Welcome back to Alternative Dining, a monthly column by Jen Chiu that explores the unconventional dining and drinking scene in Seattle, whether that be pop-up, food truck, gastro-brewpub or underground dinner party. Got a suggestion? Leave it in the comments or send it to the tipline.
[Photos: S. Pratt]
What happens when two chefs with adventurous spirits and a love of travel open up a business? It ends up arguably as the best food and wine one-stop shop in Seattle: Picnic.
Whether you are craving an artisan sandwich or a charcuterie plate with a glass of wine, searching for a present for that food-lover friend (recommendation: Rancho Gordo beans from California that are used by Thomas Keller) or just want to treat yourself (Pok Pok drinking vinegar, Olympic Provisions cured meat), leave it to taste curators Jenny and Anson Klock.
[Photo courtesy of Jenny Klock]
The Klocks met in college in upstate New York, although they didn't start dating until they both moved to Seattle. They developed the model for Picnic together. Anson thought of the name and Jenny loved it. And no, it's not just about picking up supplies for a picnic.
It all started with wanting a good sandwich in Seattle with excellent meat and bread that wasn't too crusty, and the concept grew from there. It evolved into stocking the store with a world class wine selection discovered through their travels and passions for vino. They assembled a spread of gourmet-style soups, salads (the kale salad is killer), sandwiches, cheeses and charcuterie. The menu rotates with the climate, what's available and what they feel like making. Plus, the Klocks are always searching and stocking their place with the finest sundries from around the region and the world: Ballard Bee honey, Jacobsen Salt, Scrappy's Bitters, and more.
Here now, a little Q&A with the lady Klock:
What is your favorite item in the store right now?
We make our preserved lemon hummus. It's still a feather in our cap that we get to sell Rancho Gordo beans in Seattle. We have an antique dough trough brimming with bags of beautiful varietals and we feature them in our soups and salads (and hummus). And in the shop, we're loving Ligurian whites, which are so perfect with our fall menu. We make a pretty kick-butt salad dressing that is begging to be bottled. It's in the works.
You just celebrated five years. How has Picnic evolved and how do you see Picnic evolving?
It's been a pretty natural, organic evolution. Our major goal was to maintain quality and consistency with all that we offer and we've stayed true to that. We are excited to continue that evolution, but have passed on offers of second location at this point. This one location is a lot of work!
What is something people may not know about Picnic that you think they should know?
We have beautiful food and wine (much of which is not found in other shops) perfect for any occasion, not just picnics. We endorse everything we sell, we've done the editing for you — if it's in the shop, it is something good.
· Picnic [Official Site]
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