What to Serve at Your End-of-Summer Pool Party

A winning menu for a marathon outdoor party
Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFA.com

Summer isn’t over yet, folks. So make the most of those precious final days and throw a party like the outdoor brunch Tasting Table just hosted in the Hamptons. By now, you’ve probably mastered a few go-to summer dishes and cocktails, so here’s how to kick things up a notch and make sure you go out with a bang.

This weekend, Tasting Table enlisted the help of Caravan, a mobile food truck that launched in the Hamptons earlier this year. Run by Deeva Green, Lee Reitelman and Alexandra Cohen, Caravan has been serving healthy, seasonal and interesting dishes to beachgoers all summer. Forget the overdone kale salad; at Caravan, you’ll find items like blue fish tartines and their signature Terroir Bowls: filled with wholesome grains, like wheat berries, and topped with the likes of tahini sauce, kimchi and a Chinese green called tatsoi. Green, Reitelman and Cohen bring an international flavor to the best the East End has to offer, changing the menu weekly to highlight what’s in peak season and using the staff’s own travels as inspiration.

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On Saturday, Caravan took its winning strategy to Tasting Table’s Farm Stand Brunch. If you’re looking for a Labor Day menu or just excellent dishes that will withstand the heat of your outdoor shindig, here are some pro tips to keep in mind and dishes to go along with them.

Pro Tip: Spice Up Your Protein Routine
Try: North African Spiced Chicken

North African Spiced Chicken | Photo: Alyssa Ringler

This isn’t your average BBQ chicken (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Subtlety spicy, this delicious chicken comes with a tarragon pesto that will make you go back for seconds—and thirds.

Pro Tip: Make a Not-So-Common Slaw
Try: Sesame-Yuzu Slaw

Sesame Yuzu Slaw | Photo: Alyssa Ringler

Slaw goes with just about everything you want at your summer cookout, whether it’s smoked meat, hot dogs or BBQ chicken. Serve it as a side or on top of a sandwich, burger or dog. Caravan not only uses sesame and yuzu to dress up the cabbage and accompanying vegetables, but it also sprinkles in toasted almonds, which add another layer of flavor and texture.

Pro Tip: Brighten Up a Grain Salad
Try: Lemon-Sumac Quinoa

Lemon Sumac Quinoa | Photo: Alyssa Ringler

Grain salads, whether it’s farro or a miso brown rice salad with pickled mushrooms, are heroes at an outdoor party. They’re hearty, keep well under the elements and look beautiful, too. In Caravan’s quinoa bowl, lemon brightens things up and lets end-of-summer vegetables shine, while feta adds a tang and sumac takes the dish to the next level.

Pro Tip: Keep Dessert Light
Try: Sweet Bowl

Sweet Bowl  Photo: Alyssa Ringler

No one wants to feel weighed down by a rich and heavy dessert—but everyone wants a little something sweet. Swap brownies for fruit and tea biscuits, and instead of serving ice cream, try a yogurt bowl, sweetened with stewed fruits and granola.  

Hold on tight to summer!

  • Pool floaties at Tasting Table’s Farm Stand Brunch.

    Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFA.com


  • Geoff Bartakovics and Caravan’s Deeva Green.

    Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFA.com

  • Pool vibes.

    Photo: Alyssa Ringler

  • Sweet treats from Citarella.

    Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFA.com

  • Jumbo lump crab rolls from Munchery.

    Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFA.com

  • The drinks menu and Bloody Mary bar.

    Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFA.com

  • Cocktails, courtesy of Belvedere.

    Photo: Alyssa Ringler

  • Poolside lounging.

    Photo: Alyssa Ringler

  • Brooke Welsch.

    Photo: Alyssa Ringler

  • Photo booths: always a plus.

    Photo: Alyssa Ringler

  • Hanging onto summer.

    Photo: Alyssa Ringler

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