How to Plan the Perfect Outdoor Dining Experience.

How to Plan the Perfect Outdoor Dining Experience.

Posted 01/02/2020

There’s a special satisfaction that comes from the aroma of dinner sizzling on the grill and the delight of eating under the clouds. Preparing a meal outside isn’t just cooking, it’s a social event that brings you and your guests outdoors to enjoy nature, friendship, and the shared anticipation of dinner with a new perspective. We’re big fans of dining outdoors and thrilled that our future residents at Canopy, our latest Chandler community opening this spring, will have access to the community’s open-air kitchen, where they too can enjoy the simple pleasures of cooking al fresco.

Luckily, only a little planning is needed to take your dinner from indoors to outdoors. Here’s how:

Shop Fresh & Local

Shopping for your al fresco dinner can be as much fun as making it, especially when you get to spend the afternoon outdoors at a local farmers market. Every Saturday, from October through May, the tents go up and the veggies come out for the weekly Downtown Chandler Farmers Market located at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park. With dozens of local vendors lined up with fresh, inspiring cuisine, the farmers market can be your one-stop-shop for everything you need.

Know Before You Go

The farmers market can be overwhelming, but in a good way. With all the smells, samples, and unique items, it’s easy to forget the reason you’re there. Before you go, spend some time perusing recipes and researching the vendors to make every minute of your morning count.

One option: head to the Phoenix Steak Company for a couple of juicy New York strips, visit Abby Lee Farms for a variety of locally grown vegetables and make a stop at Ginger Brick Bakery for a yummy after-dinner treat.

Gear UP

The gas grill can be your best friend when you’re cooking outdoors – and it’s no wonder why. Gas grills are easy to use and clean, and most come equipped with a side burner, perfect for boiling and sautéing those savory sides while your main course sizzles and crackles just a few millimeters away. Before you get grilling, however, there are a few essentials you’ll need for a safe and smart experience. Be sure to pack utensils and grill mitts, a brush, meat thermometer and proper cookware made for extremely high heat.

Prep & Gather

You’re almost ready to light up the grill, but first you need to mise-en-place. Mise-en-place is a French term for ensuring you’ve gathered and prepared all of your ingredients before you start to actually cook, and is an especially useful process for cooking outdoors. Pre-chopping your vegetables, setting out your plates and utensils and pre-portioning your seasonings will better prepare you for perfectly cooking your delicious, not burned, dinner. Plus, prepping everything beforehand gives you more time to spend with your guests outside and less time running inside. Bon appétit!

We hope these tips will help you as you plan your next al fresco dining experience!