Picnic…

Last weekend, Danny asked me if I wanted to go on a date to Triangle Restaurant Week, which he knows is one of my favorite things to do when it rolls around twice a year. Sadly, we are trying to save up our money for moving into a new place, so I decided to be a boring adult and suggest a more budget-friendly alternative date…a picnic!

picnic

We could hand-pick all of our favorite foods-none of the prix fixe business soak up the sun, and enjoy each others company with nobody else around and no need to dress up. It wasn’t a hard sell! It made for the perfect mid-week pick-me-up since it felt like a decidedly leisurely and weekendy thing to do. I think it is safe to say that it won’t be out last picnic of the summer!

So Wednesday night we prepped a little feast, packed it all up in a basket with a blanket, fetched ourselves some fancy desserts as our splurge, and headed in search of the perfect picnic location. UNC’s campus has a gorgeous arboretum where I had a hunch we could nail down a seductively shady spot, so I quickly directed our search in that direction. We made our way to a large clearing, and were delighted to find that not a soul was in sight. We had the place to ourselves, save a few woodland creatures hoping to snag a crumb (which Danny happily provided them with in his attempt to lure them closer).

desserts in tow!

desserts in tow!

{Shoes, old, similar here} {Pants, old, similar here} {earrings, old, similar here that I LOVE} {shirt, old, similar here} {necklace, old, similar here ON SALE} {picnic basket, old, great options here and here!}

Since Danny was on photographer duty, he got off the hook for set up (little did he know I’d get him back when it was time for the much more dreaded clean up!)

picnic

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tree

tree

picnic

All set!

All set!

Picnic food is ideally food that can be served cold or room temp, since it is so much easier to throw something on ice than to try to keep it hot. Try as I might, I have never really mastered the use of a thermos haha. And besides, who wants to eat hot foods outside in the summer sun?! We opted for a mismatched feast of shrimp cocktail (Danny’s favorite), a zucchini and summer squash salad, french bread, and our new favorite ever ever ever dip/spread from Trader Joe’s- Artichoke Jalapeno dip. Seriously. Buy it.

We washed it all down with ice cold root beers. The one down fall of a picnic on public property is those pesky open container laws.

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root beer

my handsome date

my handsome date

In between mouthfuls of food, we took in the scenery around us, pointed out animals that passed by to spy on us, and chatted the evening away as the sun slowly lowered on the horizon. Soon enough (or rather, finally!), it was time for dessert!

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one of our several spectators

one of our several spectators

Danny had opted for a decadent looking “Chocolate Velvet Boule”…it was a bit of a mystery what was inside, but the outside was gorgeously coated in chocolate ganache. It turned out to house a thin layer of cake and a dense chocolate mousse center. It was fantastic, but a little heavy for my taste. I went for a linzer torte, which is a nostalgic treat for me. My mom’s family is German, and one of the best bits of that heritage is all the amazing treats that are traditional around Christmas. My grandmother used to make the most divine linzer torte at Christmas and bring it to my house to eat after our big meal. The one I got was good, but my grandmother’s would have creamed it in a competition.

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Once we polished off our treats, we lingered a little longer and then got to packing everything up. Our bag was much lighter on the way out than on the way in….the hallmark of a good picnic spread!

picnic

picnic

We had barely made it to the car before I started talking about when we would plan our next one. There is something about eating outside on the ground that feels so relaxing and leisurely that it is almost like a (super)mini vacation. If you are looking for a fun summer activity, I couldn’t recommend it more!

T.

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