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dinner al fresco: live oak park.

Being a craft lady has the extra perk of having all these tables and chairs to use for things like pop-up dinner parties in the park!

I’ve been wanting to throw a pop-up dinner party (aka fancy picnic) for a while now. I don’t have a backyard so a park is the next best thing! For my first of, hopefully, many dinners al fresco to come, I set up at Live Oak Park in Berkeley. I particularly enjoy this park because there’s a lot of grassy areas, a lot of parking, and it is also the park where Hubs and I got married.

The most difficult part of the whole event was finding a flat patch of land that wasn’t too muddy. Once we found a decent location we set up two tables, place settings for 12, and all the yummies.

The Menu
I wanted to serve foods that were not only packed with fresh ingredients and flavors, but that also sat well (outside) and could be made the night before (with little day-of prep). I made:

  • A broccoli, dried cranberry, sunflower seed, and pecan salad with a peanut balsamic vinegar dressing
  • Rainbow noodle salad with buckwheat noodles, carrots, edamame, red and yellow bell peppers, and a honey spicy brown mustard vinaigrette
  • Potato salad with a parsley, thyme and Dijon/rice vinegar dressing
  • A red quinoa, garbanzo bean, and cherry tomato salad with a basil pesto
  • Onion dip and blue corn chips
  • Strawberry cucumber water (with flower shaped cucumbers, of course)

Party Favors and Decor
I made quintuple-layered tassels for party favors and placed them on each place setting. The flowers are from Trader Joe’s — ah, ranunculus and mini gerbera daisies have my heart (do the jars look familiar?).

I also set up a make-your-own honeycomb ornament station.

The Real Real
I love planning events and playing hostess. It’s a lot of work setting up a party, but I enjoy all aspects of the process! Total prep time including planning/scheming, prepping, and set up: 12ish hours. 

I spent a good two hours deciding on the perfect menu, another hour at the market (and another 30 minute trip when I ran out of olive oil and still needed to make pesto and two dressings!), and six hours in the kitchen prepping, cooking, cooling, whipping…. Party favors, floral decor, and prepping a craft station another two hours. And then cleaning up the aftermath was my husband’s contribution. (Yay Hubby!)

Seriously, I can’t wait to do this again! Where should I pop-up next? Share some of your favorite outdoor spots below! 

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  1. Pingback: what’s good in the ‘hood. | Crafterateur

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