Thursday, June 11, 2009

Summer in Chicago

This will be our second summer in Chicago. The city is still just awakening from a very long, snowy winter, and locals are fairly intense in their pursuit of summer pleasures. In three months (a little more if we are lucky), we have to cram in enough memories of warmth and fun to sustain us through the part of the year when the wind howls off the lake and freezes your tears on your face.

After last summer, we have a few favorite things we are looking forward to enjoying again – and a few more we missed that we hope to get to this year.

Sidewalk dining at Pizza Rustica: This small, family-owned restaurant makes pizza with really fresh ingredients and a yeasty, buttery crust. It’s BYOB only, so we walk there with our own bottle of wine. Dining on the sidewalk patio is a Chicago experience, with the el periodically screeching by overhead.

9 Holes of Golf at Waveland: Officially, this course is called the Stanley Marovitz Golf Course. But it was originally the Waveland Golf Course, and Chicagoans are stubborn this way – we still call it Waveland. This is a great 9-hole course in Lincoln Park, tucked in between Lake Michigan and Lake Shore Drive. After play, we stop at the park concession for a hot dog and a beer before walking home.

Cocktails on the Rooftop at NoMI: The Park Hyatt across from the Water Tower has a great restaurant called NoMI. But the attraction in the summer is the outdoor patio on the 6th floor rooftop. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy a sunset, along with appetizers and an apple martini. Also a good place to see and be seen.

Wendella Boat Tours: Wendella provides an interesting and educational architectural boat tour on the Chicago River. Last year we also enjoyed a special event on Venice Night, where the boat went through the locks onto Lake Michigan for a stunning view of fireworks on the lakeshore. Nothing better on a hot night than to be out on the Lake.

Green Market: Each Wednesday and Saturday morning, Lincoln Park hosts a green farmers market. Many local chefs frequent the market to provide regional fare on their menus. If you are a Top Chef fan, you may have seen the episode during the Chicago season where the chefs shopped Green Market for ingredients for their challenge. Ron and I want to have our own meal “challenge” where we each prepare 2 courses with ingredients from the market. We’ll let you know how that turns out…

Chicago Summer Dance: We meant to do this last year and didn’t. This year it’s a MUST. This is a city-sponsored event located in Grant Park. It’s an hour of free dance lessons for the masses, followed by several hours of live music, allowing people to enjoy practicing the type of dance they learned. It’s one of the most popular summer events in Chicago – and I can’t wait to go!

What’s your favorite summer event in your home town? Get out and enjoy!

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