Michelin, manufacturer of tires and publisher of restaurant guides, did something unexpected this year by bestowing a Michelin star on an open-air restaurant, Jay Fai, in Bangkok, Thailand, in its inaugural Bangkok Michelin Guide.

More typically known for their recognition of high-end establishments that skew formal, and some might even say stuffy, Michelin has gone out of their way in recent years to acknowledge the fact that great food can happen in a variety of settings.

This surprise award to a street vendor made me think about this issue of rd+d, where we explore the idea of dining al fresco (p.16). What is the allure of eating outside? It may begin with the simple fact that when you are outdoors — whether on a crowded street in a major city, in a pastoral countryside setting, on a sophisticated urban rooftop or sipping tea in an English garden — the mood outside is pretty much the opposite of stuffy.

We hope that you enjoy our exploration of dining al fresco and as always, we love to hear your stories of how you relate to the topics we cover.

In the spirit of exploring new trends and concepts, visit our microsite and make plans to join us in person on June 11, 2018, for our annual Tour the Design Trends event in Chicago. As in years past, our editors will curate a tour of some of the freshest and most on-trend concepts in the city. The tour is by invitation only, so if you have an interest, please reach out and throw your name in the proverbial hat.