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Restaurant Sun Jun 12 2011

Chicago Dining: Summer friendly cuisine on the West Side

Nothing quite beats a lazy summer day spent lounging in the sun while sipping an exotic cocktail or a light wheat ale. This time around be sure to check out these delicious spots for some ol' fashion relaxin'.

Habana Libre, 1440 W Chicago Ave: This Cuban oasis not only offers light, Cuban platters, it's also a pocket-book friendly BYOB spot. Recommendations from local diners include the Enchilada de Camarones (shrimp sauteed in a spicy sauce), a sinful, dessert-like Empanada made from guava fruit and cheese, as well as their perfectly cooked Carne Asada. Be sure to check out "Grandma's Menu" for traditional Cuban fare.

Big Star, 1531 N Damen Ave: In 2010 this Tex-Mex taco bar established itself at the location formerly known as "The Pontiac," famous for it's outdoor seating. The outdoor area is a great place to work on your tan while sampling from Big Star's extensive beer menu (Legunitas Pilsner and the hipster staple Schlitz are favorites). If you're in the mood for an off the beaten path taco item, try the Tacos de Panza, which is made with crispy pork belly and pairs well with a shot of Four Roses whiskey on ice.

The Frontier, 1072 N Milwaukee Ave: Americana cuisine has never been better than it is at this newly opened Noble Square eatery. The owners are currently working on building an outdoor seating area, which should be open for July. Stop by for their $2 oyster special on Tuesdays, or come in for a $5 bloody Mary to have with your Sunday brunch. The fried rabbit and waffles is to die for!

Eric / June 12, 2011 9:03 PM

Great suggestions. Thx!

Andrew Huff / June 14, 2011 11:03 AM

The headline on this story has raised an interesting question over on WindyCitizen: Which "side" of the city is Wicker Park located in? Share your thoughts here or on WindyCitizen.

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When Brewers and Chefs Meet: A Love Story

By Brandy Gonsoulin

Jesse Valenciana knew what he wanted his mole-inspired stout to taste like, but he was a cook and home brewer, not a professional brewmaster. The co-founder of ManBQue, the local men's grilling and social club, and recent author needed a...
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