Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Beach Picnic Ideas (Raviolino Gourmet Pasta in Kits)

Now that the warm weather is here in our pretty city, and it's actually staying bright outside at dinner time, it's time to start thinking about picnics! I had my first spontaneous beach dinner "picnic" of the season last week, with Bacon Eating Baking Girl (Bac'n Girl), and we found a great little Italian deli while driving about randomly in the west side. Raviolino Gourmet Pasta and Foods (4th at MacDonald) is the great little shop we found, where we picked up some fresh pasta dishes to take to Jericho Beach. I had their daily pasta special which includes a pasta with either meat or pommarolla sauce, garlic bread, and a soup or salad (Caesar or spinach tomato), all for $7.75, or $1 extra for a stuffed pasta. I had their beef agnolotti, a stuffed pasta, with meat sauce, and the salad. Bac'n girl had some meat lasagna. The pasta and sauce were tasty, and the spinach tomato salad was nice and big. You can also buy their fresh pasta and take it home to cook. While we were there, we were offered samples of their other dishes, including their veggie Sicilian scaccia, a tasty rolled bread filled with cheeses, spices, pommarolla sauce, and extra virgin olive oil ($1.50/100 g). We also bought a couple of their cookies called Alfajores, and they were wonderfully tender sandwich cookies filled with a yummy, gooey caramel cream. The woman at the shop (probably Maria, one of the owners) actually filled the little cookies to order, and topped them with powdered sugar. Just spending those few minutes in the store picking up our meal, I could really tell that this family takes great care in preparing their foods. It was a very satisfying meal, made all the more pleasant by enjoying the view of the ocean and mountains sitting on a blanket at the beach.

I also love bringing take-out sushi combos to the beach, because I think it's the quintessential Vancouver summer treat to be able to get relatively cheap yet good sushi, plus beautiful weather, ocean and mountains all at once. It's a nice casual way to show off the city a bit to out of town friends, too. Or bring a little barbecue to the beach, and have a cookout. Raviolino has Sicilian style hamburger patties too, if you don't want to make your own. Just watch out for lame frisbee and football tossers at the beach. My herb dressing was contaminated by the sand spray from an incoming frisbee! Frisbee people who can't actually catch frisbees: next time you're out on the beach, scan around and make sure you're not choosing a spot near me while I'm eating. You can recognize me from my photo on this site. Yah, that's right, if you see a giant cotton candy sitting on the sand, enjoying a gourmet meal, move far, far away.

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