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A Perfect Pair of Picnics

Midwest Living

Fall is the perfect time for a picnic. There are more parking places, fewer bugs and plenty of warm sunny days. But a picnic doesn’t have to be in a park. Here are a few variations on the theme:

Rolling Stonebaker
Andrea Georgian and Jim Chaddock have created the cutest food trucks from bright red Studebaker fire trucks to which Jim has painstakingly installed wood-fired pizza ovens. They serve fantastic flatbread pizza with fresh toppings—many grown in their yard. I love the margherita, but sometimes get crazy and order their specialty, the Purple Pig, which is slow-roasted pork shoulder and BBQ sauce topped with a tangy purple slaw. They’ll box it for the perfect picnic. The pizzas are about $9 per 10-inch pizza; order one for everyone. “We’re definitely having fun,” Andrea says. “This is nothing like working at a desk,” she says, catering to the lunchtime crowd at Valparaiso’s Farmers Market this day. They’re preparing to add a third truck and can be found daily in Beverly Shores, Hebron, Chesterton or Valparaiso. For the current schedule and seasonal menu, visit their website.

Rolling Stonebaker

Get a fantastic flatbread pizzas from the traveling Rolling Stonebaker.

Good to Go by Lucrezia
Next door to the lovely Lucrezia Cafe in Chesterton, you’ll find another quaint house called Good to Go by Lucrezia, selling a fabulous assortment of premium olive oils and vinegars, which you can sample and get bottled to go. Think blood orange-infused olive oil and cranberry-pear balsamic! They offer Boars Head meats and cheeses and also a small collection of wines. They’ll prepare a box lunch of your choice of eight different sandwiches, a side and a drink for under $9. On a crisp fall day, I loved the beef and horseradish cheddar perfectly complemented by house-made potato salad.

A boxed lunch from Good to Go

A boxed lunch from Good to Go

Pickin’ a Place
Food in hand, I highly recommend heading to Lake Michigan. I find plenty of free parking at Porter Beach (take Waverly to Wabash, ending at the beach) and at the Lake View stop along Beverly Shores. There are picnic tables and miles of quiet coastline. On this day, I can hear singing sand, an actual chirping song your feet make as you walk along the shore. Picnic in hand and song at my feet, I’m grateful to enjoy the Chicago skyline from this quiet vantage point.

Kim Ranegar is a freelance writer from Valparaiso who never tires of sunny days at the beach, no matter the season.