For us, summer has arrived when the Peninsula’s fourth-floor terrace opens for the season.
The Terrace’s theme this year (it changes annually) is “The Golden Era: Revived”--an homage to the swinging Shanghai of the 1930s--and the format now offers more casual ways to partake. You can still book an eight-person daybed with a $400 food-and-drink minimum, but a new permanent outdoor bar offers a convenient spot for a quick afternoon drop-in.
At lunchtime, there are sharable plates of Chinese delicacies (like panfried turnip cakes, $7) and summer salads designed to be light but full of flavor. (Since when has a salad been so indulgent as the one made with duck, toasted almonds, truffles and peanut dressing, $12?)
At dusk, order this season’s signature cocktail: the Golden Apple, with apple vodka, sweet Sauternes wine and 24-karat gold flakes ($24), and listen to a sultry soundtrack that pays tribute to the famous Shanghai entertainer Zhou Xuan. In the 1930s, she was known as--what else?--the Golden Voice.
The Peninsula, 108 E. Superior St.; 312-337-2888 or peninsula.com/chicago