Wednesday, July 26, 2006

More Beach Picnic Ideas - Fujiya or DIY

Well, I'm not sure what took me so long, but I FINALLY visited Fujiya on Clarke and Venables. Actually, it's mainly because I used to take transit a lot and never passed by the place, and now that I'm driving more these days (unfortunately), I pass by it quite often. And remember when parking lots in Vancouver were free? Well, they still have one, so it's super easy to pull into their lot, stop in, and grab some Japanese groceries, and since you're there, grab some of their take-out sushi so that you can go eat it on the beach. Beach picnics are what summer in Vancouver is all about for me. Sushi on the beach is particularly Vancouvery to me - to be able to get cheap, abundant sushi and eat it right in front of the ocean. I had their chicken katsu roll (about $5.95?), and loved it. Their California Roll is $2.95. For indoor summer meals, I picked up all the fixings for zaru soba - iced buckwheat noodles that you dip into a soy sauce based dipping sauce. You can buy the sauce in a bottle, and add green onion, grated ginger, grated daikon, and wasabi (if you wish) and it makes a great easy and refreshing meal for a sticky hot day. Fujiya on Clarke is open until 7 pm. There's also a smaller Fujiya on Pender St. and Burrard, downtown that I keep meaning to visit too.

For those Do-It-Yourselfers out there, there are lots of easy nibblies that are great to bring to the beach. When I pack a picnic, I look for things that taste good luke warm (or somewhat chilled, since I carry ice packs), that don't involve a lot of utensils, and pack easily. I also try to pack things in foil or plastic wrap when possible, that can be tossed afterwards, so that at least on the way home you've got a pretty light load. Here's a recent very simple picnic menu that I was quite pleased with:

1 litre of "English Bay No-No," my cocktail spritzer creation of silver tequila, lychee liqueur, grapefruit juice, a splash of pineapple juice, ginger ale, and ice.

1 litre of ice water

Mini pulled pork sandwiches with cole slaw and barbecue sauce, on mini French white rolls

Fresh veggies ("baby" carrots, daikon, snap peas, roma tomato wedges) and homemade blue cheese veggie dip (plain yoghurt, sour cream, grated carrot, minced daikon, black pepper, green onion, blue cheese).

Dill pickles, Mediterranean olives

Small rounds of assorted breads (multi-grain, potato roll, white French roll) served with:
Brie and roasted garlic (slice top of head, wrap in foil, 400° F oven, 40 min.)
Pork and porcini mushroom paté
French prosciutto
Smoked tongue

Fresh pineapple chunks
Fresh blueberries
Wedges of golden kiwi (wonderful when wrapped in prosciutto)
Wedges of Asian pear


christine said...

I was looking for picnic menu ideas which led me to your blog. I just wanted to drop a line to say hello and tell you that I'm enjoying your site. :)

Dumpling_Girl said...

Thanks so much for letting me know, christine. Hope you have a great picnic!

If you're looking for more substantial things, I've found that grilled or broiled chicken wings (in whatever tasty marinate you decide to go with) and grilled prawns do quite well cold. Or a lovely nicoise salad with tuna, blanched green beans, new potatoes, olives, greens and boiled egg, and greens (plus maybe some pasta for filler and whatever else looks fresh and tasty in the produce section) is another picnic standby for me. Salads are great. Another one I was going to bring to a picnic included duck breast (cheat, and buy half a barbecue duck from a Chinese shop already cooked) on spinach and watercress, with other veggies.