Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia invited attendees to participate in a guest blogger series dedicated to all their favorite topics related to DEB. Our third blogger, is Denine R. Gorniak. Denine is the blogger of www.TheBicycle-Chef.com, a blog full of recipes, humor, photos and cycling tales. She is also the founder/organizer of Collingswood Food Swappers. Denine is a chef, mother, writer, and lover of all things food and artrelated. She works in Philadelphia andlives in Collingswood, NJ. She’s also not above some amateur detective work when it comes to sleuthing out a mystery.
Dîner en Blanc – A Story Behind the Secret Location
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved solving mysteries. I was enamored with the Encyclopedia Brown books, the stories about the boy detective. I was so into these books, I even set up my own detective agency, hand-printing my own business cards announcing my sleuth services to all who needed me. I may have grownup a bit since those days of trying to guess “The Case of the Treasure Hunt” but I still love the thrill of the chase.
Case in point – when I registered for Dîner en Blanc 2012, I spent weeks trying to suss out the “secret location”. I am a life-long Philadelphian, a former food and art tour guide, and an art, culture and food person extraordinaire. I teach cooking classes, I document street art and interesting architectural finds and I’m into exploring all the fabulous outdoor venues that Philadelphia has to offer. I know this town! I made it my mission to figure out the location for the first Dîner en Blanc event. I love a mystery but I never said I was exactly good at solving them.
When it came to figuring out where the first dinner event would take place, I couldn’t have further off base. A few days prior to the event, I rode my bicycle around the city, stopping at various parks and other pretty and large areas, trying to see if it might be “THE SPOT.” I looked for tell-tale signs, barricades, port-o-potties, permit signage. I even stopped security guards at several parks, asking them if there were any events scheduled over the next few days. Nada. Even as we were nearing the famous Swan Fountain on Benjamin Franklin Parkway I was still guessing. I was amusingly chagrined that our final destination was the beautiful Logan’s Square Fountain, Philadelphia’s homage to all things Parisian. It couldn’t have been more obvious to everyone but me and 1300 other diners that night!
I did similar things for Dîner en Blanc 2013, stalking the Facebook page for clues, watching and listening to every interview the organizers gave. For this event, I was staunchlycertain we were going to dine and dance atop the Art Museum Steps. Like the previous year, it wasn’t until I crossed 30th Street that I realized we were stopping at the JFK boulevard bridge overlooking the Schuylkill River, Philadelphia’s version of the Seine.
For both years’ destinations, I was pleasantly surprised at the party spot that I couldn’t believe it was right there all along. Even though I’ve been to Logan’s square many times, and biked across and under the bridge at JFK Boulevard, I saw the locations and Philadelphia in a new light. You think you know a place until, well, until you see it from a new angle. I have found a new appreciation for places I already know and love. As for this year’s magic destination, I’m not going to venture a guess. I’m looking forward to the reveal so that I may experience a familiar place re-imagined as an once-in-a-lifetime event. I’ve finally come to realize there’s more beauty in the journey’s end.