With what little sunshine we're given, who wants to eat indoors? Take to the grass with these expert picnics, each prepared for you within a short distance of your favorite urban oasis.
We've also included the perfect bottle to pair with your meal (not that we're suggesting you break the law, but don't forget to pack a corkscrew).
The Highline (map this planner)
Eat: Make for the city's newest green space with a Southern-style hamper from Braeburn. Studded with chunks of bacon, the chilled potato tart ($9) leaves typical potato salad in the dust and makes a happy companion to the sweet pulled-pork roll ($9). Don't miss the fried chicken ($15), in turns perfectly moist and crispy. Order a day ahead and the restaurant will pack your meal in an insulated bag.
Drink: 2008 Yellow + Blue Torrontes ($12) from Appellation Wine & Spirits; appellationnyc.com
Madison Square Park (map this planner)
Eat: Don't let an overwhelming line at Shake Shack kill your picnic plans. Instead, head to Boqueria, where you can get a Spanish basket for two ($50) that includes cheese or charcuterie, a salad and two bocatas (sandwiches). A house-made fig marmalade is the perfect foil to duck confit in the bocata de pato, while classical romesco sauce is seasonally reinterpreted with sugar snap peas in the bocata de pollo.
Drink: 2008 Martinshof Zweigelt ($14) from Bottlerocket Wine and Spirit; bottlerocketwine.com
Central Park (map this planner)
Eat: Save breakfast in bed for winter and instead greet the day with a morning picnic from Bouchon Bakery. Order a day ahead and the bakery will fill a canvas tote with still-warm pastries and your favorite caffeinated beverage ($32). The spread includes two croissants, two pains au chocolat and your choice of muffins and scones. For late risers, there's an equally enticing lunch tote ($42).
Drink: 2008 Sepp Moser Gruner Veltliner ($13) from 67 Wines and Spirits; 67wine.com
Bryant Park (map this planner)
Eat: When La Cense decided to open a burger truck to feature its grass-fed beef, the company tapped chef Adam Perry Lang for his perfect burger recipe. Topped with caramelized onions and a swath of melted cheese, Perry Lang's blend of four cuts (loin, rib, round and chuck) makes for a serious meat bomb ($7.50). The truck often sets up shop around Park Ave. and 47th St. (track it on Twitter), in perfect proximity for an impromptu alfresco lunch on the grass.
Drink: 2008 Mas De Gourgonnier Rosé ($14) from Morrell and Co. Wine Store; morrellwine.com
Prospect Park (map this planner)
Eat: For a simple French spread, ask the staff of Bklyn Larder to suggest some cheeses to pair with pork pâté ($16 a pound) and house-made pickles ($5). Or choose a concoction from the chalkboard of sandwiches ($8.50 each): One pairs hard-boiled egg, bacon, mayo and frisée on white bread; another smothers foccacia bread with ricotta and sautéed beet greens. Round out your bag with cold chickpea salad ($9 a pound) and a pint of house-made toasted-almond gelato ($9).
Drink: 2008, Verderol "Spring in a Bottle" Verdejo ($14) from Sip Fine Wine; sipfinewine.com
McCarren Park (map this planner)
Eat: The folks at Urban Rustic, Williamsburg's larder of locally sourced foods, know that hipster-watching can work up an appetite. So they've launched the Fine & Dandy food cart to feed you while you observe the locals biking around on their fixies. Grab a huge slow-roasted pork sandwich ($5)--topped with provolone cheese, crispy potatoes, peppers and onions--and some fresh-squeezed lemonade ($3) to wash it down. The cart is at the corner of Driggs Ave. and N. 12th St. on weekdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Drink: 2008 Arregi Txakoli ($17) from Blue Angel Wines; blueangelwines.com
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