Eat and drink yourself through this delicious list of summer offerings.
The seasonal, cash-only Nite Owl serves up rad vintage signage (selfie, anyone?) and drive-in-type fare, including (best bet) juicy jumbo burgers and thick ice cream shakes. TIP: Despite the name, this Owl keeps only daytime hours. (830 E. Layton Ave.)
Hotel Madrid‘s red and white versions of this Spanish sangria are strong (brandy along with Spanish Tempranillo and Chardonnay, respectively), fruity and on tap, so they’re available all the time. (600 S. Sixth St.)
Half plein air but all merry, The Outsider on the ninth floor of the Kimpton Journeyman Hotel is a busy summer spot for nibbly foods, fancy cocktails and day beds made for long, lazy evenings. (310 E. Chicago St.)
Sandwich of the Solstice
Light but substantial, Comet Cafe’s Wicked Garden – of grilled beets, shredded carrots, arugula, walnuts, lemon-caper cream cheese, and lemon-thyme vinaigrette – knits together creamy and crunchy, tangy and pungent into a two-fister of healthiness. (1947 N. Farwell Ave.)
Mexican Street Corn
Cruise along Lincoln Avenue or Mineral Street from Ninth to 16th, and you’ll run across a vendor whose push cart draw is “elote,” Mexican corn shaved off the cob into a container, slathered in butter, mayo and cotija cheese and finally sprinkled with chili powder. Stop the car immediately! This is heaven, at a bargain price.
There’s a simple joy to squatting next to berry patches, gently tugging the delicate fruit from the vine and amassing quarts of beauties to eat out of hand or to make jams and pies. Mark your calendar: Early summer for strawberries to late summer for raspberries. (Barthel Fruit Farm, 12246 N. Farmdale Rd., Mequon; Henke’s, 1987 W. Mill Rd., Jackson)
Sans the customary salad greens, Hello Falafel’s Moroccan roasted carrot salad combines high-def flavor (thanks to ingredients such as dates, charred eggplant and pistachios) with filling Israeli couscous to make an exotic and unexpected light meal. (2301 S Howell Ave.)
Countries with the warmest climates have the spiciest food. Why? Eating exotic plates like larb, a chili-laden Laotian meat salad – prepared to its cheek-blushingest at Vientiane Noodle Shop – raises your internal temperature, which leads to perspiration, evaporation and cooling off! (3422 W. National Ave.)