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Not Your Ordinary Picnic - LA’s Best Gourmet Baskets

With Carmageddon looming on the horizon, the driving-obsessed populace of Los Angeles will suddenly find itself forced to keep things local. Gazing in wonder at their previously unexplored environs, Angelenos might actually venture out – if you can imagine – into their woefully unappreciated neighborhood parks and beaches.  What better way to enjoy this time spent outdoors than a picnic?  

Check out our rundown below of the best gourmet picnic baskets in the city, along with a few recipes for those of you who have actually touched your cooking utensils in the past year.  Pick up some goodies, invite your neighbors to join (if you have any idea what their names are), and soak up that beautiful California sunshine.  These are also great for Hollywood Bowl performances, outdoor movie screenings, and even your apartment complex's sketchy sundeck. 

Clementine - Clementine’s tasty options range the $15 picnic-in-a-box (your choice of sandwich, salad, and cookie) to a $15 double-dip special (enough crostini, crudites, and dip to serve 2-4).  Place your order the day before by 5 pm, and pick-up after 3 pm the next day.  

Little Next Door - Perfect for a lazy morning picnic, the Little Next Door’s $16 “Early Bird Basket” includes a selection of butter croissants, fruit danish, pains au raisin, brioches, pains au chocolat, or almond croissants, or, if you’re the type who “thinks outside the basket,” you can’t go wrong with take-out from their brasserie.

The Larchmont Larder - The fact that this restaurant’s name contains the word “lard” should not scare you away. This place has some great deals, such as baskets for two ranging from $6 for a simple salad to $18 for a combination of beef tenderloin or shrimp with veggies. They also have an $8 dessert platter (we’ll take five of those, please). There is a $5 packaging fee, but with all the money you're saving, it's worth the splurge.

BLD - This little restaurant makes custom picnic baskets based on whatever you order from their menu, so there isn’t a set price per basket. Instead, the price varies by what you choose, from $13 for the tofu to $16 for prime flat iron steak.  Orders must be placed at least six hours in advance and may be picked up between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm daily.

The Bistro Garden Cafe - Prices range from $35- $48, and include utensils, bread and butter, salt and pepper, and disposable plates. Baskets include appetizer, entree and dessert for two, ranging from a combination of gazpacho, salmon and berries to jumbo shrimp, vegetable salad, and goat cheese walnut cake and creme brulee. Allow one hour for pickup.

Cube - Cube's baskets -- which cost about $20 per person -- can be filled with your choice of paninis, dried fruits, artisanal cheeses, and charcuterie.

Or, if you’re the type of girl who knows her way around a kitchen (i.e., it’s more than just the place where you store your bottle openers), here is a selection of simple picnic recipes to show off those skills:

Caponata Eggplant Sandwiches

Ratatouille with Feta, Green Olives, and Almonds

Shrimp Couscous Salad

Summer Veggie Subs

S’more Bars

Jul 15, 2011 - 08:50 AM

recipes, cheap activities, cheap eats