Are you getting into the swing of ordering takeout from restaurants yet? Beyond buying gift cards or merchandise, it’s the safest and easiest way to support local restaurants that are fighting to stay alive during the coronavirus pandemic. Also: You’ve gotta be a little tired of your own cooking by now, right?
For those still wary about the safety of takeout, the Centers for Disease Control has said the risk of getting COVID-19 from food or packaging is very low, and the American Medical Association recently released a chart labeling the risk a "2," or "low," on a scale of 1-10, the same as camping or pumping gas. By comparison, the AMA labeled dining on a patio a "4" (moderate-low) and eating in a restaurant dining room as "7" (moderate-high).
A critic works to place restaurants in a greater social and cultural context and analyze preparation and plating while exploring a chef or restaurant owner’s narrative and intention. All context right now is coronavirus. Execution for takeout is trickier than in-restaurant dining. And everyone’s current intention is to simply remain open.
So, this recurring Takeout Treasures series focuses on the other part of a critic’s job: weeding through the abundance of options and pointing you toward some solid choices for dining at home. And, remember: wear a mask when you go to pick up your food. It’s the responsible thing to do, and it’s currently the law in Austin.
Noodles and dumplings at Julie’s Noodles
Even if you’ve gotten pretty handy around the kitchen, there are some techniques and flavor profiles that I imagine you’ve not mastered. Being able to deviate from your roster of greatest hits at home is one of the great joys of getting takeout
The hand-pulled noodles and precisely pinched dumplings at Julie’s Noodles in North Austin remind me of my limitations. The crab and pork soup dumplings (six to a $9.25 order) burst with a blast of broth that blends pork’s fattiness with the dusky salinity of crab. And I was surprised to see they even held up after the 20-minute drive back to my house.
The hand-pulled noodles came in a separate box from the beef soup that accompanied it, and any gumminess was quickly alleviated by pouring the broth, packed with tender beef shank, over the noodles. The breathy vapor of anise and clove reminded me that I need to replenish my pantry with these flavors I don’t tap into nearly enough.
Information: 8557 Research Blvd., No. 110. 512-394-6967, juliesnoodles.com.
Takeout hours: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily; the dining room is closed.
How it works: Call in or order online and pick up your bagged meal from a table just inside the restaurant’s door.
MORE TAKEOUT TREASURES
Sushi at Kyoten Sushiko and a killer burger at LeRoy & Lewis