Tips for Dining Al Fresco
Simply summer or summer simply -- whichever way you look at it the best way to keep cool is to keep it easy.
With so many families staying home and enjoying their own neighborhoods this year it is easy to gather friends at the last minute for a simple evening dinner. We are blessed in California to have tepid climate all year, but the summer is really what we are about. Dining outside or al fresco, is an easy and magical way to enjoy the long evenings ahead.
It’s all about the table, baby -- bring out your table and chairs. One night won’t hurt any wood (just remember to turn off the sprinklers). Find all the half used candles you have and put them in flower pots, canning jars, bowls -- anything so you can make a great reflective grouping on the table. Put some pots around with herbs, or great smelling flowers, gather some cut one’s from your garden. Its natures air freshener.
Make dinner simple -- hummus and pita are available at any market. Add some olive oil and some warmed pine nuts and store-bought becomes yum!
Grill some steaks or chicken kabobs. Add olive oil to some sliced veggies, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and put on the grill in tin foil. Virtually no cleanup! Make a salad and you are minutes to a great summer evening.
Now comes the fun part. Think of a game that you loved as a kid. Bring out the wine and ice cream. Get everyone involved -- even those nay sayers -- they usually have the most fun. Boggle is one of our favorites. It gets everyone thinking and even the kids get to show off their smarts. The time sitting, holding hands and looking out into the stars -- that’s what makes summer so special. Make those times happen, often and your simple summer will be simply fantastic!
Elizabeth Lamont has owned a retail shop, Room at the Beach in Malibu for over 20 years. She has been helping clients, from celebrities and locals to people all around the country, to create that perfect combination of classic, relaxed California living. You can visit her blog at http://roombeach.blogspot.com/ or contact her to incorporate a bit of California living into your own home at www.roomatthebeach.com.