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 (and in this case, one al fresco) meals recently enjoyed by dining editor Timothy Malcolm. 

Behold the machete (the photo doesn't do justice to its size).

Tres

Quietly, there's a new taqueria in town. Tres Tacos, Tequilas y Todo opened in mid-December at 212 Westheimer Rd, a standalone building that has seen its share of tenants over the years. Tres is the latest concept from Anas Mousa (La Fisheria), and it boasts a vibrant menu that often marries Mexican and Mediterranean. 

For example, get the lamb kebab taco. For this gyro-like item, a tortilla is slathered with garlic sauce and filled with a meaty sleeve of lamb, plus julienned cucumber and wilted onion. There's Mexican hummus on the menu, essentially pinched with good chipotle heat. Big creative points for the langosta, which is chockfull of fried lobster nuggets, plus avocado and coleslaw. Tres also has machetes, or extremely massive quesadillas. The birria is big and meaty; you'll probably save half for a late-night snack.

Arnaldo Richards' Picos

While they may be a Christmas tradition, tamales are a delicious choice all year-round. Late last week I received from Picos a delivery of vacuum-sealed tamales—pork in red chile, chicken in green chile, sweet pineapple and coconut, and veggie (poblano peppers and corn)—plus two kinds of salsa (green and red) and both chocolate and caramel sauce. All I had to do was drop the sealed bags into a pot of water and let it boil for a few minutes, and voilà, instant dinner! The tamales were delicious (just know that they're all a tad spicy) and I had plenty of salsa leftover for weekend tortilla noshing.

At foreground, the Gangnam-style wings, left, and secret spicy wings, right. In back, the takoyaki, all from BBQ Chicken.

BBQ Chicken

In October, BBQ Chicken opened its first Houston location at 8383 Westheimer Rd in the Mid-West area. Originating in South Korea in 1995, BBQ Chicken has locations all over America (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Seattle) and a couple here in Texas (Katy being the closest before this latest opening). They have fried chicken and both bone-in and boneless barbecue-style chicken options, from sauceless to something called "wings of fire." 

I got the signature secret spicy chicken, made with a more sweet than spicy sauce with tomato and garlic, and the phenomenal Gangnam-style, a cousin of traditional gangjeong that spotlights peppers. Gangnam-style packs heat and tanginess, plus just a light crisp from a quick fry. 

You'll also find cupbob (Korean barbecue in a cup) and Korean street-style appetizers at BBQ Chicken, such as takoyaki (octopus balls). Not bad! I'm a big Korean fried chicken fan, but if I want something slightly different, this is a good choice. At the very least, it's worth returning to for more flavors.

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