the perfect picnic - location and eats

Here we are again, in that most beautiful time of year. Languid warm afternoons, gentle breezes and all the flowers in bloom, lush, just waiting for someone to notice them. These are the long days of Spring. The ones you enjoy on your veranda, back porch, balcony or at the beach until the late dusk brings us back inside around 9:30 or 10:00.  It is also one of the best times of the year for a picnic!

Whether you are looking at going down to the beach, or hiking to that picture perfect spot I have some ideas for you. Also, a great meal to take along for the ride! Picnics are such a wonderful way to ease into a lazy Sunday, wash off a hard Thursday or to gather all your friends for some Frisbee and fun in the sun.  Here are my most favorite places to have a picnic.

Stanley Park Okay so this one is a BIT obvious, BUT the options are endless! Take your bikes and start along the seawall and find a great bench or clearing that overlooks the Lion’s Gate Bridge. There are loads of grassy areas that are set away from the main hubbub that is Stanley Park. Claim one and make it your own. Click here and find a great source for hidden gem hideaways right under our noses. Another great one – especially on the weekend, is that area beside the Aquarium that hosts 'Art in the Park.' The large Cedar trees and lush grasses welcome you with shade and the Art that surrounds makes for a wonderful conversation and easy stroll to walk off that lunch. Great to if you like to meet new folks – always a great social area, yet it always feels peaceful at the same time.

The Baden Powell Trail and Panorama Park
Take a great little thirty minute hike out to the edge of the world! Work up your appetite in beautiful Deep Cove. Park at the main parking area right in town and then follow the trail signs up Panorama Drive. There you will find an entrance on your left. A healthy hike waits for you and is dog friendly. Once you have made it all the way to the end, stand back and enjoy all the glories of the view. You're finished the hike? Are of course RAVENOUS from all that great exercise? Leisurely walk back towards the town and find Panorama Park. This area overlooks the bay and has water access so the doggy can cool off its hot little paws in the water. There is also a great kid’s area, as well as picnic tables that are both covered and open. The Deep Cove Marina is your view as well as the rolling mountains and lovely homes of the inlet. If you choose a dinner picnic Deep Cove has live music in the park most summer weekends.

Best Picnic Sandwich EVER – Pan Bagnat! This sandwich has what it take to be the BEST picnic sandwich in the universe. Yes, the universe. Travels amazing, holds up to being bumped about, feeds a crowd, is amazingly delicious, looks impressive, and oh yes, EASY to make! Hope you have one this summer!
There is many a recipe available, but I am partial to Patricia Wells  version. Try this one or invent your own! Just remember not to add too many wet items. Don’t want it to get soggy. Enjoy yourselves!

  •  2 ripe tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced crosswise
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 (5-oz.) can olive oil-packed tuna, drained
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • ½ small red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced into 2" lengths
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 (7") round rustic bread loaf, split (about 20 oz.)
  • 1 small bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 small cucumber, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 8 oil-cured anchovies, drained
  • 10 salt-cured black olives, pitted and halved
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Sprinkle tomato slices liberally with salt and transfer to a colander; set aside to drain for 30 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, break up tuna with a fork and stir in scallions and bell pepper; set aside. In another small bowl, whisk together oil and mustard; set dressing aside.

3. Scoop the insides from the bread loaf and discard or reserve for another use.
Place tomatoes evenly over bottom of bread and then top with fennel and cucumbers; spread tuna mixture over top, and then top with egg slices, anchovies, and olives. Pour dressing evenly over ingredients, and season with salt and pepper; cover with top of bread, pressing lightly to compact.

4. Wrap sandwich tightly in plastic wrap and place on a baking sheet;
top with another baking sheet and weight with a cast-iron skillet. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Slice and serve. Moan :+}