Friday Foodie Forecast: Al fresco dining

May 13, 2011

Summer may be another month away, but no one’s told Mother Nature. Soaring temps in Chicago are bringing about new seasonal menus, refreshing cocktails and best yet – the chance to enjoy both outside.  Al fresco patio dining can now be found throughout the city, so put on your flip-flops, head outdoors and cool off with a cold drink.

Parisian Patio Dining at Bistronomic

Bistronomic’s outdoor patio is now open where you can enjoy an al fresco Spring-friendly dinner menu and special seasonal cocktails in the heart of the Gold Coast. Seating 30 under its canopy, the patio offers guests an outside dining experience highlighting Chef Martial Noguier’s signature menu items including the savory tartine of the day ($9.50); a fresh can of sardines in extra virgin oil and vinegar ($11); one-ounce cans of the caviar of the day (prices vary), as well as a number of cheese flights using cheeses from regionally local farms, including Capriole Farm herb goat cheese and Hidden Spring bohemian blue and marieke gouda, all for $15. Cheese tasting flights including a selection of six cheeses to share are also available for $26. Along with an extensive wine list and a number of beers to choose from, special cocktails will also be available including, French 75 (martini made with Bombay Sapphire, St. Germaine, lemon juice and champagne, garnished with a sugar rim and lemon twist, $14), and the Cocinelle “Ladybug” (Little Blanc, Hennessey cognac, and Domaine De Canton ginger liqueur, garnished with candied ginger and served over ice, $12). Weather permitting, hours of patio operation are Sun. through Thurs. 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., and Fri. through Sat. 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., with weekday lunch and weekend brunch hours coming soon.  Bistronomic is located at 840 N. Wabash Ave. For more information or to make reservations, visit www.bistronomic.net.

Chicago q Unveils New Patio

Chicago q brings their upscale barbecue outdoors to their patio dining area right off the bustling action of Division Street. Featuring a custom-built white picket fence with flowers and surrounding seating for 40 guests, guests can look forward to enjoying pitchers of house-made vodka limeade ($16 each, serves 2 - 3) along with barbecue specialties like Kobe beef ribs, “Competition” baby back ribs, and house-smoked half chicken prepared by Chef/Partner Lee Ann Whippen. Patio seating is first come, first served and a food purchase is required.  A complete menu is available upon request. Weather permitting, patio hours are 11:00 a.m. - 10:30 p.m. Sun. through Thurs., and 11:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. Fri. and Sat.  Chicago q is located at 1160 N. Dearborn St. For more information, visit www.chicagoqrestaurant.com.

Sitting It Out at Rockit Wrigley

Before, during and after Cubs games, feel free to bring your dog and enjoy the trendy bar fare and specialty cocktails all season long at Rockit Wrigley’s dog-friendly outdoor patio right across the street from the stadium. The menu, created by Executive Chef James Gottwald, features signature soups, sandwiches, salads, pizzas and entrees, including the Rockit Burger (Kobe beef, melted brie, fried shallots, medjool date aioli, red onion brioche bun, truffle fries- named the best in the nation by “Good Morning America,”- $19), as well as pitcher specials including the Cubby Blue (UV vodka, blue caruaco, fresh squeezed lemonade, cherries for $10 Glass/$28 pitcher on home games, $20 pitcher on non-home games); Rockit Margaritas (Hornitos Plata tequila, triple sec, fresh squeezed lime juice, simple syrup, $10 glass/$28 pitcher on home games, $20 pitcher on non-home games); Rockit Punch (Bacardi torched cherry, Bacardi dragon berry, Bacardi O, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, grenadine, orange, cherry, $12 glass/$30 pitcher on home games, $22 pitcher on non-home games); Rockit Lemonade (Effen raspberry vodka, fresh lemonade, Rose's lime, cranberry juice for $10 glass/ $28 pitcher on home games and $20 pitcher on non-home games); Bud Light ($4 a pint, $10 per pitcher); Mixed UV vodka cocktails ($6 – Red Bull excluded); and Hornitos tequila shots ($5 each). Rockit Wrigley is located at 3700 N. Clark. For more information and hours of operation (vary based on game days), visit http://rockitbarandgrill.com.

-Dimitra Apostolopoulos