering champs, so you don’t have to worry about them struggling to bring their restaurants to the small tent. I find Goddess to always be fresh, though perhaps a bit on the small side. That’s okay, you’ll just have room for some Momofuku : )

Lifeway Culture Shoppe – This kefir did not disappoint last year and, since some people may still be hesitant to try this slightly sour fro yo, that means less time spent in the line for Rainbow Cone…

Windsor Ice Cream Shoppe – One of the best deals in Chow Town. These GIANT ice cream scoops mean  you’ll get more than one lick in before it melts all over your carefully curated festival wear.

Dark Matter Coffee – My favorite coffee in Chicago, Dark Matter is strong, smooth, and delicious. I don’t usually crave coffee during music festivals, but if you need your fix, skip the Starbucks on Michigan — an iced Dark Matter is the way to go.

The Ones I Have My Eye On
Though untested, these are the spots I’m looking forward to.

Pork & Mindy’s – Pork & Mindy’s got some practice at the big crowds and food stall life earlier this month at Taste of Chicago, which means they may have worked out some kinks that will make them a solid option. Especially if they bring their “Bao to the Pork” sandwich (yes, all their items have names this punny).

MAD Social – I’ve definitely been oogling at MAD Social’s Instagram as of late, and though I doubt their Lolla stall will live up to their restaurant, it still as potential.

Franks ‘n’ Dawgs – Brioche buns. ‘nough said.

Healthy Eats
Trying to stay on track? Check out these eats to avoiding eating back all the cals you’ve burned walking from Samsung to Bud Light…20 times.

Lifeway Culture Shoppe – Healthier than ice cream, kefir is a great way to cool down if you’re craving a frozen dessert. Plus, you can layer it up with fruit or other toppings if you’re scared of the tang (but don’t be!)

The Goddess and the Grocer – Fresh ingredients and small portions make this a safe bet for the conscientious eater.

Proceed with Caution
The ones I haven’t had much success with. If you go for it and find yourself thinking “that was the worst $8-15 I ever spent,” well, I tried to warn you.

Tank Noodle – Though the restaurant is beloved, their festival versions are — in my experience — just…not good. Expect clumpy dry noodles served kinda like slop. (Sorry, Tank Noodle, I know this does not necessarily reflect on your restaurant!)

Rainbow Cone – This is always a fan favorite, but it’s gotta be because it’s just so weird and big ’cause I do *not* like my orange sherbet with mint chocolate chip. If you’re into that, by all means, go ahead and wait in that long ass line.

Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs (and, really, all barbecue) – I have had exactly 0 experience with Robinson’s, but the idea of messy ribs/no sinks to wash off/stick hands in a dusty festival sounds miserable to me.

Lou Malnati’s – If you have to do it, just go to one of their brick & mortar restaurants for lunch or something.

Dia De Los Tamales – While my gut says tamales are a good street food, the idea of dry or cold tamales is unappealing. Implementation is crucial here, and the restaurant itself has mixed reviews.

Graham Elliot Bistro – Destined to be overpriced. Plus, Graham Elliot just annoys me ever since his bistro was so not cool about accepting a Gilt coupon. No one made you put out a Gilt coupon, assholes.

Kilwins Chocolates, Fudge & Ice Cream – The moose is cute and all, but Kilwin’s on a normal basis is nothing to write home about, let alone in 95 degree heat.

Disclaimer: This list is non-sponsored.

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This Blog is Stupid.

Lately, amid seemingly constant acts of terrorism, racism, homophobia, and police brutality, I have found myself questioning the frivolity of my food obsession, this blog, and the pressure to be ridiculously active on social media. As I turn up my nose at those who like Stan’s Donuts, a large majority of the world will never ever be able to taste let alone contemplate where they can get the best doughnut because of the discriminatory reality they live in and the infinitely more dire decisions and fears they must face daily.

I do not kid myself that my “trials and tribulations” are even remotely as important as those faced by the majority — I repeat — the majority of the world, the other (more than) half that is only shown in the media when it can boost ratings and scare the rich and white. I realize what an absolute fucking privilege it is that I can sit on the internet for an hour researching where to go for dinner or debate whether to take an apartment because the kitchen doesn’t face the living room.

However, I know I must recognize that I have this immense privilege and, while I can absolutely enjoy and appreciate how lucky I am for my series of life events — the parents I was born to, the country I was born in, the opportunities I was given — I cannot turn my back on the realities of others and pretend it is not my problem. I am horrified by the attack in Turkey, the bombings in Baghdad, the murders — to only name a few — of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and Laquan McDonald, the deaths in Dallas, the mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, and the constant trauma of those who live with fear or violence or hunger or poverty daily because of viscous, repeating cycles that have stripped them of opportunity, hope, and piece of mind.

From the process of cooking to the concept of a meal, I love food because it is such a connecting force. It is an opportunity to slow down, to connect with past and present, to bond with friends and family who are close and with people in far away lands. Eating is an opportunity to embrace humanity. It is a beautiful intersection of necessity and art. For me, it is the cornerstone of what is good in the world. Food is fleeting. Within minutes, a painstakingly created meal can be gone. And yet, people pour care and consideration into every detail. How is life any different? Every single one of us is only here for a little while, but every single one of us should be given the opportunity to be nurtured and given the utmost attention and respect and opportunity to flourish regardless of our short time here.

I’m constantly evaluating what I can do to improve the lives of others, to give others the same chance to work their way up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. There are the “easy” ways — financial assistance, sharing a Facebook post, changing a profile picture — that are all helpful in their own way. But what are the hard ways? How can I ensure that at least a few more people in this world get to enjoy the things I do. I’m truly asking, because I don’t even want to begin to pretend I know exactly what is needed and how I can best support all of the those who are suffering as a result of these terrible occurrences and are constantly affected by systemic discrimination or what I can do to help change their reality. But what I do know is that I would love to be in a world where the intricacies of food can be contemplated by more people, where a parent does not have to worry about how to get food for their family but instead how to best prepare it, where all races do not fear law enforcement as if in a dystopian novel but rather have access to fresh produce at a local grocery store, where a teenager’s mind doesn’t have to be filled with awareness of gang lines but rather contains accurate information about the nutrition value of various foods, and where more people have enough well-being to contemplate where to get the best doughnut.

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Read This, Not That: July 5, 2016

The first day back at work after a long weekend seems to always go hand-in-hand with rampant procrastination. Instead of browsing Facebook, distract yourself with these interesting reads:

“The results suggest a surprising diversity of opinion, even among experts. Yes, some foods, like kale, apples and oatmeal, are considered “healthy” by nearly everyone. And some, like soda, french fries and chocolate chip cookies, are not. But in between, some foods appear to benefit from a positive public perception, while others befuddle the public and experts alike. (We’re looking at you, butter.)”

-Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz, “Is Sushi ‘Healthy’? What About Granola? Where Americans and Nutritionists Disagree,” The New York Times

“Who would go to a restaurant to eat Frosted Flakes—and pay $6, maybe even $8 for it? What if the bowl was topped with a sprinkle of lemon zest, toasted pistachios and fresh thyme, and was singularly delicious?”

-Jane Black, “Kellogg’s Cereal as Dining Event? Welcome to the Experience Economy,” The Wall Street Journal

“…I’ve never had even the remotest desire to visit any of the out-of-the-way destinations where Fieri and his convertible end up. And yet, I keep watching.”

– Hua Hsu, “The Accidental American Genius of Guy Fieri,” The New Yorker

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