Although after this weekend the days will begin to get shorter, there's still plenty of evening sunlight left for a picnic. Grab some wine, a blanket and some friends and get going. One of the most unique yet practical picnic items we've seen in some time is this picnic saddlebag set ($79.95), designed to fit on a bicycle luggage rack. One side contains cutlery, plates, glasses and napkins for four, salt & pepper shakers, a wooden cutting board, a cheese knife and a bottle opener. The other is insulated for food. It can also hold two thermoses in the pouches on the back of each side.
If you decide not to fill the thermoses with wine, you probably don't want to cart bottles on the back of your bike -- luckily Three Theives produces a boxed wine perfect for a picnic. The "bullet" four packs ($10) of pinot grigio, cabernet sauvingnon or white zinfandel could easily be mistaken for juice boxes, although you may have to pack your own straws. Broadway Panhandler sells a biodegradable version -- a package of 50 retails for approximately $3.95. If you want to fancy things up a bit, they also carry reusable paper placemats ($16.95 for set of four).
Finally, picnic recipes should be fresh, simple, and most of all, portable. Epicurious has loads of recipes, including some that are somewhat health-conscious (it is bathing suit season, after all). Try this rice-stick noodle salad with Vietnamese shrimp in lieu of the standard pasta salad, and if you can't imagine a picnic without fried chicken, try this oven baked version. Once you've got the menu all set, pack up and head out to your favorite picnic spot -- we're partial to Hudson River Park, which provides a perfect view of the sunset. Got any picnic tips? Send 'em our way.
Bicycle picnic tote also available at Broadway Panhandler.