Pardon my French, but I was super excited to post today about an event that I *thought* we would be attending this weekend. I spent some serious time (and money!) over the past couple of weeks gearing up for Dîner en Blanc. If you’re not familiar, it’s best described as The World’s Largest Secret Dinner Party, a gastronomic smart mob that started in Paris in 1988. Guests wear only white clothes, gather at a chosen spot, bring along food, drink, table & chairs, etc. to dine in a top secret location that’s revealed just hours before the event. Fun, right?!
Crowds can be massive and, as you can see, costumes quite elaborate. Here in Seattle, the event has been organized in recent years by Castanes Architects. Their website clearly indicated that they would announce the event on their blog and by email to subscribers. So, in eager anticipation of attending this year, I subscribed. Then, of course, I spread the word to a bunch of our friends and got them all excited too. You can probably see where this is going. <grumble>
On Saturday, I started checking the site for announcements as soon as I woke up. Of course, “Jordan” had already indicated that the location wouldn’t be revealed until a few hours ahead of the event. So, I went about my Saturday, as any normal human would. I had some work to do. There were last-minute errands to take care of. Every so often, I would check in, but I didn’t stress. Until 2:30 came and went…then 3 o’clock…and 3:30 passed without an announcement. That was when I had most expected to see something, since assembly was scheduled for 6:30. But maybe 4? Nope. 4:40?? Not a peep.
By 5, friends were dropping off the guest list like flies, taken hostage by work emergencies and opting for “sure thing” Saturday night plans. I began scouring the internet for any sign of details that might lure them back in. I hunted down Castanes staffers on Twitter and Facebook in hopes of uncovering clues. Hit up all manner of hashtags on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. to no avail. I searched the names of folks who had commented on the Castanes blog about wanting to attend. Stalker much? My investigative skills were definitely put to the test, and I came up absolutely empty-handed.
I was beyond bummed. Did I mention that I had rush ordered sparklers?! I hunted all over town for great deals on white clothes that I knew we would likely never wear again, finally scoring a white linen suit for RF and a fringed white top for myself, both on super sale for next to nothing at a Macy’s. I’m not typically a big group kind of participant, but I was so excited for this. Ugh. Defeated and deflated, I couldn’t even muster excitement for the picnic fixin’s we had planned. At 6:30, we called it and went for Indian food instead.
We did, however, try to salvage some weekend picnic time yesterday. Down-styling the effort quite a bit – no white clothes! – but aiming for a special meal, we packed a basket (ok, fine…a shopping bag) and headed to the park. We’ve relied on Pasta & Co. to “cater” our impromptu picnics this summer. They always have a great range of prepared foods to pick up en route from work to the park. This was no exception. We chose Moroccan Chicken and Rice, Mediterranean Salad with Chickpeas, and Marinated Carrots and Fennel, and also picked up pecan crackers, hard salami, and my absolute favorite double-crème cheese, Fromage d’Affinois. I included a little jar of strawberry and red wine jelly recently gifted by a friend (I love jam with cheese!) and a bag of pistachios for a salty nibble. Oh, and let’s not forget the pre-mixed Bourbon Arnold Palmers in Ball jars with a bag of ice on the side to add when we arrived.
I had a paper table cover and, to fancify things a touch, I lit a few votives. Dîner en Blanc frowns upon paper and plastic, but Chinet and silver plasticware suited us just fine.
Around us, children played, dogs barked, and friends laughed. Kite surfers zipped across the Sound watched by a couple lazing in hammocks they had hung in the trees. As the sun drifted towards the horizon, we speculated about the night we missed, now revealed to have happened at Volunteer Park not too far from our house. But, as the French say, “Un clou chasse l’autre.” (Literally, one nail chases the other -or- life goes on.) And what a wonderful life it is. Salut!