Appetite: Unconventional Picnic-Item Pickups in Alexandria

Appetite: Unconventional Picnic-Item Pickups in Alexandria

A week’s worth of springtime deluge may have left the ground soggy for the moment, but soon it will dry up and prove to be prime real estate for a picnic. Whether dining al fresco on a Wednesday-night date night or curling up under the stars to take in an outdoor movie at Cinema Del Ray, picnic season is certainly here — and not a moment too soon. And Alexandria is teeming with restaurants that are perfect for a takeaway meal.

District Taco, 701 S. Washington St.

Who says picnic fare has to focus on a traditional sandwich? Pick up a passel of tacos or burritos from this D.C.-area outpost and take the fiesta with you on the road. Heading just down the road to Belle Haven Park? The tortillas won’t get too soggy en route (but chow down relatively quickly once you select a picnic table or put your blanket out). Venturing further afield? The burrito desnudo bowl will solve your soggy-taco problem by removing the tortilla entirely.

To round out the District Taco experience, pick up a side of chips and guacamole to serve as a great complement to your meal. And why not grab a sampling of every salsa the restaurant has to offer? You may come away with a new favorite.

May Island, 1669 North Quaker Lane

Even further afield from the traditional potato salad and hoagie routine, May Island offers up an ocean of sushi options that are perfect finger (or chopstick) food for a meal under the great blue sky. If you’ve got a cooler or ice chest, you’re in good shape for a sushi date.

If you’re feeding a crowd with diverse tastes, it’s easy to make your sushi selections a la carte: Choices range from the more standard California, Philly, avocado or cucumber rolls to the more exotic lobster salad avocado, yellowtail jalapeno, sweet potato tempura and Kani tempura. Or go the bento box route: A half-dozen boxes are available with a wide range of selections.

Thanida Thai, 835 N. Royal St.

On the next outdoor movie night, show up your neighbors with something a little spicy in your basket. North Old Town’s Thanida Thai stands ready to assist; with a booming takeout business in tandem with a full dining room, the restaurant can certainly come to the rescue.

You’ll be tempted to eschew the familiar Pad Thai for something more exotic, but don’t feel the need: The popular dish is worth sticking with what you know. That said, there are plenty of ways to stretch those culinary wings a bit. Thanida Sassy Shrimp, for instance, a dish featuring the prawns in a spicy garlic chili sauce, is certainly a far-flung take on picnic fare. Or order up a dish of green curry veggies; the sweet-spicy fusion of curry sauce with an array of crisp-tender vegetables would be at home atop any picnic blanket.

Hope Nelson owns and operates the Kitchen Recessionista blog, located at Email her any time at