Free ground shipping on all rugs! Continental U.S. only. Shop Now>

culture, food
It’s the Season: Summer Entertaining

May 29, 2014

What makes a great summer party? Undeniably, there are several universally acknowledged elements that could go into the equation: location, people, food, drink, and music. Yet personal interpretation is what distinguishes a summer soirée, whether a classic barbecue or garden cocktail party.


We asked three of our New York-based friends — food / lifestyle photographers and bloggers Nicole Franzen and Alice Gao, and Adina Grigore, founder of S.W. Basics — how they enjoy entertaining in the summer months. Each woman, though unique in her own right, is arguably united by a love for great drink, food, and company. (Do we see a dinner party in the works?)

From Nicole’s penchant for cheap Mexican beer to Alice’s unashamed embrace of a piping hot midsummer ramen, their answers are below, along with our own picks for summer entertaining. Added bonus: a summertime recipe from Adina (just one glance at S.W. Basics on Instagram and it’s clear we should be eating whatever she is). Read on.

Image: Nicole Franzensummer partyAlice Gao 2

Top, middle images: Nicole Franzen; bottom image: Alice Gao

Nicole Franzen, lifestyle and food photographer, blogger, La Buena Vida


Image: Nicole Franzen

A great summer party has... good friends and great food in a beautiful place.
My philosophy on summer eating is… fresh, in season, grill it and smother it in salsa verde.
In the summer, I relish in drinking... cheap Mexican beer with lime.
The perfect summertime party takes place… out on the grass, with a beautiful scenic backdrop.
My summer party soundtrack would include… a nice mix of classics, reggae and fun pop tunes.

Alice Gao, lifestyle and food photographer, blogger, Lingered Upon


Image: Alice Gao

A great summer party has… a mix of guests from different industries but who all love great food and drink.
My philosophy on summer eating is… though I’m all for eating light and fresh, it’s never too hot for Ippudo ramen.
In the summer, I relish in drinking...  Rosé.
The perfect summertime party takes place… at a modern lake house made of all glass (hey, a girl can dream). 
My summer party soundtrack would include… anything involving a jazz trio. 

 Adina Grigore, founder of S.W. Basics 


Image via Adina Grigore

A great summer party has… lots of loud people.
My philosophy on summer eating is… green smoothies and barbecue every day.
In the summer, I relish in drinking… iced tea (sweet, of course).
The perfect summertime party takes place… either close to my house, or far enough for me to rent a car and get away.
My summer party soundtrack would include… more Katy Perry than anyone (but me) wants to hear.

Adina’s BBQ Tofu Nachos 
Blue corn tortilla chips
Can of organic black bean chili
Firm tofu, cubed and pan fried in coconut oil until crispy
Pickled jalapenos
Organic cheddar or daiya cheese
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomatoes and white or purple onion mixed together with a pinch of salt
Avocado mashed with a pinch of salt and lots of lime
Chopped cilantro and sour cream (optional)

BBQ sauce:
1/2 cup Sir Kensington ketchup- spiced or original
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon tamari or nama shoyu
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
cayenne pepper to taste

After crisping the tofu, toss in BBQ sauce. Layer chips, chili, tofu, and cheese. Bake on broiler setting for a few minutes, until cheese is bubbling. Let cool for a minute then add the rest of your toppings!



olive wood bowl; $30 | teak stirrer set; $25 | small mango wood plate; $14 | ciovere metallo pitcher; $300 | ciovere gold hammered glass; $70 | lobmeyr glass beer tumbler; $90 | morris kitchen ginger syrup; $15 | gray portable grill; $375 | mud australia slate cheese plate; $264 | teak tongs; $20 | mud australia porcelain tray; $164