Lollapalooza Food Line-up 2011: An Upscale Taste of Chicago's Trendiest.

Lollapalooza Food Line-up 2011: An Upscale Taste of Chicago's Trendiest.
Lolla’s Culinary Director Chef Graham Elliot samples one of Kuma's special burgers.

Chicago, Thursday, August 4, 2011.  Lolla turns 20 this year and she’s looking good–fresh, young and hot.  Her Chicago sibling, Taste of Chicago, turned 31 this June and is showing her age.

But wait, Lolla is a music fest not a food fest. Taste is a food festival. Mayor Richard M. Daley, made that perfectly clear early last February when he nixed the privatization plan submitted by Celebrate Chicago, LLC that proposed bringing more big-name musical acts to the aging fest.

His reason for turning down the proposal was twofold.  One was to keep the admission free. Two was that Taste was about food not music. Daley set the record straight by explaining that “visitors go down there for 12 days for food and beverages…live music is irrelevant to Taste…it’s not a music festival”, he emphasized.

Got it.  Taste: Food.  Lolla: Music.

So why is it then that Lolla the “music fest” one-ups Taste the “food fest” when it comes to food? Could it be that the best things in Chicago are not always free and privatization is not always a bad word–unless you’re talking about privatizing Chicago’s parking meters?

Could it be that choosing one of the city’s top chefs, Graham Elliot, to run the chow part of Lolla instead of having the Chicago Park District choosing the vendors, as they did for Taste, may have something to do with food offerings?

Nuff said. Let’s just agree that music fans and food lovers have a lot to look forward to at this year’s Lollapalooza kicking off tomorrow and running through Sunday in Chicago’s Grant Park. We’ll have to wait until next year to see if Taste gets its needed facelift.

Lolla-goers can look forward to over 30 vendors to keep them nourished this weekend. The crowd-pleasing lobster corn dogs and truffled popcorn from Gramwich are back. New to the music fest in 2011 is the Michelin star-rated Bonsoiree who will be cooking up a scallop motoyaki with torched ponzu aioli. Vegetarian offerings include: Elate’s watermelon jalapeño popsicle and Jam’s vegetarian French toast.  Henri and The Gage are offering respectively, Scotch Egg and the Henri Banh Mi.  Sola chef, Carol Wallack, will be serving her kalua pork with banana bread; edamame with soy-cumin-hemp seed vinaigrette; roasted beet and pineapple salad.

Some “Taste of Chicago” favorites made the cut including: Connie’s and Lou Malnati’s Pizzerias, the Original Rainbow Cone, Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs, The Smoke Daddy, Cubby Bear and Starfruit Cafe.

This year’s vendors will be located on both sides of Columbus Drive on the east side of Grant Park.  Here, drum roll please, in alphabetical order, is the complete line-up of vendors at Lollapolooza 2011:

BJ’s Market & Bakery, Bonsoirée, Burrito Beach, Connie’s Pizza, Crescent Foods, Cubby Bear, Franks ‘N’ Dawgs, Fresh Squeezed Best Lemonade, Goose Island Brewpub, Grahamwich, Greek Delights, Kuma’s Corner, Juhu Beach, Local Eats (Blue 13, Elate & Jam), Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, Mazzone’s Italian Ice, Metropolis Coffee Company, Old Towne Smokehouse, Original Rainbow Cone, Robinson’s No. 1 Ribs,  Saigon Sisters,  Salud Tequila Lounge, Sola, Starfruit Cafe, Temptation Frozen Desserts, The Gage, Henri, The Smoke Daddy, Tiparos Thai Restaurant, Tuscany on Taylor St., and Wow Bao.

Still hungry?  Stop by Lollapalooza’s on-site farmers market.

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