Today is an exciting day here on Dinner Series -- we have a new Dinner Series event post to share! This is a particularly special Dinner Series, because it was the first one I ever got to take part in. I haven't formally introduced myself, but my name is Taryn and I am the (new) voice behind Dinner Series. I started writing for this blog a couple of months ago, but this was my first Dinner Series so it seemed the appropriate time to introduce myself to you. I was fortunate enough not only to attend this event, but to cook all of the food for it - and what a smashing success it was! I'll recap the event and the recipes over a series of separate posts, but today I'll be sharing an overview of the stunning setting and the delicious menu.

The table setting was designed by the Didriks store manager Melissa, and our new merchandiser Katy. The setting was hand-picked based on the menu for the evening, which I gave to the store team a few days in advance. The chosen dinnerware was from Simon Pearce - the Woodbury collection in Birch, which has a lovely rustic feel and seemed to set the perfect tone for the evening. Simon Pearce is well known for their glassware, but the ceramic Woodbury line is something relatively new, so we wanted to showcase it.

Since the unofficial theme to the evening was strawberries, Melissa and Katy wanted the table to remain mostly neutral with the table setting, to allow for plenty of colors and textures in the food. The Libeco TribecaTablecloth in Vanilla was wonderfully subtle, and the napkins  - from the Libeco Vence collection - were in an earthy Olive, so as not to detract from the rest of the table.

The Chilewich placemats - from the Kono collection in Dark Oak and Honey - were picked to add some dimension to the table, and the flatware kept the table casual, omitting the typical 5-piece setting and instead using a very casual 3-piece setting with the Sabre Nature collection. The iittala Kartio tumblers in Sand and Clear brought the whole setting together, and also offered a more comfortable, casual feel to the table than using traditional stemware.

Accent pieces, like both the Simon Pearce Dover Footed glass bowl (pictured above) and the Simon Pearce Shelburne Vase (pictured below), were added to the table for more dimension and a classier flair.

Items chosen for the bread and cheese spread were hand-picked from Revol, again for their rustic feel, and also from Sabre and David Mellor. The subtle color palate worked beautifully together before the food was set out, and then helped to make the colorful menu pop once it was served and we began to dig in.

The evening began with a lovely cheese platter from Formaggio Kitchen, garnished with fresh and dried fruits. We used a new David Mellor cheese knife to serve cut slices of Robiola and a soft cow's milk pecorino. The light and chewy rustic country baguette came from Hi Rise Bakery.

The second course was a grilled fruit and candied bacon salad. Grilled peaches and onions, roasted strawberries, and caramelized bacon were heaped atop a pile of fresh baby spinach and baby arugula. The serving utensils also hailed from the Sabre Nature line.

For the main course, we enjoyed beef sliders, topped with melted cheddar and more candied bacon, than slathered with strawberry barbecue sauce. When I was creating this menu I was a tad unsure about the strawberry barbecue sauce, but admittedly it was some of the best I've ever made!

And to round out our plates, we enjoyed grilled corn salad stuffed tomatoes. Makes for a pretty picture, doesn't it?!

As we sat down to dine, a toast to the new team. Katy joined Didriks and Dinner Series shortly after I did, and we've been going strong ever since! September also happens to mark the 8th anniversary of the opening of Didriks, so it was a happy night indeed.

After a couple rounds of seconds and thirds, our clean plates were searching for something sweet. Good thing I brought cupcakes! The Strawberry Ganache-filled Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream were visually stunning, and awfully delicious. The setting was made complete with more Sabre Nature flatware, Libeco Home Tribeca Placemat in Madder Brown, a Revol Basalt tray, a Jars Ceramics Maguelone Rectangle Plate and a Simon Pearce Heartland Cakeplate.

And when the cupcakes were gone too, we reminisced over a wonderful meal - and vowed to do it again soon.

All of these recipes and more will show up on this blog over the next couple of weeks - please stay tuned!