Red-checkered blankets and wicker baskets may seem like a cliche, but the American picnic is making a comeback in Los Angeles, just in time for Independence Day. Don't be fooled, your childhood picnic favorites aren't on the menu this 4th of July. Many popular restaurants in the L.A. area are offering gourmet custom picnics to go, perfect for outdoor eating. There's no need to cook and pack your own holiday meal, these L.A. spots will do it for you:
FoodLab offers $20 custom picnic boxes. Each box includes a sandwich of your choice, a vegan salad, a daily side salad of your choice, a cookie by Deluscious Cookies, a bottle of water, a stick of gum and biodegradable eatware, salt and pepper. Call or visit the website to order. 7253 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 851-7120; and 3206 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 661-2666 www.foodlab-la.com.
California Canteen has four different picnic boxes for two. Each box has its own menu. The prices range from $55 to $75. The Debussy picnic dinner for two, for example, includes duck mousse pate; bistro salad; Brie cheese with strawberries, apples and grapes; roasted whole rosemary chicken; and chocolate mousse cake. Call to order. 3311 Cahuenga Blvd., Universal City, (323) 876-1702, www.californiacanteen.com
The picnic baskets at Doughboys are $45 and are meant to be shared. Each basket comes with tablecloths, utensils, plates, one baguette, four spreads, two drinks, one sandwich, one salad, one dessert bar, one cookie and one side of fruit. Call the café to place your order. 8136 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (323) 852-1020, www.doughboyscafe.com.
The Larder offers picnic boxes at each of its three locations. Three boxed options include two different individual boxes and one for a pair. Each box is $28 plus an additional cost for a la carte bites. They are also offering a 4th of July special for picnics and at-home barbecues. Choose from classic sandwich platters and ready-to-grill burger platters with a variety of menu options to suit your festivities. Call the Larder location of your choice directly for arrangements. At Tavern, 11648 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood, (310) 806-6460; 8500 Burton Way, Los Angeles, (310) 278-8060; 345 N. Maple Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 248-3779; www.tavernla.com.
Joan's on Third has completely custom picnic creations. You can choose any of the menu items and seasonal treats from its marketplace to place in your box. Order online at least 24 hours in advance. 8350 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, (323) 655-2285, www.joansonthird.com.