Auto repair shop parking lot dinner
I love eating so much! I especially love bringing people together over meals and I am always looking for opportunities to create experiences around food that do more than just fill your stomach. Like this most recent iteration of the Men Cooking In My Kitchen series, and Cuisine Contra at The Textile Museum. I take my inspiration from things like the Dîner en Blanc and Table Tribes, and even DC Central Kitchen where people learn life skills through food preparation.
Doing things the same way all the time produces the same result, right? If you tweak things a little each time, you might see the world a little differently, maybe juice the imagination a little, possibly spur new ideas and solutions to nagging problems. And as much as I love food, the food is only a part of the whole experience. The place and physical environment can play just as great of a role.
So a few weeks ago, my super cool friends Sarah and Jaime and I decided to add a little twist to the usual dinner party scenario when we hosted a few friends in the parking lot of the Mercedes-Volvo repair shop at the corner of 15th and Church on a beautiful August evening.
We chose this particular parking lot because Sarah lives next door to it and we figured it'd be easier to have access to her kitchen and a bathroom. (Note to selves: even when the kitchen is nearby, use disposable ware!) We are also both buddies with the shop owner Angel. (I used to live around the corner on Church Street and still take my car there and they still fix it even though it is neither a Mercedes nor a Volvo, and he once fixed my scooter and didn't charge me. Angel really is an angel!)
The idea first came about because Sarah's parents had recently given her this amazing portable picnic table for her birthday:
I was so delighted by this discovery that I immediately ordered one of my own and we commenced to plot our pop-up dinner.
We each invited two people and divvied up the cooking responsibilities. It was a lovely array of guests that included the founders of Table Tribes and DC Central Kitchen along with the head chef at the British Embassy (a little intimidating to cook for that!).
We prepped most of the dinner in advance but the hood of a broken down old truck and the trunk of my car parked strategically next to the dinner table served as handy final prep stations! As we prepared dinner, the sky darkened in typical late summer manner and a few raindrops fell. Our backup plan was to move everything into the garage bay! But the puffy black clouds rolled away quickly and we settled in with a champagne cocktail.
There was lively discussion! And a rousing game of guess-the-first-car-you-owned.
Then this happened!
I didn't get a picture of her but the lovely Marian McLaughlin sang a few fractal folk tunes for us over dessert. Finally, see below for the ambitious and delicious menu: (Note homemade ice cream by Jaime. Such a treat!)
A wonderful and happy evening!
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