What he’s having: Lockdown dining options from Giulia, T&S, Felipe’s, Hi-Rise, Bountiful
A weekly notebook about dining options during the Covid-19 shutdown, with a focus on quality and ease of pickup and delivery.
The Italian eatery – in ordinary times you can spot it from the line outside every 5 p.m. – offers a limited menu for pickup Tuesday through Saturday. Classics include the boar bolognese (”paccheri alla bolognese”) and slow-roasted veal, but check the website for changes. Orders can be phoned in after 3 p.m. (the line is often busy, so be persistent) for a pickup time slot meant to maintain social distancing. Best for my money is the kit with a pound of bucatini, pint of amatriciana sauce (pancetta and mushrooms) and freshly grated pecorino ($40). It takes less than three minutes to cook and heat all the components, and wow does it taste table fresh. There are wine-to-go options as well.
Giulia, 1682 Massachusetts Ave., Neighborhood 9.
Thistle & Shamrock
A bodega with a full-function deli counter for freshly made sandwiches, beer and wine, prepared dinners to go and now weekly produce boxes ($30). The store packs the boxes with well over 20 pounds of portobellos, potatoes, greens, apples, lemons and limes, pears, onions, and broccoli from a supplier that, before coronavirus restrictions, worked with restaurants. One box came with enough broccoli for a cream-free broccoli and potato soup and a stir-fry with portobellos – they’re so laden with goodness that you almost have to recruit friends to use it all. Call (855) 256-7266 early to reserve one. Another great, conscientious thing about T&S is the free gloves, hand sanitizer and masks (as supplies allow) for shoppers.
Thistle & Shamrock, 62 Walden St., Neighborhood 9.
The same good, cheap, fast Mexican cantina food sans the margarita bar. You can call for delivery (risking your meal going cold) or pick it up in Harvard Square, now a ghost town with plenty of places to park. A personal favorite is the chicken quesadilla with spicy Baja sauce ($8); the quesadillas here are more like a burrito-quesadilla hybrid, unique and satisfying with the right amount of custom fillings. The social distancing configuration in the front is well laid out, with food-warming lockers holding orders until diners arrive. The process is seamless. Walk-in orders are not recommended; if you’re passing by, it’s almost easier to place an order by phone.
Felipe’s Taqueria, 21 Brattle St., Harvard Square.
Hi-Rise Bread Co.
Sandwiches, soups, coffee and baked goods keep coming through delivery and a curbside takeout option (place an order and at an arranged time, grab it at the door). Also available is a perfectly prepared $18 whole roasted chicken, stuffed with thyme and lemon, cooked until the meat practically falls off the bone and sealed in foiled. One chicken is good for dinner the first night (the accompanying gravy is light but hardy) and chicken salad sandwiches the next two days for lunch; simmer down the remains in a watery broth with diced celery, onions and pressed garlic and you have soup for a side or a meal. Hi-Rise also sells wine and fresh produce that you can use to whip up sides.
Hi-Rise Bread Co., 208 Concord Ave., Observatory Hill in West Cambridge.
An intriguing from-their-kitchen-to-your-table dining service launched by a series of “displaced” cooks looking to keep their ladles in the soup, so to speak. A few weeks ago Julian Cohen, who worked at Hi-Rise Bread Co., and Joe Schwartz, of Craigie On Main, took to the Internet and took orders for four home-delivered meals. Now they’re up to 90 servings per week and climbing. This week’s offering includes a warm falafel and farro bowl, a full roasted pork tenderloin, and chilled beet soup with coriander and yogurt. The homemade pasta of the week by Patrick Lipscomb of Uni is prepared puttanesca style.
Bountiful Kitchen is online.