Top 10 Hollywood Bowl Picnic Essentials

Laker Bakers, Homemade Baguettes + Russian River Chardonnay
Laker Bakers, Homemade Baguettes + Russian River Chardonnay

Last weekend's JazzFest marked the unofficial launch of the Hollywood Bowl summer season (it officially begins this Friday). Along with that much-needed dose of Dianne Reeves comes a reminder that it is once again time to polish off summer's most basic skill: How to pack a picnic.

Sure, you can pony up for a fancy boxed picnic from the Bowl's onsite caterer, Patina Group, or grab something from one of the many restaurants offering To-Go boxes around town. But picnics are a lot cheaper, and arguably much tastier, too. Turn the page for our Top 10 Hollywood Bowl Picnic Essentials.

10. Local Condiments

Picnics are the ideal time for tasting all of those local condiments -- relishes, jams, miscellaneous "spreads" -- that have been piling up in the pantry. Old school is the way to go here: Crackers, cream cheese (goat cheese is good, too), and a couple of interesting tangy spreads will fuel that Dolly Parton (July 23) crowd for hours.

9. Bubbles

There's just something about sparkling wine at a picnic that feels so very French Riviera. Or Italian, if you're going to go Glera at Wine Expo in Santa Monica. And while you're on the West side, you can pop in Rustic Canyon for a few Prosecco cocktail refresher lessons (or get a few of their recipes here).

8. Farmers Market Anything

You literally can pack your picnic at the farmers market in the summer. Toss in a few tomatoes, a Laker Baker potato salad, some crunchy cole slaw, and maybe some roasted veggies and you've got an outdoor feast.

Chocolate + Red Wine = Always A Good Idea
Chocolate + Red Wine = Always A Good Idea

7. Good Chocolate

Dark, fudgy brownies, double-chocolate cookies, a chocolate bar... we've seen people bring whole chocolate cakes to the Bowl. All the more for sharing.

6. Good Wine

Our Hollywood Bowl rule of thumb is to start with an easy-drinking, inexpensive wine like Prosecco, then move on to something in your cellar that is hitting its prime (like this 2003 Peju Reserve Cabernet). The sort of bottle you haven't had a good enough excuse to pull out until that Gladys Knight concert (July 27) rolls around.

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