Not the kind of picnic we usually go on, this past weekend we dined in Prospect Park with 5,000 other New Yorkers in support of the Prospect Park Alliance at the PopUp Dinner Brooklyn. All we knew beforehand was to bring our own food, drinks, table decor and wear all white. Tables and chairs would be provided, as would entertainment. The exact event location within Prospect Park was to be revealed the afternoon of the dinner.
Earlier in the week we coordinated all the necessary pieces of the picnic with the four friends we attended the event with. Between the six of us we had appetizers, main dishes, dessert, wine and water, plates (real ones!), silverware (real also!), cups, cloth napkins, candles, flowers, as well as miscellaneous such as wine openers and garbage bags, which guests were responsible for. Everything came together beautifully and we enjoyed a special meal.
What did we eat? For the appetizer Prem and I put together cheeses and prosciutto from Stinky Brooklyn, along with olives, almonds roasted in coconut oil and rosemary (recipe from A Beautiful Mess) and a baguette. This was enjoyed alongside blanched asparagus and red pepper served with a tofu and green pea dip, which our friend made following TheKitchn's recipe. For the main course Prem and I brought along a roasted broccoli salad with lemon, following this recipe from The Endless Meal. Our friends brought stuffed zucchini and a refreshing tomato and watermelon salad. We finished off the night with more cheese and soft and chewy homemade blondies. All was delicious. Our wine for the evening was a perfectly serviceable bottle of Chinon Cabernet Franc.
It was fun to see what other guests wore, how they decorated their tables and what they brought for dinner. Some groups were very elaborate, with thought out center pieces and gourmet dishes, while others kept it simple with pre-made food and just a tablecloth. No matter what, the lights and all white outfits against the beauty of Prospect Park made the scene stunning, almost surreal. Normally an event with thousands of people would feel overwhelming, but being able to claim a table, make it uniquely your own, and sit back and enjoy a night outside with good friends made it anything but.