Dress up your take-out: supporting local restaurants during the pandemic

Dress up your take-out: supporting local restaurants during the pandemic

Take-out from Bollywood Bistro. I love lots of little dishes for curry


You may have noticed… I am a foodie. I miss restaurants something fierce! We have been regularly getting take-out from our local favorites, and I usually take the time to serve it up properly. I am listening to the audiobook version of Off Menu. It’s a book that explores the “science of food and dining.” It is quite amazing how our brain responds to ambiance and price and presentation to actually experience food differently. Unfortunately, one of my main takeaways is that I may be enjoying food a lot less with my kids bickering. It’s time to do a few adult-only meals upstairs with pizza happening in the basement.


Brisket with all of the fixings from Station One Smokehouse in Plainfield IL. I should really eat this on a huge platter!

Anyhow! Since we are deep into this quality time in our home, I thought I’d share a few tips on making the most of take-out.


  • Send your loved one to the restaurant, remind them to tip handsomely, then get the table cleared and set. Literally set the stage for a great meal.
  • Fries! One of the most lamentable foods to sit for a while on the drive home. We toss them in our toaster oven and toast them up. I hear the air fryer works great too—it’s just a little more clean-up

NWB Plainfield— turkey burger, truffle fries, and Brussel sprouts. SO good. Um… and they sell Old Fashioned cocktails to go!

  • Do a quick burst in the microwave of 20-30 seconds to get your food back to hot. It will also warm up the plate. That isn’t long enough to overcook meat, in my experience
  • Picking up cocktails to go is a great way to support restaurants—it is much of their profit comes from. My husband got those large ice cube makers, which avoids diluting the drink. More importantly, it is reminiscent of being at an actual bar!
  • Little dishes and bowls and side plates help fill the table and signal “feast.” I love how this is a daily thing in Korean households. I never go that far, but chutneys for curry, aioli for fries, or a side plate for bread? Yes, please! And… if you’re serving on my pottery, take comfort in it being dish-washable.

Pho from our beloved Pho Thien! Naperville, IL. Reheat the stock to a boil, add the beef for a minute, then stir in the noodles and serve immediately!

  • Find the right music, beg your kids for a civilized topic of conversation, then dig in!


Dosa and sambar from Sri Krishna in Naperville. I could practically drink the coconut chutney!


Interesting article from one of my favorite Chicago chefs, Rick Bayless, on the shift to take-out.



The audiobook Off Menu







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