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MusikFEAST 2019

By Jon Lunger, Director of Marketing, ArtsQuest

hotdog

One Man’s Culinary Voyage Through Musikfest

Working for ArtsQuest gives me and my fellow co-workers the opportunity to eat almost all of our meals at Musikfest for 10 (this year 11) days straight. I’m talking lunch, dinner, second-dinner, and more than likely a ‘snack-cident’ or two, every single day. At least that’s how I do it.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been documenting and sharing my ridiculous ‘fest eating “achievements” with my friends and family on social media. This year I have decided to ramp it up a notch with this official blog, which I fully intended to update daily with a recap of all my dining adventures. We’re also going to be filming and sharing some short videos of me eating different menu items over the course of the ‘fest, because who doesn’t enjoy watching a chubby dude in his 30s eating and talking with his mouth full?

Hopefully my gastronomic adventures turn you on to some new ‘fest food favorites. At least that’s how I’m justifying my own personal festival of eating.

Welcome to MusikFEAST. May the calories be ever in your favor.

-Jon

Saturday, 8/10/19

We shot a top secret ‘fest food video project today that we can’t wait to share with you down the road. Because of that, I didn’t get pictures of what I ate, but the list is quite impressive. Everything on here is delicious and comes with my stamp of approval.

Can anyone bring me a salad tho?

  • Aw Shucks – Aw Shucks Style Roasted Corn
  • Hummus Pizza – Wood Fired Pizza
  • Strawberry Smoothie in a Pineapple
  • Jumbo Glazed Donut – FryDay Concessions
  • Red Wine Braised Short Rib Poutine – The Flying V
  • Mac & Cheese with BBQ Chicken Grilled Cheese Sandwich – Meltdown Gourmet
  • Hot Dog Egg Rolls – Van Pelt Hot Dog Company
  • Yella BBQ Chick’n Cone – Chick’n Cone
  • Beef Shish Kabob – Hogar Crea
  • Maine Lobster Roll – Harvest Specialty Catering
  • Belgian Waffle Sundae – Bethlehem Dairy Store
  • Fried Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich – Mack Truck Stop
  • Wiz Kid Cheesteak – Wiz Kids
  • Pierogies – Wiz Kids

Friday, 8/9/19

I’m beginning to want a salad, kinda.

Today was an intentionally lighter day, as I’m preparing for a video shoot tomorrow that requires copious amounts of eating.

The Bobby – Meltdown Gourmet, Wells Fargo Festplatz

This was the perfect lunch time snack or appetizer. Grilled cheese with American and provolone cheeses, pesto sauce, tomato, bacon, avocado.

The creaminess of the cheese and the avocado is contrasted nicely by the crunchy bacon. Not too heavy of a sammy too (despite obvious presence of multiple cheeses and the requisite butter needed to grill it up). Really nice tomato in this too.

Crab Cake Sandwich – Sherry’s Crab Cakes, IBEW Local 375 Volksplatz

I had to get another one of these. So fresh. So crabby. So exactly what I want from a crab cake.

I CANNOT EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH – Get the coleslaw for a blast of tang and a nice added crunch.

PRO-TIP: I was talking with the fine folks working at Sherry’s today and whilst they prepared my sandwich three separate people came up and ordered the Creamy Crab Chowder. This didn’t make sense to me. It’s hot. They offered me a sample and informed me that I need not worry about dairy, as their soup is both dairy and gluten free. I slammed the sample down and I get it. That’s a steaming hot bowl of awesome, regardless of what temperature it is outside.

Chicken Quesadilla – El Tlaloc, T-Mobile Plaza Tropical

This is the second item I’ve had from the fine folks at El Tlaloc, and once again, the pico is the real hero.

Don’t get me wrong, the chicken was awesome – the natural juices of the chicken mixing with the tomatoes… oh boy. Tasty, tasty, tasty.

SECRET MENU CREATION: CODE NAME “ROYALE WITH CHEESE” – The FÜD Truk, SteelStacks

Take a Brown & White roast beef sandwich and have them stuff it into their grilled cheese. Trust me, you’re going to want to add me to your Christmas Card list after you eat this.

Brisket Sandwich – Baby Blues BBQ, Highmark Community Stage on Air Products Town Square

This brisket is thicccccc, son.

Great portion of crazy smoky beef brisket, topped with coleslaw. I went for a 50/50 blend of this sweet and hot BBQ sauce, and I stand by that as the way to do it. It gives you just the right amount of kick, but a little bit of brightness that helps it jive with the slaw on top.

Cheesesteak Eggs Rolls – Mack Truck Stop, Air Products Americaplatz at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks pres. by Coordinated Health

Whoops. I had some more of these.

Thursday, 8/8/19

Does anyone have any antacids? Hook me up, please and thank you.

Long Vienna Dog – Karl Ehmer’s, Wells Fargo Festplatz

File under best ‘Best Kept Secret,’ because not enough people know about the majesty of this wiener. Karl Ehmer’s is slingin’ some of the finest tubed meats you can find – their wursts are the bests, for sure – but it’s their Long Vienna Dog that has become a ‘fest must-eat for me.

I get mine with kraut on top, the a healthy amount of spicy mustard. This ain’t no bargain-basement dollar-dog night fare either, this is world-class friggin’ quality, y’all

Also, this bad boy is comically huge, which is great because I’m basically a child.

Lobster Mac & Cheese – Harvest Specialty Catering, Martin Guitar Handwerkplatz

The Lobster roll’s from Harvest Specialty Catering are a gosh darn delight, so you know I had to try the lobster mac.

I’m always very wary of Lobster Mac & Cheese. It’s one of those items that always sounds good in theory, but I find most restaurants tend to disappoint. There’s either not enough lobster or the cheese overpowers everything. THAT IS DEFINITELY NOT THE CASE HERE.

The chunks of lobster are way bigger than I was expecting, and plentiful too. They do a great job of distributing them throughout the enter portion (not just on top). The cheese is light enough to compliment the lobster, while not dominating it, so what you get is a surprisingly not-heavy, cheesy lobster party in your mouth. There’s some veg in their too (celery? Onions?) that gives it a nice contrasting crunch throughout.

Restaurants – pay attention! THIS is how you’re supposed to do lobster mac!

Gyro – Theo’s Gyros, T-Mobile Plaza Tropical

It’s the Mount Olympus of Gyros… the standard by which all other Gyros are held to… Theo’s reigns supreme in my heart and in my stomach.

I’m running out of ways to describe foods that are perfect, so I leave you with this… The classic Gyro that Theo’s is making will surprise and delight even the most skeptical among us. It’s the food version of the spirit that finally makes Scrooge change his miserly ways.

Woof, that metaphor was truly atrocious. My apologies.

Roasted Seasoned Corn – Aw Shucks Roasted Corn, Martin Guitar Handwerkplatz, T-Mobile Plaza Tropical, Air Products Americaplatz

Another all-time ‘fest great.

I believe Aw Shucks is the number one selling food item at Musikfest, many years running, and for good reason.

Portable. Delicious. Slightly spicy. Undeniably buttery. If you don’t have an ear of Aw Shucks roasted corn, did you really even go to Musikfest?

PRO-TIP: They sell their special seasoning blend at the ‘fest. I always get a ton of it, because it’s absolutely delectable in scrambled eggs. Don’t wait until the last day though, they typically sell out of it closing weekend.

South Philly Pork Sandwich – Carolina Barbecue, T-Mobile, Plaza Tropical

A Philadelphia classic, Roast Pork Sandwiches play second fiddle to the cheesesteak, but they shouldn’t. Juicy slow roasted pork, topped with broccoli rabe, and provolone cheese, these things are well-balanced flavor machines.

Carolina Barbecue’s version was super tasty. They ran out of broccoli rabe when I stopped by, so they subbed with spinach. I missed the texture of the rabe, but I quickly forgot because they use an amazing smoked provolone on top that brought a legit tear to my eye because of how perfect it is.

Veggie Dog – Van Pelt Hot Dog Co., SteelStacks/IBEW Local 375 Volksplatz

Yo. These. Dogs. Are. Phenomenal.

If you don’t believe me, they sold out of them on Tuesday night and I had to wait until they got a delivery today to get another one. I’ve had three of these so far, and I’m far from done.

SECRET MENU CREATION: CODE NAME “ROYALE WITH CHEESE” – The FÜD Truk, SteelStacks

Today I asked the fine folks of the Fud Truk to stuff their brown & white roast beef sandwich inside their Cheese Louise grilled cheese sandwich for me.

The resulting creation is probably my life’s legacy. It’s the cheesiest, juiciest, most heavenly sandwich you’ve ever had, and I have confirmed that if you ask them for this, they’re make it for you.

YOU’RE WELCOME.

Wednesday, 8/7/19

It was a hot one then a wet one today at the ‘fest, but I’m thrilled to say I still ate my damn face off. Despite mother nature’s cruel tricks, there were some great shows too (I was reminded that it wouldn’t kill me to talk about the bands every once in a while). Shout out to Sarah Winston for my favorite set of the ‘fest so far!

SITE NOTE: I’m so freakin’ tired right now. Apologies for the shorter reviews today.

Maine Lobster Roll – Harvest Specialty Catering, Martin Guitar Handwerkplatz

This is my second of ‘fest, and if I have anything to say about it, there WILL be a third.

It was crazy humid and I was miserable, but this lifted my spirits (and is my recommendation when you think it’s too hot too eat. It’s not, you just need one of these).

This was perfect.

Cuban Sandwich – Grumpy’s World-b-q, IBEW Local 375 Volksplatz

If there is a Cuban on a menu somewhere, you better believe I’m going to try it.

Ham + Roasted Pork + Swiss Cheese + Pickles + Mustard + Cuban bread = crazy good nom-noms.

Be warned – this thing is filling, so maybe share it with a friend?

Fried Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich – Mack Truck Stop, Air Products Americaplatz at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks pres. by Coordinated Health

By now, you should know my feelings about this beautiful, perfect crunchy lover.

It started raining and I forgot to take a picture, but trust me, I devoured this. Ask our marking/pr interns, they’ll tell you.

The Brown & White Sandwich – The FÜD Truk, SteelStacks

B&W #7 for me so far. I also forgot to take a picture, but they have a sign posted on the outside of their truck keeping track of how many I eat with Ben, so you can trust me on this one.

Hot Dog Egg Rolls – Van Pelt Hot Dog Co., SteelStacks/IBEW Local 375 Volksplatz

WHAT KIND OF CULINARY BLACK MAGIC IS THIS UNHOLY CREATION?!?!?!?

Think pigs-in-a-blanket, except these don’t suck. Perfectly fried and covered in house made sweet chili sauce, this is some next level festival fusion cooking.

I would have eaten these in like 60 seconds flat, but they were hot (which is what you want), so it forced me to savor the magic (and for that I’m even more grateful).

Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves) – Bull & the Bear Restaurant

Stuffed grape leaves are my jam. Love ’em, can’t get enough.

I’m happy to report that these delicious vegan treats are great. Make sure to squeeze that lemon on them, you need the acid to cut the richness.

These count as healthy, right? #askingforafriend

Smoked Grilled Wings – Baby Blues BBQ – Highmark Community Stage on Air Products Town Square

These are so good they don’t need sauce.

Baby Blues BBQ has plenty of bangin’ sauces available, should you choose to go down that path, but these things are perfect just the way they are. So smoky with just a little bit for spicy kick at the end… ALL WINGS SHOULD TASTE LIKE FROM NOW ON.

Tuesday, 8/6/19

What a day of eating it was! I did manage to sneak in vegetables today too, and I’m hella pumped about (I know, I can barely believe it myself).

Beef Taco – Take-a-Taco, Wells Fargo Festplatz

It’s a ‘fest classic for a reason. The Take-a-Taco Taco’s power is derived from it’s soft shell. That things is magically flaky and is the perfect vessel for anything, really.

PRO-TIP: Fold the paper plate in half and use it as an oversize taco holder. Slide it along the gigantic shell and eat this puppy hunched over

Pot Roast Sandwich with Fresh Horseradish – Carolina Barbeque, T-Mobile Plaza Tropical

I tried this glorious beast thanks to a tip from our festival operations team. I don’t often (ever) like to admit they were right about something, but Ray… Steve… thank you guys for telling me about this.

Juicy shredded pot roast on a roll may not sound like much, but they let you pile on as much fresh horseradish as you want. You’l need like a dozen napkins, but you’ll be very happy with your decision to eat this monster.

Double Cheeseburger – Mr. Bill’s, Wells Fargo Festplatz


Mamma Mia this thing is the best. I had one yesterday and it was so good, I HAD to do it again.

Jumbo Hand Glazed Donut – FryDay Concessions


I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I know, I know… What can I say, I’m forever #teamsavory.

That said, HOLY CRAP THIS IS AMAZING AND POSSIBLE THE BEST BUY OF THE ENTIRE FESTIVAL!

It has as big as my damn head. MY head. I talked with the fine folks at FryDay and they let me in on the secret… they make these things fresh on site because anything worth doing is worth doing right.

It took 4 people to eat this. We were all very pleased.

The Brown & White Sandwich – The FÜD Truk, SteelStacks

Duh. Also, I forgot to take a picture.

TWO (2) Veggie Dogs – Van Pelt Hot Dog Co., SteelStacks/IBEW Local 375 Volksplatz

dogggg

I FINALLY HAD MY VEGETABLES YOU GUYS, AND I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER ABOUT IT.

After days of eating like an idiot, I set out in search of something not terrible for me, and boy howdy did this dog deliver.

I’m being 100% serious you guys. I got one, walked down the street eating it and IMMEDIATELY turned around and got another one. It’s a Field Roast vegan frankfurter with summer veggie slaw, red wine dijon vinaigrette and alfalfa sprouts AND IT IS FRIGGIN’ AMAZING.

Also, my crappy picture does not do this thing justice.

Monday, 8/5/19 – Dinner and Subsequent Snack-cidents

Fried Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich – Mack Truck Stop, Air Products Americaplatz at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks pres. by Coordinated Health

This was so good yesterday, I went back for more.

Will this take over the number one spot in my heart occupied by the Brown & White Sandwich? No, it won’t, but I’m definitely having at least one more of these before all is said and done, that’s for sure.

This sandwich is a damn delight.

Island Noodles – Air Products Americaplatz at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks pres. by Coordinated Health / Martin Guitar Handwerkplatz

A beloved classic, Island Noodles are soba noodles that are wok fired with an assortment of vegetables (which my diet sorely needed today).

These are always solid. Admittedly not my favorite ‘fest food (probably b/c of said vegetables?), but they’re tasty and there’s a reason so many people love them! I always complement mine with soy sauce and sriracha.

The Brown & White Sandwich – The FÜD Truk, SteelStacks

This was my fifth of the festival so far. You’re no longer allowed to be surprised that I ate this.

Monday, 8/5/19

Musikfest Monday is the best of Monday of the year.

I went a little overboard last night, so I’m hoping today will be a little more chill, volume wise at least. I know I’m only fooling myself though… let the eating begin!

Double Cheeseburger – Mr. Bill’s, Wells Fargo Festplatz

Known for their chicken, Mr Bill’s is also slingin’ a decadent double cheeseburger. This bad boy is on my list to eat at least once year year. I pile on a bunch of onions too. This thing is so cheesy and so juicy that there’s no need for anything else on it.

Chicken on a Stick, FryDay Concessions, Wells Fargo Festplatz

I had no intention of buying this, but as I walked by and saw them on the grill, I had no choice.

PERFECTLY grilled, served in a sweet yet savory sauce, this is a very solid choice if you’re in the market for some meat-on-a-stick.

It’s very straight forward, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious.

Sunday, 8/4/19 – Dinner and Subsequent Snack-cidents

Fried Chicken Teriyaki Sandwich – Mack Truck Stop, Air Products Americaplatz at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks pres. by Coordinated Health

As previewed before the ‘fest, this is a damn delight.

The Brown & White Sandwich – The FÜD Truk, SteelStacks

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This is my fourth of the festival so far. I’m beginning to think I may have a problem.

Chicken Gyro – The Bull & The Bear – IBEW Local 375 Volksplatz

Somehow I had gone this far in life never having a chicken gyro.

Classic lamb gyro? Hell yeah, I’ve had more than my share, but never even considered chicken for a change of pace.

Well, intrepid Musikfest website reader, I’m glad I did. Lamb will always be #1 in my heart, but this was clucking scrumptious.

Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak – Meltdown Gourmet, Wells Fargo Festplatz

I split this with Ben.

We both agree – it’s like buffalo chicken dip on a roll, in all the right ways.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday, 8/4/19

I am going to have some vegetables today. Well… it’s the thought that counts, right?

Shrimp Tacos – El Tlaloc, T-Mobile Plaza Tropical


Crazy fresh, crazy delish. PACKED with shrimp.

I always worry when getting shrimp tacos because restaurants be givin’ you like 3 shrimp. That’s definitely not the case here. One order comes with two tacos in doubled up soft corn tortillas, each taco with mucho shrimp and some of the best pico I’ve had in a very long time.

These bad boys come with sour cream, but sour cream would destroy me, so I politely passed. Their hot sauce is incredible, but test it out first. It hot.

Pollo Frito – La Pepa, Provident Bank Main Street


James Beard award winner Chef José Andrés’ La Pepa food truck is slingin’ some delicious food at the ‘fest this year. I went for the Pollo Frito sandwich. Perfectly fried chicken dressed with piparra peppers, garlic aioli, spicy tomato sauce and served on olive oil brioche.

There’s no skimping here – the chicken portion is huge and that bird is fried perfectly, so you get a very satisfying bite filled with all dem good-good natural juices.

For me, it’s the combination of the spicy tomato sauce and the garlic aioli that makes this sammie so very special.

Chef Andrés (I assume he’s definitely going to read this), I’m begging you – bottle these two sauces together and ship an oil drum’s worth of it to me. Please and thank you.

Garlic Parmesan Pierogie Fries – Take-a-Taco, Provident Bank Main Street


Buckle the heck up for this one folks, it’s a doosie.

I HEREBY DECLARE THAT THE GARLIC PARMESAN PIEROGIE FRIES ARE THE SINGLE BEST SIDE DISH EVER CREATED.

Yeah, that’s right, I said it. Ever created. We’re not talking just at Musikfest, I’m talking all time.

I believe the geniuses at Take-A-Taco slice up pierogies into thick strips, fry ’em til the outside is that perfect “blistery” kind of fried but the inside is still a ball of soft cheesey potato goodness, and then give them a generous squirt of garlic-parm sauce. They’re insanely good and insanely filling. I shared an order with two other people and was still a very happy fat kid.

Saturday, 8/3/19 – Late Night Snack-cidents

After a full day of eating, I managed to wolf down even more food last night. How am I doing today (Sunday morning)? Better than you’d think, considering the volume of consumption yesterday! Shout out to chew-able antacids – they’re the real hero here.

Late night for me was surf and turf, sandwich style, plus some Vietnamese-American fusion.

The Brown & White Sandwich – The FÜD Truk, SteelStacks

My personal count is up to three of these so far. I already told you I love this sandwich, you shouldn’t be too surprised.

PRO-TIP: Don’t immediately bite into your sandwich. Give it a minute to left the cheddar get all sexy-melty-like, so you get gooey goodness in every bite.

Maine Lobster Roll – Harvest Specialty Catering, Martin Guitar Handwerkplatz

This was a hella good lobster roll. They offer two different styles, but Maine > Connecticut.

The Maine roll is served up in the traditional cold ‘lobster salad’ style, as every lobster roll should be.

You know when people play the “what’s your last meal?” game? I’m starting to think mine might be a lobster roll.

This roll is delicious. I wanted more, but I feel that way about every lobster roll I’ve ever had, so that makes sense.

Bahn Mi Dog – Van Pelt Hot Dog Company – IBEW Local 375 Volksplatz

If you don’t mind some spice, you NEED to get this bad boy. Might end up being in my top 5 when all is said and done this year.

Van Pelt serves up a pork hot dog topped with kimchi, sriacha aioli, fresh cilantro and mint, and some black sesame seeds. It is everything I hoped it could be AND MORE.

You guys. This dogs brings the heat, the crunch, and the brightness from those fresh herbs.

10/10 will definitely get this again.

Saturday, 8/3/19

Today’s the first full day of the ‘fest, so that means more time for eating. I full anticipate regretting my decisions today, purely from a volume stand point. Ya boi gonna over-eat today.

Pepperoni Pizza – Wood Fired Pizza, Guardian Life Insurance Company of America Zinzenplatz


Good pizza is all about balance. You need the right cheese/sauce ratio, even topping distribution, and a crust with both actual flavor and structural integrity. This bad boy checks all of those boxes.

The true hero of this pizza is the crust, which -thanks to the titular wood fired pizza oven- has a light char that adds an incredibly satisfying crunch and taste to this flatbread-style pizza.

Oh and the cheese! The magnificent cheese! You get the sexy cheese pull action with every bite. This pizza deserves a trophy, and not just for participation. It’s great as a shareable snack, or you can go all LOTR/Gollum-style on it and devour your “precious” all by yourself. Either way, it’s crazy yum-yum in your tum-tum.

BBQ Chicken Mac & Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich – Meltdown Gourmet, Wells Fargo Festplatz


Take one good thing, add another good thing, and then smash it into a third good thing. That’s the recipe for success for this Frankenstein’s monster of a sandwich. Is putting mac & cheese inside a grilled cheese sandwich that already has BBQ chicken inside it ridiculous? Yes, yes it is. Is it also delicious? Heck yeah, fool.

The Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce brings some much welcomed sweet acidity to this gooey mouth adventure and really ties the whole thing together in a messy bath of saucy goodness.

PRO-TIP: You may look at this and think “I won’t need napkins,” but you will.

Yella BBQ Chick’n Cone – Chick’n Cone, IBEW Local 375 Volksplatz


Chick’n in the mornin’, chick’n in the evenin’, chick’n at supper time. When chick’n’s in a waffle cone, you can eat chicken any time.

Chick’n Cone may be the ultimate ‘fest food. It’s hand-held and easily transported. I am whatever the opposite of athletic is and I think even I could walk and eat this simultaneously.

Chopped up fried chicken is lovingly bathed in one of their various sauces and then piled high in a slightly sweet waffle cone. My go-to is the Yella BBQ sauce, it’s a mustard-based sauce that will take you on a direct train to tangtown. The chick’n is crazy tender and the thin cone gives you a nice “soft crunch” and slightly sweet kicker.

There’s a reason why they say “congratulations” when they hand you your order… it’s because you’ve won at the game of eating enjoyment.

Crab Cake Sandwich w/ Coleslaw – Sherry’s Crab Cakes, IBEW Local 375 Volksplatz


While I’m technically not ranking my meals this year, if I were, there’s no doubt this sandwich would make my top 5.

So much crab is packed into this cake, it’s all killer no filler (I always assumed Sum 41 was talking about crab cakes when they decided on that album name).

Spent the extra money and get the slaw on your sammich. It adds a cool sweetness and crunch to this perfectly grilled crab cake.

Here’s a picture of me and the guy who made my sandwich, whom I now consider a personal hero.

Friday, 8/2/19

Today kicked off at 5pm, so it’s another short day of eating. Still managed to fit objectively too much food in though, so that’s cool.

The Whiz Kid – Whiz Kids, Wind Creek Steel Stage


NOMNOMNOMNOMNOM ME LIKE THIS CHEESESTEAK. OMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOM

You guys. Holy moley. I fully admit and own up to the fact that I’m a cheesesteak snob, so this bad boy had a lot of work to do to impress me – and did it ever! The homemade ‘whiz’ they put on this is perfection. I can confirm it involves sharp cooper cheese and it’s got a little black-peppery kick to it. I shed a single tear of joy after consuming this.

They also have a couple other varieties, and yes, one involves marinara and pickles, even though (in my professional opinion) those things have no business on a cheesesteak.

Also, shout out to the Bayou Boys Hospitality Group for sponsoring The Chainsmokers show at the Wind Creek Steel Stage!

Chicago Dog – Van Pelt Hot Dog Company – SteelStacks


Earlier this year I had my first ever Chicago style dog while in Chicago. It was everything I hoped it could be and more. What seems like a random combination of condiments combines in a symphony of savory/sweet/spicy deliciousness.

1st Street may not be in the Windy City, but this dog may make you forget that, if just for a brief moment.

The Brown & White Sandwich – The FÜD Truk, SteelStacks

UPDATE: The FÜD Truk has posted a sign, keeping track of the total number of sandwiches Ben Youngerman, our Marketing Manager, and I eat over the course of the festival.

This number will easily hit double digits. At some point, I may become more roast beef than man.

Musikfest Preview Night – 8/1/19

We get an 11th night of Musikfest this year. It’s kind of like February 29th, but less dumb. Preview night is only at SteelStacks, so obviously all of my preview night dining adventures are from vendors at SteelStacks. I shouldn’t have to explain that to you, but I did anyway.

Buffalo Chicken Poutine – The Flying V, Air Products Americaplatz / Wells Fargo Festplatz

This is the first thing I officially ate at Musikfest 2019, and I gotta tell you, if I ate nothing else the rest of the ‘fest I’d still be pretty happy. Our friendly neighbors to the north were on to something when they decided to drench fries in gravy, top them with cheese curds, and call it poutine (for some reason). Our friendly friends at The Flying V found a way to make that even better, by topping it with shredded buffalo chicken, scallions and ranch.

The chicken isn’t too spicy – if you can handle mild wings, you’ll be fine. The portion is gigantic and perfect for sharing… or for one, if you can unhinge your lower jaw and shove the entire thing down your throat like I imagine a Canadian python would. You should definitely give this a try, eh?

The Flying V has two locations at the ‘fest this year. One at Air Products Americaplatz at SteelStacks and one at Wells Fargo Festplatz.

The Brown & White Sandwich – The FÜD Truk, SteelStacks

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This. Is. The. Greatest. Sandwich. Ever.

A heaping pile of juicy roast beef topped with grilled onions, melted cheddar, and garlic aioli sits triumphantly atop a lightly toasted brioche bun.

I will eat upwards of 10 of these over the course of the festival. Partly out of convenience (the job often keeps me around SteelStacks in the evening) and partly because IT MAKES MY TASTEBUDS SO FRIGGIN’ HAPPY NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM.

Hyperbole aside, it’s a very well balanced sandwich. All the ingredients compliment each other. The beef is the star, but the other people at the party truly make it sing.

Hot Dog with Peppers and Onions – Sausage Kings – Highmark Blue Shield Community Stage at Air Products Town Square

My first late night snack-cident. They absolutely piled the onions and peppers on this which made me a very happy boy. Solid dog, peppers and onions were very sweet from what I imagine was an epic sautee sesh on their flat top grill.

After one night of over-eating, I’m still feeling pretty great, which is good news since we’ve still got 10 days to go. Yes, I did end my night with some chew-able antacids.

Before the ‘Fest – 8/1/19, 10:45am

Anyone who knows me is well aware that one of my all time favorite ‘fest foods is The FÜD Truk’s “Brown & White” Sandwich. It’s well documented. One year I ate 14 of these bad boys over the course of 10 days… I have a problem. There is almost certainly one of these in my future tonight, since preview night starts at 5pm at SteelStacks.

Last year Chef Will let me on the truck and showed me how to make this perfect angel of a sandwich and we filmed it for posterity. Bon appetit.

Before the ‘Fest – 7/30/19

Last week, we stopped down to SteelStacks and got a preview of four of the offerings that will be available during the ‘fest at the Mike & Ike Bistro and the Mack Truck Stop. Below is the delicious results.

 

Kielbasa Reueben Sandwich – Mike & Ike Bistro, ArtsQuest Center

Yo. We need to talk about this sandwich. This is a classic reueben but replace the corned beef with sliced kielbasa. The final step in it’s preparation is a ride on a panini press which toasts it to perfection while melding all of the artery-clogging goodness together, for a perfect bite every time. 10 out of 10, would eat again.

Fried Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich – Mack Truck Stop, Air Products Americaplatz at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks pres. by Coordinated Health

Look, we were testing out these videos, so my reaction to my first bite is a little more reserved than this sandwich deserves. Let the record clearly state – I would eat this every night for a week and still not be tired of it. It truly is a study in contrasts. Spicy/Sweet, Crunchy/Soft, Hot/Cold. #nomnomnom

Power Bowl – Mike & Ike Bistro, ArtsQuest Center

This is not fried. It has vegetables. It’s served cold, which is a nice balance to the inevitable hot/humid Pennsylvania August weather. The thai vinagrette packs a bit of a punch, so keep that in mind before you dump the whole serving on. That said, this is a very tasty healthy oasis amidst a desert of sinful delights. Make sure you mix the sprouts in evenly and don’t finish them all in one bite like I did. You’ll thank me later, because their crunch makes this.

Cheesesteak Egg Rolls – Mack Truck Stop, Air Products Americaplatz at Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks pres. by Coordinated Health

Take one wonton, stuff with chipped steak, cheese, and onions, then deep fry. Let cool and eat. How can that be bad, right? Right. These go perfect with a mug of Yuengling Golden Pilsner and are just the thing you need when you don’t want a full meal but you still want to stuff yourself with savory bites of heaven.