Outdoor Eating Must-Haves
We’re smack in the middle of summer, and you know what that means, right? Picnics! Taking advantage of the balmy breezes and eating outdoors is a must in the warmer months, and we have the accessories to help put a stylish spin on your next meal alfresco.
Pasta salads and grain salads (quinoa, rice) are near-perfect picnic foods. You can make them ahead, they're virtually mess-free and they're easy to tweak according to food preferences and dietary restrictions. Pack your salad in this bright green serving bowl with a cooling pack hidden in the base. The snap-in yellow servers eliminate the need to bring any from home. Available at Crate & Barrel, $12.
Skip the conventional soda and instead pack homemade beverages in a few of these pretty, reusable glass bottles, featuring airtight, hermetic clamp closure with rubber gasket that keeps contents from spilling. Make your own bubbly sipper by adding club soda to your juice of choice. We suggest pink grapefruit or lemonade. Available at The Container Store, $9.
Make your meal alfresco easier by opting for eco-friendly disposable cutlery. We like Bambu Veneerwear, handmade from 100 percent organically grown bamboo. The utensils not only look great (they're chic enough for even a patio party), they're also biodegradable (within four to six months). We don't recommend disposable all the time, but on occasion it can save on cleanup time. Available at Branchhome.com, $10 for eight place settings.
Picnic-ready wine glasses
Leave your glasses at home and put down the plastic cups. Add some elegance to your next picnic by packing some of these shatterproof, reusable and recyclable wine glasses made from 100 percent BPA-free polymer. Available at Govinowine.com, $39 for set of 12.
Chic picnic blanket
You can't have a picnic without a blanket — it's your number one outdoor dining essential. We're partial to bold hues, which is why we snapped up this comfortably chic Cheshire stripe throw in fresh, fun colors perfect for summer. Available at Cath Kidston, $34.
Pack all of your outdoor dining essentials in this elegant, traditional picnic basket handcrafted from Appalachian white ash. The durable wooden basket is roomy enough to hold picnic supplies for four and comes lined in oh-so-cute blue and white gingham (which we love). Available at Brookstone, $52.
No picnic is complete without some tunes to keep the energy up. Something small and lightweight is the way to go, and we're partial to this cute, compact solar-powered radio. With AM/FM, weather channel, MP3 player hook-up and USB port to charge electronics, this is a picnic party must. There's even a hand crank for backup power if need be. Available at Crate & Barrel, $40.
Never risk your bottle of wine or glass of merlot tipping over mid-picnic (that would be a travesty). Instead, make sure your bevvies stay upright with this ingenious (and stylish) wrought iron stake that keeps a wine bottle and two glasses in place so you can sip in peace. Available at Potterybarn.com, $19.
More summer fun