A picnic by Lake Chabot | Notes on the Valley | Monith Ilavarasan | PleasantonWeekly.com |

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By Monith Ilavarasan

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About this blog: My parents, brother, and I moved to Pleasanton when I was in the seventh grade. I then graduated from Amador Valley High School, went to college at UC Davis and started out a career in tech. After several years working in large co...  (More)

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A picnic by Lake Chabot

Uploaded: Sep 28, 2022
It was my birthday this past weekend and my partner had an idea of throwing a small party. I’m normally not one to make a big deal out of birthdays, however my partner is a big birthday person. She’s been on a campaign to get me to take birthdays more seriously.

We had walked the trail around Lake Chabot last month and watched people set up picnic spots at the many open tables dotting the entrance. I had mentioned how cool it would be to have a get together out here when the weather was nice, and this weekend was going to be the perfect occasion.

Initially the picnic was going to have a handful of people and a very small spread of food. Since there were grills at all the sites, I had the brilliant idea that our group could try vegan hot dogs with some fixings. The plan was to have a handful of people and spend about thirty minutes shopping getting the simple spread together.

That initial simplicity quickly started spinning out of control. First was the food. My partner and mom immediately pointed out a critical flaw in my vegan hot dog plan. Nobody but me likes them. To be fair, even I don’t completely like them. I just had this romantic idea of grilling something over charcoal. It was an image of what I thought the perfect cookout aesthetic would be.

They started suggesting other food items to augment the vegan dogs and provide more choice to folks coming. Since her parents were coming, they could whip up a pasta salad.

My partner planned to make her world famous brownies for dessert. My mom was going to make her world famous secretly store-bought garlic bread. I folded and committed to bringing chips and salsa.

The small invite list also quickly doubled in size as we realized this would be a great chance to invite some friends we all hadn’t seen in months. We ended up having to create an excel sheet to keep track of all the folks who would be coming and who would be in charge of inviting them.

We made our way to Costco to grab a bunch of drinks and a few bulk snacks. We then went to a bunch of grocery stores to pick up all the groceries needed to make all the food. I even toured most of the grocery stores in Pleasanton to find the elusive vegan dogs. I finally found them hidden in a corner at the neighborhood Walmart.

Leading up to the event most of the invitees proclaimed that they were also going to bring some food of their own. Although we stressed that we would handle all the food, it didn’t matter. Our food supply quickly doubled over the span of a few days.

On the day of the event my partner and I left home early in the morning to stake out a prime set of tables. We got to the park around nine and started cleaning up the tables, grills, and laying out the initial spread. It was cloudy and chilly this past Sunday morning but it turned into a beautiful fall day.

I got to hang out with close friends and family that I had grown up with. All the stress leading up to the actual event melted away. There was ample food and drinks for everybody. The conversation was flowing and it felt like everybody was having a good time. We even packed to-go bags so all our guests could enjoy the leftovers for one more meal.

This was a completely new way for us to take advantage of the beautiful open and public space we have surrounding us in the Bay. That day I felt lucky to live here, and even luckier to have the community that I do.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Cynthia , a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 30, 2022 at 10:56 am

Cynthia is a registered user.

What a lovely story! Thank you for sharing.
Happy ???? Belated Birthday ????????????

Posted by Cynthia , a resident of San Ramon,
on Sep 30, 2022 at 10:57 am

Cynthia is a registered user.

What a lovely story! Thank you for sharing.
Happy Belated Birthday!

Posted by Lucy, a resident of Foxborough Estates,
on Sep 30, 2022 at 3:35 pm

Lucy is a registered user.

I am wondering which vegan dogs were so hard to find? We have tried most and like them all for different reasons but for true hot dog flavor we prefer the Field Roast frankfurters. To shake it up and for something we like even better, check out Chuck's Carrot Dogs at his Brand New Vegan blog site. When you get right sized carrots, trim and round the ends and prepare the way he says, we have made even carnivores happy. I even make them into little appetizers using the small carrots. I once had a friend eat one of my appetizers and then tell me,"You know, I have heard these can even be made with carrots!" We all had a good laugh once we told him

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