Growing up in the Midwest the only time we were able to “dine al fresco” was in the summer months. And for our family, we would picnic or camping. Picnicking is something that we would normally do at a park or public space, at a table designated for such activities or with a blanket on the ground. And camping, that was likely next to a river somewhere where my dad was fishing. Eating at a restaurant with outdoor seating was never done, unless it was at the Dairy Queen.
After moving to Los Angeles, I discovered that dining al fresco was a daily thing, nearly 365-days a year. During my travels, I plan to dine al fresco several times. I often start my trip with a mini-picnic on the train or the plane. I typically don’t enjoy the in-flight meal or the option of grabbing chips and a soda. I like to make is special, so I bring a cloth napkin or bandana to use as a “table-cloth” and make it special. If I am trying to save a little money, I might pour a little wine in a travel water bottle – this frowned upon on both the train and the plane, but I make sure my cup or bottle allow me to do this in “stealth-mode”.
Once I arrive, I often pick up a few groceries that will allow me to have a quick bite in the morning before heading out or a snack later in the day.
With the right supplies, I can have a meal on a park bench, at a table in the train station or even perched along a railing somewhere.
And then throughout the day, I am on the look out for a place to sit and have a meal or a snack.
It took me a few trips to get my “al fresco dining kit” together for my travel bag. Let me share with you the items that I have in my kit now.
- plastic/light weight silverware
- salt & pepper (seasonings)
- 2-bandanas (one as my napkin and one as my tablecloth)
- thermos, for my coffee
- my bento style lunchbox
- Matador pocket blanket
- portable can opener (this is a on a key ring in my bag)
- reusable cup with lid (I use this for coffee and making oatmeal)
- small serrated cheese knife (I use this to cut most things)
- cork screw (because!)
- a small assortment of Ziplock bags
As you pack up for your next journey, pause for a moment and think about what you might need to create a little picnic or al fresco experience. These moments are some of the best times on my past trips.
Check out this episode of The Travel Collective on YouTube, April and I are discussing Al Fresco Dining and other things!