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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 03/19/2010

Perfect picnic lunches (and where to eat 'em)

By Julia Beizer

I'll tell you this right now. This picture does not do justice to the roast pork sandwich at Taylor Gourmet. Photography can't capture the tasty juices. (James M. Thresher - For The Washington Post)

The forces are aligned for a picnic-perfect weekend. Spring begins on Sunday and the weather forecast is just sunny enough that we'll be able to believe it. To mark the occasion, we've posted our newest Best Bets list, a rundown of some of the tastiest sandwich shops in the area. (The list will run in next weekend's magazine, but our editor let us break it out here a little early.)

So, once you grab a blanket and pick up a sandwich lunch, where should you take your alfresco meal? The following three spots always fit my picnic needs. Add your favorite picnic spots in the comments below.

• The bank of the Potomac River near the intersection of Ohio Drive SW and Independence Avenue
Right now, the Tidal Basin is enjoying a lull, a calm before the cherry blossom storm. This bank is even set off from the touristy hustle of the monuments and dotted with elegant weeping willows. The ground is still a little wet, so you might want to take advantage of the few picnic areas here. (Nearby East Potomac Park has more seating)

• The section of Rock Creek Park across Calvert Street from Open City.
Picnickers and playful dogs dominate this sloping hill throughout most of the summer. The pastoral spot is close to one of the main Rock Creek trails and Adams Morgan, so you can grab drinks after the picnic.

Great Falls Park
I'm a Virginia girl at heart, so I have a fondness for the Virginia side of the falls. Picnic tables are available here.

-- Julia Beizer

By Julia Beizer  | March 19, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
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In the picnic food department please consider the seriously yummy offerings of Silver Spring's Adaga--THE best restaurant and carry out in SS!!!!

Posted by: seriousfoodie | March 19, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I second the comments on Adega.

Also, Constitution Gardens on the Mall is a perfect place for a picnic.

Posted by: JG55 | March 20, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

It's not endless acres of pastoral greenery, but I picnic frequently in Meridian Hill Park - close enough to walk to, and the design does make you feel enclosed and away from city traffic. If you're lucky, someone may even be providing some free live music for your meal.

Posted by: aneer1 | March 25, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

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