Back in August a friend and I went to the "Chicago in White" event. This is actually the second time I participated, but last year it was called Diner in Blanc. Apparently there was a small matter about whether this event was affiliated with the original Diner in Blanc that started in Paris, and the Chicago organizers changed their name. Whatevs. It's a lot of fun albeit a little bit of hard work.
If you've never heard of either of these events, I describe it as a flash mob picnic. You sign up and get assigned to a "Head of Table." This person is your coordinator of sorts. You get to pick a meeting spot, you meet up with all your wares and your date. Then after everyone gets together they announce the location. Back in 2011 it was in the Daley Plaza.
This year it was overlooking the Chicago River at the Merchandise Mart.
The hard work comes in where you have to bring everything. I mean everything - table, chairs, tablesetting and of course, your meal and beverage.
That also means you have to carry it to your meeting spot, ride the CTA to your destination and set everything up.
|That's my date, Jyothi, holding the flowers for our table decor.|
But I find that's part of the charm of this event. Everyone comes with their goodies, sets up, they have a lovely dinner and then they disappear without leaving a trace. Allegedly. The rules are you take your garbage with you and dispose of it at home. But as we were leaving (both years) many a trash bag could be found overflowing the public sidewalk trash cans. Some people just can't follow the rules...well me included. Oh, I bring my trash home with me, I just break the rule that says no alcohol. I mean, come on. This is a French-inspired event. They invented having a little wine with your picnic, right? "Keep it classy, San Diego" is my motto when drinking at this event.
|Just a little spread - figs and cheeses, nuts, a spinach souffle...|
|The signaling of the start of dinner - waving your white napkin.|
Oh, did I mention everyone wears all white and the tablesetting should be all white? Hence the name...
|Me and Jyothi, along with a couple of girlfriends I met from last year's DeB.|
It truly is a lovely evening. I think everyone should try it once. These events can be found in other major cities. Check one out!
The lesson from last year was to simplify everything from the meal to the tablesetting. There was just too much stuff. They now offer catered everything - from table and chair rental to restaurants packing up a picnic for you, but where's the fun in that?
The only food I prepared this year was the phyllo wrapped asparagus, a recipe I found on pinterest! The rest was very easy to set up -cheeses, fruits and veggies.
I changed up the recipe a bit, as I tend to do to suit my likings. I did not prepare the mayo dipping sauce and I used a parmesan inside the wrap and then spread a dill goat cheese on top.
|My first time using phyllo dough - I didn't need it to look perfect so I guess that's a good thing.|