Monday, August 9, 2010

Lollapalooza 2010

Lollapalooza is a world class music festival held in Chicago's Grant Park for three days every August. 8 stages showcase well over 100 amazing artists from sunup to sundown.

The Lolla team also works hard to feature local Chicago restaurants for a sample of some of the best food in town. "Chow Town" was coordinated this year by Graham Elliot, a chef who put together an impressive roster of restaurants from around the city. As well, there was a "Farmer's Market" of smaller, more independent-type booths featuring fresh and organic ingredients.

Where does a gluten free eater fit into this awesome scene? Everywhere, actually!

The first thing I noticed when checking out the food options online was that gluten free choices were clearly marked on the list. I wasn't sure how this would translate at the park, however.
You can view the list here:

But once those lunchtime hungries came around, I was happily surprised to find that several booths took the care to notate which of their choices were GF.

To start, the Greek Delights booth noted that all of its choices were GF without the pita. They even used the "hip" GF notation, he he.

On the other end, Graham Elliot's booth had a gluten free watermelon gazpacho that was listed as GF and vegan. I didn't manage to snap a picture of it.

By far, the best choices were located at the Farmer's Market food court. Not a big surprise, as smaller restaurants are usually at the forefront of the gluten free scene.

Rock n Roll Noodle had two great looking choices, a spring roll and a noodle dish called chap chae.

Bleeding Hearts Bakery had a granola cup and a gluten free vegan cupcake sundae.
The cupcake sundae was actually pretty delicious! Cold and chocolatey on a hot day.

Kefir based frozen yogurt brand Starfruit was also part of the Farmer's Market choices. Their fro-yo is probiotic, meaning it has more nutritional value for your bite than regular yogurt. I had original flavor with blueberries. Very refreshing in the heat of the afternoon!

Even if they weren't notated, almost all of the booths knew which food items were gluten free, and they were careful to use fresh gloves to prepare food that I ordered.

If I had any advice for future years, it would be to have standardized notations for all of its vendors, or laminated cards for each station listing ingredients and nutritional facts.
I'd also love to see gluten free beer offered in the future!

Lollapalooza is a fantastic festival. I had an incredible weekend.
Fedoras off to Lolla for taking such great care of us in the gluten free crowd!
fireworks after greenday :)

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