Summer is officially here, and you know what that means… It’s barbecue season! Whether you’re hosting a few friends for an evening of surf and turf on the grill, or throwing a casual 4th of July cook out for the neighborhood or family, the variety of menu options combined with getting together with family and friends makes this American past time one of our favorite summertime traditions.
When we think about barbecues, the first thing that comes to mind is the backyard BBQ. Ideal for small to medium groups, this setting is great for those who enjoy hosting in the comforts of their own home. This also allows for the widest variety of menus, from burgers served with pasta salad and freshly sliced watermelon, to baby back ribs with baked beans and corn on the cob, or even a nice New York strip and shrimp skewers, served with grilled veggie kebabs… The possibilities are endless!
Whether hosting a private 4th of July party at your own pool, or a neighborhood cookout at the community pool, pool parties are a great way to enjoy everything summer has to offer: sunshine, water fun, delicious food and great company! Many community pools have designated picnic areas equipped with grills, making the party that much more convenient for a larger bunch! Throw some burgers and hot dogs on the grill and have everyone bring a side or dessert to share, and you’ll have a great neighborhood potluck everyone will enjoy! Alternatively, hosting a pool party at a private residence provides the same fun as a larger community gathering, while still offering the flexibility of a backyard barbecue!
Party in the Park
Looking to host a larger gathering such as a birthday party or company picnic? Consider a party in the park! With a variety of event sites located throughout Northern Virginia and Washington D.C (4th of July Fireworks anyone!?), there’s sure to be something for every budget. Many of the Fairfax County Recreational Parks offer picnic shelters, some with their own grills and others that allow you to bring your own, making these a great budget friendly and kid-friendly option as there are usually playgrounds adjacent to the grounds, and/or plenty of space for a bounce house, etc. If the county parks don’t provide what you’re looking for, perhaps a picnic at Hains Point on the Potomac River for the 4th of July fits the bill… yummy food, beautiful views, and a spectacular fireworks show will make this holiday one to remember!
Picnic on the Lawn
Last, but definitely not least, is one of our favorite types of summer excursions… a picnic on the lawn! While not a traditional BBQ, packing up a picnic and heading out for a day trip to the wineries in Loudoun County, an evening concert at Wolf Trap, or a trek into D.C. for a picnic on The Mall, provides a great excuse to get outdoors, enjoy summertime in our area, and spend quality time with loved ones (while eating delicious foods and drinking great wines, of course!). After all, not much sounds better than sharing a variety of cheeses, charcuterie, and antipasto amidst the gorgeous backdrop of Hogback Mountain at Stone Tower Winery’s beautiful Harvest Barn… unless, of course, you top it off with a glass of the Wild Boar Blanc de Noirs or their Estate Rosé!
Michael Evans is chef-owner of Helga’s Caterers, a family-owned, full-service catering company with over 35 years of experience in providing fine food and excellent service for all of your catering needs throughout the D.C. Metro Area.