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Pick Your Picnic At One Of These Two Big Apple Hotels

May 11, 2012 at 9:15 AM | by | Comments (0)

A look at the Andaz basket: raspberries and a baguette, what else do you need?

Normally, you'd think a simple picnic in the park would be a more economical undertaking than, say, dinner for two at Asiate (Mandarin Oriental's ritzy 35th-floor restaurant). But you'd be wrong. This summer, two of Manhattan's classiest hotels—Mandarin Oriental and Andaz Fifth Avenue—are offering up separate picnic packages to guests. And with classy baskets and classy food, come classy prices (read: expensive). But then again, this is Manhattan.

So if it's a picnic you're dead set on, great. Now ask yourself is it an Asian-inspired feast, or something more continental—like caviar and blinis—that you're craving?

If it's the former, you need to head to Mandarin Oriental, whose chef, Toni Robertson, has put together an Asian-inspired basket full of Banh Mi sandwiches, kimchee, chicken satay, soba noodles and green tea mascarpone cake. Yummm. This would be our ideal, though not just because of the green tea cake.

You see, MO has also partnered with Alice Walters, founder of the California-based organization Edible Schoolyard, which aims to educate kids about food, health and the environment. A portion of the picnic proceeds (and at $225 per basket, that's a lot of proceeds) will go directly to Edible Schoolyard.

And now that hotels are getting so crazy about healthy food that supports local communities, we're not surprised MO is eager to advertise this new initiative.

Meanwhile, at Andaz Fifth Avenue, a dedicated Picnic Butler, for the nominal fee of $300, will not only put together the basket, but also arrange the picnic for guests wherever they choose to have it. This could actually be very helpful, as we love unpacking a picnic but always hate putting away all the half-eaten food containers and dirty dishes.

For a more reasonable price, guests can simply request one of three different kinds of baskets—the Sandwich Basket ($35), the Wine Basket ($45) or the Champagne Basket ($75)—and transport it themselves. Inside, the nibbles are culled straight from the hotel's "the shop", and contain locally-sourced ingredients. Though hopefully nothing you could have just picked from the ground yourself.

[Photo: Andaz Fifth Avenue]

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