COVID has been full of ups and downs, but for me, one small blessing was getting to try Vesta
. Although I love to cook, takeout is what happens when I’m too exhausted from the day to want to go into the kitchen and cook a meal. So that means I rarely plan ahead when I'm going to eat out. Unfortunately for me, in non-COVID times, Vesta always has a wait, and I'm not that patient when I'm hungry.
Located on Broadway, Vesta is a small indoor-outdoor venue, always abuzz with activity. The menu includes wood-fired pizza, small plates, wine, and beer. They have rotating seasonal pizzas, ingredients sourced from local farms, and generously sized pies! This charming restaurant has limited seating and, because their pizza is to die for, Vesta is always booked, and there’s always a wait. Their vegan pies are great for lactose-intolerant people like me, as well as their tomato-free pies which are also great for me since I'm allergic to tomatoes. I'd be remiss if I didn't give a shout-out to their hot honey which they drizzle on some of their pizzas. If you're looking for meat options, you'll find their pork shoulder with polenta cakes and applewood smoked bacon a satisfying gastronomic experience.
Vesta has been operating on a takeout-only basis during the pandemic. I make it a priority to support small businesses, especially considering how much the pandemic has caused challenges for local businesses. I’ve made a conscious effort to eat out locally at least once a week to support a small business, and Vesta has definitely made it into the rotation.
Karlita’s Taco Place
I’ll be honest: I live just a few blocks from a taco place, and yet I still find myself driving across town to Karlita's Taco Place
. Why you might ask? They make pupusas. Pupusas! For those of you unfamiliar with the wonderfulness that is pupusas, a pupusa is made from cornmeal flour (or rice flour) that is mixed with water to make a corn masa mixture. They are typically stuffed with tasty and flavorful ingredients, such as refried beans, shredded pork, or cheese. This is a Salvadoran staple and, if you haven’t had the pleasure of trying one, it’s worth checking out.
Karlita’s Taco Place is a small, hole-in-the-wall shop located next to Petco. Although it’s unassuming on the outside, this local restaurant is worth seeking out. When I’m here, I have to go through my list of allergies in Spanish, but they accommodate them. Plus, the food is delicious. They have an expansive menu, which means everyone can find something they like. However, I recommend the carnitas tacos, which are outstanding. The fried plantains are perfectly cooked and hit the spot. But, as I mentioned before, the pupusas are the main reason I keep coming back. I always get a pupusa if I’m driving by, and they are consistently hot and delicious.
There’s no outdoor seating here and, in non-COVID times, the indoor seating is limited so be prepared to take your order to go! This is a great option if you’re grabbing a meal on the go or perhaps wanting to enjoy a picnic at the park. Stop by here, grab your favorites, and head over to the park to soak up the sunshine. I promise you won’t be disappointed! Plus, Karlita’s takes credit cards, so you don’t have to worry about rounding up some cash.
Do you know how hard it is to find a Chinese food restaurant willing to make you a full meal with no soy? I mean, no soy sauce, tofu, edamame, miso, black bean sauce, soybean oil, etc.? I decided to give Crouching Tiger
a try after seeing them listed on allergyeats.com. I was skeptical, but I called, placed my order, and went through all my allergies with the hostess. A few minutes later, I got a call back from the hostess saying she's spoken with the chef and one of the dishes I'd ordered (wonton soup) could not be made without soy and politely asked if I would like to order something else instead. Understandably, this gave me a boost of confidence in the restaurant and, when it comes to Chinese food, they’re my go-to for takeout.
In the mood for something spicy (I’m always in the mood for spicy food)? I recommend the Spicy Boiled Juicy Pork, Dry Cooked Shredded Pork, or the Magic Chili Chicken. Do you want something a little milder and more familiar? Try the mu shu pork (the veggies are always so fresh!), beef with asparagus, Mongolian beef, or the chicken with mixed vegetables. I don't know how they do it, but somehow they make takeout seem almost healthy. It’s hard to beat the delicious food and top-notch customer service here.