Picnic season is in full force, and just because we live in a concrete jungle doesn’t mean we can’t savor the beautiful summer weather. Manhattan has Riverside Park, Washington Square Park, High Line, Fort Tyron Park, and Central Park (obviously) — and these are just a few of the lush, green picnic spots off the top of my head.
Here’s your how-to on enjoying a fabulous picnic wherever you may be. Easy to transport, delicious, easy to eat, and refreshing to drink, here’s a curated list of some of the awesome items and services to make your next picnic the best one ever!
On-the-Go Gourmet Bites
- Uma Temakeria
A hand roll filled with fish, tofu, or/and crisp vegetables is as refreshing and light as picnic items get. With choices that range from tuna to salmon to Uma’s summer collaboration with Luke’s Lobster incorporating its fresh, Maine lobster into a temaki roll, these temaki are portable, nutritious, and great for a summer afternoon outside.
- Luke’s Lobster
Summer just isn’t complete without fresh lobster rolls. Head over to Luke’s Lobster for fresh wild blue salad topped with meaty lobster tails, traditional lobster rolls, or even a crab or shrimp roll. Step up your lobster game even further by stopping by Luke’s Lobster Tail Cart in the new Whole Foods in Williamsburg and picking up some freshly grilled lobster tails and butter for a picnic fit for royalty.
- Urbanspace Vanderbilt
Picnics need dessert! Stop by Ovenly at Urbanspace Vanderbilt and pick up an assortment of baked goods including salted chocolate chip cookies, chocolate truffle cookies, gooey honey chocolate blondie bars, and more.
- Union Fare
Grab yourself one of those poke bowls that has everyone going crazy. Savor cube-sized bites of raw fish mixed with heathy, fresh ingredients. Yellowtail, salmon, tuna… whatever you fancy, get it here with greens and toppings that include garlic chips, avocado, and a variety of light dressings.
- Batter & Cream
Check out the new Batter & Cream location at TurnStyle, Columbus Circle’s underground mall. This dessert heaven bakes indulgent, hand-made whoopies that are a no-brainer picnic dessert everyone will love. The decadent flavors range from the chocolatey (cookie dough, chocolate peanut butter pretzel, cookies and cream) to fresh-fruit flavors (lemon sage, raspberry green tea, and strawberry basil).
Fancy Charcuterie, Anyone?
I love a good charcuterie board; I mean who doesn’t? Head over to the charcuterie shop, Les Trois Petits Cochons, for a variety of handcrafted pâtés, mousses, terrines, sausage, smoked meats, and other French specialties. Les Trois Petits Cochons (French for “The Three Little Pigs”) has been around for more than 40 years and has stuck to its authentic, artisanal charcuteries beginnings. So, bump up the classiness of your picnic with these gourmet goodies.
No Rush, Fuss, or Work
This is one of the most brilliant ideas ever: It’s called Upicnic, the first tech startup to create an online one-stop shop and drop-off service for everything picnic. The menu consists of organic and locally produced ingredients cooked by chef Antonelli. Upicnic offers drop-off service throughout New York City.
All you need to do is head to http://www.upicnic.com, fill up your basket with tasty food that’s made to order, fun sports gear, and classic lawn games to keep your weekends interesting, as well as all the picnic essentials you might need (Sunscreen? Bluetooth speakers? Check!) and simply select when and where you want Upicnic to come meet you with the goods. Check out the baskets offered here.
Stay Caffeinated Anywhere
Get your coffee fix anywhere with this reusable, portable, and disposable cold brew kit that relies on a plastic pouch to steep, store, and serve cold brew coffee in any setting. This kit comes with two pre-portioned filters that are filled and sealed with single-origin Brazilian coffee grounds; a durable, food-grade brew bag that zips at the top to create an airtight seal; and brewing instructions. Boom. Caffeine on!
Pre-made Picnic Baskets
For a well-curated picnic in the park, rooftop, or backyard (really wherever), some New York City luxury hotels, including 1 Hotel Central Park, Loews Regency New York, and Lotte New York Palace, are offering pre-made picnic baskets by professional chefs. Impress your guests with these top-notch baskets for the ultimate summer picnicking fare.
For example, 1 Hotel Central Park and Jams, the hotel’s signature restaurant led by James Beard-winning chef Jonathan Waxman, created the “Picnic in the Park” basket designed for a group of two to three to enjoy while taking in Shakespeare in the Park. This includes freshly baked baguette from Jams; selection of three local cheeses; a bottle of Vrac Rosé; and an ethically made picnic blanket and tote to borrow for the day.
For more information on these picnic baskets, please contact the appropriate hotel.
Refreshments for Under $25
A picnic just isn’t right without some chilled wines and rosés!
Maison Marcel is a unique take on French rosé. Litchi, peach, strawberry jam, and rose notes add a sweet touch to this gorgeous pink bottle. Fresh, floral, and light bodied, this bottle will turn any average picnic into a sophisticated soirée. Try it the piscine way by adding a handful of ice to a massive glass of this rosé.
Josh Cellars Chardonnay has aromas of tropical fruits and citrus, married with notes of oak. A delightful harmony of bright yellow and white stone fruit lingers on the palate and finishes with fresh and clean acidity.
For some bubbly, try Santa Margherita’s Prosecco Superiore. This well-balanced, sparkling wine has a clean, pleasantly fruity bouquet that is reminiscent of Reinette apples and peach blossoms.