Basket Case

A look at the top picnics in town.

Since ideal summer weather really hits Los Angeles in September and October, it’s time to grab your provisions and head to the beach, Hollywood Bowl, your favorite park, or a rooftop for a picnic. Here’s where to find some of the best baskets.

Family owned since 1989, Nicole’s Market & Cafe in South Pasadena is local secret for loading up on excellent imported European cheese, such as the Essex Manchego from Spain, prosciutto, salami, pâté, and daily organic fresh French baguettes. Don’t overlook the array of deli salads, from Greek to ratatouille, or the exclusive French wine selection.

For a simple sandwich fix, Roma Market is still making hundreds of the famed Italian deli staple, including chicken or eggplant Parmesan in marinara sauce and mozzarella on crusty Italian bread.


San Marino Cafe & Marketplace San Marino chop salad
Photo Credit: Ali Michelle

San Marino Cafe & Marketplace offers the Balboa Italian Sandwich with layers of Felino salami, mortadella, prosciutto, and provolone on ciabatta bread or the Voodoo Vegan with roasted red pepper hummus, avocado, and pepperoncini. The San Marino chop salad is perfect for a morning outing with smoked salmon, hard-boiled egg, avocado, and applewood-smoked bacon.

Stop by Korean market and deli Yangban in the Arts District for interesting cold salads, such as honey and walnut carrots, blistered snap peas with everything bagel seasoning, and chilled noodles with roasted seaweed. You’d also be wise to order the twice-fried chicken wings and don’t forget the deli pickles, along with canned wines.

Put a Spanish Portuguese twist on your picnic from Rapido with wine, to-go canned cocktails, and Iberian tin conserva offerings, plus sandwiches on Jyan Isaac bread. For your sweet tooth, Botanica in Silver Lake has custom baked-goods boxes for preorder with customer favorites like dark chocolate olive oil cake and zucchini quinoa muffins.


The Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl still offers catered picnic boxes that can be preordered the day before a concert and picked up at the Plaza Marketplace or delivered to your box seats. Menu highlights from chef Suzanne Goin include Spanish fried chicken, double-bacon cheeseburgers, and grilled chicken breast with almond sofrito, along with wine pairings from Caroline Styne.

For outdoor movies, pick up celebrity favorite Sweetzer Gourmet Popcorn from the Hollywood Farmers Market with flavors such as habanero caramel, herbs de Provence, and strawberries and cream.

If you want someone else to do all the legwork, Casa del Mar and Shutters in Santa Monica will set up a beach picnic with an umbrella, table, and cushions for seating with a mezze-charcuterie spread and coconut water to sip, but you must be a hotel guest to partake.


Must-Pack Tipples

Ysidro is a Santa Barbara–made canned spritz with premium Junmai Ginjo sake and organic grapefruit, sold locally at Wine + Eggs.

Texas favorite Ranch Water is made from Cazadores Tequila Blanco, sparkling mineral water, and fresh lime juice.

Wander + Ivy makes organic wine blends from top global vineyards in single-serving glass jars.