Gathering a group of friends around a big communal table is a wonderful thing. Especially when there isn’t a massive bill at the end of the meal to divide up and pay. While the Double P’s clearly love eating out, there’s nothing better than eating in, especially when it involves good friends, good eats and plenty of laughter.

A pot-luck dinner is one of the best social gatherings around. Rather than being jammed together in a packed bar, or stuck in a restaurant where you can’t talk to anyone who’s not sitting directly next to you, a dinner party allows all sorts of freedom: Enjoy a beverage by the couches, conversate on the back porch or turn a stranger into a friend while prepping food in the kitchen.

President/Founder of REMG and all-around great guy, Jonathan Ramos, recently hosted a dinner party that encompassed all of these things and more. His 18 guests brought bags of groceries, bottles of wine, dishes to be warmed, and shrimp for the barbie. Before the main event, there were Samosas and Pakoras to be nibbled on, plus homemade Guacamole and Bruschetta.


There were eight dishes for the main dinner including Glazed Salmon (who knew Ramos could cook?), Grilled Shrimp marinated in garlic and red pepper, a deliciously dill-y Potato Salad, Vegan Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon, a colourful Pepper and Bean Salad, BBQ Chicken (big up Sobey’s!), pan-fried Asparagus and the unusual pasta dish of Pappardelle with Sugo Crudo (courtesy of singer/songwriter Ivana Santilli, who breaks down her famous recipe here).


As you can tell from my first serving, a pot luck provides tons of variety. (Please note: I definitely had my fair share of seconds, and even thirds with the shrimp.) This meal was truly a feast for our eyes and our stomachs.


Many of the guests were young professionals from the music, film, magazine and TV worlds. And when you get that many creative people in one room, something unusual is bound to pop off. Director Jason Ebanks suggested a “photography project” — each person at the table takes a portrait of the person sitting immediately to their left. This activity incited laughter, jokes, quick-thinking (10 seconds per person, only one snapshot allowed) and of course, great memories.


The attire was semi-formal (which, apart from vague references to prom night, no one knew exactly what this meant), and seeing all his friends together, looking sharp, made Mr. Ramos one very happy man. Oh, and the dessert of chocolate cake, chocolate cookies and chocolate croissants, well, that didn’t hurt either. Best of all, this evening of fun can easily be re-created by you and yours. Pick a night, invite your friends and ask each person to bring a dish. It’ll be a night you won’t soon forget.


Big ups to b-day boy Ramos (shown far left in the white shirt), Nat, and the 17 other people who snuggled up way too close to fit around the dinner table.