The Five Best Bites at Lollapalooza 2016

Our best tips for eating well in Chow Town


    Photography by Heather Kaplan

    Do you ever stop to smell the roses? Usually not, especially if you’re trying to fight the thousands of people rushing into Day 1 of Lollapalooza’s 25th Anniversary. But no crowd or line could break the cravings of any hungry festivalgoer when it comes to this year’s assortment of food at Chow Town. Despite the attention of competing acts from all different directions, curious foodies charged the long row of vendors to get a taste of Chicago. Honestly? If you thought you could run across Grant Park without one of your fifth senses being stimulated, or grabbing at your wallet, you thought wrong.



    Personally, I could eat breakfast any time of day. But when you’re a night owl like I am and you sleep in all the time, it’s hard to justify choosing a breakfast spot at two in the afternoon to your friends. Mad Social makes that easier for you. Your exception to breakfast arrives as a gently fried chicken filet resting on a soft waffle, topped with powdered sugar and a tender sliver of pork. No need for maple syrup since the chicken is just as sugary as the waffle, and no need to stop for your friend’s “actual lunch” requests.

    Since the combination of pork and chicken raised my blood sugar to give me the right amount of energy, I made it through the rest of the day without crashing. Which is always great to note if you plan on spending your entire day walking around the park. The next time your friends give you shit about wanting breakfast while the sun is high in the sky, either take them here, or get new friends. We’re sure you won’t have to cut to the latter.




    Stand in solidarity with your friends who are vegetarian on this dish. I’m not going to lie, I had a soy hot dog once and felt so queasy it turned me off from ever deciding to go vegetarian again, so maybe I’m biased here. But while I’m still trying to push myself to finally make the switch and not feel like an awful human being for eating meat, there are compromises. Start by sharing this dish as a snack with three to four friends, because you totally can. Tortilla chips covered in cheesy sauce, drizzled sour cream, sprinkled tomatoes, and plenty of beans, I’m actually surprised there wasn’t more meat substitute than expected. Don’t get me wrong, it’s enjoyable if you’re a cheesy kind of person — which I am. In the meantime, I’ll stick to my poultry and pork.



    Dark Matter Coffee didn’t have many options, but they obviously had coffee, and that’s all I really stopped here for a midday pick-me-up. You reach a certain point in your festival activities where you’re concerned you’ll fall asleep during a set. Don’t deny it, it happens. Well not to fear, DMC is here! Even if you don’t like your iced coffee without cream and sugar, you’ll prefer to delight yourself with a rich chocolatey yet fruity blend without all the extra goods. The only other drink you’ll down this fast is water. It’s hydrating, and keeps you on a steady ride without over-caffeinating you. Flawless.


    Pork and Mindy’s

    “Oh shit! That’s really good!” exclaimed Senior Staff Writer Dan Caffrey without hesitation. Pork & Mindy’s really knew how to seal the deal with not just one, but two entrees. Dinner can sneak up on you so fast, leaving you with endless amounts of options, and little time to choose between one set and another. However, Bao to the Pork was a perfect replacement for any burger. Two thick buns hold this hickory smoked pile of pork, carrots, cucumber, and relish for a fresh yet ample sandwich. What other perfect way to finish it off than with Pig Candy? Yeah, you heard me. Bacon, smoked for two hours, and heavily dusted with brown sugar with a dollop of ecstasy (maybe not). This meal was dynamite. I told you I’d be sticking with pork.




    “Nowadays, they can’t tell if that’s the good shit/ We’re sure man –” Woah, woah, woah, wait, not “Crack Music” … Crack Pie! Contrary to its name, we promise you won’t find that kind of white powder in it. A perfect way to top off any sweet need you may have without feeling full, this perfectly sized pie would give your Grandma’s caramel treats a run for her money (Sorry Grandma). With a firm brown sugar oatmeal cookie crust, and a soft toffee filling, this brilliantly packaged pie is a great quick bite. Bonus? It won’t fall apart all over those linen shorts you just bought. Momofuku welcomes your addiction of their original pie, just be sure to apologize to Grandma in advance.

    To check out the full list of Lollapalooza food offerings and their locations, check out this delectable directory.