So, after braving crowds in three supermarkets last week that were uncomfortably crowded, this week we decided to hunker down, stay at home and eat off the land (or our pantry, fridge and freezer). We did order out twice (mostly because the head chef is sick of cooking). We picked up ourselves because UberEats, Postmates and DoorDash all eat into the restaurant’s bottom line; we are trying to help local restaurants as much as possible in this devastating time.
This posed a dilemma for my husband, who was the picker-up. First we ordered sushi from Moon Thai and Sushi, a combo of tuna, California and JB rolls and a salad with ginger dressing. That wasn’t too crowded, so Zeke felt ok. Still, following Dr. Oz’s protocol, we removed food from the bag, transferred it to our containers, left the packaging outside and came in and washed our hands before eating. I even threw the chopsticks away, I’m getting so paranoid.
The other place we ordered from was Miami’s Best, since they were having a “buy one, get one free” on large pizzas on Tuesday. We ordered a California Dreaming (really yummy with goat cheese and artichoke hearts) and a plain cheese and Zeke and Lauren went to pick it up. The promotion must have worked, because the place was PACKED. Good for business, not good for social distancing. Even though they didn’t give us the free pie, we took the pizza and ran out of there and dealt with the refund the next day.
Since all Miami-Dade restaurants have closed for dining in, and so many people have lost their jobs, I feel the need to do my part and support the local restaurants that are still open. I called my friend, take-out queen Tami, and asked her where she’d been getting take-out for her and her son, home from college. She’s been ordering from Deli Lane, Sushi Maki and Lan Pan Asian. She recommended the Tortellini Alfredo, Chicken Francais, California Dreaming quesadilla, Salad with Salmon and Chicken Chili at Deli Lane. I got an email from Lan Pan (in Dadeland Station) for free delivery of orders $35 and more with the promo code DELIVERY.
Tami also noted that it seemed Taco Craft, Town and Casa Cuba are open for business. HoneyBee donuts, Whisk and Sports Grill are also open. HoneyBee is doing curbside service with credit cards only and Sports Grill (love their wings!) is doing call-in and online orders with pick-up outside the restaurant. Zeke and I passed a newly opened restaurant, Wood Label Bistro on Sunset, in the old Healthy Fresh location handing out menus for lunch and dinner. I felt so bad for the owner, opening a new restaurant under these dire circumstances.
Shula’s 347, Root & Bone and Mi’talia, all part of the Grove Bay Hospitality Group, are offering free delivery within a 4 more radius of their restaurants. Old Lisbon, the Portuguese restaurant on Sunset Drive, is doing delivery through UberEats. Three Fold Cafe in Coral Gables (home of the famous avocado toast) is selling groceries, like almond milk and coffee, as well as hot and cold dishes and ready-to-cook meals (like lasagna). Check their website for details and to order.
Fiola’s restaurant, the fancy Italian restaurant in South Miami with an outpost in Washington D.C., is also offering deals. Premium wines are 50% off and they are offering cocktail and menu items for curbside pick-up. I figured it would be way too expensive, but when I looked at the menu, it really wasn’t too bad. Eggplant Parmesan is $22, Fiola’s Meatballs $24, Whole Wheat Rigatoni with Bolognese and Mushrooms is $34. There’s also Grilled Octopus ($24), Roast Chicken ($34) and Branzino ($36), as well as sides, desserts and bread. If you wish white glove delivery by one of the managers, there is a 10% charge, but it is donated to the Relief Fund for their furloughed employees. Call 305 912-2639 for more information.
Cecile’s Bakery and Cafe, a new restaurant on Sunset Drive, is offering online ordering, curbside pickup and delivery. They make it very easy to order off the website and pay, so no touching of a germy credit card machine. I just ordered a smoked salmon and ricotta sandwich on multigrain bread for $14. Zeke dropped me off, I hopped in, picked up the paper bag and left. Easy peasy, non-diseasy. Cecile’s also has salads, soups, smoothies, delicious baked goods, their famous macarons and homemade gelato and sorbet. They’re open 8- 3 p.m. Call 305 397-8206, or visit their website.
When I walked down Sunset Drive (a ghost town), I noticed Spris pizza on the corner is also offering pick up and deliveries, with 15% off deliveries. Yumbrella, the food hall in Sunset Place with different eateries is also open for take-out during COVID-19. My incognito reporter Tami is just back from South Miami with an update. Middle Eastern restaurants Marhaba and Khoury’s are open for ordering food, as well as The Boiling Crab, Pura Pizza and Italian joint Macalusa. Newly-opened BBQ restaurant The Flying Pig (near CVS) is also open 1-9 pm with free delivery, take-out and curbside pickup. And if anyone feels like eating healthy, Earth serves healthy food like smoothies, juices and bowls with no delivery fees.
While I’ve been trying to avoid grocery stores, Whole Foods seemed very clean and well organized when we visited; they have senior hours for 60 and over. A friend who went to Costco during Senior Hours (early) said it was crazy busy, with a line around the store, so I would avoid Cotsco at all costs. This is what Instacart was made for. Wayside Market on Red Road is open (the girls have been biking there) if you need produce and Bee Heaven Farms in the Redlands is having a Pop-Up Farmer’s Market from 2 to 6 p.m. on Fridays.
Bee Heaven is selling loose items such as cherry tomatoes, beans, salads and radishes, eggs and honey. They ask shoppers to wash their hands, use social distancing, point to items they want and employees will place them in the basket. They also ask that you bring your own bags. While I always try to use my own reusable bags at the grocery store (and everywhere I shop) the recommendations these days is to use plastic bags and throw them away.
So, how else can we help our local restaurants besides ordering take-out and picking it up ourselves?
You can buy a Gift Card for future use, either for yourself or as a gift. The James Beard Foundation has set up a charity to help restaurants and their employees- the James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund. The Coral Gables Community Foundation, which I’m on the Board of, is partnering with Three Fold Cafe to provide meals to local workers and their families who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. You can donate online or by writing a check. Visit info@Gablesfoundation.org for more information.
And Chef Jose Andres is doing it again, with his World Central Kitchen providing meals to coronavirus patients, as well as launching feeding efforts around the world, including Miami. With his new America Eats Now campaign, he is partnering with restaurants to feed the elderly, schoolchildren and marginalized communities around the world.
Hot shot chef Brad Kilgore has changed his Uber-cool Wynwood Alter restaurant into AlterQ, offering take-out and delivery of Bar-B-Q and more casual eats. He’s also offering other pantry staples, like white bread, rice and even gloves, as a way to stay afloat and help out the community. From the original 100 employees he had for his different restaurants, he’s down to 15. He’s also started the Miami Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to assist laid off Miami Hospitality workers.
So, while we don’t know how long this Global Pandemic will last, let’s try to help out our local restaurants as much as possible. We enjoy them so much under normal circumstances- they feed us when we’re hungry, boost our spirits with their food, drinks, atmosphere and staff. I certainly hope they weather this storm and will be around for us when everything is calmed down.
Newsflash: Sushi Maki in South Miami giving out toilet paper (a valuable commodity these days) with take-out orders.
Up next week: Choosing Fresh Food that lasts a while (reducing trips to grocery store) and Foods to eat to Fight Viruses.