It is clear from the recent onslaught of food pictures on social media that many people are cooking elaborate and aesthetic dishes as a way to keep themselves entertained while sheltering at home. But even during quarantine your day can fill up quickly whether you’re working, bingeing Netflix or scrolling through your contacts and calling up long-lost friends.
Luckily, many local restaurants remain open for curbside takeout for the days when you’re too busy to cook or searching for culinary inspiration. Ordering takeout also serves the purpose of supporting a local industry hit especially hard by COVID-19.
This week the News&Guide sampled a few takeout options. There will be more to come.
Big Hole BBQ Jackson
On a chilly, lazy day with the two household chefs hankering for comfort food and an excuse not to cook, we phoned this Pearl Street staple. With speedy curbside service, the food was ready for pickup in 15 minutes.
Not only do we get a break from cooking but we like supporting local restaurants. The adults in our household went for fish and chips. The kid ordered the “B-Melt,” chopped beef brisket with melted cheese wrapped in a lightly toasted hoagie. The hefty portions meant the B-Melt ($15) took care of dinner and then lunch the next day.
The fish and chips ($14) came with four sticks of moist mahi mahi encased in crispy beer batter and a generous portion of stringy fries. The buttery mahi mahi melted in the mouth with a surprising lightness for fried food. The most difficult dinner decision was whether to savor the fish plain, spritzed with fresh squeezed lemon juice or dipped in zesty tartar sauce. I found the tartar sauce hard to resist. I’m typically on the fence about coleslaw, which often appears bland and overdressed. But Big Hole BBQ makes the best slaw I’ve ever eaten, with crunchy cabbage set off by a zinger of a dressing.
We liked this meal so much, we’ve already ordered it twice.
— Rebecca Huntington
Hatch Taqueria and Tequilas
One of the best meals I’ve had since the pandemic shutdown was handed to me through my car window by a masked man named Alex.
For the main course, I chose the poblano and Brussels sprouts tacos at Hatch Taqueria and Tequilas. It’s my favorite vegetarian restaurant meal, so I was happy to find it available during this takeout-only period.
I chose the green sauce to go with it, and as a treat for myself during all this social distancing I added an order of chips and salsa, a bargain at $4.
Ordering via Hatch’s website was easy, and when I arrived at the time I specified the food was ready.
It was smart to order the chips. They kept me busy while I reheated the tacos for a bit. The tacos tasted as good as I remember, but I’m looking forward to when I can eat them at the restaurant again.
— Jennifer Dorsey
Streetfood @ the Stagecoach
The weather couldn’t decide whether to rain, snow or clear up, but we threw on windbreakers and biked into Wilson anyway. When we got to the Stagecoach, we plopped down on the freshly sprouted green lawn beside the restaurant and called in our order.
My girlfriend, Becca, ordered the Chinese pineapple tofu bowl, while I got an assortment of street tacos.
After a surprisingly short wait, a masked employee brought our food out to us on the lawn. No Apple Pay, but they assured us that the card reader was clean.
Streetfood draws from many cuisines — Mexican, Japanese, Vietnamese and American, to name a few — but, despite the diversity, it seems to have mastered the flavors of each. Both dishes were exceptionally good.
The al pastor pork paired perfectly with the sweet tang of marinated pineapple, the fish taco dripped with lime and chile from the Mexican slaw and the chicken taco was fresh and healthy with a big pile of onion, tomato and cilantro on top. Becca’s tofu bowl was topped with a delicious arrangement of deep-fried onion slices and fresh veggies.
At $24 before tax and tip, the meal was affordable even on our stripped-down coronavirus budget. With food that good and a location within biking distance, we are sure to be back.
— Gabe Allen