What to Eat at Pitchfork Fest
Put a fork in us.
April 30, 2014 | Festival | May 2014
Every year hundreds and hundreds of music, dance, and food lovers descend upon Chicago for the festival season. Running from May to September, out of towners gather for Lollapalooza, Taste of Chicago, Summer Dance, and, of course, Pitchfork. I have to admit, I don’t know much about music. At least not the music that’s being featured at Pitchfork. I know most of the artists from hearing their names repeated by my more hip friends. What I do know (and love) is food. Combining these two passions (food and Chicago), I’ve been granted the super secret (at least for now) incomplete list of food vendors to be featured at Pitchfork. Check out the list, numbered in order of places you should be most excited about, including who they are, what they do best, and whether or not you should buy their nosh as you sweat your ass off in the Chicago sun.
1. The Chicago Diner
Behold, Chicago’s number one vegan diner! These guys are a personal favorite primarily because I’m vegan. This is the spot to hit if you’re looking for some tasty healthy food or if you have special dietary needs (gluten-free included). Don’t fret, though, meat eaters and other common folk, they specialize in making vegan and vegetarian food delicious for those of you that think all vegan food is shit. Having made an appearance at Pitchfork since 2012, Chicago Diner is a festival favorite. Best known for their vegan milkshakes, they’ve been rated best milkshake (vegan and non-vegan) by essentially everyone who’s ever had one. If you’re looking for something cool, delicious, and sweet (and filling) stop by in between sets. In addition to their milkshakes, their burgers and sandwiches are mouth-watering good (my non-vegan boyfriend loves ‘em). I recommend the BBQ Bacün Cheezeburger, the Portobello Truffle Melt, and the Philly Cheezstaek (though they’re famous for their Radical Reuben). Always get their sweet potato fries as your side! For lighter fare, their Harvest Salad (with cranberries, apples, walnuts, and red wine vinaigrette) and Taco Salad are delicious and filling. Be warned, they’re expensive (think, $9.99 on average per dish) but their food is high quality, incredibly healthy, and superbly delicious.
2. The Rice Table
This Indonesian catering company has served up delicious eats at Pitchfork since 2011. A menu from one of their pop-ups boasts dishes such as beef in spicy coconut curry (Rendang Dagin), spicy stir-fried tofu with onions, garlic, red peppers, and bean sprouts (Tumis Tahi Tauge), deep fried beef and potato fritter stuffed inside of a jalapeño (Frikadel Jagung), and spicy stir fried green beans with ancient peppers and coconut milk (Sambal Goreng Buncis). I’d say pay them a visit if you’re in the mood for something a little heavier than regular concert fare and only if you’re feeling adventurous. Almost every item on the menu boasts “spicy” in the title.
3. Chubby Wieners
As a vegan, it’s hard for me to not rank these guys last. Their menu boasts “oversized weiners”: Chicago-style chili cheese dogs, polish sausage, italian beef, burgers, and fish filets. I’d suggest this tent if you’re thoroughly starving to death and need meat stat. From “The Chubby Hungry Man Burger”, a triple-sliced burger with all the fixin’s and fries, to “The Cubby Grecian Pita”, a quarter pound of beef seasoned with a mountain of oregano and loaded with tomatoes, onions, fries, cheese, and “chubby cucumber sauce”, this menu is clearly not for the faint of heart (heart attack puns intended).
4. The Homemade Pizza Company
Yet again another staple from previous Pitchfork festivals, The Homemade Pizza Company is essentially exactly what it sounds like. They make build-your-own pizzas, calzones, and salads. Look for these guys if you’re in the mood for simplicity. You can grab a slice of something traditional like pepperoni or perhaps something more adventurous like The B.L.T. (bacon, spinach, aged Parmigiano-Reggiano and a bit of roasted garlic). These guys have a chain of places all over the city, the premise usually being that they make you a pizza from scratch and then you take it home and bake it yourself. Vegetarian options available!
5. Dark Matter Coffee
The folks over at Dark Matter Coffee roast all their own beans, sell their coffee in bulk as well as by the cup, and are loved by coffee aficionados. With complicated blends such as “Unicorn Blood Espresso” (traditional northern Italian espresso inspired with Robusta bean and heavy with indian and Sumatran coffees as condensed from their menu) and Head Zeppelin (a northern Italian inspired espresso, dark chocolate and walnut aroma, creamy peanut butter body, Jammy strawberry and raspberry jelly mouth-feel and finish), stop by these guys if you’ve inhaled a little too much “second hand” weed smoke and are in need of an extra kick.
Margeaux Perkins has made it her life's mission to never be described with the terms "shy", "boring", or "quiet". She tries to find happiness in the little things in life, like making her boyfriend's lunch with the early morning sun peeking through the windows or going pee after holding it in for too long. Writing has been her thing since she wrote her first short story at age 12. It was an 18-page Microsoft Word Document about a 20-something New York gal who falls in love with her male best friend. She's been tickling the backlit Mac ebonies ever since.
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