Summer would not be complete without a concert or two at Ravinia.  This is a beautiful outdoor concert venue dating back to 1904.  There is the grand lawn where everyone sets up blankets, tables and food or you can sit under the covered Pavillion.  The concerts end up being a huge party.  There is great people watching and the beauty of the place is worth the hour trip north of Chicago. The first concert seen was The Judds. Hearing them brought back some great memories of San Antonio.  Unfortunately, this night was rainy, cold and misty.  Thank goodness the food and company made up for the dreariness of the weather. However, the second concert Hall & Oates was beyond reproach.  We arrived at 3:00 to do a little tailgating before the show only to discover that swarms of people were arriving to stake their claim on the lawn.  I really had no idea how crazy it got there.  The show was sold out and groups of people for hours came piling in.  Birthday parties, 9 ft. balloon palm trees, coolers being hauled in by a moving dolly…everyone had the “table in a bag.”

Of course, I was totally into what people were bringing to eat.  There were the ‘dudes’ who laid out their sleeping bags, Pabst Blue Ribbon beer and a bucket of KFC, then the young yuppies who drank Far Niente out of plastic glasses (I almost had a seizure over that one) and ran the gamut of Triskets with cheese to full on catered dinners.

Our menu looked liked this:

Deadly Mojitos

Guacamole and Salsa

Ad Hoc Fried Chicken

Rootbeer Baked Beans

Potato Salad

Apple Pie

Fried chicken was going to be a first for me.  The only place I knew to turn were two experts in the field…my Secundo Mama and Thomas Keller.  I made the brine first like Tom said and soaked the chicken overnight.

Then got my ingredients all in order….

And fried it up with special tips from Secundo Mama!

Oh man, was that some good chicken.  The brine made the chicken super moist, and the triple dip action made the best coating.

The other recipe I’d like to share is the Deadly Mojitos.  It came from a friend of a friend of a friend.  So who ever that friend is…muchas gracias.

You will need a 2 gallon jug to mix it in.


1.75 Liter of Bacardi Limon

1 1/2 Liters of Club Soda

3 cups (about 20 limes) freshly squeezed lime juice

2 cups Sugar In The Raw

2 packs of fresh mint, minced


Mix all in the jug and serve over ice.

*First picture from Ravinia’s website*


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