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Prospect Park: What's in the picnic basket?

sinjawns May 25, 2011 07:59 AM

We are visiting Brooklyn in July, staying near Grand Army Plaza.

I have a tradition of wooing my SO with a lovely picnic in each new city we visit. Where should I go near Prospect Park (I'll be on foot) to fill the picnic basket?

We are open to any kind of food except sandwiches, really (I can't eat gluten, but suggestions for excellent bread for SO would be welcomed); looking for something wowsy to go with the champagne.

I'd also appreciate suggestions for best picnicking spots in the park (partial shade, grassy, not too crowded; we would probably go mid-afternoon early evening, mid-week).

Thanks in advance for supporting my wooing effort.

  1. bobjbkln May 27, 2011 10:51 AM

    Just note that drinking alcohol in NYC parks (except at special concessionaire areas) is technically illegal. How much the police and parks police enforce it varies between minimal and inconsistant. Do be careful.

    4 Replies
    1. re: bobjbkln
      tex.s.toast May 27, 2011 11:03 AM

      this is a good point - ive never known them to be super strict but a good rule is to not have your drink in its original container/leave the bottle out. coming here from san francisco i had a hard time believing that anyone would be ticketed for picnicing in a park, but was assured by a friend-of-a-friend who worked in prospect park as a ranger that they do, indeed, cite people.

      1. re: tex.s.toast
        sinjawns May 27, 2011 11:18 AM

        Thanks for the heads up... not so charming to drink champers from a thermos or a plastic cup, but we will do what is necessary.

        1. re: sinjawns
          bobjbkln May 27, 2011 07:11 PM

          A paper/cloth bag around the Champagne/beer/wine bottle and the contents poured into a glass/cup (not drank directly from the bottle/can) is probably safe enough. Still just be careful.

          1. re: bobjbkln
            jen kalb May 27, 2011 08:14 PM

            I ve never heard of this problem - we've picknicked in the park with wine before. If you are not waving around the bottle you will be fine. Just keep it in a shopping bag or something. The rangers have better things to do than peering into the cups of picknickers. Parties with coolers full of beers or guys walking around drinking from a can in a paper bag are more likely to attract attention.

    2. David11238 May 25, 2011 03:32 PM

      BKLYN Larder for excellent cheese and chocolates
      D'Vine Taste for salads and desserts and some meats and cheeses
      Blue Apron is okay. It's a bit overrated IMO
      Fairway actually has a nice deli, smoked fish and cheese section. They're a bit out of the way if you don't have wheels, though.
      The Farmers Market, IMO, has good cheese (Cato), decent bread, fruit and this one stand that sells smoked duck breast. I apologize for not remembering the name. They also have a wine stand.
      Caputo's Fine Foods has some of the best homemade mozzarella and sausages in Brooklyn, if not NYC. Again though, you may need a car.
      I second Jen Kalb's suggestion of just walking around the park until you find a spot.

      D'Vine Taste
      150 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

      Fairway Market
      480 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

      Caputo's Fine Foods
      460 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

      2 Replies
      1. re: David11238
        Quine May 25, 2011 06:23 PM

        Fairways in Red Hook? Or even Downtown? That is no way walking distance (as in miles). Mind you, I do think it is a great CH experience, but certainly not a walk to get a great picnic at the Grand Army area of PP.

        1. re: Quine
          David11238 May 25, 2011 07:37 PM

          Yes, I know. That is why I said that unless he could get his hands on a car, not to bother. Never the less, it's a good heads-up for future reference.

      2. j
        jimmyjazz May 25, 2011 02:40 PM

        why not go on a saturday and do all your shopping at the great farmer's market at Grand Army Plaza? you'll find everything you need except ready to eat proteins.

        Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket
        Prospect Park W and Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

        3 Replies
        1. re: jimmyjazz
          jen kalb May 25, 2011 03:03 PM

          The Greenmarket is well worth a visit even without a picnic plan if Sinjawns will be in the city on Saturday. There are cheese vendors there seasonally and good bakers - but whether a whole picnic is obtainable would be very season dependent. given that she is not a bread-eater, pickings could be slim-

          1. re: jen kalb
            sinjawns May 25, 2011 03:23 PM

            Thanks jen and jimmy for the suggestions.

            We are there for a few weeks and will definitely hit the greenmarket, the flea, etc. together. For the picnic, I will shop on my own and meet SO at the park. I might do a mix of stuff from Blue Apron and D'vine...

            1. re: sinjawns
              tex.s.toast May 25, 2011 06:10 PM

              BKLYN Larder is pretty pricey but the stuff they carry is all impeccable - they make some really mean sandwiches and curate a great selection of meats and cheeses. the prepared foods beyond the sandwiches are really great also, the mac and cheese is incredible, and they have a rotating selection of roasted veg and other sides - pasta salads, roasted radishes and muchrooms have all treated us really well in the past. If you dont make it there for picnic supplies it worth checking out for lunch or a specialty shopping run some other time, if you can afford it and get over the pricing (for example their home made gelato is TO DIE FOR, but absurdly pricey - maybe 9 dollars a pint? dont bother with the flavors, the fior di latte is where its at.)

        2. jen kalb May 25, 2011 08:29 AM

          Ita a very large capacious park - with a meadow running in serpentine fashion down its length - all the way along the meadow is lined with Shade trees - I would just enter the park, cross the ring road to get to the side where the meadow is and then walk along until you find a likely spot.

          As far as high quality picnic items are concerned, you could dtop at Blue Apron on Union Street, Brooklyn Larder on Flatbush Avenue for breads, fine cheeses and charcuterie and some prepared food. Christie's on Flatbush Ave has jamaican patties and other West indian dishes if that strikes your fancy

          If you like more of a middle-eastern tilt D'Vine Taste has prepared dishes and Baklava in addition to breads and cheeses. (I dont think their cheeses are up to the level of the other two places, however)

          If you want specifically mozzarella and italian stuff (the others have it too) you could check out Russo's or M&S

          Christie's Jamaican Patties
          387 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

          D'Vine Taste
          150 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

          Russo's Mozzarella and Pasta
          363 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

          Blue Apron Foods
          814 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11215

          M&S Prime Meats
          312 5th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

          Bklyn Larder
          228 Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217

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