I never realized how much I took a grill for granted. This city is severely lacking outdoor grills, along with outdoor space in general, meaning the traditional summer BBQ is not a common occurrence here. But, as ever-resourceful New Yorkers, we have devised an alternative: the Potluck Dinner. Basically any outdoor venue can be exploited and transformed for such a party, be it a legitimate patio or terrace, or a blacktop roof with a few beach chairs (assuming they made it back from the shore in one piece!).
Since few apartment buildings allow outdoor grills, presumably for safety reasons, my friends and I divvy up the menu and convene with a hearty appetite. (Yes, I realize that is the nature of a potluck.) Last night was the first of the 2010 season, and my friends brought their A-game to match the 90 degree weather we were having. First, we started off with a nice wine selection and appetizers of sun-dried tomato goat cheese dip with pita, crackers and veggies. Next, my buddy served up a nice Greek salad of marinated olives, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes. This was followed by a summerish angel-hair pasta with prosciutto and crab. As if you weren’t impressed yet by our Food and Wine quality fare, my roommate then unveiled homemade baklava (a truly decadent labor of love), fresh berries and vanilla ice cream! Mamma mia!
So round up the troops for potluck season! It’s a much cheaper and relaxing alternative to dining out at restaurants, and calls for some creativity to enjoy every nook of outdoor space the city has to offer.