Chicago's Iconic Summer 2013 Dishes - Food Trends

What to eat in the heat

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In our pursuit of total warm-weather mastery, we've provided outdoor drinking and dining strategies, and pointed you toward slam-dunk picnic plans.

But no seasonal hit list would be complete without iconic dishes. Don't let summer pass you by without seeking these out:

Tomato Pasta Though it's a year-round menu staple, Balena's bavette pomodoro ($15) is exceptional in summer. A simple sauce of simmered fresh tomatoes dresses dense house-made spaghetti. It's finished with olive oil and basil, and it's pitch-perfect.
East Coast Seafood Loading a table with fried scallop rolls ($16) and crab cakes ($14) at New England Seafood Company is one of our favorite ways to be transported to Eastern shores. The fish market's dishes are available to go, too.
Dinner on Ice Mott St.'s Ice Cold Noodles are aptly named: Ice cubes bob in rosy kimchi broth along with buckwheat noodles, slices of brisket, scallions and shaved turnips ($8). Save this one for a scorcher.

Melon Salad

Longman & Eagle compresses its melons–vacuum-sealing slices to intensify the flavor–before combining them with figs, pine nuts and local greens dressed with honey-chile vinaigrette ($12). Delicate and complex, it's one of the most interesting seasonal salads in town.
Heirloom Tomato Salad In a month's time, these multicolored beauties will be on every local/seasonal menu in town. You can trust Trenchermen's chefs, Mike and Pat Sheerin, to take a creative approach; last year's salad ($12) involved white balsamic ice cream and a shower of herbs.

Southern Barbecue

Our idea of a perfect summer night at Lillie's Q begins with fried pickles ($5) and boiled peanuts ($4), crescendos with pulled pork ($17 a pound), tri-tip ($21 a pound) and coleslaw ($3), and ends with shortcake loaded with strawberries or stone fruit ($5).
A Backyard BBQ Lacking a yard (or motivation)? Use Publican Quality Meats instead. One Sunday per month, it rolls a grill into the adjacent parking lot and invites industry friends to man it, including chefs from Spiaggia (7/14), Butcher & Larder (8/18) and Yusho (9/22).