Last night was a great night. I actually left the house and went downtown on a day other than Friday or Saturday! My housemates and I packed a gourmet picnic and headed downtown to the Inner Harbor for a free showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The setup is pretty sweet: the movie is projected on a giant screen behind the American Visionary Arts Museum, which butts up against Federal Hill. It’s like a giant ampitheatre, with people sitting all the way up the slope (which is pretty steep–we kept sliding off our blankets, and eating was quite an adventure). The movie was just as good as I remembered from my childhood, and the rainstorm that passed through almost as soon as we unpacked our picnic didn’t dampen our spirits–just everything else! We opted to stick it out, and were glad we did; the rain passed fairly quickly and the show got underway only a couple of minutes late. We didn’t even notice we were wet–it was a warm night, and wine has a tendancy to warm you up.
One of the challenges of the evening was to have a completely free, yet entertaining and enjoyable evening. The movie was free (of course) and the museum was actually open and admission was waived for a few hours before the movie started. We packed a picnic to ensure that we didn’t have to buy dinner, but the challenging part was to make good food using exclusively things we already had in our kitchen. I had to improvise a bit, but everything turned out really well, considering the constraints. The menu?
Everything was delicious, if I do say so myself. I made the chicken salad with poached chicken breasts, nonfat yogurt, a couple of ribs of celery, and some curry and tumeric powders. I also threw in some frozen peas for good measure–I don’t know what made me do it, but I’m sure glad I did! For the vegetarians in the crowd, I made some orzo, which I mixed with a pesto (basil from my very own herb garden!) and some chopped tomatoes and mushrooms. Finally, the crowning glory of the evening (as evidenced by the fact that that’s the only thing that didn’t have any leftovers to bring home…) was the berry tart. It’s essentially lemon bars, only I didn’t have any lemons but I did have some strawberries and blueberries that needed to be used before they went bad. The crust is a double batch of shortbread–I figured for a picnic it needed to be substantial enough that one could pick it up and eat it without worrying about getting blueberries all over one’s shirt. De-lish. I would definitely recommend the cheap-o gourmet picnic + campy movie + summer thunderstorm as a winning combination!
Finally, I will leave you with a parting shot of sunset at the Harbor: it almost makes me think Baltimore actually does deserve it’s comical “Charm City” monniker.