Finally, winter’s cold weather seems to be in the rearview mirror. And with the likes of new public art along Old Town’s waterfront, outdoor movie nights and plenty of lazy Saturdays just waiting to be enjoyed, there’s no better way to celebrate than a picnic. But sometimes life gets in the way of making a homemade feast from scratch. Count on these eateries to pick up your slack.
Noodle Box, 602 King St.
The fast-casual purveyor of Asian fare on King Street is the perfect place to go for picnic supplies. Pick your entree, pick your protein, choose a side or two and you’re in business. Noodle Box has an extensive menu of, yes, noodle dishes — ranging from pad Thai to kung pao to drunken noodles and more — but the restaurant also offers up a hearty supply of rice-based meals, as well. The green curry rice box, the fried rice, the garden stir fry — all of these and more can be customized with the protein of your choice. Add on an order of gyoza or spring rolls and head out to the park — you’ll have one of the best picnic baskets around. https://www.restaurantji.com/va/alexandria/noodle-box-/
Lori’s Table, 1028 King St.
This little café in the heart of Old Town has the first two meals of your day covered. Pick up a breakfast sandwich atop an English muffin with egg, cheese, and ham or bacon if you like, order a coffee to go alongside, and head out to the Saturday soccer game. Or choose from an extensive array of more lunch-friendly sandwiches to pep up your afternoon. Choose from among nearly a dozen meats and cheeses to put together a sandwich that will make all your picnic dreams come true. Or order up a grilled sandwich, ranging from a three-cheese Panini to a grilled PBJ to a Cajun chicken sandwich.
Zento, 693 N. Washington St.
When it comes right down to it, sushi is the perfect picnic food. Think about it: It comes in a form that is easy to eat with chopsticks or one hand; it packs a nutritional punch; and it’s portable. And Zento offers a vast menu of sushi options for nearly every palate. Want to go spicy? The Fire Dragon Roll, with crunchy spicy tuna with avocado, eel and a spicy sauce, is a safe bet. Or keep it local with the Old Town Roll, filled with salmon, tuna, masago and avocado wrapped in cucumber. Vegetarians won’t be left out, either; the tempura-battered sweet potato and avocado roll, a mix of crispy and soft, makes for a great complement to a shiitake mushroom roll. Order some edamame to accompany the main meal and you’ve got finger food that can’t be beat.
Hope Nelson owns and operates the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at www.kitchenrecessionista.com. Email her any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.