Memorial Day travel may not be in the cards this year, but some of the best late May weekends are spent at home anyway—presiding over the grill and reclining in a good lounge chair. This year, you can also add some California flair to your backyard setup: Golden State locals can enjoy plenty of takeout barbecue for the three-day weekend, along with some DIY grilling and cocktail kits. Here are seven ways to elevate your Memorial Day festivities.
Great for the grill
Memorial Day Grill Kit, Glen Ellen Star, Glen Ellen
This Sonoma County restaurant is upping its takeout game for the long weekend: Its kit includes burgers ready for the grill, plus fixings, Greek salad, corn on the cob, and maple bourbon ice cream. Need more dessert? Add the chocolate cream pie with an Oreo crust and brandied cherries. Kits are $20/person; pies are $10 and serve two.
DIY Burger and Hot Kit, Delilah, Los Angeles
This Art Deco–style West Hollywood restaurant and music venue offers an equally old-school DIY kit: six burger patties and six hot dogs ready for the grill, along with potato salad, kettle chips, a caramelized-onion-and-blue-cheese dip, a salad, and “street cart” fresh fruit accented with chile, lime, and mint. Kits are $99 and serve 4–6.
Knott’s Berry Farm Chicken to Go, Buena Park
The Orange County theme park is closed for now, but the to-go side of Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant (from which the theme park originally sprang) is back in action, at least for curbside pickup and delivery. Pick up a 9- or 14-piece family meal ($29 and $37, respectively) that includes a bucket of fried chicken with mashed potatoes, corn, biscuits, and boysenberry jam, along with a boysenberry pie.
Fuel Your Grill with California Oak Chips
Give your grilled meat (and your whole yard) serious Central Coast ambience with these red oak chips ($17.75) from Susie Q, known to burn slowly, evenly, and with a lot of terroir aroma. While you’re online shopping, pick up some Santa Maria–style seasonings, too (starting at $5.50).
Potent potables and more
Buy Some Summer-Season California Beer
San Francisco brewer 21st Amendment is kicking off summer with its seasonal release Sparkale Tropical, a sparkling fruit beer with pineapple, coconut, and apple. The brewer has a tradition of festive summer brews, such as its Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer (available now through September).
CRG Cocktail Kits, San Diego
The Cohn Restaurant Group—the folks behind San Diego restaurants such as Coasterra, The Prado at Balboa Park, and Draft Republic—is catering to those seeking extra help with liquid appetizers. Choose from a variety of kits such as the Mule, Aperol Spritz, and Old Fashioned, available for pickup in Del Cerro or Mission Beach. Or, join the Margarita-making Zoom class, hosted on Saturday by the group’s beverage director. Del’s Hideout also offers BBQ to Go Family Feasts, stocked with brisket, pulled pork, chicken, and sides.
Watch an Inspirational Flyover
If you’re in Southern California, look to the heavens and you may catch a Memorial Day parade in the sky. The biggest is a formation of 18 historic warplanes that will assemble at noon on May 25 to salute healthcare workers. It includes the “D-Day Doll,” a 1943 Douglas C-53D that carried paratroopers in World War II. The flight path will go over Los Angeles, Anaheim, Newport Beach, Long Beach, and Riverside. Further east, the Palm Springs Air Museum will offer its own Coachella Valley flyover on Monday at 1 p.m. using eight vintage warbirds (you can also check out its ongoing livestream).