Whether you're heading to Ravinia (June 10-Sept. 10), the Grant Park Music Festival (June 15-Aug. 20), the Chicago Outdoor Film Festival (July 12-Aug. 23) or your own back porch, these spots have the goods to give your picnic some punch.
Don't want to lug your picnic basket on the Metra? Preorder a Box Beat lunch to pick up when you arrive. Choices include a flatiron steak sandwich with chips, fruit and soda ($12.50). Or save even more time with the Instant Ravinia menu: Order your tix through the box office, and score a lawn pass, lawn chair, and a Box Beat for $25 (plan ahead for sell-outs). Procrastinators can head to the Picnic at the Park, two grab-and-go areas stocked with goodies like chicken Caesar salads ($8.50), turkey and Havarti sandwiches ($7.50), and cheese platters ($10-$20). Box Beats: order by 5 p.m. the day before show at 847-432-7550 or at www.ravinia.org. Box office: 847-266-5100. Picnic at the Park: Inside Le Cafe and Carousel. Ravinia, 200-231 Ravinia Park Rd., Highland Park.
This season the shop offers a new picnic and sandwich menu that comes packed in easy-to-carry, disposable lunch boxes. Dig into options like the Amalfi Afternoon: prosciutto, Italian salami, caprese salad, pecorino and podda cheeses, plus olives, flat breads and a sweet ($29.99; serves two). There are also solo sandwichs like the Serrano ham and manchego ($7.99); or go for the boxed lunch with a sandwich, chips, olives and fruit ($12.99). Wash it down with water ($1.49-$2.49) or choose a bottle of picnic-friendly wine ($9.99-$55). 24-hours notice required. 2945 N. Broadway. 773-472-4781.
Fox and Obel
This gourmet grocery has multiple options, and they're all packed in reusable wicker lap-baskets. Go for choices like the All American, with herb-crusted beef tenderloin, sourdough rolls, potato and fruit salads, plus a brownie ($48; serves 2); or the Mediterranean, with lemon-oregano chicken, couscous, Greek salad, olive ciabatta bread and a fig bar ($44; serves 2). Rehydrate with gourmet waters and soft drinks ($1.25-$2). They'll even chill a bottle of wine and pack it up with a freebie corkscrew ($12 and up). 24-hours notice required. 401 E. Illinois St. 312-379-0133.
Drop by this Andersonville gourmet shop, which just launched a new picnic menu with choices like the French: pate, brie, morbier and bucheron cheeses, plus grapes and baguette ($42; serves two). They pack 'em in insulated bags, or you can upgrade to a reusable wicker basket (additional $10-$40). There are also brown-bag lunches like the Thai chicken wrap with chips, side and a cookie ($7.50). Plenty of gourmet water and soft drinks are also on hand ($1-$2). 48-hours notice required. 1512 W. Berwyn Ave. 773-293-3663.
Options at this carry-out spot include the Tuscano, with proscuitto, pate, Taleggio cheese, antipasti, fresh fruit, baguette and biscotti ($30.99; serves two); and the Nicoise, with quiche Lorraine, nicoise salad, rocastin cheese, baguette and a fruit tart ($27.99; serves two). Both come packed in a wicker basket. There are also ample supplies of gourmet water and soft drinks (75 cents-$2). 24-hours notice required; purchase the basket for $19.75 or lease it for $5, plus a refundable damage deposit of $14.75. 1967 N. Halsted St. 312-266-7880.
The Goddess & Grocer
The Goddess has added a new menu with patriotic choices like the American as Pie, containing Southern fried chicken and choice of two sides, plus rolls, cookies and watermelon ($21 per person). Upgrade from a throwaway container to a reusable wicker basket or an insulated canvas tote ($15-$25). There are also boxed lunches like the albacore tuna salad sandwich with a cookie and chips ($10.50). Both non-alcoholic beverages ($1.25-$3.75) and picnic pairing wines are in stock ($8-$33). 24-hours notice for picnics; two hours for boxed lunches. 1646 N. Damen Ave. 773-342-3200.
Terri Mooney is a metromix special contributor.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times