Top Tips For Outdoor Entertaining with Taste of Pace

Last weekend, I attended my first summer barbecue of the season, and ever since I’ve been prowling Pinterest for outdoor summer entertaining ideas. While I get the whole rustique craze that is so in style right now with chalkboards and mason jars, we prefer to doll things up a bit more and go for an Ina Garten meets Zooey Deschanel look. Here are some of our staples for outdoor summer entertaining.

1. Avocado mousse, watermelon radish, mango, cilantro, cucumber cup

               Photo credit: Andrew Arthur

These cucumber cups are among our favorites in our Hors D’Oeurves Cooking Class. They are fresh, bright and so celebratory of summer. Taste of Pace loves juicy summer grilled meats, which is why we think it is so important to have light, produce-driven hors d’oeurves. After all – meals, even at parties, are all about being balanced, so you want to make sure that there is food that people can munch on that won’t make them fear the beach the next day.

Cucumbers are a wonder veggie, too – not many people know, but cucumbers have hundreds of amazing benefits. From being rich in B vitamins, folic acid, vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc to removing cellulite, cleaning stainless steal and erasing pen marks, cucumbers are a one stop shop. Combine cucumbers with avocado mousse, watermelon radish, mango and cilantro and you have summer in a bite!

Avocado Mousse, Radish, Mango, Cilantro, Cucumber Cup
yields 20 pcs.

Avocado mousse:

  • 2 avocados
  • 1-2 teaspoons lime juice
  • salt to taste
  • 5 large cucumbers for cups, peeled, cut into 3/4” medallions and then carefully scoop out seeds
  • 1 mango, brunoise
  • 1 bunch radishes, brunoise
  • cilantro, chopped and save some small leaves for garnish


1. Puree all mousse ingredients in food processor until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag.

2. Prepare brunoise vegetables/fruit.

3. Pipe mousse into cucumber cups.

4. Garnish with brunoise and cilantro.

2. Summer Tunes
Great tunes are a must for any kind of entertaining, and finding just the right mix to set the mood is even more important. For backyard BBQing, we love Fleet Foxes’ newest album Helplessness Blues. For those of you that don’t already know Fleet Foxes, they are an ambient folk band with some of the best harmonies and instrumentals I’ve heard in a very long time. We also love Andrew Bird– this violinist/singer/songwriter is a genius and has a great “chill on a Sunday afternoon” vibe.

3. Bistro Lighting

After thinking for a while about a single element that jazzes up any outdoor party, it dawned on us that strung bistro lighting is key. They’re sexy, casual, elegant and are able to tie a space together, provide ample lighting for outdoor areas at night and give your soiree a cozy, intimate feel.

4. A killer summer cocktail
One of our biggest criteria for cocktails during any time of the year is they should always feel refreshing, never heavy. We avoid drinks with heavy syrups and lots of sugar – your cocktail should be a compliment of the meal, not a meal in itself! We prefer cocktails with fresh herbs and fruits that waken the palate and are easy to throw back without spoiling your appetite. We love this muddled grape cocktail– we served it at one of our supper clubs an an aperitif, it was a huge hit and the perfect light, summer cocktail to get you started!

5. One super rad entertaining dress
Every girl has to have a “hostess with the mostest” dress that says, “Oh what, this fabulous party? Oh, it’s just a little something I threw together at the last minute in between making everything homemade and decorating my space perfectly.” You know what dress I’m talking about… My rad entertaining dress is one I got from my favorite vintage thrift shop in Topanga Canyon called Hidden Treasures. We love classic looks for these types of events. All the ladies of Taste of Pace have had a recent obsession with Mad Men, and we’ve been drooling over all of the vintage styles. Banana Republic has a Mad Men collection right now that is perfect for pulling off that retro style!

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