Party Ideas for August

Party Ideas for August

National Picnic Month
Head for a hilltop, throw out your blanket and enjoy some intimate al fresco dining. There's no need to settle for Doritos and plastic bagged PB&J when you can instead fill your basket for a good gourmet pique-nique. Start with finger food favorites like vegetable and cheese crudites, or try fresh berries in Maraschino.  Substitute that soggy Wonder Bread sandwich with a fresh panini or pan bagnat, a staple for Riviera beachgoers, served beside a piquant pasta salad.  For drinks, pair your nibbles with Chianti Classico – or if bubbly bites your fancy, uncork a bottle of champagne.  Bake your own McDonald's-style fried apple pie as the perfect picnic dessert.  Consider working a refreshing outdoor lunch break into a group hike, or if you're leaning more towards laziness, try tailgating.

National Golf Month
After a fun day on the fairway, you’re surely on par for some after-the-links drinks.  Collect your golf course cohorts and cavort about the clubhouse with a Collins, martini or savor the tropical taste of a mai-tai.  If you're feeling adventurous, try a more contemporary cocktail or a reinvented classic.  And for a real hole in one, pour a glass of that cool summer wine you've been craving and couldn't get off the beverage cart.

National Catfish Month
A rather fishy recipient of a tributary month, this bottom feeder tops the list of tasty meat without feet.  There’s a myriad of ways to enjoy it, and whether baked, steamed, roasted or fried, there’s a variety  to pick and choose from.  While best known as an American favorite, this flavorsome freshwater fish is also a staple of Pan-Asian cuisine and found anywhere from Cajun crawfish shacks to the sushi bars of Japan.  You can also celebrate this savory swimmer with a Steele 1998 Catfish Vineyard Zinfandel (ranked 91 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine).

Hawaii Admission Day (Aug. 21)
Queue up your best Don Ho or Jack Johnson playlist and celebrate America’s youngest state with the flavors of fiery island cuisine.  Hawaii's 5-0 may been so last year, but a backyard luau is a crucial celebration for its 51st year in the union.  Mix up your favorite tropical or tiki drink and start with poke or crab-crusted Kona kampachi.  Not up to roasting a full swine on a spit?  Save yourself digging a pit (or Imu, as natives call it) and cook up some Kalua pork comfort of your charcoal or gas grill.  For a sweet end to your Polynesian party, enjoy haupia, a traditional coconut pudding, served over a silky slice of cheesecake – just like in Hilo.

Published on August 11, 2010