The Dinner Series is back! After a recent and uncanny streak of warm weather here in boston we threw our first dinner in a while, returning to one of our favorite venues--the beautiful Cambridge home of our friends Jim & Page. (We've been there before for Dinner 11: French Garden Dinner and Dinner 8.) Their beautifully decorated oak paneled dining room opens up onto their manicured garden patio, making it the perfect setting for a casual dinner party that anticipates the fairer weather of late spring and summer.
Our table setting brought the blues and whites of summer to Jim & Page's rustic farm table, with aqua Chilewich lattice placemats, navy Libeco Home Napoli Vintage napkins (used as placemats), a turquoise Sabre Natura salad serving set, Pillivuyt Sancerre plates, and sea blue iittala Kartio tumblers. The simple table was just the kind one sets for a summer barbecue, sparing frills like a tablecloth. After all, why cover up a beautiful farm table when you can complement it with a few daubs of Match Pewter and Simon Pearce glassware; tableware characterized by a robustness of their materials, as the table is by its aged hand-hewn boards.
Dinner started on Jim and Page's patio, where a restaurant-style outdoor heater kept us warm as the evening cool arrived. While Jim got the charcoal going in his grill, we snacked on cheese from local cheese monger Formaggio Kitchen, including a Jasper Hill Moses Sleeper. Made in Vermont, the Moses is a young brie-like cheese with a buttery taste and texture.
When the grill was hot, on went the chicken kabobs, with cherry tomatoes and red, green, and yellows peppers. After a few minutes per side, they came off perfectly charred and we sat down at Jim & Page's table, passing around platters of jasmine rice, Caprese salad, thick slices of an Iggy's baguette, and pasta salad from the Formaggio Kitchen counter. Served over the fragrant long-grain jasmine rice, the kabobs were a wonderful taste of summer.
All these summer sensations carried into the dessert Page prepared; an olive oil cake (thanks Page, for sparing us that butter) topped with berries whose juices soaked into the light, fluffy cake. We served it with ice cream (from Toscanini's, a Cambridge staple) on our go-to dessert plate, the iittala Kastehelmi dessert & salad plate. Its sparkling engraved patterns bring the appropriate amount of fancy to a dinner's most fanciful course.
The evening went late, as we moved from wine (Poderi Sanguineto Bianco Toscano) to dessert wine (Fillipi Calprea Passito del Veneto) (and I think there was a red in there somewhere). We talked about travel--specifically countries where they eat dog. To think there might have been another Dinner Series in some far-flung part of the world where they served dog instead of chicken! And we talked about garden design--specifically, how to organize design ideas from magazines. Jonathan advised we follow him on Pinterest and Jim broke out his iPad, on which he subscribes to digital magazines with Zinio. The new Libeco sailing tote also came up, which Page has her eye on at Didriks.
For more photos, visit Dinner 19's Flickr set.