You want comfort food right now. Our restaurants get that, and many of them are working hard to come up with what you want.
The curbside solution is potentially a win-win—it keeps the restaurant kitchen in action and provides you with freshly-cooked food. No, you don’t actually eat on the curb, but you can pick up your dinner in front of your restaurant or eatery, and then take it home to enjoy in the new normal, one that is alas socially distant from your usual dinner crowd. (If you don’t give this a try, we will inevitably lose some of our favorite dining spots!)
Andrew Spivak and Jess LoPrete at Bad Animal have stepped up to the plate on this one and given a real gift to the community, saying: “Our idea is to extend our in-house family meal to everyone in Santa Cruz. Affordable and healthy, these meals can be enjoyed day-of or frozen.”
So far, pickup days for the ever-changing menu are Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday from 4-7pm. I placed my online order at badanimalbooks.com for beef and vegetable stew with rice ($10) and a side salad ($6). The always avant garde writer Rita Bottoms added a few dessert orders of rice pudding ($6) to her Bad Animal dinner.
After ordering, I parked in front of Bad Animal, called them, and out came Spivak with a shopping bag filled with food that smelled amazing. And it tasted even better.
Before picking up the food, I swung by the Birichino Winery Tasting Room and knocked on the door at 204 Church St., and out came co-owner John Locke with the Mourvedre I’d ordered. The whole pickup—food and wine—took 15 minutes.
Bad Animal’s beef stew tasted like a French country kitchen, filled with a delicious gravy, the bite of black pepper and bay leaves, succulent beef and tender root vegetables. Scooped into our favorite red bowls over aromatic white rice, it was a terrific dinner. We also enjoyed the salad of mixed lettuces with a wonderful vinaigrette inflected with a hint of fresh dill.
Birichino’s earthy Mourvedre is one of my favorite go-to red wines, and it was perfection with the beef stew. My buddy Rita is already poised for her next Bad Animal pickup of red beans and rice with pork, plus artichoke nettle soup and cheese. Delicious.
La Posta Takeout
Moss doesn’t grow on Soif and La Posta restaurateur Patrice Boyle, who has been planning ways of getting her menus to the community for a few weeks now. As of March 18, patrons who can’t get enough of La Posta’s brilliant house breads, pastas, and comforting pizzas can place their orders via email, at [email protected], or by phone: 457-2782. All orders are for curbside pickup, electronic payment with order. My next dinner will be La Posta’s polenta with dandelion greens followed by roast Fogline Farm chicken.
Now at Soif, two menus are available for curbside pickup: Caesar salad, lasagne Bolognese and garlic francese bread for $15 per person; or half roast chicken, potato artichoke gratin, and grilled asparagus for $20 per person. Selected sides and desserts are $8, and wines, in consultation with [email protected], may also be picked up. Pay by credit card. 423-2020. 3-7pm, Monday-Friday.
Spicy Pickup from Joze
From India Joze came a welcome email a few days ago: “In these times of self-isolation, you still need food and we’re still cooking.” Here’s how it works: you order, pay online, and pick up from your car. Order via indiajoze.com/order/eat/. The curbside pickup at 418 Front St. happens 5-8pm, Tuesday-Saturday. You drive up, call or text when you arrive, and your food will be brought out to your car. The menu is huge, and the incredible food is addictively good: Dragon chicken, gado-gado, chicken fattousch, hibiscus cooler, black rice, chutney. My mouth is watering as I write this.
More and more restaurants now have pickup menus in place, including Cafe Sparrow in Aptos, Avanti on the westside, Laili and Gabriella downtown, and Home in Soquel.
Bittersweet Bistro at 787 Rio Del Mar Blvd. is open 12-7pm, Wednesday-Sunday for takeout orders, curbside pickup, and delivery to the greater Aptos area on orders over $100. Call 662-9799 or go to bittersweetbistro.com.
We all have to remember that these new pickup menus are still in early days. Not everything will be instantly perfect. Patience is a good thing, and in the case of these courageous restaurants, the food is well worth the new pickup paradigm. Use them or lose them! Call restaurants to see if they offer pickup dining.
And please remember your intrepid organic growers! Dirty Girl Produce has started home delivery of salad boxes and vegetable boxes. Check dirtygirlproduce.com.
For continuing in-depth coverage of the new coronavirus and its effects locally, visit goodtimes.sc/category/santa-cruz-news/coronavirus.
To learn about action you can take now, whether you’re seeking assistance or want to find ways of supporting the community, visit goodtimes.sc/santa-cruz-coronavirus-resources.