Monday, August 2, 2010

STAGE BITES: The Weekly Dining & Drinking Guide

Raphael Saadiq performs at "Lollapalooza" Friday.

Every Monday look for the week's top performances paired with the best deals before and after the show:

Lollapalooza at Grant Park. An all-star lineup of musical acts are set to perform at this annual, three-day festival. Highlights on the main stages include Raphael Saadiq (2-3pm Friday), Lady Gaga (8-10pm Friday), Green Day (7:45-10pm Saturday), Erykah Badu (5-6pm Sunday) and Soundgarden (8-10pm Sunday). August 6-8. Get tickets here.

Epic Burger: Of course you'll be able to dine on awesome eats from Lolla's first-ever Chow Town, but just in case you want to get away from the crowds, head here for one of their delicious, all-natural burgers paired with hand-cut fries. Proximity to venue: Five-minute walk.

The Gage: Since it's so close to the fest, we expect the bar to be super packed, but squeeze in anyway for cocktails and a snack. We're especially fond of the Buttermilk Fried MacFarlane Pheasant Thighs, spicy sausage and heaving portion of mussels. Proximity to venue: Five-minute walk.

Terrace: Look for every rooftop in the city to be jumpin' all weekend, particularly this one perched on the sixteenth floor of the Trump hotel. They're doing specialty sliders in prime rib, turkey or lamb loin, plus bubbly cocktails like the Violet Paradis, made with St. Germain, Crème de Violette, prosecco and an orange sugar rim. Proximity to venue: Five-minute cab ride.

A yummy selection of Terry's Toffee to take on your next picnic. (Photos: Terry's Toffee)

Love's Labour's Lost at Oak Park Festival Theatre. Shakespeare's light comedy about war between the sexes is a first-time production by Oak Park Festival Theatre. Through August 21. Get tickets here.

Big Star: Get one of those insulated bags that keeps food hot and pick up a stack of tacos from this Wicker Park sensation. All are under $3, but our absolute favorites are those made with marinated, spit-roasted lamb shoulder, wood-grilled chicken thigh, wood-grilled basa and the crispy braised pork belly. Maximum order at window is 20. Get a sack of housemade chips and guac to go, too.

The Brown Sack: Get gourmet sandwiches to pile into a picnic basket: organic peanut butter & banana; a Cajun "Po Boy" with spiced turkey and ham; and a classic BLT with shrimp and avocado. Oh, and don't forget a container of the apple-ginger cole slaw.

Terry's Toffee: Since you cannot go to a picnic without a few sweet treats, you should stop by this West Town favorite for a package of their yummy, handmade toffee in flavors like Lemon Paradise, Orange Blossom, Peanut Butter Chocolate or Peppermint Pistachio Crunch.

A custom-designed picnic basket from Goddess and Grocer. (Photo: Goddess and Grocer)

Under Milk Wood at Theater On The Lake. Caffeine Theatre brings back Dylan Thomas' dark comedy about the dreams and waking lives of a fictional Welsh town. Runs August 4-8. Get tickets here.

Goddess and Grocer (Lincoln Park): If you don't have time to pack a picnic basket, they'll do it for you here with these signature packages. Choose from popular options like As American as Pie (fried chicken, potato salad), Reef’n’Beef (jumbo shrimp cocktail, beef tenderloin) or Mediterranean Mood (chicken Marbella). Prices vary $15 to $60 per person.

Southport Grocery & Cafe: Pick up some of their famous cupcakes for your basket. They're simple, topped with a heavenly vanilla or chocolate frosting, and $2.25 each.

Sable Kitchen & Bar: We hear that even if you're not a fan of beef jerky, Executive Chef Heather Terhune's house-made snacks will turn you over to the dark side. They're $2-$3 and go well with an ice cold beer.

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