We've created our own scorching-hot list to celebrate this weekend's hottest event.
Though we’re moving into the cooler months, things are heating up in the Windy City. At this weekend’s inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival (Saturday, October 4 on the Chicago River), Chicago Fire stars Jesse Spencer and Taylor Kinney will set off the spectacular fire display that recalls a defining moment in our city’s history. Inspired by this, we’ve put together our own Hot List—a guide to where you should go, what you should eat and drink, and whom you should follow right now.
There are plenty of spots across the city with spice-rimmed glasses and dashes of sriracha on their beverage menu. But the Smoke in Your Eyes cocktail from Japonais by Morimoto approaches heat from a different angle. A not-too-sweet mix of bourbon, bitters, Bénédictine, and sherry are poured into a smoking glass to pack the heat without the eye tearing. 600 W. Chicago Ave., 312-822-9600
This city knows pizza. But just where do you go when you veer away from the tried-and-true deep dish? For starters, try Publican Quality Meats-sourced salami on top of a thin-crust pizza that's cooked up in an 800-degree oven. Those are the makings of Coalfire’s 'Nduja pizza, a spicy take on a Neapolitan classic with a tomato-based sauce, fresh mozzarella, and topped with basil. 1321 W. Grand Ave., 312-226-2625
His Mexican restaurants have topped Chicago’s must-dine lists for decades. With the August opening of his Mexican street food café, Xoco, in Wicker Park, Bayless secured his spot as the master of Mexican food. From spiced-up hot chocolate, to a chile- and short rib-loaded soup, to a guacamole bar, if you’re searching for a kick, you’ve found it. 1471 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Though she’s still well known for dressing First Lady Michelle Obama, Ikram Goldman has made a name for herself apart from her behind-the-scenes styling. Ikram is more than just a boutique—the Gold Coast location houses high-end styles alongside a farm-to-table café and an art gallery, proving its more than clothes from designers like Céline and Rodarte that keep us coming back for more. 15 E. Huron St., 312-587-1000
Hottest Bartender: Brian Sturgulewski
With stints at Drumbar and Fulton Market under his belt, it’s no surprise that Brian Sturgelewski settled into a gig that puts his expertise front and center. As the newly minted beverage director at Bordel, a speakeasy-style cocktail haven above Black Bull in Wicker Park that opened in late August, he’s at the forefront, and there’s a reason everyone’s excited to sample every part of his cocktail program. 1721 W. Division St., 773-227-8600
Chicago-bred designer Azeeza Khan does fashion right, with luxurious silk fabrics and beaded details with a global influence. Follow along through the @Azeeza_US Instagram account. You’ll find sneak peeks into upcoming collections, plus a sprinkling of the luxury womenswear designer’s globe-trotting life. Think travel snaps and a look at who’s who in Chicago.
This isn’t your go-to Chinese takeout joint. Once you exit the elevator onto Shanghai Terrace above The Peninsula, you’re transported to a sexy 1930s Chinese supper club. Even on cold nights, stepping out to take in a vibrant city view from the terrace is worthwhile. Step back inside and order the kung pao prawns. The mix of chili peppers and ginger will warm you up fast. 108 E. Superior St., 312-573-6695