If you want to see how takeout should be done during a pandemic – or at any other time, for that matter – look to the folks at Chef’s Table at the Edgewater, Tasting Room and The Attic in Winter Garden.
Since I live in downtown Orlando, I phoned my order in while driving along State Road 408 (on speakerphone, of course), after memorizing what I wanted from the takeout menu posted online. But a couple of my choices weren’t available.
And that’s one of the things they’re doing right – restaurants should strive to reduce waste, so offering a limited number of certain items until the run out is the proper thing to do.
And I was flexible. Also, since I was already familiar with the food of chef Kevin Tarter, I knew that whatever I ordered would be delicious.
As I finished the order and gave the woman on the phone my credit card info (it’s memorized), I told her I’d like to add a 20 percent tip to limit contact at pickup.
But they’d already thought of that. Instead of adding the tip without the security of a signature at pickup, I received a text with the photo of the receipt and a message asking if I’d like to leave a tip, and if so, how much? For this one I had to hand off to my passenger, who texted back the amount to add on, thus creating a record of my consent.
When I arrived at the corner restaurant, there was a sign directing cars where to go for curbside pickup. I phoned the restaurant to let them know I was there, and in a few minutes my takeout bag was brought out. I popped the trunk and asked the young woman to please place the bag in the trunk. She did and I was back on my way.
Back home, in my garage, I took the plastic containers out of the bag and wiped them down with my homemade disinfecting wipes. My companion and I replated the food and sat down to enjoy.
For an appetizer we shared the Butternut Squash Ravioli, one of my favorites from my last visit dining at the Chef’s Table. The pasta pockets, filled with a pesto fashioned out of pumpkin seeds, were cooked al dente. They were topped with shiitake mushrooms, which had a nice chew, and moussy goat cheese.
My friend had the Mini Beef Wellington Trio, another in-house favorite, which featured tender braised short rib meat inside puff pastry and topped with a red wine demi glace.
For my entree, I chose the New Orleans Shrimp & Grits, with toothsome red shrimp coated in a creole barbecue sauce and served atop a ploof of cheddar cheesy grits.
It was all quite delicious. And by the way, the round trip from downtown Orlando was about 54 minutes including a short wait time at the curb. It’s a nice escape from the house. And remember: trips to pick up takeout food are considered essential travel during the stay at home order. And the crew at Tasting Room/Chef’s Table make the entire process contactless.
Tasting Room at the Chef’s Table , 99 W. Plant St., Winter Garden, offers takeout from 4 to 8 p.m. Delivery is available – from Kevin and Laurie Tarter personally – to residents of Winter Garden and Oakland. Call 407-750-7063.