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4th Of July: How to Pack an Easy, Perfect Picnic

by Borderstan.com — July 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm 0

Alejandra Owens, 4th of July, peaches

Peaches are available at the local farmers’ markets this weekend. 14th & U is Saturdays and Dupont on Sundays. (Alejandra Owens)

From Alejandra Owens. You can find her at Twitter at @frijolita or her food blog One Bite At A Time.

It’s the perfect weekend to grab a cooler bag, an ice pack and head to one of Washington’s numerous outdoor green spots for a good old-fashioned picnic.

Everyone focuses on the meat at a picnic, but I say the sides make the picnic. A cold, creamy potato salad is a must — and this potato salad with red onions (my favorite onion) includes pickles (add some pickle juice if you want to get extra fancy) which only makes it better.

If a cold pasta salad sounds tired and old, gussy it up by making this Mediterranean Orzo Salad from food blogger Not Derby Pie. Buttery cannellini beans and pungent sun dried tomatoes balance out this pasta dish to make it (much) more exciting than your average slimy pasta salad.

Every picnic needs fresh fruit. While you can totally grab a basket of peaches from the market and call it a day, why not go the extra mile and make a fruit salad? Watermelon and feta is played out — add some pickled onions and hot damn you’ve got a fruit salad that’ll knock you on your knees.

But we all need a some meat, or grilled tofu if that’s your thing, and my family always went with some amazing deli meat sandwiches. If you’re feeling spendy you can hit up Red Apron Butchery at the market and get some salami and fresh buttermilk rolls from Atwater’s Bakery, add some Blue Ridge smoked mozarella, tomatoes and basil and you’re set.

If you’re not feeling like making sandwiches or coordinating all the accouterments then you need to make an early morning stop at Cork Market & Tasting Room. You can grab some pre-made sandwiches for your picnic crew AND a mini bottle or two of your favorite white, rose or prosecco to make the event extra special (watch out for the park rangers… booze generally isn’t allowed in D.C.’s best picnic spots).

Don’t forget a blanket, utensils and some napkins and you’re set! Maybe pack some patience if you’re headed to the National Mall… a drum if you’re off to Meridian Hill Park… or a bathing suit if you’re headed to the SW Waterfront.

Happy 4th of July Borderstanis!

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