Life’s a Picnic!
With near-perfect weather in Scottsdale right now, dining al fresco on the patio at your favorite restaurants is a given. Now, how about taking your outdoor meal up a notch with a delightful picnic? You can enjoy some gourmet eats while basking in the warm sun, all while taking in the gorgeous landscapes Scottsdale is famous for.
Picnics just scream for food that’s pretty, portable and with a touch of gourmand to make it extra special. We love stopping in at AJ’s Fine Foods which stocks just about anything you’d need for a picnic. You could stop by the deli to grab a wood-fired brick oven pizza, salads or sandwiches. We love The Caprese, made with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, onions, basil, EVOO and balsamic on ciabatta; or The European with prosciutto, swiss, spring mix, caramelized onions and a fig preserve on a baguette.
Or, simply browse the aisles of this upscale grocer for a plethora of picnic-ready snacks such as caviar, specialty olives, charcuterie boards and a self-serve antipasto bar. Grab a bottle of wine, some sparkling water and a variety of decadent mini-desserts and you’re good to go.
We also love The Herb Box at DC Ranch Marketplace. You can place your to-go order from the regular menu or they have a little market where you can pick up delicious pre-made salads, fresh fruit or sandwiches. While The Herb Box offers over a dozen spectacular wraps, sandwiches and salads, we love their signature bowls for a picnic because they travel well. Try the Sweet Potato Avocado Baja Bowl with cotija cheese, black beans, onions, quinoa, rosemary-poblano roasted sweet potatoes, Tabasco fried shallots, blackened shrimp and a jalapeno avocado dressing.
Now that your basket is filled with yummy eats and drinks, where are the best places in North Scottsdale you may wonder? You can’t ever go wrong with the iconic Pinnacle Peak. You can choose to scale the 1.75-mile-long trail to the summit to dine surrounded by fantastic Valley views. Or, simply set up camp at the base of the peak where you’ll find picnic tables, plenty of shady alcoves and restrooms.
We also recommend the George “Doc” Cavalliere park on Alma School Road north of Jomax. This charming little park (just 34 acres in size) tends to be less crowded and offers designated picnic areas, two ramadas and a playground to keep kids happily entertained. Perhaps the best feature for picnickers is the expanse of green artificial turf – ideal for spreading out your picnic blanket and lounging (or even dozing) in the full sun of a glorious winter afternoon. Enjoy!