The summer is finally here! Gone are the days of wearing coats and scarves to cubs games and gone are the days of stepping outside into what can only be described as a sauna only to completely melt into the sidewalk before getting to your destination. Sunny and consistently 80 degrees now for a whole week in chicago? I'll take it!
One of my favorite parts of summer is entertaining friends which usually includes some sort of meal that can be eaten on my balcony followed by various summertime Chicago activities.
Occasionally I like to host fancy dinner parties with multiple courses and guests dressed in their Sunday best but most of my entertaining is a simple combination of seasonal food mixed with some adult beverages and lots of laughs with good friends.
One of my go-to meals? A build your own salad bar lunch.
Start with veggies, LOTS of veggies!
Luckily I had been to my grandparents house the previous weekend and got a goodie bag of crisp and delicious home-grown goodness to-go. Combined with what I already had on hand I only had to add a few things.
I chopped everything up and put it in a bowl.
To make it more of a meal I added a few protein choices included ranch marinated beef (thanks ZED 451 for that idea!), sliced turkey and some chopped up turkey bacon. I kept this separate in case someone didn't want meat, plus I always think it is fun to allow your guests to customize their meals.
Lunch on a Saturday afternoon should also include some form of liquid refreshment (one for hydration and one with a kick) as well as dessert. In this case we had ginger/lime infused green iced tea, red sangria and chocolate peanut butter caramel cupcakes, yum!
After a lovely lunch we were off to see the town. It started with Oak Street Beach.
And then the Oak Street Beachstro, a trip to Sprinkles and then concluded with Greekfest complete with ouzo and dancing.
With so much to do, how could you not love Chicago in the summer!