Is there anything better than dining al fresco? Al fresco means “in the fresh (air).” It means incorporating nature and your surroundings into your dining experience. It means opening up your senses to the sights, sounds and smells of the world around you. It means embracing your environment and allowing it to nourish your soul just as much as the food you will eat.
Dining al fresco can take on many vistas – you can be sipping a glass of wine at a Parisian cafe, gorging on lobster at a dock in Maine, drinking a hot chocolate on a Swiss ski slope, or grilling a hamburger at home and eating it on your deck. On Friday I enjoyed a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich and ice tea with my friend Beth while overlooking the marina in Sea Isle City. Just the smell of the water, the fresh air, and the open structure of the dining area made us want to linger forever. It wasn’t the most glamourous spot and it wasn’t a gourmet menu. However, it was a restorative meal that engaged the senses and made us smile.
Food tastes better outdoors. The same humdrum hamburger for Wednesday night’s dinner becomes the best burger ever when consummed at the beach. That inexpensive white wine you uncorked for dinner last night becomes the best quaff of your life at that cliffside hotel. For those of us in the mid-Atlantic region, al fresco dining usually occurs from May through the end of September. So, now is the time to heighten your senses, whittle away at your cares, and take advantage of the best dining experience ever. Everybody, outside!