a picnic menu

Richard and Heidi just moved to Berkeley from Boston, and we decided to celebrate by introducing them to Steve and Liza and to the Tourist Club.

Maifest at Tourist Club; by burnto on flickr

Usually a members-only getaway overlooking the Muir Woods, the Tourist Club is open to the public roughly four hours a week, three weeks of each month. From 1 to 5 on Sundays, except the second Sunday or if they’re having a party, you’re welcome to hike up there to buy beer, dried sausages, and pickles to consume on their deck. You can also bring a picnic of your own.

So we piled into a Zip-minivan, braved the traffic over the bridge, climbed the 688 stairs of the Dipsea Trail, traversed 0.8 beautiful, dusty, narrow miles of the Sun Trail, and finally unpacked the backpacks and messenger bags (they filled in for the more traditional hampers) and ordered some beer.

Contents of the bags: sauerkraut, sausages, green-bean-and-tomato salad, pluots, green salad with honey and mint dressing, dark chocolate, red licorice, candied pecans, and cold fried chicken. J-P originally said he would bring melon and proscuitto, which is lovely in itself, but he wowed us with cold fried chicken instead. He used the Cook’s Illustrated method from the Sep/Oct issue, brining the pieces in salted, seasoned (with cayenne, Tapatio, and powdered garlic) buttermilk, coating them in seasoned (pepper, cayenne, salt, garlic) flour, shallow frying to get a brown crust, then finishing the meat in the oven. It worked like a charm, with just shy of 2 cups of oil to dispose of.

We hiked back out once we felt we could safely move again, and J-P drove us home along the Paradise Loop through the Tiburon uplands. We stopped in Tiburon for ice cream, naturally. And just before crossing the bridge back into SF, we learned that Californians in cars have the same reaction that cyclists everywhere have to going through tunnels: make some noise! Bumper-to-bumper with dozens of drivers honking madly and grinning maniacally.


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