Do you lack the planning skills to put together a proper, PB&J-free picnic? An alfresco afternoon needn't fill you with apprehension. Just hop on your bike and cruise to one of these three spots to snag supplies for an impromptu picnic, then pack your bounty into your bike basket and pedal to a nearby park.
Boise Co-op Deli To Camel's Back Park
(888 W. Fort St. to 1200 W. Heron St.)
Distance: 0.9 miles
Best Bike Path: Ride up Ninth Street to Heron Street.
Sample Picnic: If you want a spread of healthy, organic fare, head to the Boise Co-op deli for a selection of fresh, seasonal salads, soups and a rotating hot bar with ample vegetarian options.
The Co-op's newly revamped sandwich menu boasts both hot and cold options, like the flavor-packed roasted squash sandwich stacked high with bright butternut, sweet roasted onions, cucumber coins and a smear of cilantro mayo on Gaston's Bakery village loaf.
The hearty sandwich pairs well with a seasonal quinoa salad, flecked with peas and asparagus, and a side of silky carrot guacamole scooped up with locally made Los Pastores corn chips. Keep the local train rolling by cracking open a couple cans of Payette Brewing Company's refreshing Mutton Buster Brown once you've settled onto the grass.
Best Park Spots: Snag a seat at one of Camel's Back's smattering of picnic tables, or set up shop on the sloping hill to soak in all the action. If you're feeling ambitious pre-picnic, lug your lunch up to the top of the mound for an expansive view.
A'Tavola to Kathryn Albertson Park
(1515 W. Grove St. to 1001 N. Americana Blvd.)
Distance: 0.6 miles
Best Bike Path: Left on Grove Street. Left on 16th Street/Americana Blvd. Right at Kathryn Albertson Park.
Sample Picnic: Though A'Tavola is Italian for "to the table," the boutique eatery doesn't skimp on the French specialties. Hit up the Bits and Pieces cheese basket for a small wedge of St. Andre triple cream and a tub of Mousse Royale au Sauternes. If you're feeling like a little cured meat, have the deli shave off a few thin slices of prosciutto. Throw in a loaf of Gaston's bread, a jar of Three Little Figs Strawberry Balsamic Pepper spread, and a few cans of Sofia Coppola blanc de blanc, and you've got yourself a rustic lunch. And don't skimp on the sweets: The cafe case is filled with airy meringues and macaroons.
Best Park Spots: Take a right at the entryway to Kathryn Albertson Memorial Park and spread a blanket on a goose poop-free portion of the grassy field. Or wind your way to the left to perch on a picturesque pond-side bench.
Whole Foods to Julia Davis Park
(401 S. Broadway Ave. to 700 S. Capitol Blvd.)
Distance: Less than 0.1 miles
Best Bike Path: Cross Myrtle Street at Broadway, which brings you to the northeast corner of Julia Davis Park.
Sample Picnic: The Whole Foods sushi counter is stocked with the usual suspects--spicy tuna rolls, rainbow rolls, edamame--but it also boasts a uniquely refreshing concoction called the Pacific Salad Roll. The rice paper-wrapped lettuce roll is stuffed with avocado and colorful matchstick cucumbers and carrots. While some salad rolls boast only veggies or tofu, others glisten with ruby red hunks of tuna and light pink strips of salmon. A small tub of creamy wasabi roe spread adds a kick to the crunch.
Make it a meal with a side of wasabi sesame crisps dunked in cucumber edamame hummus, a pack of roasted seaweed chips and a jar of One Cup Ozeki sake. And don't pass by the self-serve cookie counter without snagging a sesame-crusted sweet treat.
Best Park Spots: You can set up shop at the nearby Julia Davis duck pond, where you might be tempted to share your fare, or wind your way back along the bike path to a shadier, less fowl-filled picnic area.