I just returned from one of my favorite events of the year – a neighborhood block party around the corner from our home. Our friends Jennifer and Alex have organized it for the last few years by closing a block of their street off from traffic (with permission from the City), renting some long folding tables and chairs and inviting people from around the neighborhood to bring along some food or drink and join in. In Los Angeles, anything that shuts down the traffic and forces people to sit and stand in the streets is a rare and wonderful treat, but this event is special because it transforms one block of street into a festive space where friends and neighbors can gather to share food and drink and just be together. And then we can all just walk a few blocks back to our homes. This is rare in any modern city and practically unheard of in L.A..
It is a lot of work for Jennifer and Alex, a smart, dynamic couple with a terrific taste for fun and adventure. Jennifer is an environmental attorney and Alex is an architect, they have two kids, and yet somehow they still have the time and energy to organize an international supper club to explore restaurants serving foods from all around the world and this wonderful annual event that celebrates the joy of community and home. In anticipation of the block party today, I prepared a salad and a pasta dish and decided to chop up some cantaloupe and serve it on a couple of triangular, green ceramic plates. Typically in these potluck-type dinners, we take home our serving dishes, but today I decided to make the two green plates my Giveaway and leave them for Jennifer and Alex to use for one of their parties. The plates are fun, green and an interesting shape – a good match, I think, for their professions and a small token of gratitude offered to this inspiring couple who share a most generous spirit.