by Linda Viertel
Picnics are one of summer’s great delights. Enjoying free summer evening jazz concerts at Pierson Park or Lyndhurst and spreading a blanket on the ground, or climbing onto picnic table benches and “dining out” surrounded by the beauty of our Hudson River and Westchester greenery provides glorious relief from the heat and a hard day’s work. But, in the dog days of summer, who wants to plan, prep and cook for a carefree picnic?
Luckily, our river towns provide an engaging variety of take-out opportunities, enough so that you can vary your picnic “food themes” at least a half dozen times this August. Each of the following food purveyors will create a memorable picnic that is just one quick call away.
Healthy food is the hallmark at Geordane’s, a specialty food store watched over with deep caring by hard-working owner Dani Diaz. She and her team will cater to any of your culinary picnic needs. Create your own salad with a base of romaine, spring spinach or kale and arugula mixes, and a choice of over 14 toppings and a dozen dressings. Or pick up ready-made casesar, toscana and fruit salads. A vast variety of sandwiches can be prepared according to your taste, or selected from a number of offerings in the refrigerator case.
Geordane’s in-house butcher grinds Herondale’s organic, grass-fed sirloin for the perfect hamburger. Shrimp and chicken kebabs are available as well. Balthazar bread is featured, but gluten-free breads are also on hand if requested. Dessert choices include macaroons, lemon, chocolate hazelnut or pecan squares, cannolis filled to order, a lava cake, linzer torte cookies and brownies. Fresh organic juices can be made to order, and a wide variety of juices; plus healthy sodas and chips will complete the perfect picnic.
Irvington’s Main Street is now home to proprietor Suzanne Hart’s delightful take-out venue where paninis, sandwiches, full dinners and salads are on tantalizing display. Choose from Suzanne’s popular chicken or orzo salads, flavored with apricots, almonds and basil. Egg salad gets special treatment thanks to capers and dill. Suzanne’s robust quinoa bowl, seafood salad, lentil or watermelon and feta salads are refreshing summer choices. Or, why not slice off a beautiful chunk of wild salmon for an elegant picnic choice? Her paninis are made to order and include a turkey, manchego cheese, apple and fig jam option. It’s hard to make a decision when Black Forest ham and brie or her famed grilled cheese are additional options.
Sandwiches are made with Balthazar bread, the smashed avocado being a signature. Always on hand are chicken salad, roasted turkey, slathered with cranberry and chutney mayonnaise, prosciutto with basil and roasted rosemary tomatoes or egg salad, dressed with watercress on a multi-grain bread. Special sandwiches might include the Thai chicken wrap, a pork panini smothered with grilled fontina, gruyere and cheddar, or turkey meatloaf dressed with barbecue sauce.
“Make A Difference “ cookies home-baked and charmingly decorated by two Irvington high school girls are wrapped and ready to place in your picnic basket. The proceeds go to the Maria Ferrari Children’s Hospital.
Try a Middle Eastern picnic with help from Irvington Delight, where you can choose from 4 hummus flavors: classic, spicy red pepper, basil and garlic, or fresh mint. Or, why not bring along one of each for your picnickers? Fragrantly smoky baba ghanoush and a tahini/yogurt sauce are the final complements that will make your stack of pitas disappear. Grape leaves are now in season, picked fresh from owners’ Amal and Nebeel Rabadi’s backyard, then given the royal treatment in Amal’s vegetarian/rice or meat-stuffed grape leaves. Felafel, kibbe and kebabs, all Middle Eastern specialties, are available, as are fresh seasonal salads such as tabbouleh and fattoush, a melange featuring cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley, onion, herbs and crisped pita. Perfect for a summer night’s picnic.
Create your own Mediterranean platter for 2,4,6,8 and more. But, don’t forget the Rabadi’s signature chicken schwarma when you call in your order. Marinated in a complex and flavorful spice mixture, this shredded chicken, served with their tahini yogurt sauce is one of their most popular offerings. Lastly, top off your meal with a selection of Middle Eastern desserts; bakhlava, mamoul, or hareesh, sweets to make your sweet tooth happy.
57 Main Street, Irvington
Free Delivery Mon-Fri.
75 Main Street, Irvington
2 South Broadway, Irvington
How about a Moroccan picnic featuring Hassan Jarane’s succulent, crispy rotisserie chicken? It’s delicately flavored with his unique spice rub and can be complemented by saffron orzo, an olive melange, and romesco sauce if you so choose. Pair the chicken with gigante bean, beet and roasted pepper salads – all perfect side dishes for a hot summer’s night. And, bring along Moroccan mint tea to wash it all down.
Mint’s cheese selection is the finest in our river towns; you can choose from a vast variety of French, Italian and American artisanal cheese after a fun tasting experience. Create your own appetizer with a cheese and charcuterie platter, accompanied by fresh baguettes. For a special treat, bring along baked brie with fig spread. Mint offers daily panini selections like porchetta with mozzarella , duck confit, and a Cubano along with more standard offerings. And complete your outdoor feast by nibbling on artisanal chocolates, Mint’s famous selection of dried fruits (especially the chocolate covered cherries), torrones and biscuits. A packet of sweet olive oil tortas or stroop waffles ( caramel drenched waffle cookies) would be my suggestion.
Pressed hot focaccios are the stars at the Eatarry. The “Lyndhurst” (and why not indulge if you are going to Lyndhurst’s Thursday night jazz concert?) features braised short rib, red onion marmalade and aged cheddar. Heritage ham, gouda caramalized onions and mushrooms make up the “Kykuit.” And, the “Rockefeller” impresses with braised and roasted lamb, olive tapenade, truffle pecorino and crispy shallots. Sweet 100 tomatoes supplement this offering – a tribute to David Rockefeller who loves these ingredients and is now 100 + 1 years old.
Unpressed sandwiches include the “Lighthouse” with roasted portobellos, summer squash and goat cheese (it’s lite!) and the “Philipsburg” – smoked salmon, avocado, cucumber, radish and red onion. Or, custom build your own sandwiches and paninis. And don’t forget several bags of Eatarry’s homemade potato chips; they are addictive. After the concert, you might want to head back there for a taste of gelato to top off your summer evening.
And, who wouldn’t want to order out for a picnic from a place called Pik-Nik,the premier barbecue spot in Westchester? Where else can you get great, quality side dishes along with seriously smoked ribs, pulled pork, sausage, chicken and brisket? Start your bbq off with some deviled eggs and a stack of fried green totmatoes. And, along with your smoked meat choices, consider a fried chicken sandwich or a jerk -smoked turkey wing (two of the daily specials often on hand).
Pik Nik’s salads run the gamut from baby potato, roasted cauliflower, watermelon/feta, marinated beets, herbed tomato/asparagus and smoked chicken Waldorf, to the traditional barbecue favorites such as coleslaw, mac and cheese, collard greens/ham hocks, and baked beans. Other sides include truffle chips, a country cheddar bacon biscuit or sweet potato wedges. Bring along some pecan pie, peach cobbler and bourbon bread pudding, and get ready to lie down on the grass for the remainder of your picnic!
19 Main Street, Tarrytown
25 Main Street, Tarrytown
45 Main Street, Tarrytown
FB: Pik Nik BBQ for daily specials