High-end local restaurants change up offerings for takeout menus during pandemic
As we’re all getting used to living in our pajamas and dining inside a restaurant seems like a fond, distant memory, we’re finding more comfort in takeout or delivered meals. There’s self-care involved, certainly, keeping us all well fed. But the goal also is to help our many wonderful restaurants, small local farms and food purveyors survive the COVID-19 crisis.
Staying home has been a personal whiplash for me, a diner by profession. But I’ve also been very impressed that our Wine Country restaurants have responded so quickly — and elegantly — to home meals. Even our top chef restaurant teams have answered the call, soothing us with the knowledge that even though we can’t enjoy their gorgeous settings and polished service for the time being, we can still feast on their fine fare. Ordering is as easy as visiting the restaurants’ websites and clicking away.
We want the fine dining restaurants back in business as soon as possible, but on a silver lining note, the crisis offers a rare opportunity for us to sample somema spectacular cooking that might otherwise be out of our wallet-range. The tony Valette in Healdsburg, for example, is offering three-course, sophisticated suppers for just $39 per person.
Another bonus: we’re now able to enjoy wine and cocktails as takeout, and many top restaurants are opening their cellars for fine wines at deep discounts. So go ahead, treat yourself to these chef-crafted meals, served at your own dining table.
Who would ever have thought we’d see this ultra-posh three Michelin Star destination preparing takeout? But chef-owners Kyle and Katina Connaughton are offering a daily pickup menu, served via the restaurant’s back parking lot.
Cooking remains high-end, changing nightly and tempting with family-style feasts for four (recipes are crafted with a nod to making excellent leftovers, too, Kyle noted). That means a recent meal brought me juicy fukkura-san chicken (donabe style, cooked in a rustic Japanese clay pot) with saffron couscous, roast cauliflower fatteh, warm housemade flatbreads, hummus, red pepper labneh and olive oil cake dolloped in citrus compote for $90 (a real deal at $22.50 per person).
You’ve got to plan ahead, though. Suppers must be ordered and pre-paid via online Tock, preferably 24 hours in advance. Menus for the upcoming week are released on Tock at noon on Wednesdays.
Also, meals are limited to 25 packages per night. For the past two weeks, I’ve seen lots of “sold out” banners on the website.
And while wine is a great deal at retail store price, you have to send a separate email directly to the restaurant to order it.
Details: 131 North St. Healdsburg, 707-723-4646, singlethreadfarms.com
Mateo’s Cocina Latina
During January’s Healdsburg Tastemakers weekend, I got to cook pollo alcaparrado alongside chef Mateo Granados at his Healdsburg restaurant, and I fell in love with the complexly-flavored braised chicken and rice dish.
That’s because Granados salts a whole trimmed blue foot chicken; sears it golden in olive oil; adds capers, olives, oak-aged sherry vinegar, chopped root veggies like carrots, onion and potatoes plus celery and brings it all to a boil.
Next, he adds the chicken feet, neck and liver for extra rich flavor, splashes in a bit of water, then pops the pan in the oven to braise until it’s insanely tender.