Unfold an old blanket or bedspread under a tree, and your dinner there will magically taste better. Never mind the ants. Check out one of these nine choice picnic spots.
(1) Bento picnic at Gedney Park in Millwood
Cool some green tea and head to Spoon Asian Fusion for great selections of seaweed salad, maki rolls with smoked fish (smoked salmon roll $5.95, eel roll $6.95), gyoza dumplings ($5.95), and pad Thai ($13.95) or lo mein noodles ($12.95).
Spoon Asian Fusion, 415 King St, Chappaqua (914) 238-1988
(2) Latino picnic at Rockefeller State Park in Pocantico Hills
Pocket food is handy for picnics, and Med has 30 piping-hot fried or baked empanadas to choose from. For $45, you can purchase a family feast: salad, soda, twelve classic empanadas like the Mendocino (green olives, peppers, ground beef, chopped hard-boiled egg); spinach and goat cheese; or shrimp with cilantro ($3 each, if purchased individually) and four square dessert empanadas.
Med 1205 Pleasantville Rd, Briarcliff Manor (914) 432-7063
(3) Italian picnic on the Bronx River Parkway Greenway
The Iron Tomato has the raw materials if you want to start from scratch, or, pack your basket with an impressive selection of specialty goodies. A rustic, impromptu picnic can be made of mini-baguettes ($1.39) with some bruschetta salad ($6.99/lb), a red-wine salami ($5.99), some provolone-stuffed olives ($10.99/lb), and a stack of fried eggplant, mozzarella, and roasted peppers ($11.25/lb). Mini-pastries for dessert run $1.50 a piece.
The Iron Tomato, 57 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains (914) 328-9400
(4) Locavore picnic at Caramoor in Katonah
Eating local is a snap at the new Table Local Market. Pack your reusable bag with sandwich specials (Cuban panini, $7.95) and salads (roast beet couscous, $11.75/lb). Maybe you’ll find local berries to eat with oatmeal-raisin or peanut-butter cookies ($1.25 each). Fizzy Lizzy sodas are $2, or up the street at Fountainhead, its own label Oregon white and Rhone-style red are $16 each. All set?
Table Local Market, 11 Babbitt Rd, Bedford Hills (914) 241-0269;
(5) Italian picnic on Kensico Plaza in Valhalla
A simple picnic starts behind Dante’s counter: a crispy Il Forno baguette ($3.50); stuffed peppers ($2.50 each) or burrata-stuffed, batter-fried zucchini flowers ($10.99/lb); olives filled with prosciutto, sundried tomatoes, and Gorgonzola ($8/lb); and Cathy’s chocolate-chip or cappuccino biscotti ($11/lb) for dessert. Or, pick up a six-pack of Cinotto and, for $8.50 a piece, pack Dante’s huge panini instead.
Dante’s 429 Central Ave, White Plains (914) 946-3609
(6) Custom picnic at Glen Island in New Rochelle
Order boxed dinners from Provisions’ tried-and-true menu for roughly $10 each, with a side salad, a drink, a cookie, and one of the café’s specialty sandwiches, such as pesto chicken salad on foccacia. Provisions’ homemade version of Hostess Cupcakes and Twinkies are $2 to $3.50 a piece.
Provisions Café 209 Wolfs Ln, Pelham (914) 738-6622
(7) Deli picnic at Greenburgh Nature Center
This reliable original will load you up with your favorite deli-meat, like fresh roast beef ($13.99/lb) on rye. Don’t miss its famous coleslaw ($5.49/lb) and chunky potato salad ($4.99/lb) and throw in some more modern offerings too, like green-bean salad ($6.99/lb) and four types of chicken salad ($10.99/lb).
Hartsdale Cheesery 215 E Hartsdale Ave, Hartsdale (914) 723-6859
(8) Turkish Picnic at Croton Point Park
Assemble a meze-style picnic of bread, dips (taramasalata, $4.29/12-oz jar; tzatziki, $3.79/lb), feta (Turkish feta, $5.99/lb; Greek or Bulgarian, $7.99/lb) and olives. Or amplify from the amazing salad bar selection including hummus, eggplant with yogurt sauce, and rice pilaf ($6.99/lb).
Zeytinia Gourmet Market 51 Maple St, Croton-on-Hudson (914) 271-5600