In Chicago, food and music just go together. Ergo, no surprise that two big food festivals also feature bands and two mega music festivals include food vendors. Even a free summer jazz series is steps away from a slew of food counters and restaurants.
Diet after Labor Day. Head over to Grant Park July 11-15, 2018, to taste more than 70 restaurant favorites that have made Chicago a foodie town. The festival is free but tasting is by tickets. They are sold in strips of 14 for $10 (expect a $3 charge for Taste amenities). Also available are 1-6 tickets for smaller “Taste of Portions” from each food vendor. Look for pop-up restaurants, food trucks and five-day regular booths. New this year is the Taste Oasis tent, a cool AC place in the park’s Butler Field to hang out and taste. Taste Oasis is $50 for the day you choose.
Great a great mix of country music and food at the Windy City Smokeout, July 13-15, 2018. The event stretches between Grand Avenue and the Chicago River. What to expect: barbeque flavors and styles from all over including Nashville and Chicago plus such folks as Renee Blair and Brett Young. For tickets, hours and other info go to Windy City Smokeout.
Just found out there are a few free Lollapalooza tickets waiting to be won. The Boundary at 1932 W. Division St. and the Old Town Pour House at 1419 N. Wells St. have a raffle going for impossible-to-get tickets to Lolla-land.
The deal is that patrons at either bar who purchase a Red Bull anytime from July 28 through July 30 will be entered into a raffle for a pair of tickets to Lollapalooza, Aug. 5-6, 2017. For more information visit the Boundary and Old Town Pour House.
Picture yourself sitting on a deck above The Park at Wrigley, a cold glass of Goose Island Green Line in one hand and a tasty buttermilk fried chicken sandwich in the other. I did that this week after a Cubs game at the just opened Brickhouse Tavern.
I loved the old baseball personality photos and Jack Brickhouse memorabilia around the upstairs bar. I’m also in love with the “Tuna Poke.” It was a great starter of diced raw tuna, mango, watermelon and other stuff.
The Brickhouse Tavern is at 3647 N. Clark St. But you can forget the address. Merely look for it at the north end of The Park. For more info visit Brickhouse Tavern.
Writers tell their secrets
If at all interested in penning a book and selling it go over to the American Writers Museum on Michigan Avenue near Lake Street from 6:30 to 8 p.m., July 27, 2017 to hear five writers who know from experience what it takes to succeed.
Sue Baugh will talk about “Five fiction techniques for compelling non-fiction.” Cyndee Schaffer will give “Five pointers you need to know about memoir writing”
Barbara Barnett will discuss “Five reasons you need an editor.” Reno Lovison offers, “Five important tips related to book marketing.” Cynthia Clamitt will cover “Five rules of nonfiction writing.”
You might also be inspired by the exhibits in the museum. Enjoy! The American Writers Museum is on the second floor of 180 N. Michigan Ave.
Taste of Chicago has been here and gone but there are lots more festivals to feed our culinary, cultural and musical cravings this summer. With a city as rich in ethnic neighborhoods and interest in music as Chicago you would expect an almost endless list. But here are a few of the festivals to enjoy before fall’s back-top-school and cooler temps change the social calendar.
July 14 Ravenswood neighborhood
Think revolution. The French celebrate their rising up not July 4 but July 14 when the populace took over the hated Bastille prison in 1790. In Chicago, Bastille Day, also called French National Day is celebrated in French restaurants but also on the grounds of the French School translated as Lycée Français. Located at 1929 W. Wilson, the festival includes the game, pétanque to watch and learn, children’s activities, music, a DJ, a waiters’ race with trays and a child appropriate film. Attendees bring their own food for a picnic. Wine and beer will be sold nearby because the public cannot bring alcoholic beverages on the school property. Hours are 5:30 to 10 p.m. For other information visit Bastille Day.
July 14-16, West of River North
The popular Windy City Smokeout is back with more beer, barbeque booths and bands. VIP tickets are sold out but individual tickets of $40 and $45 plus three-day $110 tickets are still available. The event is at 560 W. Grand Ave.nue a block west of the Chicago River. For more information visit Windy City Smokeout.
July 14-16, Near West neighborhood
Chicago’s famed Pitchfork Music Festival returns to Union Park at Randolph Street and Ogden Avenue. The festival’s reasonable prices and predilection for featuring good bands draws about 50,000 music lovers from across the world. For hours and tickets visit Pitchfork.
July 21-23, River North
Taste of River North spreads across Kingsbury and Erie with music stages and food booths the fourth weekend of July. Hours are Friday 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For other information visit Taste of River North.
July 22-23, Sheffield Neighborhood
Now in its 29th year, the Sheffield Music Festival and Garden Walk has become a much anticipated summer event. Entered at Sheffield and Webster,the community festival asks for a $10 donation. Hours are noon to 10 p.m.. For other information visit Sheffield.
July 29-30, Wicker Park Neighborhood
Wicker Park Fest is all about neighborhood fun with music, food, crafts and children’s activities. For other information visit Wicker Park.
Aug 4-6, Jefferson Park neighborhood
Jeff Fest features is a music festival in the northwest Jefferson Park area of Chicago around 4822 N. Long Ave. For the band lineup and more information visit Jeff Fest.
Aug. 12-13, Boystown
The street-filling North Halsted Market Days returns to Lakeview with food, music and crafts centered at 3400 N. Halsted St. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For other information visit North Halsted.
Aug. 18-20, Taylor Street
Go to Festa Italiana to enjoy the culture. There will be traditional food, music, folk dances and games and, of course, meatballs. The festival is on Taylor Street from Ashland Avenue to Racine Street. Hours are Friday, 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday, noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. For other information visit Starevents.
Aug. 19-20, North Avenue Beach
The Chicago Air and Water Show, a wonderful, free event that draws folks to North Avenue B each and anywhere along the near north shoreline, features the U.S. Navy Blue angels this year along with the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights and other heart-stopping aerobatics. For more information visit City of Chicago.
Aug. 31-Sept 3, Downtown Chicago
The Chicago Jazz Festival ends the summer in Millenium Park and at the Chicago Cultural Center. Headliners include Jon Faddis, the Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio, Allison Miller Boom Tic Boom and Rebirth Brass Band. For line-up locations and times visit Chicago Jazz.
From bike riding to strawberry munching and concerts in a garden to music on a lawn, summer fun is tempting us to find our outdoor muse during or after work.
Bike to work
First, don’t be surprised if you see more groups of bikers around Chicago, this week. The annual Bike commuter Challenger is upon us asking people to ride a bike to work instead of a train or car. To participate in its fun events and “pit stops” go to Bikedown to register.
TGI M/T after work music
Then, for a different way to enjoy a balmy early evening, check out music with a Latin or Swing beat at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Different nights and different weeks feature different musical sounds and bands. For example, Mondays at 5:30 p.m. there are carillon bells and Tuesday, the music shifts over to the Esplanade for bluegrass or big band sounds.
Visit Chicago Botanic Garden Evenings for more information. The concerts are free but unless you are a member there is a parking fee per car. The Chicago Botanic Garden is east of Edens Expressway at 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe.
After-work stress-relieving music
Or get a lawn ticket (best price is ahead of time, not at the gate) to hear perfect after-work music at Ravinia Festival in Highland park.
The Julliard String Quartet is June 20. It’s in the Martin Theatre but usually those programs are broadcast on the lawn.
In the Pavilion are Gypsy Kings June 23, Common June 24, Michael McDonald and Boz Scraggs June 27 and Diana Krall June 28.
The City of Chicago is stirring some more exotic, well, at least, international and trendy, flavors into Taste of Chicago but is not neglecting comfort food or desserts or forgetting long-time faves.
Settling in along Columbus Drive (closed for the event) in Grant Park will be 67 vendors that include these 17 new-to-Taste places: American Glory, Aztec Dave’s Food truck, Ben’s Bar Be Cue, Bob Bar Truck, Brightwok Kitchen, Broken English, Cheesie’s Pub and Grub, Doom Street Eats, El Patron, Hakka Bakka Indian Kati Rolls, Just Salad, Lawrence’s Fish & Shrimp, the Little Beet table, Seoul Taco, The Cajun Connoisseur, Ukai Japanese Restaurant and Warm Belly Bakery.
Just hearing the names of these “fooderies” is mouth-watering enough to put stars on the calendar for July 5-9, 2017. But Taste aficionados can still count on getting their ribs at Robsinson’s, a slice of pizza at Lou Malnati’s and dessert fix at Eli’s Cheescake’s booths.
Yes, the event has been billed as the world’s largest free food festival but that just means no gate charge shape shifting into a crumb-snatching pigeon. Food and beverages are gotten by handing over the number of tickets required for each item the booths. Since a strip of 14 tickets cost $10, visitors would do well to purchase more than one strip.
However, checking out some of Chicago’s wonderful culinary choices is just part of Taste. There are good bands, excellent celebrity chef dinners, wine and beer gardens, dance and art events and cooking demonstrations.
Tickets starting at $19 can be purchased now for concerts at the park’s Petrillo Music Shell by Alessia Cara, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, The O’Jays, Café Tacvba and Passion Pit. There will also be local bands playing on the Bud Light Stage.
A different celebrity chef will do a three-course, sit-down dinner in an air conditioned tent each night. Tickets are $45 and must be purchased in advance.
For more Celebrity Chef dinner information and tickets and concert tickets visit Taste of Chicago.
Taste of Chicago, July 5-9, 2017, is in Grant Park on Columbus Drive from Monroe to Balbo. Hours are 11am–9pm Wednesday through Friday and 10am–9pm on Saturday and Sunday.