Well, this much is clear about summer 2009 in Chicago: whether it's rain or sweat, you're gonna get wet. But it doesn't mean you can't have fun while doing it. As the thermometers finally hit 90 degrees, restaurants are taking things outside with patio parties and the like. Five ways to eat in the heat this week:
- A Mano throws its Italy on the Grill patio party from 6-9 p.m. on Wednesday. For $48 per person, you'll get unlimited beer, wine and summer cocktails, as well as Italian BBQ selections like grilled whole wild striped bass, rotisserie whole lamb, stone fruits and summer vegetables on the grill, plus Italian antipasti, cheeses and A Mano's famous gelato and sorbetto.
- Nine local chefs get together at Park Grill on Wednesday (6-8:30 p.m.) for the outdoor Chefs on the Grill benefit featuring food, drinks and prizes. Participants include Michael Fiorello (Mercat a la Planxa), Michael Cisternino (Tavern at the Park) and Dirk Flanigan (The Gage). $55.
- The Summer Soiree on Duchamp's patio (6-8 p.m. Thursday) features a signature mojito bar from 10Cane Rum, appetizers courtesy of chef Michael Taus and live steel drumming.
- Maxwell's at The Club chef Rick Hall will offer up a range of summer dishes including flank steak, grilled corn and mini apple pies to go along with tastings of 10 wines on Friday (6-9 p.m.). He'll also offer grilling advice, if you're inclined to listen. $35.
- Moonshine's first annual Luau and Pig Roast on Saturday (noon-8 p.m.) will include a Hawaiian shirt contest, hula dancers, a limbo contest, Bacardi giveaways, guest DJs and, of course, plenty of fresh pulled pork. $5 Bacardi mai tais and pineapple mojitos all day, too.
Of course, you don't need a special event to eat outdoors -- check out Centerstage's comprehensive guide to the city's best alfresco options.