The aptly-named “Riot Feast” food vendor list.
When we go to Warped Tour, I usually smuggle in some granola bars because:
1. Food there is exorbitantly-priced
2. There are basically no options for vegetarians. It’s burgers and chicken strips or GTFO.
I was pretty worried about the food sitch at Riot Fest, since we’ve never gone to it before. But apparently, this year’s Riot Fest was the biggest one yet, so I don’t think a lot of people really knew what they were in for it. Which was: food trucks for daaaaays. It was the best of the county fair and local staples all lined up on one street and even the options for vegetarians and vegans were downright staggering. There was so much for even me to eat that I was sad I ran out of time!
We honestly had no time at all to do any tourist-y things in Chicago (it was literally: get up, stand in line, watch amazing bands for 10 hours, go back to the hotel and crash), so it was really awesome to still get to eat like we were vacationing in the city. And we could see the city skyline from Humboldt Park, so there was that, too.
Riot Fest didn’t start until 2pm on Friday, so we only ate once that day. Henry had some sickening duck sausage contraption and I had a fucking fat Thai-tofu wrap. This bitch was goddamn rotund, all distended from the gluttonous amounts of tofu and vegetables rammed into that sturdy wrap. It was cold and raining when I got it, and I ate it like a hobo in a snowstorm: double-fisted, jacket sleeves half-covering my hands, hood pulled up over my face, like I hadn’t eaten since that day 6 weeks ago when someone threw a can of anchovies at my forehead. I kept talking about how good it was, but really I’m not sure if I was even able to recognize tastes and flavors at that point of the day, because the weather was so miserable and we were exhausted and overwhelmed by hordes of people. But I sure as fuck felt 1000% better after that was able to quickly go back to dictating which stage we needed to slip-and-slide to through the mud.
The thought of drinking coffee at Warped Tour makes my belly ache. But last weekend at Riot Fest, the temperature fluctuated between 40-65 degrees. Coffee was welcome. Especially on Friday when it was so cold and wet that I’m not sure it wasn’t actually snowing at one point, but the line for Dark Matter was Cedar Point-levels of long. We actually couldn’t even find where it ended because there were so many people everywhere, that food lines just kind of snaked around in no real order and then disappeared into the masses. So I did my standard JUST FORGET IT!!! foot-stamp and went back to shivering beneath my flimsy, lightly-lined windbreaker. It was OK though, because I hit it up the next day before a line formed and it was delicious. Coffee is such an efficient attitude-adjuster. Henry can attest to that.
The only gripe I have is that Dark Matter apparently teamed up with the band Mastodon to make a limited edition blend that’s aged in bourbon whiskey barrels. Mastodon was playing Friday night, so I feel like this would have been an obvious thing to have available. But I know that I will be ordering a bag online, at least!
THIS CHEESE, YOU GUYS. THIS CHEESE WAS EVERYTHING. The menu:
Queijio de Coalho Brazilian-style Grilled Cheese on a Stick:
Original w/ black rum maple syrup
Hatch Chile w/ hot pepper jelly
Garlic w/ mojo de ajo
Smoked Bacon w/ pineapple chipotle
The Hatch Chile was my favorite. Also, I liked it better when I thought their name was Drunkow.
Over the course of the weekend, we had each of the top three. Surprisingly, Henry didn’t get the smoked bacon one for himself, unless that’s what he was doing one of the 8298374892759093245 times he slipped away to “pee.”
Ugh, I wish I was eating this damn stick-cheese right now. I CAN STILL TASTE IT IF I SQUEEZE MY EYES SHUT TIGHT ENOUGH.
I also buried my face into an arepa on Saturday, which is like a savory corn cake and mozzarella, cooked on a griddle. I miss arepas. I want more arepas. Fuck the pie party, let’s have an arepas affair. (Thank god Pittsburgh’s Conflict Kitchen is focused on Venezuela right now because I’m going to eat the ever-loving shit out of some arepas this weekend.)
At some point on Saturday, I also inhaled a bowl of sweet coconut rice loaded with fresh blueberries, strawberries and raspberries, so I was in a pretty mild mood. (Henry thanks you, food trucks.)
(And this is not to mention all the STRONGBOW I chugged all weekend too. Strongbow is my favorite cider in the whole entire world, and pretty much nothing was going to bring me down with that shit in my system. Not even the $7 Henry had to continually hand over for beverage tickets.)
On Sunday, I finally grabbed a grilled cheese from the Cheesie’s truck I had my eye on all weekend. I got the only one that didn’t have MEAT on it, the Caprese. A grilled cheese is no longer a grilled cheese once you start desecrating it with meat, I’m sorry. Those sandwiches need to have another name. (No offense to my carnivore bros out there.) It didn’t matter though because my Caprese was wonderful and it came with a small tub of pesto mayo, of which I made sure to scrape clean and I didn’t give a fuck who was looking. Pesto is the shit.
I also had more stick-cheese, and also a roasted red pepper and goat cheese tamale from Dia De Los Tamales, which was so good that I wish I had ordered more than one. I’m such a food-ordering fuck-up. At some point, we also ordered some baos from Wow Bao (mine was vegetable wheat, Henry’s was who cares) and they too, like everything else lined up in that park, were a mini riot fest for the mouth.
I think Henry ordered something from Big Pork, but I was way too involved in my own masticating to give his stuffed maw even a glance. I wanted him to get a Chubby Wiener just so I could tell Facebook that Henry was eating a chubby wiener but he “wasn’t in the mood for a hot dog” and I was like “Who said anything about a hot dog?”
Oh and we split a peach and bourbon hand pie from Blue Sky Bakery! I liked it but Henry wasn’t impressed, probably because it cost $4 and was really small. Every time we walked past their cart that weekend, I swear their menu kept growing and I wanted to eat it all. But….bands > food.
Oh, but we didn’t gain a single pound*. I estimated that we probably only sat down for a total of 30 minutes a day (and by “day,” I mean a Riot Fest day, which was approx. 10:30am-10:00pm; Friday was only about 12:30-9:00, though). The rest of the time was all walking, standing, running (for me), bouncing (for me). I found out afterward that it was about a mile’s distance from the Rise Stage to the Rock Stage. Contrary to the map below, there was no way to cut across the park other than following the road along the perimeter.
Which, by the way, didn’t connect into a full circle. All the water was fenced off and the road going through the middle wasn’t accessible. It was also nearly impossible to cut through the grassy areas to get to each stage, because there were ridiculously-placed VIP sections blocked off and as the days on, the population around each stage had become so dense that the only way to cut through was to put your head down and charge. It’s a miracle that Henry and I never became separated. Can you imagine? I would probably still be in Humboldt Park, laying behind a porta-potty in the fetal position.
I wish I had worn my pedometer, because it would have been interesting to see how many miles we walked each day. Saturday especially had us going from the Rise Stage to the Rock Stage more times than I would have preferred. (And one of those times, I ran most of the way because during Television’s set on the Rise Stage, I realized we were cutting it close for Saosin on the Rock Stage and I needed to BE UP FRONT FOR THAT SHIT.
So, I ran.
Henry did not run. But I was wearing a bright orange Epitaph backpack so he said he knew where I was at all times. Like I’m his child.
Thank god for accidental exercise.
*(There was a funnel cake truck there that probably would have made this statement untrue had I caved and indulged in one. Each one basically had the contents of an entire dessert cart balancing on a bed of funnel cake. AND I SAW BRADLEY SCOTT WALDEN FROM EMAROSA IN LINE FOR ONE ON SATURDAY AND ALMOST HAD A HEART ATTACK!!!!!)