Tag Archives: restaurant

Normal is Weird

The other day I grabbed a coffee and muffin while out walking, and found an out-of-the-way outdoor place where I could unmask and eat without being near anyone else.

It was weird! It felt like I was getting away with something. This sort of thing used to be normal, but now it isn’t… and that’s weird too!

I haven’t eaten at a restaurant in nearly a year. Not even outside on a patio when health orders have allowed it. (Though I have bought take-out.) This was only the second time since last March that I’ve eaten anything away from home except the occasional travel mug of coffee in the car. Not that I bother with that very often, since I rarely drive farther than the grocery store. I’ve even stopped carrying my Epi-Pen everywhere. I know I’m not going to eat until I get back.

I think the last time I ate at a restaurant was when I went out to lunch with some co-workers the first week of March, and we were talking about whether we wanted to switch to working remotely early, before the order came down. We knew it was coming sooner or later.

As it turned out, all of us who were there ended up spending just one more day onsite. The other two both started working remotely the next week, and I came down with the flu that weekend (at least I think it was the flu) and didn’t recover until the office closed.

I’m still at the same job, but that office? Gone. They’re moving to a new location for when onsite office work is a thing again. I haven’t been to the new office either, because it’s not ready yet, and everything’s in storage for now, presumably including the clutter I would have taken care of if I hadn’t been sick when the work-from-home order came down.

I hope I rinsed out my coffee mug.

And didn’t leave any food at my desk.

But hey, at least I know I didn’t need all of those hand-written notes!

Open for Take-Out

Sign saying Open for Takeout on the sidewalk

I’ve been seeing a lot of these signs in front of restaurants when I go walking in the neighborhood. Most restaurants in the area seem to be trying to keep going as all-takeout/delivery, at least for now. A couple of small chains have closed some locations and are continuing to operate take-out from others. The county “Safer at Home” order has been extended through May 15, so I guess we’ll see how many places can weather that long.

Restaraunt take-out window with sign: Food and  Beer To GoThough I’ve got to say, I’m still not used to restaurants being able to offer beer to go.

Most people have been really good at maintaining social distancing while out. The group in the distance seemed to all be one family.

Except for runners. Runners passing me from behind, where I can’t see them to move out of the way myself, have a 50/50 track record of detouring around vs. just zooming past me at a distance of a foot. Maybe they think they can outrun the virus, but if they’re the ones who have it (asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic), it certainly doesn’t help the people they’re rushing past.

I Assure You We’re Open!

Panera restaurant with a bunch of standard sheets of paper forming the giant word OPEN.

More scenes from a pandemic shutdown: Panera really wants you to know they’re open! (California is currently limiting all restaurants to take-out/delivery only as part of the attempt to limit coronavirus spread.)

They also had a sign propped up in their delivery van window pointing out that they’re selling bread, eggs and dairy — all categories that grocery stores have been facing shortages of. (Now we see the downsides of just-in-time supply chains: they don’t adjust very well to panic buying.) They are a bakery as well as a restaurant, after all, and it makes sense that they could pivot to selling ingredients.

No Pho King Way

I regret to report that as of last summer, there is just NO PHO KING WAY.

Restaurant Crossover

How about a cup of joe?

Though their signature drink is a mean Flat White, Two Guns Espresso in Manhattan Beach has the perfect mocha: just the right balance of coffee and chocolate and not too sweet. If they were open in the evenings, I’d stop on the way home from work waaay too often.

For the past few weekends, Two Guns has also been hosting pop-up dinners by Doma Kitchen, a local restaurant that’s in the process of relocating. It keeps them in the public eye, gives regulars a chance to visit, and I’m sure it helps to bring in some money while the restaurant is closed. The fixed menu is a bit more expensive than what we usually buy there, but it’s a three-course meal including appetizer and dessert (and coffee), so it actually worked out about the same.

Considering that we all like both the coffee shop and the restaurant, it seemed like a perfect match, and we went last night. They added extra seating using folding tables in the area usually reserved for the line and milling around. I was worried when we were the only ones there at 6:30, but it filled up quickly.

The food was great, though I forgot to mention when I made the reservation that I couldn’t eat seafood. (I don’t remember seeing seafood on their menu before, but I guess I just ignored it.) Fortunately it was a three-course meal, and my seafood allergy is less severe than others I have, so we rebalanced things a bit and it worked out.

The funny thing is, from what we overheard of the greeting conversations (we were seated right by the door), most of the people there last night had never been to Two Guns before. We may have been the only overlap!