Think of it as a pop-up potluck – and the whole city is invited.
Since 2009, a group called Alfresco Tonight has been turning outdoor spaces around the city – seawalls, parks and plazas – into impromptu dining rooms. They provide the tables and chairs, and you bring an appetizer, entree or dessert to share with your fellow Vancouverites – potluck style.
Past pop-up dinners have been held along the Olympic Village seawall, at the Roundhouse Community Centre in Yaletown and in George Wainborn Park on False Creek. The events have attracted from 45-80 people – strangers who come to share food and stories and make Vancouver a little bit friendlier.
Nor is Alfresco Tonight the only option for random potluck fun.
A similar event called Be My Amigo (hashtag #bemyamigo on Twitter) meets every two weeks on a smaller scale. Organized by UBC grad Jorge Amigo, the dinners are meant as a meet-and-greet to make the city a little more social. Some 25-30 people usually show up. Here’s #bemyamigo’s back story:
So how do these city-wide potlucks work? According to the Alfresco Tonight website, locations are kept secret until the evening prior to the event (you can sign up for email reminders on their website). The next night, in flash-mob fashion, everyone converges on the location. There is no set menu and it doesn’t cost anything to attend.
But there are some general guidelines. RSVP’ing is recommended, since seating is limited. Each guest (or couple) has to bring one dish to share with some of the other guests at the table (plus utensils, cups, plates and drinks for themselves). Local foods and family recipes are highly encouraged. In addition, it’s considered good form to introduce yourself to your neighbours at the table and explain a little about what you’ve prepared.
Has anyone been to a pop-up potluck dinner in Vancouver? Any idea when the next one is being held?
Want more updates on Vancouver and beyond? Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.