Dining Al Fresco

In these dog days of summer, a bit of refreshment is more imperative—and more appealing—than ever. But if the heat’s sapping your creative juices, don’t sweat it. We’ve got some cool ideas for chilling out with friends, family, or yours truly. Think bright tablescapes, summery recipes, and warm temperatures.

Looks like there is a cure for the summertime blues after all.

Cure #1: Bright Lights, Big Tiles


Go bold, cheerful, and bright for your table. One of our favorite choices? The Big Tiles Tablecloth in lime. It’ll get your mouth watering for dinner – and keep the mood cheerful no matter how the weather decides to blow in. Added bonus: it’s currently on sale!

Cure #2: Fruity Minty Deliciousness

If you feel like spreading your culinary wings a bit, try the Watermelon with Menthol Candies from The Family Meal cookbook. Made with a simple combination of lemon juice, sugar, watermelon, and hard menthol candies, it’s a bright and fresh treat for your tabletop. And with detailed ingredient quantities mapped out for parties of 2, 6, 20, or 75, this recipe can help you cool as many mouths as you feel like inviting to the conversation.

Cure #3: The Clean Plate Club


Clean-lined dinnerware keeps the table looking sharp, inviting food and fun to take center stage. Check out the Biobu collection for an array of shapes and colors that are as fun to mix-and-match as they are to collect over time.

Cure #4: Ceviche Surprise

Remember the delicious (and easy!) ceviche recipe we tested out for this year’s Cinco de Mayo celebration? Nothing could be more in keeping with this fresh and bright dinner scene. Pick up a copy of Mexico: The Cookbook and try it for yourself.

Cure #5: Serve Up Style


One secret for adding elegance to your outdoor tabletop: serve choice treats from striking trays. But don’t think you have to get fancy. Try thick slices of colorful watermelon or some fizzy cocktails perched beside a mound of juicy lemons and limes. Our Grid, Plateau, or Tracy trays set the perfect stage.

Cure #6: Bake a Bass

While you have The Family Meal cookbook open from your candy-making craze, look up the Baked Sea Bass. The dish features fresh thyme and rosemary, along with one of August’s main attractions: juicy, ripe tomatoes. It’s the perfect way to end your summer entertaining season with a bang.