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David Lissner
for restaurants

Food fight, free fest and other morsels

Whole Foods boycott

Do politics affect your grocery shopping? Since at least the 1960s, when Cesar Chavez asked shoppers to stop buying grapes in support of migrant farm workers, the boycott has been a powerful tool of consumers for influencing change in the marketplace.

The latest movement is against Whole Foods, long the darling of upscale, educated foodies who support environmentalism, care about natural foods and promote animal rights — in short, liberals. But after the granola-grocer giant’s right-wing CEO, John Mackey, blasted Democratic health-care reform proposals in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, pushing for one that would benefit insurance companies and other fat cats, progressives are calling for a boycott.

For some, this merely the last straw, given Mackey’s past peccadilloes, which have included bashing rival firms under a pseudonym, pushing vendors around and likening unions to herpes. Formed just a week ago, the Boycott Whole Foods Facebook group now has more than 21,000 members.

Glenwood Arts Fest

Free fest. Liberals will be out in force this weekend for the Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest, which centers around the proudly leftist Heartland Cafe complex in Rogers Park, but the event is apolitical. An eclectic music lineup on three stages ranges from Ifficial Reggae to The Polkaholics; over 100 artists and merchants exhibit; and theatrical performances include the Dr. Gesundheit Clown Therapy Show, Chicago Mask Ensemble and Lifeline Theatre’s “Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle.”

Free wine. Stop by Binny’s in River North between 4 and 7 p.m. today for a free tasting of Torbeck wines from Australia, and meet Export Manager Andrew Tierney.

Fuchsia fizzle. After a single dinner that received mixed reviews, Chef Andrew Forlines has given up on his Soylent Fuchsia project and moved back to Colorado — due, his Web site says, “to ineffable reasons.”

Burgers beckon. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse in River North and Lincolnshire continues its “5 for 6 till 7” bar menu, now including $6 hand-crafted offering, grilled to order and served on a challah bun with sharp cheddar cheese and brown-sugar glazed bacon and hand-cut fries, half the regular price. The promotion offers five cocktails, wines by the glass and appetizers for $6 each until 7 p.m. nightly.