Chicago Sun-Times
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Foodapalooza (Pizza and Hot Dog edition)

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There are certain inalienable truths about this year's Lollapalooza:

*By day's end those Chicago Transit Authority air conditioned "cooling buses" are going to be chillier than any of those "tall boys" o' beer you're lining up for.

*The laws of supply and demand dictates that there are flasks on the market that look just like Blackberries. (Though someone should have advised the young hipster pingponging off other concertgoers on the way to Green Day not to alternately drink and scream out how she loaded the booze in to her nifty find. Unless the point is to draw the attention of security. As far as I could tell, she lucked out this time.)

*Graham Elliot, local chef to a U.S. president, has assembled a lovely lineup of local eateries serving up some fine trendy food (pork belly, anyone?) but an unscientific polls show concertgoers love their hot dogs and pizza...

On the Brown Line train ride in today, a group of friends bound for the mega music fest was lamenting the rain and poring over the Lollapallooza food offerings in their program. One said "You know, there's straight-up Italian beef, and Viena Beef hot dogs - that's what I'm getting." Am not sure where she got the "Viena Beef" reference, but I'll snoop around and find out if that's true.

That's not to take away from the Rock 'n Roll Noodle Company's Chop Chae - lovely vermicelli noodles, cabbage, sweet onion, carrot and spinach ($7) in the Farmers Market section of the Grant Park festival. Or one of my faves -- Crescent Foods' Benevolent Burrito: Sweet potatoes, brown rice, black beans wrapped in a wheat, slightly sweet tortilla. Or even Graham Elliot's easy-to-transport lobster corn dog with a light dressing of lemon aioli ($9).

But dang, we are a buncha Bill Swerski sausage- and pizza-snarfing Superfans out there. Consistent lines in front of the stalls for Franks 'n Dawgs, Haus of Sausage, as well as Connie's Pizza and Lou Malnati's. This is not a criticism. The Haus bratwurst was awesome - and flying off the grill. But it's interesting to watch the throngs of music lovers hauling hot dogs and slices of sausage and cheese pizzas to the various stages. No one can argue with a $9 lobster corn dog (head to Maine and a lobster roll with about as much meat as Elliot's dish will set you back $12), but if you're a little light in the wallet after paying big bucks to get in to the concert the pizza especially is more economical: $5 deep dish cheese or sausage slices at Connie's or $3 thin crust slices at Lou Malnati's might be a bit more manageable.

OK, so the rain's gone, as is much of my cash. And the clock is running out on this year's Lollapalooza. Going to spend a little more time listening to music today than chowing down.

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Janet Rausa Fuller

Sun-Times Food editor Janet Rausa Fuller is always thinking about her next meal.

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This page contains a single entry by Lisa Donovan published on August 8, 2010 12:51 PM.

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