Months into a public health crisis with no end in sight, restaurants are faced with more challenges than ever. One of the best ways to ensure your favorite restaurants survive is to order takeout. In-person dining is great for those who feel comfortable, but for those of us hunkering down at home, the allure of takeout is strong. Luckily, options abound for great takeout in Spokane. Just remember: when someone else makes you dinner and packages it so that you can enjoy at home in your PJs with your beverage of choice in hand, be sure to tip generously.
Feast World Kitchen
One year ago, Feast World Kitchen announced their mission to share food from across the world with the Spokane community, prepared by a rotating group of immigrant and refugee chefs eager to share their food and culture. Each Friday through Sunday, takeout is available from menus featuring world cuisine from Jordan, Ghana, Mexico, Bangladesh, Tanzania, and many more.
New menus are posted each Monday, so I browsed options from three different chefs before selecting Eritrean food. Upon arrival at the restaurant, two curbside volunteers greeted customers in the nearly-full parking lot and delivered bags of food. Along with my order, a volunteer handed me a slip of paper: “Thank you for coming! Tonight’s chef is Selam, from Eritrea.” It went on to explain that Eritrea, located just north of Ethiopia in East Africa, has nine recognized ethnic groups, each with individual cultural traditions and some shared across Eritrean culture. After plating the meal of doro wat and injera prepared by Selam, I was curious to know more, and read about Eritrea’s architecture and agriculture, their struggle for independence, and the geopolitical conditions that have caused many to leave. Reading about a country is not remotely comparable to being immersed in that culture, but Selam’s cooking opened the door to Eritrea, welcoming in curious visitors from Spokane for a taste. I look forward to meeting many more chefs and cuisines through Feast World Kitchen.
Menus for the week ahead are posted at 5:30 p.m. feastworldkitchen.org, and pre-orders are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. 1321 W. Third Ave.
Since July, Wild Sage has offered family-style takeout options, and their full menu of Northwest-inspired cuisine is now available to go. A recent menu, offered as a benefit dinner for Spokane Civic Theatre, featured pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes, sautéed sweet onions and seasonal vegetables, accompanied by a green salad, all presented in the most aesthetically pleasing to-go containers I’ve ever seen (and compostable, too!).
Over the years I’ve sometimes found Wild Sage to be hit or miss, but their customer service is second to none, and people love the greatest hits, including the popovers with lavender honey butter, the coconut cream cake, and my favorite: the taquitos. Perfectly crunchy shells, the creamy goodness of Yukon potatoes and white cheddar, the crisp of salted cabbage…once you know, you know. If you haven’t tried them, behave as if I’ve revealed a secret menu item that might disappear tomorrow. They won’t, but why deprive yourself any longer? Go ahead and order a dozen plus a pitcher of their signature margaritas. Let’s face it: we’re living through a global pandemic. No further excuse needed.
916 W. 2nd Ave. Place to-go orders online at wildsagebistro.com.
Ruins Eyvind Hunt Stella’s
The word “creativity” may be overused of late, but if there’s anyone who truly embodies it, my vote is for chef Tony Brown. Across his four restaurants, Brown has conceived umpteen ways to provide takeout for practically every palette and type of diner.
At Stella’s in the Saranac Commons, counter service meant the ability to open on June 1, much sooner than dine-in restaurants. The menu at Stella’s has changed, with various options previously found on the Monday night “McRuins” menu, plus new offerings like the Turf Surfer, a half-pound burger with fried shrimp, bacon, swiss cheese, tartar and slaw. Brown says traffic is steady, and while the old Stella’s menu is “probably retired for a while” after running for nine years, staples like the banh mi and Cubano sandwiches remain.
Ruins acolytes have been glued to social media in recent months, waiting to pounce on limited pop-up menus of takes on cuisine from Chinese to Thai to Mexican food. In-person dining resumed in September, and while capacity is limited at the tiny venue (sixteen seats indoors with another sixteen on the patio), it may be a silver lining that Ruins now accepts reservations via email. No more swarming the joint at opening like devouring locusts, you hear? Make a reservation or order to-go.
Eyvind and Hunt, Brown’s newest restaurants, both opened two months prior to Washington state’s shelter-in-place order. In response to pandemic shutdowns, Brown created family-style takeout options, offering prepped and pre-portioned ingredients to be assembled in a few steps at home. Summer menu options included pad thai, macaroni and cheese with roasted chicken and pesto, pulled pork sandwiches, brisket meatloaf with roasted potatoes and salsa verde, and duck confit fried rice. Most meals were “heat and serve,” though Brown says he was flooded with questions about how to cook fried rice. “I thought rice was pretty basic,” he jokes, “until I started getting all these text messages and phone calls.” To help those of us who haven’t quite mastered the basics, Hunt posts short videos on their social media as a guide, with business partner Jed Conklin asking audience-friendly questions about how long to cook and at what temperature. But Brown points out that part of the fun is giving you the tools to make a meal your own. “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle,” he says. “You don’t really need instructions; the fun is in figuring it out. Here’s all the ingredients to make pad thai: what would you do?”
Stella’s: 19 W. Main Ave., (509) 290-5927
Ruins: ruinstogo.com, 825 N. Monroe St.
Eyvind: 225 W. Riverside Ave., (509) 474-1262
Hunt: huntspokane.com, 225 W. Riverside Ave.
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