The good food doesn’t stop there. My daughter adored the chicken fajita sandwich ($7.95). Moist chunks of grilled chicken, marinated overnight in citrus juices and spices, nestle into a bun with cilantro, roasted peppers and Provolone. Not one drop of sauce is needed.
The burgers are made from high-quality Angus beef and grilled to a perfect medium rare. Though cooked on a propane grill, somehow they are imbued with that wonderful smoky taste. Big fat tomatoes, fresh lettuce and onions top it off. You can get it with cheddar cheese ($7.45) or without ($6.95), or really go for it and get the rancho burger ($10.45), which has the added thrill of a giant, grilled Portobello mushroom. The woodsy taste is well-suited to the ambience under the trees.
Side salads are tasty but small for the price. They add quite a bit to an already steep bill. We argued over our favorite salad, but the coleslaw, with raisins and chunks of pineapple ($3), won in the end. There’s also a Mediterranean pasta salad ($3.50) and a nice wild rice salad ($4) with yellow squash, red peppers and green asparagus.
Wash it all down with a tall agua fresca ($2.50). The colorful glass dispensaries holding cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon and pineapple refreshers look as good as they taste.
The Tailgate Picnic, as it’s called, can be taken away. Items are available for catering in your own backyard, or enjoying right there in the gardens. So come on down for a pulled pork sandwich and celebrate spring.
Lisa Dupuy is the designated griller in her backyard and knows a good barbecue flavor when she tastes one. She can be reached at LDupuy@aol.com.
What: Spring Tailgate at Descanso Gardens by Patina Catering
Where: Descanso Gardens picnic area outside the main gate, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge
When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through May 8
Prices: No admission charge. Hotdogs, burgers and sandwiches, $3.50 to $10.45; side salads $3 to $4; agua fresca $2.50
Contact: (818) 949-4200 or (213) 864-2221