Who’s in the mood for a picnic? This time of year I just want to get outside. It’s picnic time.
No peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for me. I’ve found the perfect take-along lunch that will have me inventing excuses for picnics.
Have you tried the tiffin lunch box at Empire State South? When the restaurant first opened, I noticed the tiffins on its website (“coming soon”) and couldn’t wait for them to become available. I was drawn to the tiffin box itself — a perfect little package complete with silver rolled in a dish-towel napkin that could have jumped right off the pages of Martha Stewart Magazine.
So, that’s my disclaimer –I was enchanted by the packaging from the start. Thankfully, the contents did not disappoint.
Last week, I picked up my first tiffin lunch ($15). I placed my order that morning and picked it up promptly at noon. As soon as I got to my car, I pried the lid from the top of the box, impatient for a peek.
The snacks in the top compartment included a hefty mound of mouth-tingling Maytag blue cheese with a toast point, dried cherries, pistachios and apricot preserves. Some may wish for additional bread to accompany the cheese but as I try to keep my bread-habit in check, I was content to gouge bits of the cheese from the mound with the pistachios and cherries.
The lower tiffin levels contained a fresh salad with turnips and sweet-pickled stems, a muffin sized quiche and a decadent house-made nutter butter. The quiche, made with salty Benton ham and Grafton cheddar, might be considered small in comparison to an average restaurant portion. I, however, found it to be perfectly satisfying for lunch.
I just wish the boxes were available on weekends for actual picnics. Until then, I will be content with the kind of picnics I often enjoy at my desk beside my computer.
Boxes are available Mondays-Fridays. Orders must be placed by 10:30 a.m. and picked up at noon. Tiffin boxes should be returned within 48 hours (keep it for $20). Or, do as I did and pay for the box the first time and trade it out on your next visit. Check the website for weekly menus. Empire State South, 999 Peachtree St., Atlanta, 404-541-1105.
–by Jenny Turknett, Food & More blog
– Jenny Turknett writes about Southern and Neighborhood Fare for the AJC Dining Team. She also publishes her own blog, Going Low Carb.