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Pack or pick up a picnic this summer

June 16, 2011 |  6:00 am

Joans Whether you’re heading to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl (or the Ford or the Greek…), a star-gazing party at the Griffith Observatory or out to one of Southern California’s many beaches, summer promises warmer, longer-lasting days and is reason enough to pack a picnic to enjoy the season-to-be-spent-outdoors.

And if you’re too busy to pack your own, there are plenty of local eateries happy to do it for you -- for a price, of course:

The Larder at Tavern: The shop offers many worldly (or locally, ahem) themed picnic boxes including “The Matador,” “The Brentwood,” “The All-American” and “The Young Frenchman.” The All-American picnic box comes with fried chicken with buttermilk dressing, an avocado, cilantro and lime corn salad, a watermelon salad with tomato, mint and feta, a baguette, a lemon shortbread bar for dessert and a Chardonnay wine pairing. Picnics are $28 per box. 11648 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, (310) 806-6466, tavernla.com.

Joan’s on Third: The picnic box at Joan’s is filled with a bounty of items from their picnic menu, available only during the summer months; entrees include the chicken Milanese, grilled maple rosemary chicken breast and poached salmon, salads, cheese and salami plates, desserts such as the rustic apple pie and mini lemon bundt cake. There are wine suggestions to go with it. 8350 West 3rd St., L.A., (323) 655-2285, joansonthird.com.

Porta Via: The Italian eatery packs a picnic box for Pasadena Symphony and POPS goers. Traditional picnic boxes are $16 per person and contain an orzo pasta salad with feta and spinach, one of their signature sandwiches, like the Fra Mani artisan salami and fresh mozzarella with balsamic reduction on a baguette, and a house-made cookie. 1 W. California Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 793-9000, portaviafoods.com.

Street Bento Susan Feniger’s Street: For a different take on a picnic, there's Street’s Bento Box. Filled with dishes from around the world, the box includes a tasting of a Thai eggplant salad, a Japanese potato salad, an Egyptian macaroni kushary with lentil and rice, heirloom tomatoes with coarse salt and black garlic aioli, one entrée like the Syrian lamb meatballs or the Tunisian chicken skewers and a sweet such as bourbon chocolate cherry cookies. The Bento boxes are $25 per box. 742 N. Highland Ave., L.A., (323) 203-0500, eatatstreet.com.  

Clementine: This neighborhood bakery-café offers a Hollywood Bowl picnic (not exclusively for those going to the venue but you get the idea), available at the end of this week. Buy a picnic-in-a-box or build your own with items from their early summer menu. For a night outing, bring in a thermos and they’ll fill 'er up with hot chocolate or chai. 1751 Ensley Ave., L.A., (310) 552-1080, clementineonline.com.

Olive & Thyme: The recently opened Toluca Lake cafe offers old-fashioned wire picnic baskets filled with salads, sandwiches, charcuterie, cheese, wine and desserts. 4013 Riverside Drive, Toluca Lake, (818) 557-1560, oliveandthyme.com.

Julienne: “Le Pique-Nique” menu at Julienne boasts a long list of savory and sweet picnic eats. A few worthy mentions are the Southwest chicken tenders with a spicy apricot sauce and the petite terrine with crackers, a platter of assorted spreads, cheese, dried fruit and nuts to share and nibble on in between sips of one of the gourmet market's chilled summer wines. 2649 Mission St., San Marino, (626) 441-2299, juliennetogo.com.

Know of any other L.A. eateries making picnics-to-go this summer? Comment on this post and let us know!

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--Caitlin Keller

Top photo: Joan's on Third picnic. Credit: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: Susan Feniger's Street bento box. Credit: Lesley Balla

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