June 25, 2010

Friday Night Picnic in the Park

There is perhaps nothing I love more than a picnic on a summer night. I have come to the realization that I am slightly obsessed with eating outside, and if I have the option to do so I absolutely must. Thinking about it logically, it is likely is the result of combining two of my favorite things: eating and being outside. 

This past Friday night, I came home and promptly canceled the dinner reservations we had made at a restaurant. The thought of sitting indoors being waited on, spending the typical two hours over a few courses, and then wandering home, evening over, felt a little sad. I wanted to stretch my lazy, long Friday evening the way I wanted to. After all, I'd just spent my entire day sitting in a windowless office. What could be better than to watch people come and go through the park while munching on a smorgasbord of small dishes? To have the option to stay a while, and then some more, when the food was all gone? Hence, M and I packed up and went to Rittenhouse Square Park.  

Below is my favorite restaurant in Philly, Parc, a perfect French restaurant with the perfect people watching scene. All we needed to do was lay our blankets down nearby, and we could observe the same things all night long as if we had a window seat at Parc. For free. 

We had a bowl of tangy, salty kalamata olives tossed with hunks of creamy feta, shredded lettuce, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. We piled it on top of lightly grilled multigrain baguette. Toasting the bread allowed it to soak up the dressing and olive juices without ever becoming soggy.... what fabulous Greek toasts!

It isn't a picnic without meat and cheese. Layered provolone, turkey, and spicy salami made for a delicious, casual open faced sandwich:

None for the dog! He was so sad. He barely moved the entire time we ate, choosing instead to stare intently at every bite on its way to our mouths.

As the sun went down we munched on crunchy carrot sticks, crackers and cheese, and drank fizzy Pomegranate seltzer.

Then, it was time for a game of scrabble! We played until it was so dark we couldn't see the board. It was perfect timing and we were able to get the whole game in. I think it was just luck, but M beat me for the first time. He deserved it, though! He made some admirable moves. Plus, I got bad letters at the end, and he got some good ones. 

The loser had to make ice cream sundaes for the both of us when we got home. Even if I had won, I would still have wanted to make the sundaes, so it was really a win-win (or lose-win?) for me.

We had huge scoops of Chocolate Hazelnut gelato layered with chocolate chips and whipped cream inside big, toasty and sweet waffle cones.

I couldn't imagine a more perfect night of picnicking in the park!

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