SPONSORED POST: This is a paid post. The Road to The Good Life chose to work with La Crema Winery for their dedication to handcrafted wines at reasonable prices. All opinions presented are my own.
When warm weather arrives I like to be ready for spur-of-the-moment mini-vacations. I have a picnic basket and couple of coolers packed with essentials ready to go. And I also have a couple of same-day or next-day delivery services queued up on my iPhone ready to deliver charcuterie, cheese, olives, and fruit.
Not all of us are lucky enough to live in the country or minutes from a beach. But, we don't need to. All we need is a well-stocked picnic basket and a little patch of grass, a park bench, or a roof top and a little sun.
For me, a picnic basket is just a boxed or bagged lunch like mom used to make when you headed out to school. My favorite lunches were those in which she tucked a thermos of tomato soup to accompany charcuterie, cheese, and fresh San Francisco sourdough. My picnics can be directly traced to the lunches my mom packed for me. Right now, our picnics include a chilled carrot ginger soup (recipe available on The La Crema Blog) and easy-to-prepare on the spot apricot, avocado spinach salad.
Get Fresh Picnic Essentials Delivered
Two services I use to have fresh ingredients delivered to me to add to my cooler are Good Eggs and Lasso. With Good Eggs you need a little planning; orders need to be placed at least two days in advance for Monday through Friday delivery (delivery fees range from free to $3.99). Depending on demand, you can get same day delivery with Lasso (delivery fee is $8.95).
When picnicking, I like no mess, self-contained foods. There's usually not a source of running water available to clean up greasy silverware or plates, and I dislike using disposable silverware or plates when I don't have to. For my picnics, I always pick a couple of cured meats, a mix of hard and soft goat and sheep's milk cheeses, olives, fresh fruit, sourdough, and sometimes crackers.
My picks for meats are: anything from Boccalone, Fra'Mani Salametti, OLLI Wild Boar Salametti, or Palacios Spanish Dry Chorizo. All of these meats are dairy-free. (I'm allergic to cow's milk so need to avoid any salumi with nonfat milk or lactose.)
For cheeses, I choose: Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog Chevre, Assa Goat Cheese from Tomales Farmstead Creamery, young Goat Gouda (in San Francisco, available at Whole Foods, Bi-Rite Market, Cowgirl Creamery, and Rainbow), and a Sheep's milk gouda (Ewephoria from Bi-Rite Market).
Find a Spot with a View
My two favorite spots in San Francisco are perfect for last minute, unplanned mid-day getaways. They're both near local markets that stock the essentials I listed above!
In Mission Dolores Park
Almost everyone's go to spot on sunny days is Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco. At the moment, part of the park is torn up for renovations, but the hill with the most amazing view of downtown San Francisco is still open--just a little more crowded than usual. Besides the view, the draw for me is the park's proximity to Bi-Rite Market.
Along the San Francisco Bay Waterfront
My other favorite spots for a "picnic" is along the waterfront near the SF Ferry Building. (It's usually a little windy so you need to come prepared with layers just in case and have a strategy for ensuring your napkins and trash don't blow away.) This spot is great because you don't have to plan ahead to get your fresh picnic essentials. All you need is your stocked picnic basket. Just pop into the SF Ferry Building and grab your meat from Boccalone and your cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and you're set.
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.