Always looking for a new dining adventure, some friends and I decided to try a truly unique dinner that included bringing our own plates, silverware, tablecloths, and food and drinks. A picnic of sorts, but a refined one where all guests are required to dress in white. Before you roll your eyes and ask why anyone would bother going through all that trouble, take a look at the pictures, then we'll see if there's room at the table for you next year.
PopUp Dinner LA is now in its second year and was inspired by the event Dîner en Blanc which began in Paris 25 years ago. You knew there had to be a Paris connection, right? Paris' Dîner en Blanc now has a waiting list and attracts 15,000 people who meet in a special location that isn't revealed until moments before, but the reward is an elegant evening dining in a lovely landmark location like under the Eiffel Tower, beside Notre Dame or on the Champs-Élysées. Le Dîner en Blanc "recalls the elegance and glamour of court society."
PopUp Dinner LA decided to bring this novel event to town last year where they hosted the inaugural soiree on the lawn of the Museum of Natural History. Friends of mine went to the opening event as I wept at not being able to get into the Dîner en Blanc while in Paris.
My LA crew learned a lot the first year (plastic utensils and not enough wine - that faux pas will never happen again) and thus they helped us up the ante this year with proper table settings and our beautiful cups runneth over with champagne, white, rose, red and port wine!
This year, we learned 3 hours before start time that we would get to stay local as the event was held on the Santa Monica Pier. Tables, chairs and musical entertainment was provided and the rest was up to us. Tickets were just $35 and went on sale in February.
People took table decoration very seriously.
This is quite the environmentally friendly event with nearly everyone using good china, utensils and glasses. No plastic red cups here.
There were unique tablecloths and center pieces.
And lovely flowers everywhere.
There was even a couple celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary who had the whole event catered, complete with carpet, chairs and servers.
This wasn't like a Halloween costume party where you have some people who dress up and some who don't. Everyone dressed in their best whites.
Many dressed to impress.
There were hats.
And even the mannequins were well-dressed in white.
As the sun set, the colors contrasted and were breath taking.
As is tradition in Paris, there is a full event napkin wave where everyone is on their feet waving white napkins in the air...or a chair.
It may sound silly, but it's a really cool sight to see.
And of course there was food. Our group started with salmon stuffed cucumbers and French batons, but don't judge the time and travel toil that my wilting mustard sticks endured.
We had a great spread of salads, homemade breads, brined and roast chicken with more than a few choice beverages to match.
As the sun went down, the lights came out.
You weren't allowed any open flames, so of course people got creative.
A DJ spun an eclectic mix of old school 80's rock to current tunes. Gotta love a transition from Salt N Peppa to Robin Thicke. Click on the picture below to get a video view of the enthusiasm on the dance floor.
The diverse crowd of all ages loved and limbo'd to anything the DJ played.
After dancing we were ready for some great desserts and port wine.
We were having such a good time that we eventually noticed that tables and chairs were being stacked around us and we were the last group there.
Now that's a good party, and it's one we've already begun planning for next year.
See you there?