Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One Last Hurrah!

The Backyard Bar at The Whistler (Photo: The Whistler)

When we get a week of weather like we're having now, consider it a gift from the Gods (especially after the horrible weather week we experienced last week), put your summer clothes back on, and get outside!

By the weekend, temps are expected to hit 80 degrees, so why not hit up some of the newer spots you've been meaning to check out:

River North's sprawling Cantina Laredo has a few tables along bustling State Street, plus the floor-to-ceiling windows on both levels open for the same effect of being outside. Fare is upscale Mexican, with tableside guac, a number of hand-crafted margaritas, crispy crab cakes, and an impressive lineup of mini-tacos (Ahi tuna and shrimp were our faves).

The weekly Truckin' Thursdays event should be a good call this week at Ethyl's Beer & Wine Dive. That's when up to seven food trucks set up shop around 6pm and diners chow down on everything from gourmet tacos and mac 'n' cheese to cupcakes and "haute" sausage.

Those heading to the Chicago Marathon Sunday should make their way to Morso for brunch after on the patio. That's where they're doing $30 for all-you-can-handle cocktails. And these aren't just your average mimosas and Bloodys. House mixologist Matthew "Choo" Lipsky has whipped up three signature sippers for the occasion. His spicy rendition of the Bloody includes tomato vodka, roasted bell pepper, chipotle, avocado, lemon and black pepper. The Choo Choo Cable Car is a concoction of spiced rum, orange, cinnamon and lemon. And his Mimosa is certain to go down smoothly with Prosecco, orange, bitters and a dash of cognac.

The 100-seat patio at Prasino in Wicker Park is perfect for chilling out and spying on all the hipsters walking by. Choice dishes to try here are the lobster-stuffed avocado with mango salsa and chili beurre fondue as well as miso chili-glazed, line-caught Alaskan black cod over steamed brown rice.

And if you're trying to avoid the nightlife scenes on Rush or Hubbard streets, head to Logan Square to check out The Whistler's backyard patio. This is truly like some cool dude's home, with mood lights, groovy music and an eclectic crowd. The only difference: The cocktails here are very good.

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