Dîner en Blanc DC 2015

Dîner en Blanc began 27 years ago in Paris, when François Pasquier held a beautiful dinner party below the Eiffel Tower with his friends, all of them donning white from head to toe. Over time, more and more people were drawn in by these picture-perfect picnics and the elegant dinner party grew and grew. Today, DEB is an international organization, with these white parties being held in nearly 100 cities worldwide.

My view of setup

Last year was the first year DEB was held in DC. I didn’t attend through a few SNAFUs with coordinating with friends, and by the end of it, I didn’t really have much interest in attending. After all, you are paying $40 for the privilege of:

  • Hauling a table and chairs to a secret location, usually via the subway (imagine how difficult this is in Manhattan…)
  • Bringing your own food
  • Trying not to soil your all-white ensemble
Struggle bus on the metro escalator… Shout out to the Eastern Market crew

For $40 a person, I reasoned, you could easily treat yourself to a nice dinner out, food and furniture included! The whole thing seemed like kind of a bougie Instagram photo op, so when the opportunity came to attend this year, I was feeling pretty meh about it.

But, when one of my old co-workers, Kat, who has been the source of so much guidance to me over the past year, offered me a free ticket (one of the perks of her being a group leader for DEB)…
… who was I to say no?

Don’t get me wrong, the attendees — myself included — are fully aware that DEB is a pretentious Instagram photoshoot. And my experience was not without struggles that included:

  • Searching several stores for a white dress – NOT off-white, NOT cream, NO colored patterns, NO colored trims
    • After about a week of finding a lot of great off-white, colored-trimmed dresses, I borrowed a white dress from a dear friend

      Fun fact: My friend had this dress custom-made, based on the dress Blake Lively wears in an episode of Gossip Girl where there was a white party?
  • Assembling and carrying furniture in 90°F+ weather (after an unseasonally cool week)
    • … while worrying about getting my friend’s lovely white dress gross and sweaty
  • Cutting myself with a broken wineglass
    • Panicking to stop the bleeding so that I wouldn’t bleed on my (or anyone else’s!) white clothing
    • In other blood-related fears, I thought my female troubles decided to choose the least opportune moment to bother me (luckily, they didn’t)
Gotta admit, it was pretty gorgeous in the evening

At the end of the day, though, it was a lot of fun because I am a big fan of people coming together with common interests and goals, even if it is wearing white and having great photos to share on social media. That feeling of camaraderie sitting on the metro, holding a dolly with a table and chairs strapped to it, wearing all-white, and looking at tens of strangers doing the same thing was pretty great. And it was really hard to deny how aesthetically pleasing it all was, truly. People put a LOT of effort into looking amazing and having gorgeous table settings. I bet they would’ve put in this effort even if there wasn’t a free cruise to be won. (Seriously, though, there were some swanky prizes!)

https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/619/21103167911_09cb285997_b.jpg

How about we move onto a more interesting topic: OUR MENU. Kat is vegan and keeps her diet low-GI, plus she has recently found a lot of joy in cooking her own meals, so she found some excellent food blogger recipes for us to make. My photos are all kind of crap because of weird lighting and blood loss (okay I’m just a terrible photographer, especially when I’m cranky from carrying heavy things on an empty stomach) but visit the recipe links because our food was BEAUTIFUL. I just couldn’t do it justice on my phone.

Me, being a nerd, prepping our meal
  • Appetizer: Moroccan-inspired sweet potato salad (recipe) with a baguette
    https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5736/21085408542_e6fae6ce42_b.jpg
  • Entrée: Kale salad w/ avocado tahini dressing (recipe) with baked potato wedges and avocado aioli (recipe)
    https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/623/20472854354_c7c84e7d0a_b.jpg
  • Dessert: Raw citrus cream cakes (recipe) and chocolate truffles 3 ways (recipe)
    • It was, unfortunately, too dark by the time we were able to enjoy dessert so I don’t have any actually decent photos of them. BUT, I worked really hard on presentation when I made them, so please believe me when I say they looked just like the photos on the blogs. They are very aesthetically-pleasing desserts.
      https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/606/21085755872_a7048e2a38_b.jpg

The evening ended with dancing and folks cleaning up their gorgeous table displays. I sat on the metro with a few other folks donned in white. It was an exhausting day, but definitely a lot of fun.

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Here’s some photos from Brightest Young Things, shot by Kate Warren, of moments I wasn’t able to capture:

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This guy’s amazing wings!
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This “DC” marquee lettering looked gorgeous at night

GoKateShoot-DinerenBlanc-130

GoKateShoot-DinerenBlanc-345

And here’s a great video recap by local events extraordinaire, Max Major:

There are countless other amazing ensembles that aren’t included here, so explore around yourself and see if it’s something you’d be interested in doing in the future!

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3 thoughts on “Dîner en Blanc DC 2015

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