Last Call: What do you want for your first post-quarantine meal?

Illustration for article titled Last Call: What do you want for your first post-quarantine meal?
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Last week, bars and restaurants in several states across this fair nation began to reopen. The news was filled with photos of Wisconsinites packing themselves into bars and Atlantans carelessly sprawled on the grass in outdoor shopping malls, sipping wine and asserting their right to live freely. This was followed by much tutting on social media, but probably a fair amount of private envy. How nice it would be to sit at a bar, to eat some nice greasy bar food and drink a beer and watch the game (remember games?) and talk to complete strangers!


In Illinois, where I live, everything is still closed. On Saturday my dog, Joe, and I went to visit my mom. We had a socially distanced chat in the backyard while Joe chased after tennis balls and rolled in the grass, and then we all went for a socially distanced walk, during which we passed a house where the inhabitants were celebrating someone’s graduation from business school with a backyard barbecue (not socially distanced, we suspected). The smell of cooking meat came wafting over the fence and my mother inhaled it sadly. She has spoken often over the past few months of her wish to have a nice, grilled hamburger. Ideally, this would be at one of the nearby dive bars that also does great onion rings and chili, but at this point, she’s not choosy. She’s almost ready to buy a hibachi and risk censure by her neighborhood homeowners association in order to have one.

I, too, would like a nice, juicy bar burger. That was my last meal out before I went into quarantine. I have a grill at home, but somehow it’s just not the same. So a pub burger, medium-rare, with American cheese and extra-crispy fries is probably what I’d go for, too. Or maybe Korean barbecue. Or Chinese hot pot. Or dim sum. Or a nice cocktail at my local bar, where they once had a dog birthday party... It’s so hard to choose!

What’s the first thing you’ll have when you get out again?

Associate editor of The Takeout. Chicagoan. Owned by dog.


Brick HardMeat

It’s no one thing, but an experience — strolling through Pike Place and grabbing a curry beef bun from Mee Sum Pastry, checking the line at Pike Place Chowder, maybe grab some fried chicken liver from the Chicken Valley stall and watch the fish mongers toss some salmon around, pop into Piroshky Piroshky for a cardamom braid or a poppy seed roll, finish up with something refreshing from Rachel’s Ginger Beer and then when the season is right grab a dozen live oysters or a bunch of fresh garlic scapes to bring home for dinner. All the while weaving through crowds of eccentric locals and tourists from around the world, listening to the maniac on the corner bang out beautiful music on an upright piano (how did it get it there?), looking at hand crafted gifts and art for my wife’s birthday or for Father’s Day or just to look at, and staring out over the Sound.

This was a typical Saturday for me when I lived in downtown Seattle. When I moved out to the burbs it became a rarer treat but still something I knew I could do if I played my cards right and the stars were in alignment. Now I don’t think I’ll ever have a day like this again.