Griping about the sauna-like weather? Of course you are. But as you curse the stinkin' heat, think forward to a frosty time when bitterly returning winter rudely forces its shut-in ways on you again (this'll happen sooner than you like). In other words, as with every year, no matter how hot it is now, a day will come when you're sorely missing these seemingly carefree and sultry summer evenings spent pounding vino outdoors and dining on light and refreshing dishes on nice restaurant patios.
Relatedly, if the season's getting away from you and you haven't enjoyed enough al fresco dinners yet (if only to accumulate winter-battling memories) then learn a lesson from the regular crowd of revelers toasting the setting sun outside of Figlio in Upper Arlington. Those people know how to have a good time.
I noticed this a couple of weeks ago while nestling into a shady table on Figlio's west-facing, tree-lined and awning-protected patio. Specifically, I saw a bunch of folks hoisting wine glasses while seemingly all talking and laughing at the very same time. Naturally, they were all loving Figlio's Cal-Ital spa-type cuisine, too.
Sure, Figlio's lively salads, wood-fired designer pizzas and fusion-y pastas can seem a tad retro - the proliferation of sun-dried tomatoes and balsamic drizzles feels like vintage Clinton era - but this wine-friendly, locally based micro-chain offers its food with relaxed panache and lots of bold flavors.
Take, for instance, the seasonal spinach and strawberry salad ($5.50). That sweet and tart starter featured tender greens, red onion, crispy and smoky bacon plus an unobtrusive amount of fruit.
If you like bitter better, you can't miss with the Balsamic Salad ($5.50). It's packed with rich pine nuts, chewy sun-dried tomatoes, soft and salty gorgonzola cheese crumbles plus mixed greens and radicchio tamed by the sweet namesake dressing.
Broccoli on a pizza is healthy, but it usually tastes funky on one. Well, it works pretty damn well on Figlio's wafer-thin and crispy Summer Veggie Flatbread ($11). That's because this colorful and dark-crusted snappy tart also holds things that contextually end up playing well with broccoli here, like creamy avocado, good cheese and sweet red and yellow bell peppers. Nice.
For a warm-weather-appropriate pasta that won't bog you down, try the rustic and chunky Spicy Tomato/Blackened Chicken penne ($13.50). This plate's racy flavors, which lie on the puttanesca side of the pasta spectrum, are perfect for settling in to a long night of summer memory making.