Whether your musical penchants run from '80s throwbacks like Bryan Adams and Boy George or classic crooners like Tony Bennett and Aretha Franklin, Wolf Trap's jam-packed summer schedule is bound to have something for everyone. Snagging those coveted BYO lawn seats is a no-brainer, but what should you schlep in your basket? These perfect portable picnics are just the ticket for the best summer soirée ever.
The stylish, whimsical restaurant and emporium in Alexandria has an entire collection of picnic blanket-ready bento boxes, and wines to sip alongside. "Catching Fireflies" offers farfalle pasta with ricotta, roasted peppers and chicken, along with kale salad and golden beets with harissa. "From hearty Niçoise salads to artisanal farmstead cheeses selected by our fromagier Justin Owens [let] Society Fair do all the work!" says Vina Sananikone, EatGoodFood Groups multimedia maven.
$60/4 bento boxes (not including wine)
Sink your teeth into the menu of this Dupont Circle artisanal Jewish deli, where everything is brined, cured, smoked, sliced and pickled daily. Natch, co-owner Nick Wiseman suggests an overstuffed pastrami sandwich, with Creekstone Farms beef and house mustard on double baked rye. Order up a bunch of condiments on the side--pickles, potato salad and coleslaw--and some icy cold cans of Founders All Day IPR or Miller High Life to wash it all down. "Nothing better than good old fashioned smoked meat to serenade a night of good music under the stars," says Wiseman.
$96/4 servings (not including beverages)
Swing by the Falls Church location of this hip ode to poultry and pastry for the "Family Meal," which includes eight pieces of fried chicken, two orders of tater tots and a large coleslaw. "Fried chicken is perfect for an evening picnic," says co-owner Elliot Spaisman. "It carries well, is great when hot out of the fryer, at room temperature or cold from the fridge." He noshes on it with some local juice like the 2015 Early Mountain Vineyard Rosé or the Thibaut-Janisson Blanc de Chardonnay sparkling wine.
$25/4 servings (not including wine)
The Mosaic District location from meat master Nathan Anda serves up a picnic basket called the "Vespa" that includes salami and pâté, a selection from DC artisanal cheese shop Righteous Cheese, and assorted mixed olives and crostini. Neighborhood Restaurant Group wine director Brent Kroll says it's perfect with Lambrusco--a palate-scrubbing dry sparkling red wine from Italy's Emilia-Romagna region like Fiorini Becco Rosso--also available at the shop. "This is a pack with a lot of diversity for summer outings and concerts," says Kroll. "It highlights a traditional regional pairing and will impress on an ideal summer night."
$42/4 servings (not including wine)