One Slick 'nic 

How to picnic like a park-snacking pro

If a spontaneous picnic hit your Saturday afternoon, would you be prepared? Imagine a particularly sun-drenched day, you drive by a quaint park where Frisbees whizz through the air dodging butterflies and pinatas. Couples lean against one another, digging up wet grass with their toes and snacking on fresh fruit with their gazes steadied on well-worn paperbacks. You turn to your sweetheart/grandma/pit bull and say, "Wow, what a great day for a picnic!" But what now? By the time you go shopping, go home, slice the crusts off some cucumber finger sandwiches and return to the park, all the whimsy of this impromptu proposal will surely have worn off. Fret not, park-snacker. We have four, fool-proof one-stop picnic plans to satisfy an array of tastes and budgets. Go forth and frolic with your fellow lawnlunchers.

Dollar General

While not as wholesome as Family Dollar, or as spiritual as the one-buck mecca All A Dollar, the Dollar General does rein over deals with an iron fist. But dollar incense sticks and candelabras are a bit different than $1 canned lunch meat and cheese curls. Fortunately, the dollar store bounty has expanded over the years to include inexpensive, non-expired--even slightly tasty looking--brand name consumables. Here's a menu culled from the shelves of the Dollar General at Collister and State streets. We suggest picking up a double pack of playing cards ($1) and a couple cap guns ($1 each) in the event your poker game requires resolution by shootout.

Savory: Mozzarella mushroom pizza roll-ups

-Sargento mozzarella shreds--$1

-Hormel large pepperoni slices--$1

-Prego fresh mushroom pasta sauce--$1

-Nuevo Leon medium white tortillas--$1

Spready: Honey sunflower onion spread on wheat crackers

-Busy Baker baked wheat snack crackers--$1

-Old Fashioned Foods French onion cheese dip--$1

-Gourmet Select shelled sunflower seeds--$1

-Junior Bear honey-flavored syrup--$1

Snacky: Banana peanut medley

-Gourmet Select banana chips--$1

-Sachs salted peanuts in shell--$1

Sugary: Lemonade ice treats

-Minute Maid frozen soft lemonade--$4 for four

Sippy: Lemon iced tea

-Ssips lemon iced tea juice boxes--$1 for five

Supplementary: Picnic gear

-Blue and white checkered plastic table cloth--$1

-Bounty basic paper towels--$1

-Nature's own green label paper plates--$1 for 50

-Assorted plastic cutlery--$1 for 48 pieces

Grand total--$19, feeds four-ish hungry grass grubbers.

Ideal picnic locale--Veterans Memorial Park

Boise Bargain Basket

This alliterative little gem is Broadway Avenue's organic-ish answer to the Grocery Outlet. Stocked with a wildly varying collection of specialty high-end snack items (think individually wrapped quinoa coconut cookie stacks) produce of varying quality and lots of canned goods, the triple B is a pleasant, if somewhat random, surprise. Though the stock changes continually, on a recent jaunt, the following picnic items leapt from the racks and into our arms coyly cooing, "I'm yours. Do with me what you will."

Savory: Garlicky eggplant and roasted red bell peppers on country baguette

-Sunny Harvest grilled eggplant in sunflower oil--$1.38

-Sunny Harvest roasted sweet red and yellow peppers--$1.38

-Chez Jane garlic spread mustard--98 cents

-Zeppole country baguette--$1.88

Spready: Apricot walnut cream cheese croquettes

-Apricot preserves--$1.38

-Individual cream cheese containers--70 cents for two


-Old London bagel snacks--88 cents

Snacky: Pistachios

-Bag of California pistachios--$1.88

Sugary: Belgian chocolate cookies

-Belgian chocolate covered butter biscuits--99 cents

Sippy: Chardonnay

-Winery at Eagle Knoll (now Woodriver Cellars) chardonnay--$3.89

Supplementary: Picnic gear

-Cook Eze bread knife--$1.49

-Basic paper towels--88 cents

-Large plastic Tupperware tote--$1.58

Grand total--$22.17, feeds two-ish resourceful park pilgrims

Ideal picnic locale--Manitou Park

The Capitol City Farmers Market

What's a Saturday summer morning without a jaunt down Eighth Street past burly biker couples carrying furry poodles and strollers crammed with toddlers and tomato starts? No Saturday we want to be a part of, that's for sure. With a steaming latte in one hand and a reusable grocery sack in the other, you'll find the farmers market to be a no-brainer one-stop picnic destination. Unfortunately, keep in mind that the market has slim pickings when it comes to disposable or reusable plates and utensils. So if you don't want to eat your local organic grub with your less-than-spotless fingers, make sure to go prepared (or work up the nerve to beg a local restaurant for some of their to-go goodies).

Savory: Mushroom risotto and asparagus bisque

-Brick 29 Bistro's ready-to-eat mushroom risotto--$5, 16 oz.

-Brick 29 Bistro's ready-to-eat asparagus bisque--$5, 14 oz.

Spready: Pepper garlic cheese curds on foccacia

-Le Cafe De Paris foccacia--$4

-Idaho Cheese Curds, pepper garlic cheese curds--$4

Snacky: Chilean colored carrots and bleu cheese

-Idagro Farms purple anthocyanins carrots--$1 for two

-Boise Bleu cheese--$2.50, 6 oz.

Sugary: Stroopwafel cookies

-A Touch of Dutch caramel-filled Stroopwafel cookies--$1 each, $4 for five

Sippy: Organic rose

-J.H. Organic Rose wine--$15

Supplementary: Picnic gear

-Capitol City Public Market tote bag--$20

Grand total--$58.50 with re-usable tote bag, $38.50 without. Feeds two-ish famished farmers marketites.

Ideal picnic locale--Julia Davis Park

Boise Co-op

It's late one lazy summer afternoon when you and yours decide to park the Subaru in the back alley of your North End bungalow and wheel out the Schwinns. Suddenly, a gust of wind blows through the ornamental pears on Harrison Boulevard, landing a pair of tickets to The Seagull at Idaho Shakespeare Festival in your wicker bike basket. Not wanting to tempt the Chekhovian fate that swirled this gift forth into your hands, you do the only thing one can do in this type of situation--head to the Co-op to procure picnic goods.

Savory: Prosciutto, brie and fig open-faced sammy

-Columbus prosciutto--$4.29

-St. Dalfour royal fig spread--$4.29

-Champignon de Luxe pfeffer brie with green peppercorns--$4.35

-Purple Sage Fars arugula--$4.79

-Le Cafe De Paris Poulichette--$2.29

Spready: Pears with honey pistachio goat cheese

-Asian Pears--$2.39 per pound

-Moondarra honey and pistachio chevre--$3.99

Snacky: Almond-stuffed green olives

-Almond stuffed green olives--$5.49 per half pound

Sugary: Gold-flaked truffles

-Honey and Drambuie truffles topped with edible gold--$2.50 each

Sippy: Champagne

-Sofia Coppola champagne in a can--$15.99 for a four-pack

Supplementary: Picnic gear

-Tandem bicycle picnic set for two--$57.99

-All Occasion Bambu plates--$6.99 for eight

-Totally Bamboo reusable silverware set--$3.99 each

-Trout-topped cheese spreader--$2.99

Grand total--$128.82 with picnic basket set, $70.83 without. Feeds two-ish lawn lingering epicures.

Ideal picnic locale--Idaho Shakespeare Festival

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