While the idea of a flash mob may conjure images of the days when Simon Cowell was an American Idol judge and Grey's Anatomy was still a relevant TV drama (last week's death of McDreamy was mostly met with a collective 'that show is still on?' shrug), that doesn't mean that the idea of a semi-spontaneous gathering of strangers can't be pleasurable.
After all, everyone loves it when a plan comes together.
As the name implies, diners, who are all wearing white, gather in a secret location and eat together in a mass picnic.
Which brings us to the elaborate plan being hatched by Le Dîner en Blanc. The pop-up event that started in Paris 25 years ago will make its Texas debut in Houston on May 30. As the name implies, diners, who are all wearing white, gather in a secret location and eat together in a mass picnic. This video from last year's event in New York City gives some idea of the spectacle.
"We felt Houston was primed for such a dazzling event as an increase of interest in fine living has been noted over the years,” says Tracey Burrell, a local event planner who is one of the co-organizers of the event along with publicist Geiá Carter.
Event organizers promise the event will "promote friendship, elegance and gallantry" at what is described as "one of the city's most beautiful locations." To attend Dîner en Blanc, participants are either invited by organizers or can sign up online to join the waiting list. Invitees get first crack, then people come off the list. In all, 1,200 people are expected to attend.
Before rushing to sign up, understand that participating in Dîner en Blanc is serious business. First of all, the event is rain or shine.
In addition to wearing all white, each group of two people is required to bring the following: a table, two folder chairs, a white tablecloth, a picnic basket "comprising fine food and proper stemware and white dinnerware," and either champagne or wine. Don't worry: the event's Facebook page helpfully lists official vendors for furniture and linen rentals.
All told — depending on one's taste in fine food and wine and factoring in the $45 per person fee to participate — it's easy to imagine a couple spending $200 to $250 on the event, which would go a long way towards a delicious meal at just about any restaurant in Houston.
Ah, but how does one put a price on price style, exclusivity and Dîner en Blanc's Parisian heritage?