Takeout, delivery, creativity put food on the table during COVID-19 isolation

| April 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

HOUNDALAS FAMILY continues to serve classic Greek specialties to its loyal customers at Le Petit Greek.

The other day last month I attempted to do my grocery shopping before work. Not so long ago, it was perfectly reasonable to expect that one could run into the store, grab a package of chicken breasts and a bag of Brussels sprouts, pay and go in short order. Not so in these times of COVID-19 panic. There was a gigantic line at Ralphs as shoppers were let in a few at a time. Trader Joe’s, too, had a wait, as did Whole Foods and another Trader Joe’s. Mercifully, Target had no line and few people inside. It also was completely devoid of poultry and meat. After work, I tried again at Ralph’s. No line. No crowds. No protein. How are people managing to eat?

Resourceful neighbors

“We do a lot of Postmates,” explains Lizzie Blatt. She and  her husband, Steve, are  mindful of supporting small restaurants, so they have been using delivery services regularly. “We’ve ordered Indian, lots of Chinese. We got vegan burgers from Honeybee Burgers. Each time we order a lot, so we get two days’ worth of food.”

Grocery stores are often out of popular items, so Blatt finds herself thinking creatively. “You just kind of adapt. You open up the fridge and see what you’ve got.” When she planned to cook spanakopita, the Arden Blvd. resident found she was lacking the main ingredients: filo dough and spinach.

“I literally used puff pastry and lambs lettuce instead — and it was delicious!” She also points out that, “Suddenly it’s good to be old. If you’re over 60 there are special hours at the markets.”

Home garden

Jim and Janna Harris are taking a different approach to meal planning. “Jim is furiously planting in the garden.”  Although it will be weeks before their crop provides sustenance, Janna is looking forward to a steady supply of fresh vegetables. Her freezer is also well-stocked, and she’s trying something new. “I’ve ordered a box of meat, chicken and a little bit of seafood from Butcher Box. It’s supposed to come in 10 days.”  The Harrises also placed an Instacart order for Pavilions, but their delivery schedule was backed up a week. “I’m trying to conserve food and not let anything spoil. One night I made broccoli stir-fry. The next night I made broccoli quiche.”

Food shippers

A boxed-food shipment is a supply route that Stephanie Gershowitz also recommends. She and her husband, Jordan, recently moved to the Fairfax District from New York, where they first tried some of Butcher Box’s various assortments of hormone-free meats. “I spent about $130 for 20 portions worth of chicken and beef.”  For organic vegetables, she’s trying another fresh food shipper, Farm Fresh to You.

Gershowitz also noticed that the in-store experience has changed as we’re adjusting to the new normal. “When I went to the store a week ago it was a mob scene. Now it feels very calm.”

A family to feed

As soon as schools started shutting down, Julie Stromberg hopped into action, stocking up on canned goods and farmers’ market fruits and vegetables.

With two school-age children who need to be home-schooled in the interim, an infant, and full-time jobs, she and her husband, Winston, have their hands full.

Being well-organized is their only hope. Lacking a giant freezer and extra refrigerator to preserve extra food, Stromberg supplements with coolers and long-acting ice packs that stay cold for four days. She also cooks for multiple meals. “We’ve been making a lot of soups in the crockpot. You can make a lot of it and freeze some for later.” And the Windsor Village pescatarian’s love of gardening is serving double-duty as a future food source and a fun activity with which to occupy her children.

“We’ve got a lot of zucchini and cauliflower and other types of vegetables that you can make real meals out of.”

For times when the Strombergs crave vegan meals with minimal prep, she recommends the packaged meal component service Purple Carrot. She also expressed her desire to support local restaurants. “Burger Lounge, Village Pizzeria, Osteria Mozza. We ordered from Sugarfish. I went to Erin McKenna’s Bakery — I love them!”  After all, in these stressful times, we shouldn’t forget dessert!

In speaking with our neighbors about these trying times, it was clear that resourcefulness and attitude are key. “I want to do my bit of not entering the panic mode,” declares Lizzie Blatt. “Emptying the shelves — it’s ridiculous!  We’ll make do.”

Meal and food sources

Here are some resources for sourcing food and meal delivery so we can all make do, as well as a list of many of our Larchmont restaurants that are open for pickup or delivery.

For boxes of foods shipped directly to you, try Butcherbox.com for beef, pork, chicken, and some fish and seafood, and farmfreshtoyou.com for organic vegetables, purplecarrot.com for pre-measured vegan meal components and easy-to-follow recipes.

Most people use Instacart.com for grocery deliveries. To order restaurant meal delivery, try one of these popular services: Grubhub.com, Doordash.com, Postmates.com, Seamless.com, Trycaviar.com, or Ubereats.com.

As of this writing, the Larchmont area restaurants that are open for pickup and/or delivery are: Le Petit Greek 323-464-5160 lepetitgreek.com; Larchmont Wine, Spirits & Cheese 323-856-8699 larchmontvillagewine.com; Louise’s Trattoria 323-962-9510 louises.com; Lemonade 323-464-0700 lemonadela.com; Tacos Tu Madre (323) 499-1143 tacostumadre.com; Muraya 323-856-0369; Cat & Fiddle 323-468-3800; Burger Lounge 323-462-2310 burgerlounge.com; Go Get Em Tiger 323-543-4321 gget.com; Erin McKenna’s Bakery 855-462-2292 erinmckennasbakery.com; Salt & Straw 323-466-0485 saltandstraw.com; Kiku 323-464-1323; Noah’s Bagels 323-466-2924 noahs.com; Peet’s Coffee 323-978-1003 peets.com; Groundwork 323-843-4920 groundworkcoffee.com; Sam’s Bagels 323-469-1249; Sweetfin 323-465-6040 sweetfin.com; Le Pain Quotidien 323-461-7701 lepainquotidien.com; Kreation 844-553-2673 kreationjuice.com; Jamba Juice 323-378-5720 Jamba.com; Chipotle Mexican Grill 323-978-2047 chipotle.com; Good Goose Café 323-378-5272 goodgoosecafe.com; Coffee + Food Larchmont Café 323.962-3390 coffeeplusfood.wordpress.com; Osteria Mamma 323-284-7060 osteriamamma.com; Marino 323-466-8812 marinorestaurant.com and Astroburger 323-469-1924 astroburger.com.

Further afield, several restaurants at The Grove (thegrovela.com)  are available for takeout and delivery, including Dominique Ansel Bakery, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Sprinkles Cupcakes, The Cheesecake Factory (maybe) and Umami Burger.

Special kudos to The Grove’s La Piazza restaurant for giving free takeaway meals to first responders, doctors and nurses while supplies last.

Many choices of groceries and prepared meals are available at the Original Farmers Market. See story on pages 12 and 13 of this section.

By Helene Seifer

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Category: Entertainment

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