Graham Elliot Bowles on Monday offered a sneak peek -- albeit an air-conditioned, highly edited, paired-with-cocktails peek -- of what to expect foodwise at Lollapalooza in August and, well, the kids will be eating well.
Passed platters at Bowles' River North restaurant held sopes cradled with pork belly and black beans from Big Star (below); sliders with bacon, cheddar and squiggly-soft quail eggs on fat pretzel rolls from Kuma's Corner; layered pork and pickled veggie bao from Sunda; plump shrimp with a tomato and peach relish from the Southern and the now-famous corndogs and truffled popcorn from Bowles. A cantilevered tabletop contraption, meanwhile, held several varieties of cupcakes from the Gold Coast cupcake boutique more.
And while no one was accusing Bowles (or the cooks from the aforementioned restaurants who also were present) of skimping, he promised heartier portions at the actual music fest, which runs Aug. 6 through 8 in Grant Park.
Thirty restaurants now are in the lineup at Lolla's so-called Chow Town, all of which "are focused on the indie spirit," said Bowles, who last year made such a splash cooking backstage for Lolla founder Perry Farrell, he was tapped to be culinary director this year. (Farrell also was on hand Monday, looking even tinier in person than in print.)
This has been the summer of Bowles. There was the mini-media blitz this past week, with appearances on ABC's Nightline and a Q&A in the New York Times Monday. Next week, Fox debuts the Gordon Ramsay series "Masterchef" with Bowles as judge. Of course, there's Lolla.
But sadly, we'll have to wait a big longer for Grahamwich, Bowles' 20-seat sandwich 'n' soft serve shop, slated for 615 N. State -- at least til September, he says.