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Picnic in the Park!

October 12, 2007

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Saturday morning, Shann, Steph and I set out for the most exciting place in the city – the Greenmarket! Steph specifically requested a picnic, and so I suggested we pick up edible goodies from the Greenmarket and then head up to Central Park. It was a good thing the weather was sooooo nice that day!

I love the energetic feel of the Greenmarket on Saturday mornings. There are tons of people, all of them happy people, bags in hand overflowing with fruits, flowers and bags. Families have little kids in stroll, more often than not munching on squares of gingerbread or brownies purchase just a minute ago. When the weather is nice, there’s seriously no happier place on earth.

We didn’t know exactly what we needed for this impromptu ‘picnic’, but we had more or less a general idea: bread, something to drink, fruit, and cheese. Off we went! Problem was, the three of us put together are honestly the most indecisive people in the universe, so as you can imagine, it was super difficult even trying to decide what type of fruit we wanted. We hemmmed. We hawwwed. And we couldn’t decide.

…Until we saw these grapes! Mighty pretty aren’t they? These grapes come from a vendor on the east side of the market. All he sold were grapes, and a wide variety of them. We tried them all, but unanimously agreed that these were the best. They’re crazy good, not as berry sweet as the concords, leaning on the slightly more tart side with a crisp bite and ooooh, just blissful. They were pricey little babies, this bunch (about a pound and half) ran for nearly $7! We ate the grapes while shopping for the rest of the food, on the subway, and walking to the park. It was a surprise there were any left by the time the picnic officially ‘started’! Mid-munching, Steph asked, “how can we ever go back to normal supermarket grapes?” I don’t know…

We bought half gallon of Ginger Cider from Breezy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill on the west end of the market. There were so many drink options to pick from – it was hard not to be tempted by a variety of wines just another stand over, and strawberry-apple juice over on the south side.

But Ginger Cider it was, and that was very fine choice. A refreshingly cool drink that turned out to be spicier than I expected and not overly sweet, which is a very good thing!

ooo, look! That’s Shann’s back – second from left!

Right next to the cider people were the bread people, and Shann happily picked out a fantastic sundried tomato loaf. We didn’t expect it to come out to $8/loaf (cause the guy right across had some going for $4), but oh well, what’s a life without a little indulgence on a Saturday morning? Haha. We’ll see if I say the same thing after my entire income gets wiped out by the ridiculous tax rate in this city…

And we were almost pau, just one thing missing…cheese! There was a debate over whether we should get a hard or soft cheese, but the debate quickly ended when we realized we had absolutely no utensils on hand and thus, a soft cheese would be much easier to eat! Above is 3-Corner Field Farm, specializing in all sheep-ish products: sheep’s milk cheese, yogurt, soap, and even wool, yarn and sheepskin!

Our purchase: a mold-ripened Sheep’s Milk Cheese. Now I don’t know much about cheese (I’ll be happy to learn if anyone cares to teach me! :), but I have yet to meet a cheese that I don’t like. Hard, soft, stinky, super smelly, not-smelly, semi-smelly…I’ll take them all!

Purchases in hand, and smiles on our faces, we took the 6 train uptown to 86th St and strolled over a few avenues to Central Park. The first thing we realized upon arriving at our picnic area of choice was that hey, we have nothing to sit on!!So we improvised, cause that’s what we’re good at! Plastic bags from our purchases at the Greenmarket were torn in half and we sat on the bags and books.

Shann even pulled out her composition book to double as a juice table :)

Here’s our spread! Those are Steph’s feet to the left, my dress to the right and all our food laid out right on the grass. The bread is sitting on a piece of paper, also compliments of Shann. It was all very improvised. Another group of people a few yards over had this awesome picnic mat, it was gorgeous! They had a big picnic basket, tons of utensils, a cooler and maannn…it made us feel like very amateur picnic-ers, hehe!

Here’s a closer shot, just for you!

And then because we didn’t have a knife, Shann tore off the pointy end of the loaf and maneuvered it this way and that to cut open the cheese. And then I took a picture! The sheep cheese + tomato basil loaf = sheer bliss. The cheese is somewhat akin to a camembert, soft and creamy. Call me an oddball, but my favorite part of any soft cheese like this is the rind. Omigosh, I loooove the rind! It’s the contrast between the buttery, near runny innards and a solid nibble of the rind that drives me crazy…it’s sooooo delicious!

Doesn’t this loaf make you smile? Everything felt so darn perfect: green grapes, sheep’s milk cheese, ginger cider, a loaf of tomato basil and close friends. The only thing we lacked was a picnic mat to sit on, heheh ;)

Melted cheddar all over the top crust, the loaf was a tad on the dry side, but an abundance of sundried tomatoes and basil embedded within the chewy innards left us wondering what we did to deserve a life this good :)

Here’s Steph and Shann post-eating, they looking mighty content don’t they?

I stood up for the latter half of the ‘picnic’ cause I was slightly paranoid of getting grass stains and because the sun kept on following us every time we scooted our seats back to stay in the shade! Next time, remind me to bring a super huge umbrella! :)

And that was our Saturday morning/afternoon…next post (will be up in a day or so) you all can finally meet Kelly and Chrissy!



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