Since Covid-19 is still here and restaurants continue to stress alternative options to dining in, we’ll bring you each week a roundup of takeout dinners recently enjoyed by dining editor Timothy Malcolm.
Growing up, my Filipino aunt would make a giant batch of lumpia any time we came over her house for summer pool parties. The perfectly crispy, one-handed spring rolls provided easy fuel for kids running from door to deck. She didn't, however, tell me about all the variations of fried rice one might be exposed to in a Filipino home. At Be More Pacific, the Heights location of the concept born in Austin (though it's not in Austin anymore) and opening here this year, the fried rice gets a workout in a dish called S.C.C.L.B.F.R. That stands for spicy coconut curry lime bacon fried rice, and you taste all of those things in nearly every bite of this classic hangover food. But that's not all: Be More Pacific tops this thing with an egg, truly making it the all-day dish of my dreams.
While Niko Niko's is pretty packed most of the time, and Helen Greek is a perfect weekend date-night spot, Just GRK out in the Memorial City area fills in the gap with a quiet, neighborhood vibe. It's also fast and does takeout well, dropping orders onto a table for easy, contactless pickup. It makes a heck of a gyro that's packed with meat (I gotta go with the beef and lamb mix here) and forgoes the lettuce, instead, slathering that tzatziki all over the place. Gyros are about indulging, so I'm all for it.
Down south, on Beechnut near Highway 8, is this friendly spot that's been around since 2006 and has a pretty extensive menu of Mexican favorites (cochinita pibil, tampiqueña, chile relleno), seafood dishes, some caldo, and tasty, simple tacos with homemade flour or corn tortillas. One Mexican favorite that's harder to find in town is the pambazo, a Mexican street sandwich made mostly of chorizo and potato with a bread dipped in guajillo pepper sauce. It's strangely tidy, but it's packed with big, spicy flavor. Try it out for lunch, then come back for some mole enchiladas.
I recently picked up a beef bun kabob—beef minced with garam masalas, plus cucumber slices and tomato between a soft hamburger bun—and pani puri at this Indo-Pak restaurant about three miles south of Fonda Santa Rosa at Wilcrest and Bellfort. If you're seeking Indian and Pakistani food without frills and with attention to heat, this is your spot. I may have to come back on a Wednesday when they serve goat pulao as a special.