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« Top Chef in My Backyard The Fish Guy! »

Event Tue Jul 17 2007

Pitch Fork-Full

Another summer, another Pitchfork. The out-of-town hipsters have cleared out and the empty WaterPlus bottles have been cleared from the field at Union Park, and the Chicago music scene takes a breather before Lollapalooza. Much has already been said in other, more appropriate forums about great performances despite the sound problems, the calm and happy crowd, and Of Montreal lead singer Kevin Barnes's outfit (or lack thereof) so let us turn our hymnals, children, to Festival Food and the Urban Music Scene.

While I admit I am drawn moth-like to the seductive flame of the cheese curd, wherever it may be purveyed, I tried to at least shop around for my afternoon Pitchfork sustenance. The number of vendors was up from last year, and included local stand-by's Wishbone and Connie's Pizza, as well as two separate curry tents (up from last year's single booth), a Whole Foods mini-market, beer rep Goose Island, a Big Bite catering stop, and several more. The most mysterious, to my unfamiliar palate, and charmingly staged, however was the Cevapcici booth.

If it's not clear above, the banner advertises the recipe: 1/2 beef, 1/4 lamb (sheep?), 1/4 pork, garlic and salt and pepper, dished up on a fresh baked roll with raw onions and a vivid red pepper and eggplant sauce. A little cryptic, perhaps, and while I tend to shy away from overly opaque ingredient lists, the basic idea of cevapcici comes clear when you see it being grilled over a hot bed of coals. Like a cross between meat loaf and sausage, and perhaps the classier cousin of cafeteria "mystery meat," cevapcici is derived from the Turkish kebab, and sprung up as a popular food along the Adriatic coast. The combination of beef and pork is more characteristic of the Macedonian variety called kebapi. Lamb seems to be an extra, though obviously welcome addition to the standard recipe. At Pitchfork, it was served sandwich style in a single leaf of aluminum foil, putting the neighboring Cheese Curd and Fair Food Emporium's styrofoam trays and limp, character-less hamburger buns to shame.

Of course, in the clutches of the eating frenzy and ensuing food coma (not pictured here) that the cevapcici visited upon us, we forgot to ask who exactly had thought to put it up for sale. There are several restaurants in Chicago that serve up cevapcici, however, if you're curious:

2547 W. Lawrence Ave.
(773) 275-2707

Balkan Restaurant
2321 W. Lawrence Ave.
(773) 878-7764

Fontana Bosnian Bakery and Grill
3424 W. Irving Park
(773) 279-9359

Or just wait till Pitckfork next year. Given the success of the curry stands, maybe two cevapcici stands will pop up next year.

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Dutch101 / July 17, 2007 1:26 PM

That was some good grilled meat! Plus, the bun thing was very nice too. I am not a huge fan of the weird red sauce (in general), but it kind of worked with this concoction. They need about four more food options to thin out the lines a little next year. Besides, it is a no risk thing for them (if they run it like most festival promoters, who take a percentage of gross).

Donny B / July 17, 2007 2:47 PM

If I'm not mistaken, they were also at the Folk $ Roots Festival/Lincoln Square Sidewalk Sale this past weekend. They looked delicious, but I passed them up and now I'm regretting it. Thanks for the info!

Donny B / July 17, 2007 2:48 PM

If I'm not mistaken, they were also at the Folk & Roots Festival/Lincoln Square Sidewalk Sale this past weekend. They looked delicious, but I passed them up and now I'm regretting it. Thanks for the info!

Donny B / July 17, 2007 2:49 PM

Whoops, sorry about that.

delk / July 17, 2007 4:40 PM

They were great and sadly they sold out on Saturday. The woman running the booth told me that they were at the Lincoln Square fest that Donny B mentioned.

One of the workers also said they sold out Sunday as well and had to send for more.

Funny that their line was long but the line for gloppy cheese Connie's pizza (and I do like their pizza) was so short. Seemed like something a bit too heavy to subject my gut out in the sun...

dan / July 17, 2007 5:21 PM

You should have been in the VIP section...Free Chipotle for everyone!!!

Vera / July 19, 2007 12:57 PM

Mmm. Cevaps: the holy trinity of meat. The ex-Yugoslavs each make it a little different. My fave includes lamb and garlic. There's no photo of the cevap vendor at Pitchfork but the booth looks like the Croatian cevap king's (also a local musician).
The pepper/eggplant relish is called Ajvar (eye-var). If I'm too lazy to make my own I buy mine at Devon Market (Devon and Clark area). I have to buy the Bosnian bread while I'm there (round loaves, steaming from the oven). Most Middle Eastern and Greek stores will also carry ajvar. There are a few northwest side places to buy cevaps to grill at home: Beograd Meat Market, 2937 W Irving Park Rd, 773-478-7575; Lalich Delicatessen, 4208 W Lawrence Ave, 773-545-3642; and Sandy's Bakery & Deli, 5857 W Lawrence Ave, (773) 794-1129. I haven't been to Sandy's Restaurant, apparently buffet style, 7021 W Higgins Ave, 773-467-4700. Those shops listed are Serbian, I think the Croatian shops/restaurants are in Chicago's east side or Indiana.

Robin / July 19, 2007 2:01 PM

There is also delicious Cevapi at Cafe Effe in Lincoln Square.
2030 W. Montrose Ave., Chicago
Tel: (773) 334-3436
Is it fair to describe it as Eastern European kefta kabob?

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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