Let’s face it: We’ve been having cookies for breakfast, pasta for the other three meals, and wine in amounts nearing our daily recommended glasses of water. And if you’re reading this shaking your head, thinking, but I cook every meal fresh, am certainly not over-consuming and eating better than ever, well, hold on, because I have to refill my wine mug and lick the batter.
For those of us who have fallen into a food rut after a few weeks homebound, here are some quality options to break up the monotony while supporting local businesses. Many of them are comfort foods, some will be a treat for special occasions, others cost under $5.
Burgers and ice cream: Annette only breaks out the wagyu beef burgers on rare occasions, and if this isn’t one of the rarest! Order that patty dressed in “chow chow” sauce atop a housemade English muffin with a side of fries ($15), and then finish the meal with a pint of seasonal (robin’s egg candy) ice cream ($10).
Pierogi: Baba & Pop’s opened in Aurora the week before the shutdown — luckily their pierogi sell just as easily to-go and in frozen bags for weeks of quarantine frying. Try the potato and cheese for traditional comfort or the chile relleno for a Colorado version ($14 for a dozen).
Chicken dinner and doughnuts: Call closed in the fall on Larimer Street for remodeling, but it reopened just for the shutdown to offer favorites like aebleskivers (Danish doughnut holes, $10) as well as family-sized dinners. A whole roast chicken serves two easily ($45) and comes with roasted broccoli and fingerling potato salad.
Breakfast burritos: Chickee’s Lil Kitchen was doing walkup window service before it was cool (read: essential) — this breakfast burrito and Cajun food stand is a Sunnyside treasure. Order the deluxe burrito smothered in pork green chile and cheddar cheese for $3.75 or $3 if you’re a frontline worker.
Date night with cookies: Fruition has never been a takeout restaurant, until now. For a special treat, order the short rib or carbonara dinner ($20 each) with the most addictive chocolate chip cookies for dessert ($10). Add on a bottle of wine from the really good house selection or a wheel of creamy Shepherd’s Halo cheese ($20) from the restaurant’s own farm in Larkspur.
Build-your-own ramen: Goed Zuur bills itself as a beer and charcuterie restaurant, but we’re most intrigued by the b.y.o. ramen ($15). For something truer to name, try the take-and-bake personal raclette and potato “lasagna,” alongside some wild or sour beer bottles. There are also meats, cheeses and multiple butters sold by the quarter-pound.
More breakfast burritos: Hoja makes three breakfast burritos to-go these days, the most adventurous of which they’re calling the Triple Double ($9) — two tortillas (corn and flour), two meats (ham and bacon) and two spicy elements (fresh jalapeños and Mexican peanut chile oil). From their website: “This burrito is an interactive flavor experience that will reinvent the way your mouth perceives flavors, and is not for the faint of heart.”
Sandwiches!: Another favorite walkup window, Leven Deli supplies sandwiches for adults (Reubens, $16), kids (ham and cheese, $6) and first responders (pastrami burritos, $7). They’ve also got a full deli case with assorted veggies and salads, fresh-baked bread loaves, snickerdoodles and more.
Everything but the kitchen sink: Misfit Snackbar makes a lockdown way less boring with its fried chicken 65 naan sandwich ($15), spring vegetable tamale terrine ($12) and crab cake okonomiyaki ($14). Watch Misfit’s social media for special menus, too, like pierogi or dumplings. The snack counter is located at Middleman bar, so you might just walk away carrying a batch of take-home cocktails.
Fried chicken and Champagne: When a wine bar and its sister jazz club switches to a fried chicken shop for an indefinite time period, you go ahead and try it. Noble Fry-It, formerly Noble Riot, serves 4- and 8-piece buckets ($19, $36) that come with potato salad and sauce. Ask to pair it with some bubbles if you’re feeling fancy in pajamas. “Open your mouth open your mind wash your hands,” is the new spot’s motto. You can also order cocktail kits from Noble Fry-It’s sister business, the jazz bar Nocturne.
Pasta deals for days: Red sauce Italian mainstay Odyssey is offerings its usual Monday night pasta special every night of the week during the shutdown. Here’s how it works: Order any pasta dish for $8.95 and get a Caesar salad and Italian baguette with it. That simple.
$8 everything: Onefold priced everything on its takeout menu at just $8. So, to demonstrate: Duck fat fried rice? $8. Carne asada bowl? $8. Congee? $8. Breakfast burrito? $8. Say it with me: Margaritas, bloody marys, mimosas? All $8.
Breakfast and pizza: Rosenberg’s wins the best “quarantine and chill” special. From 11 a.m. to close every day at Stanley Marketplace, pick up a 20-inch specialty pie, a pint of ice cream and a bottle of wine, all for $40. Come morning, buy the deli side’s real New York bagels ($19/dozen) and cream cheese ($3-$6).
So much more than soup: Order from nearly two dozen pho varieties and a dozen other “special soups” at Savory Vietnam. The Lau Do Bien Dac Biet is a spicy hot and sour broth base filled with shrimp, mussels, squid, fish filet, scallop, lobster tail, taro stem, spinach and banana blossom (soups from $8.95-$14.95).
I can’t believe it’s vegan: Somebody People quarantines healthfully but makes it fashion. Try any of the housemade pastas, the veggie-based dishes and the new springtime asparagus and fennel salad, or just leave it to them and order the $25 four-course dinner. They bottle cocktails to-go and offer DIY meal kits for families ($50 feeds four people).
Don’t skip the booze (Italian): Pasta, panini, gelato, housemade amari, bambini (kids meals) and more adorable-sounding Italian items can all be found at Spuntino, which is taking neighborhood service to a whole new level. They’ll even make you a picnic basket ($16) and bring you espresso ($4) to finish off your home feast.
Bento: We know you’ve been eating your feelings, so take a break and try Stowaway Kitchen‘s fresh obento box ($15) for dinner. A combination of veggies, sticky rice, salmon (or similar ingredients), this convenient meal comes packed with some much-needed nutrition.
Let-them-make-it-for-you ramen: Spicy chicken ramen, duck ramen, Tokyo ramen and more are on the seamless to-go and delivery menu at both locations of Uncle. Add on a cold sesame noodle bowl for $8 and a kids ramen (chicken and pork broth) for $8, too. And there’s plenty of bottled and canned saki to accompany.
The most comforting fried chicken: Welton Street Cafe is serving its deep-fried chicken dinners along with a full menu of other Southern staples alongside sides like beans and rice and collard greens. The chicken dinner is a half chicken served with cornbread and two side dishes, all for $18.
Breakfast burritos IV: For the final installment of this list’s frankly excessive burrito options, we offer Work & Class‘s $5 daily breakfast burrito (8 a.m. to noon). It changes every day but always has a meat and a veggie option. Examples: carnitas, potato, bacon, parmesan and egg or poblano peppers, potatoes, egg and cheese, hot sauce optional.
Pay-what-you-can: Since the shutdown started, Zoe Ma Ma has been offering a changing weekly special (its only menu item now) that’s filling and nutritious and sold for whatever price customers can pay for it. The bowls usually include a meat sauce (pork or chicken curry, for example) with rice and fresh vegetables.
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