Comfort Foods @ South Coast Botanic Gardens

March 2018

South Coast Botanic Gardens | Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA

The Location

For our very first pqnqla.com location, we chose the South Coast Botanic Gardens in Palos Verdes. Palos Verdes is just X miles away from Downtown LA and is known for its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. While the Gardens do not have views of the ocean (you’ll have to drive a couple miles up along Crenshaw Blvd), the Gardens themselves are nothing short of stunning. There are lots of areas to explore, and you may even have to make multiple visits to really see everything. The Gardens also allow you to enjoy a picnic at designated picnic areas – a different one is chosen every day!

Hours: Daily 9am – 5pm

Check out their Posted Hours

Admission: $4 – $9

Students with a valid student ID get in for $6

Pets: Pets not allowed

ADA Service animals are permitted

Parking: Free lot parking, conveniently close to the entrance

The parking lot was ample, but looks like it could fill up quickly. We were easily able to find parking, but that could have been because of the recent rains in the area.

Photography: Personal photography allowed, but special events require a license

Picnicking: Allowed at designated picnic areas

Blankets are allowed for picnicking at the designated picnic areas (no picnic furniture). They also have picnic benches, but these are located somewhere in the parking lot.

Outdoor Activities: No active sports (e.g. biking) or games (e.g. ball playing) allowed

They do seem to offer events for children and adults. When we went, we saw some children with an activity map and butterfly nets. Check out their Event Calendar

 

The Food

It was raining heavily in the days leading up to our visit, so we decided to do a comfort food theme. Here’s what we brought along for our picnic:

Main course

  • Broccoli, mushroom, and cheese soup

Adapted from Cream of Broccoli Mushroom & Old Cheddar Soup

*We used extra mushrooms (because we love them!) and also added rice flour to further thicken the soup

  • Oven baked sweet potato fries

Set oven to 425 °F

Cut sweet potatoes into “fry” shape

In a Ziploc bag, coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, and parmesan cheese

Arrange on a baking tray lined with parchment paper

Roast for 10-15 minutes or until tender

           *Admittedly, our fries weren’t very crunchy, but there are loads of recipes out there that use cornstarch or other techniques to get them crispier.

  • Banana bread pudding

Adapted from Simple Bread Pudding

           *We added mashed banana (the older the mushier) to the step where we heat warm milk, butter, vanilla, sugar, and salt in the sauce pan.

 

Accompaniments

  • Jam, blueberry goat cheese, and crackers
  • Fresh raspberries
  • Crusty bread

The Experience

We very much enjoyed our day at the Gardens. As we mentioned above, it had been raining heavily in the days before our visit. Luckily, it stopped raining and got downright sunny in Palos Verdes by the time we went our trip on Sunday. We enjoyed our picnic in the upper meadow of the gardens next to a blooming cherry blossom tree and felt like we were the only people there (again possibly because the recent rains kept people away). The ground was a little soggy, but we found a good area that had been dried out by the sun so it was all good!

Our food was delicious and we finished every bite. Bringing soup is always a little tricky because you want it to keep warm and you don’t want it to spill. We used our Mr. Bento food container to do both.

After enjoying our picnic and taking a quick nap on our picnic blanket, we put all our picnic gear back in the car and re-entered the gardens to take a stroll. Taking pictures was a blast because nature provided us with the perfect backdrop and subjects for every shot. It truly felt like spring was in full swing. We weren’t able to visit all the areas of the garden, but we look forward to going back. Check out our pictures below!

 

pqnq cheqlist

  • Read and respect the Garden Etiquette
  • Sunblock
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Comfortable walking shoes

Picnic Basket Essentials

  • The food, of course (see above)
  • Ice pack
  • Reusable bag to hold used dishes and utensils
  • Extra napkins (maybe even the wet kinds)
  • Extra picnic blanket or tarp (for spreading out)

 

 

 

 

 

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