Dress: Summer Casual

It’s the first day of August.  And, I can’t help but think that it is the beginning of the end.  Or, given all of the rain that July brought Chicago…perhaps it is just the beginning?  Nevermind. What I do know is that this is the month to let it all go and enjoy the simple pleasures of summer.  Eat a peach.  Float in water with your toes poking the surface. Listen to a symphony of crickets at sunset…and of course, enjoy the classic summertime party.  Whatever form it may take: summer soiree…barbecue…alfresco under the stars….picnic/campfire…or a sack lunch enjoyed while floating on a lake in a canoe…the key words for August are casual and entertaining.

But wait. Can Entertaining Company do casual!?!  We’ve spent so much time talking about over-the-top, bold, up-market and dreaming of far-away lands….we understand the question.  Those of you who know my upbringing know that I come from a childhood where “just throw on some white pants and come over,” was meant to be a casual invite, but it really meant that something would ensue and Gin & Tonic-boasting waiters, shrimp cocktail and everyone would be wearing shoes…polished shoes….would be involved.  But the answer is a resounding, YES!  Entertaining Company does summer casual…but we have some “must-haves” that define our summer-casual hit list.


Cocktails that showcase seasonal Summer “all’s-good-from-the-garden” fruit.
Soused or “boozy” fruit is a favorite because it reminds us of being young and hitting up the neighborhood lemonade stand.  Only, this lemonade stand is for grownups and you don’t need to have a nickel on you.  Fresh-squeezed lemonade is spiked with with vodka, a splash of mint-infused simple syrup and all manner of the muddled — fresh strawberries, peaches, blueberries and raspberries.  Yum.


Steakhouse-style grilling.
Our casual country buffet often features our signature Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri drizzled with balsamic syrup garnished with Rosemary, Arugula, Olive Oil, Fresh Oregano, Basil and Garlic and served on a wooden cutting board.  You can’t get much more flavorful, or beautiful, than that! To accompany the beef, individual summer salad bouquets are “planted” within a poached pear. You know your crowd will want potatoes with their meat!?  Who wouldn’t in this midwestern neck of the woods?  We like to serve our spuds (fingerling,) grilled, and presented on wooden skewers poking out from earthy terra cotta clay pots.

Grilling never gets old…

Bring the indoors….out.

Set a full table under the stars, lounge on couches on the lawn.  Mother Nature is amazing…but Mother Nature with some candles and a tablecloth, somehow, are completely transportive.

Ice Cream for dessert.
We love s’mores too. But there is something about ice cream that is the ultimate in nostalgia.  We highly recommend Ice Cream from Oink’s, if you can swing it.   A cool end to a warm country night, is an Oink’s Ice Cream station enhanced with decadent Hot Fudge, Caramel Sauce, Sautéed Fresh Strawberry Sauce, and Sautéed Michigan Peaches.  Whipped cream, toasted almonds and bright red #40 maraschino cherries. It’s like someone gave you a spoon and told you to dip into your favorite moments from childhood.

So there it is.  Our favorite playlist from summer casual.  And, while your party on “the other side” of Lake Michigan is winding down, our staff members, city-bound once again, stop off at Redamak’s for a burger.  It’s summertime, after all.