Take it away, folks. It’s a thing.
The world of “to-go” food has come full circle. Decades ago, when McDonald’s had illuminated golden arches and few
locations boasting only the thousands, rather than billions, that had been sold, fast food came relatively slowly to the front door of your favorite restaurant.
It meant piles of homemade pasta in a fried chicken bucket from Patsy’s in Denver. It meant a giant slab of prime rib from the Apple Tree Shanty on Colfax, on a Chinette plate covered in foil, perched on your wife’s lap on the way home. Take-away meant all the flavor of going out while you sat in front of the TV or over a book.
Then came more burger restaurants, then pizza places, then chicken, then different colored and shaped food from a drive-through window that tasted pretty much the same.
We’re back where we started. Call just about any of your favorite haunts and tell them you want to eat your pho at home. That Indian curry you would never attempt to make at home? Your favorite southwest Aurora Indian restaurant will have it ready and waiting for you if you call ahead.
Finally, it’s time for you think outside of the drive-through as a matter of convenience. National chain giants started the new trend in take-away. Carrabba’s, Chili’s and few others will not only offer just about their entire menu online for easy ordering, they’ll even let you text or call when you get into the parking lot and bring you a bag full of “don’t-have-to-cook” right out to your car.
So before you settle for marginal baked turkey or pizazz-less pizza, think about this:
If the big problem with bringing food home is being disappointed by the soggy sandwich or congealed cheese by the time you get your sweats on and the movie started, think cold, raw fish. Spicy yellow tail roll and a box of salmon sashimi tastes just as good on your couch, and you can afford that second glass of wine. TIP: Rice dries out fast. Make sure they gently lay a sheet of plastic wrap over your treasures before you seal the box.
It’s hard to imagine having to chew yet another burger at home when you can linger over rich, fiery lamb vindaloo sharing spoon space with basmati rice. If that’s too much piquant, an order of chicken blazed in a tandoori oven is still warm and moist when you get it home. Sag paneer and carrot pudding are treats you can have at home that can never come from a place that hands you dinner through your car window.
Hell, yeah, steak. Here’s the trick. Call your local steak house and tell them not to put the meat on the grill until you pull into the parking lot. Have them wrap your baker or some mashies in foam containers. Don’t take home fries. Just don’t. When the steak is ready — never order more than medium rare, wrap it first in plastic wrap, then foil, then a towel or jacket. When you get home — heat a plate under hot water or in the oven while you nudge your potato back to hot in the microwave. Put everything on the warmed, dry plate. All meat, but especially beef, actually improves in taste and texture when it rests after cooking. The meat has time to let juices redistribute and your patience will be rewarded. If they don’t have pie to take home for dessert, remember to pick up Ben and Jerry’s before you pick up the steak.
This is where it pays to live in central and western Aurora. The Havana corridor is a gold mine of markets from eastern Europe, Russia and other places that you could never find on a map. Many are delicatessen-like markets. Sausages exist along this street like no other. Rich, mellow cheeses are a staple in the world these immigrant stores have hailed from. A few selections and some homemade salad, pickles, mustards and dark, sour bread is an easy and rewarding to-go adventure that’s ready whenever you and your glass of Malbec are. The best part of take-away dinner from here? The chance you might discover fresh buns or rolls, and a guarantee of outlandish chocolate. TIP: Eastern European and Russian sour creams are remarkably different than the relatively bland American puddings we serve. A spoonful over fresh fruit or even jam and cookies transports you to the heart of the Slavic world.