Friday, July 3, 2009

Trespassers Picnic, Part III

The day of living dangerously: Trespassers enjoy an idyllic picnic.
(Photo courtesy of Petrea from Pasadena Daily Photo)

A few years ago,
my friend Barbara attended a memorial service where family members served the mom's "signature dishes." We both panicked when we realized that we didn't have our own time-honored dishes to serve at our funerals. God forbid that I should die and someone should mutter, "Well, you know Susan was working on those crab cakes, but she never quite got 'em right."

I may not have a signature dish, but I do have bragging rights to a signature event - the trespassers' picnic, where crossing the line is half the fun. The picnics are held on private property and are loosely centered around a theme. The first featured traditional picnic foods, such as fried chicken, deviled eggs and chocolate layer cake. We gave a nod to France on the second picnic and served pommes frittes, salad Nicoise and French wine.

Last week we gathered at a favorite private vacant lot and shared Asian-inspired food.

We started with green mango with chilli salt, a popular Thai street food that, according to my friend who lived in Thailand for nearly a decade, is as common in movie theatres as buttered popcorn. I think I'll try sneaking this sweet, sour, salty and spicy dish in on my next visit to the Laemmle. (The very next day, a friend served me a snack of mangoes with cracked black pepper, and it was equally delicious.)

I tried out this recipe for Thai Beef Salad, developed by Clare at Rainy Days and Sundays. I could live for days on the dressing alone.

Cold soba noodle salad, Thai beef salad and Banh Mi - cool foods on a hot day

The Menu:

Japanese Rice Crackers
Green Mango with Chilli Salt

Main Dishes
Cold Soba Noodle Salad
Thai Beef Salad
Vegetarian and Pate Banh Mi from Lee's Sandwiches

Red Bean and Sesame Buns from Din Tai Fung
Red Velvet Cupcakes (made by Chinese bakers)

Iced Tea
Rose Wine

As Liz put it, our afternoon was filled with "questionable wine, manageable danger and good company." I couldn't have said it better myself.

Do you live in the Pasadena area? Do you have a flexible weekday schedule? Would you like to be invited to the next Trespassers' Picnic at the end of summer? Email me at susancarrier AT or leave a comment.


Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

What a great idea and menu. I would love to join, but Montreal is just a bit too far away. Happy 4th of July. BTW, love Cancer Banter too.

altadenahiker said...

They just get better. As another lucky participant put it, we don't know why these are so wonderful and relaxing and fun, "but a lot of it has to do with Susan."

JCK said...

OH, that looks and sounds divine! And the first picnic's menu was pure comfort food.

Trish said...

LOL! "...never quite got 'em right."!

Am sure we could troll OM,IF and find plenty of dishes to share and the stories to go with them...but don't take that as permission to kick off.

You all aren't that far from Trader Joe's...a passable wine is easily obtained! Next time, aim higher on the wine list. The rest of the menu seems delicious!

While I'm a bit GU to join you on the next picnic, I'll think of you the next time we technically trespass with one of our favorite picnics.

Petrea said...

It was idyllic. I'd go again any time, regardless of the food. The company was what made it so great.

Cafe Observer said...

Appetizing pics!

I've been to the Lee's Sandwiches on Valley in Rosemead. Good value. Still, I prefer Mr.Baquette's across the St.

Was just at Din Tai Fung last week for their specialty - dumplings - and also had the pork bun. Love DTF although relatively expensive.

Cold Soba Noodles. Love these too! Had it twice in the last month. I could do it weekly.

Never much into red velvets, or cupcakes, but I liked the cream puffs at J&J asian bakery.

I love Asian food. And, I love my Asian friends since we introduce each other to different asian joints!

French food? Having French clients/friends, I've kinda overeaten that cuisine 4 a while.

Ok, I'm getting hungry again, so I gotta sniff around for sumthing good. Preferably for something in less supply: good Peruvian & Filipino food.

Jo said...

Nothing better than a picnic with good food and great company. Looks like you had a great time.

Chow and Chatter said...

what fun and good food

Anonymous said...

Brag away

edit: Chinese bakers all named Ralph.

Susan C said...

Bonnie, You'll have to start your own Trespassers tradition in Montreal.

Altadena Hiker, These picnics really are a wonderful way to spend the day. I chalk it up to the company and the wine, which really wasn't all that questionable.

JCK, I'm longing for a nice piece of fried chicken, but, I have to admit, it's a LOT of work to do it Martha style. I think the next picnic will be an end-of-summer harvest.

Trish, It would be fun to find out what friends and family think of as my signatures. Most of them are boozy drinks, like Susan's Sassy Sangria. Gee - what does that say about me?

Actually the wine was lovely, but we do like that adjective "questionable." One bottle of red was mistakenly chilled, which cast it into that questionable category.

Yes, please trespass in my honor.

Petrea, The company was wonderful. It's always great when folks who know each other well mix with others they barely know or have never met. But the food wasn't bad either.

Cafe, Lee's isn't considered "the best," but it's certainly the most convenient with that drive through.

I'm in love with cold soba, but I think I like the traditional Japanese style more than the Thai-inspired dressing I served at the picnic.

I think it's mandatory in So. Cal. to have Asian friends who can introduce us to foods we wouldn't ordinarily try.

Jo, You're so right! The only thing that could make it better is if we showed up in our PJs. Oh - there's an idea.

Chow and Chatter, It really was fun.

Pasadena Adjacent, You always make me smile.

Cafe Observer said...

If you need a theme for your next pow wow, I chip in either:

Ice Cream social, or just a
Dessert theme.

Susan C said...

CO, Ice cream on a picnic? Now that might be a bit of a challenge.

Amanda said...

I will definitely be trying that beef salad recipe. It looks amazing, and I can probably get my husband to try it!

Jean Spitzer said...

I would love to attend. But right now, I must go eat--this post is truly mouth watering in my case.

Clare said...

So glad you liked the salad! Everything looks delicious - wow. I would love to be invited to your next trespassers picnic!

Margaret said...

If I can dispose of the children, I would very much like to come. But I'd go anywhere with you, no matter how much it terrifies me to trespass.

Beth said...

LOVE the idea of a trespasser's picnic. I might have to try that in the Seattle area. :)

Jessica said...

Gorgeous feast and reminiscent of Manet's Picnic.

Barbara1of3 said...

I remember that conversation, Susan! Still working on my "signature dish".

Which of the banh mi do you recommend from Lee's? Thanks for including their link -- I saw that they sell those little deli manjoo. We had them in SF a few years ago and the kids loved them, but I haven't been able to find them anywhere else. I'll have to head over to Lee's.

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Almost Vegetarian said...

That meal is almost good enough for me to pack my bags and move to your part of the world, if only to picnic with you.

But, then, what would I do about school?!


Hilary Cable said...

Hi Susan! Gloria Putnam told me about your blog and picnics. Fun! And your menu looks wonderful! I live in Altadena not far from Gloria :)

Gena said...

Looks absolutely delish!!! Hope yo uguys enjoyed!

Gena said...

Looks absolutely delish!!! Hope you
guys enjoyed!

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AmyR said...

I wish I lived in the Pasadena area and had a flexible weekday schedule. This is brilliant. I'm drooling over the menu!

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ましゃき/Masaki said...

Such a nice menu!!!!!!!!!
I really love strawberry, and also LOVE picnic!!!
wonderful! very wonderful!!

Ravenous Couple said...

what a great concept for a picnic! ouor first trespass picnic was in the gardens at oxford university, UK. Banh Mi is always great for a picnic.

Anonymous said...