With a long weekend ahead you might be wanting to pack up that picnic basket and head outdoors. Recently the weather in Portland has been so amazing that we decided to do just that. A picnic at the gorge seemed most appropriate, so I invited my favorite grill master, Celeste, to join me and packed a festive feast for the road!
Located only 20 miles from downtown Portland, the Columbia River Gorge ideally provides the most amazing back drop for late afternoon fun. We decided on Rooster Rock State Park and found a peaceful spot to set up our pretty table. Right on the water, we found just what we needed, with a great table and grill as our base.
Popping a couple of beers, we set the table for chips, salsa and guacamole to start us off and relax in the surrounding beauty. Transforming the area into a a picnic haven was easy with the quintessential red and white picnic set-ups. There is no better way to unwind at the end of a busy work week!
After a bit of relaxing, we decided it was time for the main event, our meal! So we lit the grill, updated the table with a summer perfect wedge salad, wine glasses and condiments. Our menu included colorful peppers, corn on the cob and lean beef burgers that take no time to cook, look gorgeous and well, honestly, taste even better than they look! Again, all prepared ahead of time, for easy assembling out here in the wild!!
We pour our wine and dig in!! So, so yummy! Doesn’t everything taste better outside on a beautiful summer day?
Longer days in Summer means that we are in no rush to finish and head home before dark. We are allowed more than three hours to enjoy our surroundings, sip our wine, and finish with the must have roasted marshmallows every fire requires. It’s truly the perfect ending.
Now that our summer picnics are in full swing, here are a few tips to create your own perfect grill picnic.
* Prepare ahead and keep it simple!! Keep a bag of match lit charcoal and a couple of folding chairs in your car. Always there, means no need to search and find if you feel like a midweek getaway. Also keep a large tote packed with all your dishware so you only need to add last minute dry ingredients when you are ready to go!
* Pretty Plastic Ware is ideal. Take the time to pick up some pretty plastic ware for your picnic needs along with dishcloths and sturdy plastic silverware that can be reused instead of tossed. I spent about $25 at the dollar store for all of what I used and now I’m good to go for the rest of the season. I wrap the silver in the dishcloths for easy transport and it certainly adds to the pretty table setting when we get to the destination!
* Foil is your best friend for transporting grill food! For my first picnic of the season, I pre-made my burgers, had corn shucked, and peppers seasoned and skewered all wrapped and ready in foil. When we arrived, easy!! Just unwrap and throw on the grill.
* Pack fun incidentals to enhance your table and entertainment. I took dried flowers, small vases and candles. Also, a card game to play while we’re having apps and drinks before grilling. Skewers and marshmallows are a staple to have as well for the end of the eve treat. And don’t forget the fire lighter!!
* Packing out is just as important. Make sure you have some zip locks for packing up any leftovers. A small trash bag for easily discarding any garbage and a few paper towels for quickly cleaning up dishes. This all makes for an easier clean-up on site and once home.
That’s all there is to it! Prepare ahead and all you need to do on the day of your picnic is get your food ready and go. That’s something you would be doing even if you stayed home. So, have fun and get outside this summer!!
Susan Richards is a contributor and life long friend of BonBon Rose Girls.