The weather has been bonkers. April and May felt like winter, and then June sporadically roared like a furnace. Packing a picnic this summer requires preparing for all eventualities.
Here are a few spots in Vancouver’s Uptown Village to fill your basket, whether you encounter searing sunlight or pouring rain.
1905 Main St., Vancouver; 360-571-5010; www.labottegafoods.com
Peter and Lisa Dougherty’s Italian deli, market, wine store and restaurant offers made-to-order antipasti, salads, pasta, entrees and sandwiches, as well as pantry items like freshly baked baguettes from Grand Central Bakery ($4.25 -$5.75), olives, pickled vegetables, tapenade ($6.50) and hummus ($6.50). Cheeses like Gorgonzola Dolce ($21.50 per pound) or Rogue River Blue ($42.50 per pound) and a mixture of sliced-to-order deli meats including La Bottega’s housemade corned beef and pastrami fill the deli counter waiting to be formed into an impromptu charcuterie board. There’s also wine from a variety of countries like Italy, Portugal, Spain and Australia, as well as nearby regions like the Walla Walla and Willamette valleys. Cold locally brewed beer and soda fill the coolers in the back of the restaurant.
Recommended: Giuseppe sandwich ($6.50 half, $13 whole). This classic Italian sandwich loaded with prosciutto, salami, fresh mozzarella, roasted garlic, mayo, lettuce, tomato, basil and vinaigrette on ciabatta bread is a picnic classic. As it sits in the basket, the chewy ciabatta bread soaks up all the vinaigrette, and the flavors of the sandwich meld. Sandwiches at La Bottega come with a bag of housemade potato chips and a neatly wrapped sliced pickle.
2411 Main St., Vancouver; 360-693-2538; bleudoorbakery.com
At Bleu Door Bakery’s Express Window, customers can nab a cup of the daily soup ($6), grab-and-go baguette sandwiches ($7.50), and freshly baked pastries like lime bars ($4.50) and brownies ($7), as well as loaves of bread. Made-to-order cold sandwiches like chicken curry ($12) or tuna avocado ($12), as well as hot sandwiches like ham and swiss ($10.75), can be ordered at the window or ahead through the new app.
To get Bleu Door’s new ordering app, text BLEUBAKE to 33733 on your smartphone. App orders are ready when you arrive; there’s a special line for them at the Express Window.
Recommended: Cup of soup ($6). Over the years, I’ve had a variety of soups at Bleu Door Bakery ranging from tomato basil to Hungarian mushroom soup. I’ve never been disappointed. Recently, the soup of the day was bacon and potato soup, with tender chunks of potato and ribbons of bacon in a savory broth. Soup comes with slices of bread.
207 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver; 360-859-3011; www.omwuptownmarket.com
This small convenience store offers a variety of healthy but satisfying picnic foods. Owners Poppy Marler and Will Kitchen recently added Asian chicken noodle ($14) and Asian tofu bowls ($11) featuring Thrive sauce to their menu.
Sandwiches like The Big Poppy — with black forest ham, salami, Mama Lil’s Peppers, roasted tomatoes and chimichurri spread ($9) — as well as wedges of artisan cheeses and housemade hummus ($4.50) fill the grab-and-go case. A curated selection of wine and craft beer is also available to go or to drink on the premises. Specials like roasted cherry tomato frittata with feta and basil ($8) and corn chowder ($6 for small, $10 for large) regularly rotate.
Those interested in eating and drinking al fresco can buy their provisions inside and enjoy an urban picnic on the outdoor patio.
Recommended: Kale bowl ($14). A vegan kale bowl doesn’t sound very exciting, but this mix of kale, farro cooked in mushroom broth, spiced lentils, carrots, radishes, and edamame tossed in a tahini and lemon vinaigrette then topped with pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and cranberries hits the right spot of healthy and satisfying.