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Uptown in the News  

July 4, 2003
Chicago Tribune
Vendors offer provisions for picnics in the park
By Monica Eng


Most of the featured picnics are for a big, pre-planned outing. But for those who just happen to have a blanket in their car, there are plenty of ways to put together a quick little picnic with the help of some fine vendors located near or in Chicago parks. Here are two:

Cricket Hill soccer field at Wilson Avenue and Lake Shore Drive: There used to be a great selection of Salvadoran, Ecuadoran, Ecuadoran and Mexican food here, but now the only trailer in sight is Tacos Shaday Zambrano. Still, we loved the crisp gorditas de requeson (fried cornmeal patties filled with onion, the pungent Mexican herb epozote, chiles and ricotta cheese) and the decadent gordita de chicharron, filled with fried pork meat and skin. Both are topped with lettuce and tomato; you can add excellent roasted chile or tomatillo salsas.

From Margate Park at Argyle Street and Marine Drive walk about four blocks west to Hong Xoung Bakery, 1139 W. Argyle St.; 773-878-2888: Putting together a Vietnamese picnic is a breeze at this new bakery and deli in Uptown. Start with the boxed lunches of rice, pork chop and cucumber salad or the beef with rice noodles, egg roll and vegetable salad for $4.50 each. Throw in two plump, cool Vietnamese spring rolls with sauce for $2.50 for two, a banh mit (bacon, cucumber, cilantro and jalapeno sandwich on French bread) for $2 and a papaya salad for $3.50. Finish it all with Vietnamese iced coffee ($1.75-$2.95) and bubble tea in various fruit flavors ($2.95-$3.25), then walk east to the park.

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