Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dreaming of Spring - Picnic Spots and the World's Best Sandwich

Spring is officially here and while mother nature's mood swings have kept us Californians guessing on whether the week's weather will be hot or cold, she has certainly been punishing the east coasters who are no doubt dying for warmer days. In anticipation of warmer weather and the end of winter snow and rain I wanted to pay tribute to my FAVORITE weekend activity --- the picnic. Give me a sandwich,a bit of sunshine and a square of grass to sit on and I'm one happy lady. I love sandwiches, I love to be outside and I love free activities --- so a picnic = perfection. While I'm usually content with a turkey sub from one of my favorite delis (Mr. Pickles), sometimes it's nice to step up the game and bake a homemade gourmet sandwich.
So with warmer days around the corner I wanted to gear you up for a spring picnic by sharing the most DELICIOUS sandwich recipe of all time as well as my favorite places for picnics in New York City and the San Francisco Area...

Best Picnic Spots in SF:

Rodeo Beach (parking lot pictured above): Cross the golden gate bridge take the Alexander street exit and drive to the Rodeo beach parking lot. We like to bring our food in a cooler so it stays crisp while we run up the scenic bobcat trail first. After working up an appetite on the trail we sit on the beach in our crazy creek chairs (best wedding present ever Maria!) and enjoy our sandwiches. Life does not get much better.
Lawn outside of the Conservatory of Flowers Golden Gate park: On a sunny day this lawn is packed with hippies, tourists and friends taking in the beautiful sights and doing some great people watching. Benches and grassy knolls make the perfect sitting areas.
Chrissy Field Beach: An easy to get to beach in the city with gorgeous views of the bay and golden gate park --- this is a perfect picnic spot and also one of my favorite places to run!(Pictured at the top of this post.)

Best Picnic Spots in NYC:
Riverside Park: Sitting areas between 60th street and 72nd street. Cool architecture, picnic benches and garden layouts help make this breezy park feel completely separate from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Battery Park lawn: When I lived on the west side I loved riding bikes down to the battery park lawn for great views and fun people watching on the water. On a sunny day the crowd here is serious about relaxing, sunning themselves and picnicking. You won't find the drifters and tourists from Central Park down here.

The Most Delicious Sandwich Ever--- Recipe originally from Jill Preotle, adapted by my mom and further adapted by me.
Makes about 6 big servings – but it goes fast!

-2 long loaves French Bread (with a crusty crust)
-1 cup chopped black olives
-4 minced scallions
-1 can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced
-1 small red bell pepper, sliced
-1 lb. sliced roast chicken (buy a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken)
-3/4 lb. thinly sliced imported provolone (can use yogurt cheese if you’re lactarded like me)

-1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
-4 anchovy fillets (come in a can)
-2 tbsp. capers
-Juice of 1 lemon
-1 cup olive oil

-Halve loaves of bread and scoop out center
- Mix dressing ingredients in Cuisinart or blender until smooth and spread ¼ cup on inside of bread loaves.
-Mix remaing dressing with vegetables and arrange on one side of each loaf.
-Top with chicken and cheese; put two halves together; wrap in foil and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
-Bake for 20 minutes at 300 degrees or stick in toaster oven until cheese is melty and bread is crusty.

Eat and enjoy!


  1. You go girl. The "Sandwich" rules! Picnics definitely delayed on the east coast.

  2. I've had sandwiches on the brain all week. "Saveur" did a mag devoted to the subject for their April issue, but none of their recipes have it over this creation!

  3. Charlotte, I made your sandwich (with a few mods) last night and it was a big hit!!!!! Thank you!!!

  4. Oh yay! Isn't it the best? We eat it by the baguette when we make it!

  5. Sue's making it for Henry's birthday in July -- he wants a Shakespeare party. And "the Sandwich"!

  6. I'm going to make it this weekend. We had it this past summer and it is still one of my all time favorite Prescott/Gladwin recipes.