From boat ramp to boat ramp (Benicia Marina to Ninth Street Park), picnic tables dot the coves and byways along the Carquinez Strait. May’s abundant sunshine and cooling breezes combine to set the stage for leisurely alfresco meals. Gourmet takeout offerings include Sprankles Deli, The Workshop and Heritage Pantry & Spice; all locally owned.Sprankles Deli, which opened in March at its larger location on Military East, serves a generous variety of specialty sandwiches with many add-ons and options. Get picnic sandwiches completely customized to your palate, or choose the build your own option. There are also daily soups, salads and a Panini menu. My personal favorite is turkey, pepperoncini and avocado on sourdough. They use fresh shaved turkey breast—a big step up from the standard cured variety. The perfect pairing here is kettle-cooked potato chips or one of the seven scrumptious side salads.
People are also raving about Heritage Pantry and Spice’s new Rustic Grilled Sandwiches, Picnic Baskets and Rustic Heritage Sandwiches. One example of the Rustic Heritage Sandwich is Prosciutto with roasted red pepper, arugula, olive oil and mozzarella. There’s also a specialty grilled cheese of the day. Ingredients are locally sourced from artisan producers. Their Picnic Baskets consist of a cheese option and a cheese & meat option, and are accompanied by an assortment of delicacies that may include cornichons, pepper jam, fresh and dried fruit, spiced nuts, crackers and marinated olives.
The Workshop’s popular Cajun cuisine can be enjoyed at tables just outside their kitchen, or along the waterfront a few blocks away. From 8-10:30am only, those with a sweet tooth are rewarded with three authentic Beignets fried to order and dredged in powdered sugar. Lunch begins at 11am with a menu that consists of Po ‘Boy sandwiches, daily fresh-baked bread and fresh-made soup, and daily specials such as Breaded Pork Chops with Baked Mac n’ Cheese, Creole Jambalaya and Seafood Gumbo. Go early for soup of the day; it sells out fast.