DÎNER EN BLANC MONTREAL 2016
"Come to Dîner en blanc this year," they said.
"It will be fun," they said.
Don't get me wrong it was fun, just getting there and leaving there was not so much fun. For those that don't know what it is (like I didn't when I signed up for it) it's an all-white (clothing, accessories) chic invite-only outdoor picnic...with like 4000+ other people. It's always in a public place, which no one knows where until your group leader leads you there.
You can't just buy a ticket for this exclusive event. You can register to be on the waiting list and cross your fingers that you get your invite code. Or if you have friends that are already on the list, they can sponsor you, and you get moved to the top of the list. Lucky, I know people. Each person registered is able to bring a guest.
Registration done, tables grouped together, it's time for planning. Naive that I was, I thought you pay your fee and just show up bedazzled in white. Not so. Seems you bring everything you need for you and your guest, which turns out to be a pretty extensive list:
- 1 square table (30x30) + white tablecloth
- 2 white chairs + white chair covers if your chairs aren't white
- 2 white large plates
- 2 white small plates
- 2 white bowls (if soup is on your menu)
- White serving plates
- 2 white cloth napkins
- 2 wine glasses
- 2 drinking glasses
- Alcohol (wine and champagne allowed only)
- Rolling cart/trolley to bring all this shit in
- Table decor
- White tote bags or picnic basket
- Oh yeah and all your food!
No paper napkins, plastic plates and utensils or fried chicken for this event. It's stressed throughout the process that it's elegant and chic. Bring a Dollarama plate and your ass will be permanently blacklisted from this event.
It doesn't seem too bad when you break it down into 2s, but planning for 6 people brought on a whole other set of headaches. Thankfully the ladies in our group our quite the organizers and I'm quite proud of my colour coded chart showing who brings what.
THE MEET UP
You're given a meeting point (metro station for "pedestrian/public transport" folks and another location for bus options) and a time with your group and table leaders name. There are many, many meeting points throughout the city and all converge to one public location.
Before that though, there's a whole heap of stuff happening that day to prep. Wine and champagne needs to be chilled. Food needs to be cooked. Tables and chairs need to be picked up from the rental place. Clothes need to be cleaned and steamed. Collectively our group of 6 spent something like 8 hours prepping all this.
We drive to the meeting point, unload the vehicle, pack up everything on the trolleys, secure it with those bungee cords, register with our group leader, take a shot of bourbon to get the happiness started and off we go. Now....it seems there's no escalator at this particular metro station so it's stairs for all. Everybody's trolleys are not secured all that great, plus we're all trying to look super chic and cute and trying not get our whites dirty, so everything is falling. At this point, Jayjay couldn't help but point out, "Jenn, all of this part was not on your list!!"
No it wasn't. Something that everyone in our pedestrian group didn't account for. BUT everyone helped each other and we all managed to get on and off the train and walk our asses the 3 blocks to the event - which turned out to be smack dab in the middle of downtown Montreal on McGill College Avenue.
Selfie time at the meet up location
Date pairing #1 for #DEBMTL
Date pairing #2 for #DEBMTL
Date pairing #3 for #DEBMTL
Some silliness as we wait for the more instructions on where to go
Group pics.....can never happen with this bunch!
Everyone meeting up and ready go
But first, another selfie
And a shot of happiness for some (some didn't it find any happiness as you can see!), you know, one for the road
Atwater metro station, filled to the gills with Dîner en blanc peeps
Waiting, not so patiently for our turn to set up
THE SET UP
You wait for your table number to be called (emailed to you a few days prior to the event), and set up where you're told to. In a frenzy along with 4000+ other people, we unload everything, set up our tables, and amazingly all of this manages to get done in less than 20 min. Time to look around and check it all out. And I have to say it is pretty damn cool.
All of McGill College Avenue and a bit onto President Kennedy Avenue is full of people dressed in white, dinner tables set up row after of row decked out in creative elegant white décor. What a sight to see!
The traditional "waving of white napkins" signals the official start of the event and you can now begin your meal. On the menu for our crew is
- Bread, cheese and grapes
- Prosciutto wrapped bocconcini
- Tartinade de thon
- Baked salmon smothered in a tangy Bourbon BBQ sauce
- Potato salad (mayo-less)
- 2 bottles of Pinot Grigio, 2 bottles of Gewurztraminer and 1 bottle Moët et Chandon Ice Imperiale
- Strawberry cheesecake for dessert/birthday cake for Jayjay (that took a tumble or two in its box during transport, but still tasted heavenly!)
The designated dance floor is the intersection of McGill and President Kennedy (we're lucky enough to be right at the intersection). Kicking off the dancing is a samba crew strutting there stuff and, get this - Star Wars Stormtroopers with "#DEBMTL" stamped on their armour.
Our food stuffs...
Hmmm....cranberry goat cheese
Tartinade de thon
Grapes and stuff
Prosciutto wrapped bocconcini
Boutique en Blanc display - they've got everything white you could possible need for this annual event
McGill College Avenue.....tables filling the street as far as the eye can see!
Waving of white napkins....means we can finally eat
Baked salmon....smothered in Bourbon BBQ sauce
Let the dancing begin! Even Stormtroopers are out for #DEBMTL!
Dance floor is packed!
Our smashed cheesecake
It's 10 pm, on a Thursday night, and downtown Montreal is jammin'
THE CLEAN UP
The minutes are creeping closer to 11 pm when DEB must come to an end. Tables must be cleared, garbage and recycling sorted (you bring your own bags and don't leave anything at the location). You leave with what you came with. Everything strapped onto the trolleys and off we go for another interesting metro transport with everything falling....again.
THE NEXT ONE!
Being a DEB virgin made it slightly challenging this year, but now I know what to expect. It will all be better organized next year, I won't stress as much about logistics, and I will make sure to put it in my chart to bring extra bungee cords. Even though it seems like a pain leading up to it, once you're there - you can't really compare it to anything else. So bring it on, I am ready for you #DEBMTL2017!
Photos taken | written by JENNIFER MAHON