So far, we’ve covered where to get takeout. We’ve covered why to get takeout. But we haven’t covered how to get takeout.
1. Leave a cooler or thermal bag in your trunk.After a family picnic, out of sheer laziness, I never removed the cooler from my trunk. This turned into a good thing. When I get takeout, I leave it in the cooler for some temperature control. This is especially great for pick-ups from places like Sweet Republic, where pints of ice cream come in a bag with ice but having more under the plastic lid of a cooler can only help.
For hot food, a thermal bag beats an Igloo. Why does pizza delivery come in box-shaped sleeves, the cardboard hot in your hands? Why do delivery professionals who make tips invest in temperature-control bags, unzipped at your door? Follow their veteran lead.
2. Keep frosty glasses and giant ice cubes in your freezer.Batched cocktails are the rare pandemic win. These are ideal for sharing, pouring beyond the day of your meal, and supporting restaurants by investing in items that, for them, have wide margins.
Cocktails quickly lose zap as they warm. The reason we vigorously stir or violently shake cocktails in the first place is to chill them, tugging flavors into greater balance. When you step home with a four-cocktail Mason jar, it helps to fish frosty glasses from the freezer. If you own outsize ice molds, it also helps to pour your cocktail over a giant rock, cooling it, letting it send a bracing chill through you.
3. Clear the part of your car where you leave food.When eating for the Just Tacos and More story, I couldn’t find my sope. I checked my trunk. Nothing. I went inside my house. Nothing. I returned to my trunk, moving a case of waters. Under the case lay a murdered sope, plastic container smashed.
When driving, things shift. Remove big objects from near your takeout and avoid teetering your boxes into unsupported Jenga towers.
4. Consider optimal dish lifespans.A vital question: How much time will pass in your food’s journey from restaurant kitchen to your mouth? Five minutes? Twenty? Some foods can handle delays, like pupusas, sushi, curry, and pozole. Other foods can’t: fried chicken (gets soggy), pasta (softens), and smoked brisket (just loses vitality). If you’re facing a longer trek home, go pulled pork instead of brisket. Think about what foods can hold up. And when given the option, get your sauce on the side.
5. Absent blistering heat, eat in parks near restaurants.In the interest of eating food as close to its creation as possible, you might want to eat in a park by the restaurant. If there is one, and if the heat allows. For this, you'll want to keep napkins and utensils in your center console, just in case the restaurant doesn't provide.
When I head into Old Town Scottsdale for takeout, I know Indian School Park and its glassy pond are on my way back to Loop 101. If I grab food from a place like the Larder + the Delta, I might as well set up a blanket in nearby Margaret T. Hance Park and enjoy. Sun and breezes are wild seasonings.