Bitch Biz: Bitches Who Brunch partners with La Tomate, Glen’s Garden Market, and Heirloom Catering. While this article was written independently by Bitches Who Brunch, we do receive compensation from the companies.
Attending Dîner en Blanc this year? Think it started out fun but realized there’s a lot of shopping to do? We feel you.
We participated in D.C.’s inaugural Dîner en Blanc last year, and it was an absolute blast, and last month’s event in New York was stunning, too. But, we’d be lying if we said it didn’t require quite a bit of prep—even the co-founder of the event admits to its spectacle.
You must wear all white, and your outfit has to be fabulous. Your dinner date must also be clad in white from head to toe. You have to haul everything to an undisclosed location: table, chairs, dishes, flatware, napkins, cups, food, picnic basket, flowers, electric candles—the list goes on.
The ensemble and the cuisine are equally important: What is gourmet and tasty but easily packed up, and doesn’t risk massive stains (read: no red wine or beets)? And the outfit options can be a challenge in this heat.
But despite the hassle, we’re at it again this Saturday in Washington. And all this summer I’ve been perfecting the art of creating a stellar outdoors affair. So, here’s our guide to where to easily assemble the best picnic basket fare—with minimal hassle on your end.
La Tomate Café
La Tomate, the Italian, family-run bistro, celebrates its 28th year of business next month. It serves up fresh, reliable, Italian fare—and is a great go-to in the otherwise abysmal dining options of North Dupont Circle. Next door there’s a café that serves coffee, pastries, and sandwiches just like a traditional Italian bodega. At the cafe, you can order a picnic basket for $35, which includes five paninis, two bottles of water or Pellegrino, and a bag of lentil chips.
You can also buy the wicker basket and Turkish towel (pictured below) for a nominal price. There are also pastries—macarons, croissants, and more—available to-go. And, if you have time to wait, you can also order off the restaurant menu. Last weekend I threw a picnic, so I ordered the salad platter and cheese plate with prosciutto to-go. The baskets will be available through the end of September.
Within the $35 picnic basket, your sandwich options include roast beef, prosciutto, smoked salmon, mortadella, parma cooked ham, or eggplant and zucchini—on your choice of bread: ciabatta, baguette, toasted white bread, or pita. We’d recommend a baguette with prosciutto, arugula, tomato, and mozzarella. It’s out of this world.
Glen’s Garden Market
Glen’s Garden Market has a whole lot going on: monthly tasting tables, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), growler clubs, cheese clubs, but at its heart, it’s a grocery and market. And, that market serves up some great pre-prepared food: from salads to skirt steak. Personally, I love the gluten-free chicken salad, kale salad, and variety of pasta salads. Like many deli counters, you can choose from two sizes, packaged in plastic containers seemingly made just for picnic baskets.
There’s also a sandwich counter, a serious cheese and charcuterie selection, and even pizza and roast chicken. You can basically order whatever you want—whether it’s meatloaf, a whole roast chicken, or a fresh slice of pie.
In addition to fresh, prepared food from the deli, there are also local, packaged snacks for a variety of eating preferences: gluten-free options, vegetarian packaged snacks, and local baked goods from companies like Kate Bakes Bars, Sticky Fingers, and Whisked! cookies, which are oh-so delicious.
Read about my Glen’s picnic here.
Glen’s Garden Market, 2001 S. St. N.W., Washington, D.C.
If you’re going for really fancy, we suggest you call in the experts at Heirloom Catering & Events Styling. The ladies behind the business know what they’re doing: catering and styling stunning weddings, events and more in the Washington, D.C., area.
They are by far and away my favorite catering company; and should I ever decided to tie the knot, they’ll be the ones I trust with my most important party to date.
Visit their website here.
Assorted Diner en Blanc Necessities.
Our favorite French bakery, Olivia Macaron has whipped up those delectable macarons in white just in time for Dîner en Blanc.
And, if you’re looking to decorate your table—and you simply must. Urban Stems has a “Blanche” bouquet perfect for the occasion. You can even order the bouquet to your Dîner en Blanc location and UrbanStems will meet you there. Details online.
Last but not least, nobody likes carrying heavy tables and chairs on the metro, in the hot Washington heat, while dressed in your Sunday best. Lucky for you Bitches, the gents over at Good Shuffle are here to help. The company rents tables, chairs and other party needs—and will be on-site at Dîner en Blanc for you to rent and return a table, chairs, and whatever else you need right on-site. They’ve created a special discount code for Bitches—get $10 off with the code “BWBDEBDC”.