Photos by Jordan Hefler

Louisiana Saturday night: A festive evening outdoors

The last rays of daylight dipped low across the autumn sky as guests of Scott Reis and his wife Rebecca Cunard made their way out to the courtyard with glasses of Dom Perignon. Cocktail hour was coming to a close and all in attendance were about to embark on a multi-course culinary journey with wine pairings by candlelight. The elegant yet rustic setting—under a pergola made of reclaimed wood and brick—struck the perfect note for a feast worthy of a fall pilgrimage.

“For this event, we had a Louisiana theme but not a single native flower in bloom,” says Cunard, of creating the fall table-scape with her sister Jeanne.  “The lovely little white pumpkins were the necessity of substitution.”

Rebecca Cunard & Scott Reis with Alisa & Michael O’Connor

The pumpkins perched atop wooden boxes filled with dry ice, a creative centerpiece that produced a faint fog. A burlap runner stretched the length of the table, with fresh greenery woven throughout. But the natural elements on the table were not to suggest a simple, unrefined menu. Instead, guests dined on oysters prepared three ways, a blue cheese bibb salad, and chateaubriand with pommes dauphinoise and asparagus bundles. Dessert was a pistachio and vanilla bean crème brûlée topped with a flaming fig sauce.

“We plan the menu keeping our red wine collection in mind, but always with a special dessert centered around one of our vintage Sauternes,” says Reis, who paired the crème brûlée with a Chateau Laribotte dessert wine. “Otherwise Rebecca selects the menu and—no matter how challenging—my job is to pair wines for each course.”

The outdoor pergola, accessible through a brick courtyard, proves to be the ideal place for a party

After dessert, guests kicked back with Old-Fashioneds and cigars. The event wound to a close long after the stars came out, and that’s exactly the way Reis and Cunard like it. This duo loves to host everything from sophisticated wine dinners to laid-back
hamburger socials with hand-cranked ice cream. The right mixture of friends and food make each get-together a delight, and they always try to top the event before.

“Entertaining is more about creating the experience of the evening rather than individual details,” says Cunard. “Our favorite events are al fresco parties on the pergola.”

See more photos from this gathering in our gallery below: