Dining “en blanc”? Don’t forget the food.

With one month until Sept. 4's Diner en Blanc -- the everything-in-white pop-up dinner party coming to D.C. for the first time -- it's time for aspiring diners to get themselves on the wait list, and start thinking about their menu. To jog your memory about the French pop-up supper club:

Hundreds of people have dinner together at an outdoor location somewhere in D.C., which is kept secret until hours before the event. Each participant must bring his or her own (white) table, (white) tablecloths, (white) chairs and (multicolored, we hope) meals. Most importantly, everyone must be dressed in all white ...

Guests must bring or buy gourmet picnic dinners, to be eaten on china with corresponding flatware and stemware. Beer and hard liquor are strictly prohibited.

Exaggerated dedication to white clothing is encouraged, Ross said, in light of his first Diner en Blanc experience in Philadelphia last year. His simple white-shorts-and-polo ensemble was below par when compared to the white tuxedos, masks and wedding dresses worn by other guests.

The dinner is invitation-only for now, but the deadline to register for the wait list is Aug. 11. The registration for guests on the waiting list will begin Aug. 12 at noon. At that point, guests can pay their admission. Yep, it's $40 for a dinner where you have to provide your own food, table and chairs, not everybody's idea of a night well spent, we know. (The money goes toward administrative fees, electricity, lighting, etc.)

For those who don't want to prepare and transport their own dinners, you can reserve a catered meal when you register. Caterers Gourmet by the Bay will provide four boxed options for diners:

  • Gourmand, $72: Shrimp cocktail, lobster salad, smoked bluefish mousse, country pate, whole grain mustard, cornichons, beef tenderloin with horseradish cream, petite toast and multigrain rolls, English shortbread cookies, dark chocolate truffles
  • The Shore, $62: Chilled vegetable gazpacho, crab salad, chicken salad, sweet corn and chive salad, pimento cheese, sweet pickles, flatbread crackers, angel food cake, lemon curd and strawberry sauce.
  • Mezze Platter, $52: Fresh mozzarella, eggplant caponata, white bean hummus, roasted pepper "agri dolce," olive tapenade, green bean salad with cherry tomatoes, feta, balsamic vinaigrette, fresh baguette, cranberry orange biscotti (vegetarian option).
  • For Wine Lovers, $65: Assorted artisan cheeses, sliced charcuterie, dried fruits and fig preserve, mixed olives with herbs de provence, elegant crackers and baguette, white chocolate truffles, assorted French macarons.

The baskets serve two. The last day to place an order is Aug. 19. Guests are also welcome to save some money by bringing their own food -- might we suggest our guide to picnic options for Screen on the Green as an alternative menu? The event's organizers request that any food you bring is, of course, "comprised of quality menu items," i.e. no Chipotle burritos, as delicious as they are. The dinner is rain or shine, so cross your fingers for good weather (or start hunting for a white raincoat, just in case).

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.



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