California al Fresco Summer Dinner Party

Crostini Recipe from Alfresco Dining Party

Event styling and photography: Marina of Yummy Mummy Kitchen

California Alfresco Dining Party

Event styling and photography: Marina of Yummy Mummy Kitchen

Grilling Vegetables at California Alfresco Dining Party

Event styling and photography: Marina of Yummy Mummy Kitchen

California Avocado Salad for Summer Alfresco Dinner Party

Event styling and photography: Marina of Yummy Mummy Kitchen

Marina, a food blogger in California, is here with a guest post today to tell you all about hosting a summer al fresco party! We are so excited for her first post on the Layla Grayce blog – enjoy!

A few weeks ago, two of my girlfriends and I hosted a backyard dinner party for our dear friends who were moving to the Netherlands. We wanted to send them off with a beautiful table, flowers, delicious California style food and wine, and 12 of their closest friends. We all have young kids, so we arranged babysitters for the evening so we could spend some rare adult time together.

I was in charge of the table setting. For our 13 guests, we set two 6-foot long tables together in the backyard. I chose a simple white tablecloth, homemade burlap runner, and beautiful Pom Pom at Home White Linen Napkins tied with twine and lavender flowers. Our guests loved these super soft linen napkins. I also love the matching Pom Pom at Home White Table Runners, which have a rustic, elegant and cozy feel. For the centerpiece, I used a gorgeous Aidan Gray Decor Metal Plate Stand and filled it with jars and roses from my garden. Its patina is stunning and reminds me of something that could only be found in Europe.

My friend Holley was in charge of appetizers. Her crostini station was a huge hit with our guests, who nibbled on baguette toast, cheeses, spreads and nuts. Holley, another friend, Ronda, and I divided up the cooking and chose make-ahead recipes that could be served at room temperature. We served dinner family style, which was easy and created a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere. Grilled summer vegetables were served using this Eclectic Hostess Serving Set, which has a beautiful patina and vintage flair. I’ll definitely be ordering another few sets of these to give out as hostess gifts. I love that no two sets are identical.

Crostini Station


  • ~ 1-2 baguettes, toasted and sliced
  • ~ 3 soft cheeses
  • ~ 3 spreads or soft toppings, such as hot pepper jelly, apricot jam, roasted tomatoes or tomato bruschette
  • ~ 3 hard toppings, such as various types of nuts


Arrange bread and all toppings in small bowls for self-serving

Grilled Summer Vegetables


  • ~ 2 zucchini, sliced lengthwise
  • ~ 2 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
  • ~1 Japanese eggplant, sliced lengthwise
  • ~ 1 large red onion, quartered
  • ~ 1 bunch asparagus, tough ends trimmed off
  • ~1 bunch small carrots, tops trimmed off
  • ~ 1 each red and yellow bell pepper, halved and seeded
  • ~¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ~ 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ~ 3 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
  • ~2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • ~ ¼ teaspoon sea salt


Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss to coat vegetables with oil, garlic, herbs and salt Cover and refrigerate 4-8 hours..

Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Lightly coat the grill with cooking spray.  

Place vegetable pieces on hot grill and cook, turning once, until tender crisp, about 2 minutes per side.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber and Avocado Salad


  • ~ 5 cups mixed heirloom tomatoes wedges
  • ~ 2 small English hothouse cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • ~2 avocadoes, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • ~ 1 bunch fresh basil, sliced or torn
  • ~ 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ~2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ~ Sea salt
  • ~ Freshly cracked pepper


Place tomatoes, cucumber, avocadoes and basil in a large serving bowl or platter.

Drizzle with oil and vinegar and gently toss to coat.  

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

*Can be made several hours in advance, covered and refrigerated.

Amanda | Permalink |

2 Responses to “California al Fresco Summer Dinner Party”

  1. Lauren Says:

    Could you post the full menu too? The shrimp looks delicious!!

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