It seems that everyone in Los Angeles is packing a picnic this summer. There is a plethora of picnic friendly places and events popping up all over town. Los Angeles has become a venerable picnic city.
I used to only associate packing a picnic in the summertime with the Hollywood Bowl. Being a native Angeleno, when summer rolls around I have always frequented the Bowl. I love the novelty of packing up delectable treats for my friends and I to slowly savor at our seats while enjoying the performances and the sun setting overhead. This year I am venturing out and packing more picnics, but not just for the Hollywood Bowl.
Yesterday I enjoyed a perfect evening of indulgence at Barnsdall Park. Each Friday during the summer, Silverlake Wine holds a tasting. On this particular Friday, the place was packed. The wine was crisp and refreshing, the picnic perfection, and the sun sparkling off the Hollyhock House enchanting.
For my picnic at Barnsdall Park I made a roasted shrimp and orzo salad, a minty cucumber yogurt dip with crunchy pita chips and a fresh fruit salad. Packed carefully in my tote and spread across our little blanket we enjoyed a brilliant summer evening.
Roasted Shrimp and Orzo (serving for 3):
* recipe modified from Barefoot Contessa
- Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
- Olive Oil
- 1/2 pound of orzo pasta
- 1/2 cups of fresh squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
- 1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cups minced scallions
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1/2 cups chopped flat leaf parsley
- 3 persian cucumbers, diced
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- small wedge of fresh feta, diced
Diced onion, dill, parsley, cucmbers and set aside. Mix lemon juice with a pince of salt pepper and a tablespoon of oliveoil.
Cook orzo in a pot of salted boiling water 9-11 minutes. While the orzo is cooking toss shrimp in EVOO, salt and pepper and place on a baking dish and roast for 5-6 minutes in the oven at 400 degrees.
When the orzo is cooked and strained pour lemon juice with EVOO over pasta. Toss the hot pasta with the roasted shrimp and the diced onion, dill, parsley and cucumbers. Allow the flavors combine for an hour. Salt and pepper the dish to taste. Add feta before serving.
For picnics at the Hollywood Bowl I usually turn to Joan’s on Third to do the work for me. The daily selection of fresh deli salads and entrees are always the ideal picnic food. My favorites are the lightly breaded chicken Milanese or the poached salmon topped with toybox tomatoes, garlic, and basil. I usually accompany an entrée with either Israeli couscous with mushrooms and parsley, crunchy sweet Szechwan green beans, or baby beets with goat cheese and walnuts. Any choice from Joan’s many salad offerings is always delicious. Also not to be missed is the selection of cupcakes, cookies, and bars. My favorites are the chocolate coconut cupcake and the strawberry cream puff – a light pillow of sweetness! Joan’s on Third is a one-stop shop for a perfectly packed picnic.
Where to go when you pack a picnic: