BY SOPHIE BROSS
During this time of social distancing, many of us are finding ourselves in a bit of a food rut. Although we miss our cherished spots, our local bartender and perhaps the hustle and bustle of the downtown crowd, we can still enjoy meals from our beloved restaurants while we help support them during this difficult period. Get out of those pajamas and start ordering!
In the Gold Coast, my favorite upscale steak house Maple and Ash is offering a selection of their most popular dinner menu items with several well-priced wines and alcohol for takeout starting at 5 pm daily. In addition, Maple and Ash will give you a dollar for dollar gift certificate with any order to be used for in house dining at a later date. I highly recommend the Surf and Turf 8 oz filet and lobster tail, the “Downstairs Burger” which is one of the best burgers in the city and their famous fried chicken usually only available on Sundays. From the raw bar treat yourself to beef carpaccio, tuna tartare, prawns, oysters, and king crab legs. The chocolate cake with coffee mousse and candied hazelnuts is a great end to this lux meal.
In Bucktown, their sister restaurant Etta is offering three different family meals for two or more people every day for pick up starting at 3 pm daily. Etta has the most divine Mediterranean cuisine and features three family combos daily ranging from a more “fancy” combo including salad, rigatoni, seared salmon, sweet potatoes and red velvet cake to something more basic like a classic pizza and pasta combo.
In Streeterville, everyone’s favorite artisan pizza, Robert’s Pizza, is providing takeout and delivery at 4 pm daily and starting at 11 am on Saturdays and Sundays. Delivery is available via Caviar, DoorDash, and UberEats. I recommend my personal regular order now affectionately nicknamed “The Prisoner” reflecting my current state of mind and comprised of the “Carne” pizza with sausage and pepperoni, a Caesar salad and a bottle of the Napa Valley red blend “The Prisoner.” Other favorite pizzas include the “Jay” with house-made sausage and Calabrian peppers, the “Funghi” with wild mushrooms and driftless cheese, and the prosciutto & arugula pizza. Don’t forget about their insanely delicious meatballs that taste just as good the next day and also freeze well.
Meatballs and Carne pizza from Robert’s Pizza.
At their Gold Coast and Lincoln Park locations, Velvet Taco features unique fresh tacos like buffalo chicken, spicy tikka chicken, Cuban pig, Korean pork, Kobe bacon, slow-roasted brisket and many more. Their tacos are definitely not your usual Tex-Mex tacos and cross-cultural boundaries while using premium fresh ingredients. Margarita Kits are available for take-out orders in 32 ounce and 64 ounce sizes. Tequila is considered to have health benefits by many cultures and in my personal opinion always helpful for reducing anxiety during a pandemic.
On a final note, Topo Gigio has been an Old Town favorite on Wells street for over 25 years. It is known for its extensive menu of Italian classics and often “spicy” people at the host table. Now you can skip the attitude at check-in and just take the delicious food to go starting at 5 pm daily.
Food can support your mental health and positive attitude during this period of social isolation. Getting dressed, setting a proper table and treating yourself to a good meal from your favorite place is a great way to keep your spirits high. Schedule dinner with friends over Facetime or Zoom. Take the extra time you don’t usually have to enjoy your meal and reconnect with family and friends. We will all get through this together!