Summer’s almost here. And while it’s not going to look like the summers that came before, it’s not a total wash. This week, we’ve got how to build your ultimate picnic sandwich and how to turn your next beer run into an epic road trip. But before we get there:

  • We’ve got the best online events this week, including Juneteenth celebrations, Philly punks for Black Lives Matter, and more: inquirer.com/calendar. And our kids calendar is updated every Sunday with ways to keep the kids occupied while you work: inquirer.com/kidscalendar.
  • How to do summer better this year: Everything you need to know about making the most of this summer is all here in one place: inquirer.com/topic/summer, and we’re adding more stories every week.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and, as much as possible, it’s still a good idea to stay home.

Make a better picnic sandwich. Like this one.
Courtesy Rachel Klein
Make a better picnic sandwich. Like this one.

Your reopening questions, answered

Eat this

Even with outdoor dining back, restaurants are going to be a little complicated for a while. So this is the summer for picnics and barbecues. Grace Dickinson talked to experts about how to construct the ultimate picnic sandwich. Here’s some of that advice:

  • Choose your bread carefully. Chewy breads are sturdy, but you can lose the insides of your sandwich when you take a bite. Others become soggy within minutes. Rachel Klein of Miss Rachel’s Pantry recommends ciabatta or a baguette.
  • Add your condiments to your greens to avoid soggy bread. Rather than slathering your bread with mayo or mustard, turn it into a vinaigrette and toss it with your greens. “Sandwich the dressed part between two non-dressed parts, especially if it’s going to be a little while until you eat,” says Klein.
  • Swap delicate lettuce or spinach for sturdier options. If you’re not planning on eating within an hour, ditch lettuce for frisée, which will keep its crunch for longer. “You could also do a marinated cucumber, which would take the place of pickles and greens, or shaved Brussels sprouts,” says Klein. Or try dressed red or Napa cabbage, massaged Swiss chard or kale.
  • Mealy tomato? Cook it. “Tomatoes can be so good, but they can also be so terrible, and a bad one can ruin a sandwich,” notes Klein. If you end up with mealy or unripe ones, roast them on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Thinly sliced tomatoes tossed with salt and olive oil need just 10 minutes in an oven set at 375 degrees, says Klein. “Or you can make jam — blanch the tomatoes to take the skin off, or, if you’re not picky, keep the skin on, and put them in a sauce pan with sugar, and a tiny bit of salt,” says Klein. “Cook it down like you’d cook any kind of fruit jam, adding a splash of vinegar if you want to make it brinier or it feels a bit dry.” The jam holds up in the refrigerator for two weeks and works well with salty and savory pairings, like cheddar and fresh basil.

For more perfect sandwich tips, and a some delicious plant-focused recipes guaranteed to become your picnic basket go-tos, read Grace’s full piece.

Do this

Crowded parties and packed beer gardens are out this year. But if you want to go on a beer run, this may be the time to hop in the car and head further afield. Nick Vadala put together a list of craft breweries worth a scenic day trip where you can get a sense of adventure and some cold beer to go. Here are some of them:

Nearby (within 40 miles of Center City)

A longer drive (40-100 miles from Center City)

A full day trip (100+ miles from Center City)

More details about each spot, and some pro tips on local hikes and attractions you can take in on your scenic drive, in Nick’s full piece.