Lucky me, I've attended several American Dance Festival performances, although not nearly as many as my colleague Byron Woods (see his ADF blog at www.indyweekblogs.com/adf). The combination of heat, culture and a glass of wine afterward makes for a lovely summer evening. (The "after" is when dance ignoramuses discuss what we just saw, and wonder what it all means.)
The owners of Six Plates Wine Bar (2812 Erwin Road, Suite 104, Durham, 321-0203, sixplates.blogspot.com) must agree, because they've teamed up with the ADF to offer "post-performance soirees" every Friday evening, featuring "good company paired with exceptional wines, beer and complimentary hors d'oeuvres." The series continues through July 18.
Summer is also when neighbors spend long evenings on the front porch, chatting and watching the fireflies. That spirit of community lives on at Panciuto (110 S. Churton St., Hillsborough, 732-6261, www.panciuto.com), which hosts its second Community Dinner Wednesday, June 25. "What we do on these nights is host one long 'community' table where everyone is seated. Food is passed and conversation is lively, and highlighted by a special guest," says chef/owner Aaron Vandermark. This week's special guests are Alice and Stuart White of Bluebird Meadows (www.bluebirdmeadowsnc.com), who will discuss their focus on small-scale production of flowers and organic vegetables.
The dinner will include food from their farm in Hurdle Mills; tables will display their flowers. "Please be prepared to engage, as your participation is paramount to the success of these evenings," Vandermark says. Doors open at 7 p.m., and dinner begins at 7:30. Cost is $55 per person, which includes tax, tip, food and wine. Reservations must be made in advance.
Eating outdoors is another way to spend a lovely summer evening. You can share homegrown food and meet local artists from 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday, June 29, at the first of ChathamArts' two Potluck in a Pasture suppers at Bill Dow's Ayrshire Farm in Hickory Mountain (south of U.S. 64 between Pittsboro and Siler City). Dow will lead a farm tour; artists will show their work.
Guests are asked to bring a potluck dish for eight that includes at least one locally grown ingredient (and the recipe to share, noting the origin of local items), as well as a beverage, lawn chair or blanket, and a $10 donation to ChathamArts, which supports local, diverse arts and cultural programs. Directions are available at www.chathamarts.org or by calling 219-9840.
The second potluck is set for Sunday, Sept. 14, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Jordan Lake Farm.
Finally, don't forget that June is Eat Local Triangle month (slowfoodtriangle.org/community). Many area restaurants are featuring all-local items on their menus. J. Betski's (10 W. Franklin St., Suite 120, Raleigh, 833-7999, www.jbetskis.com) is serving up a smoked pork chop with braised kale, new potatoes and sweet onion gravy. Check the Web site for a complete list.
Know about a fun food happening in the Triangle? Send it to Now Serving at firstname.lastname@example.org.