Now that we’re eight months into a pandemic and people are no doubt burned-out on home cooking, it’s time to consider tantalizing family-style dishes and desserts from restaurants to share with your roommates (and family) that temporarily take away some of our situation’s sting. RoomMatch.com asked me to think of foods that could feed roommates, so I combed 10 U.S. cities for large-format plates that should squash any squabble. Similar versions of many dishes, platters and trays are available in other cities as well, so search nearby if you crave anything below.
Fried Chicken: Busy Bee Cafe
Plenty of restaurants in the South’s largest city feature fried chicken. Busy Bee Cafe has served delectable deep-fried birds since 1947, which are available straightforward or served smothered over rice. Specify white or dark meat or play their half-chicken as it lays and add sides like collard greens, fried okra and mac & cheese. Push all your chips to the middle of the table by splitting a whole “ol’ fashioned” sweet potato pie, which costs just $15. Other intriguing Atlanta fried chicken options include Hop’s Chicken in Ponce City Market and Revival in adjacent Decatur.
BBQ: Franklin Barbecue
Aaron Franklin and wife Stacy have turned their East Austin barbecue parlor into a meat Mecca. They typically command hours-long lines, but during the pandemic, they’ve opted for curbside pickup. Slots pop free at midnight and orders are available up to 42 days in advance for people who commit to a minimum of 3 and maximum of 25 pounds. If you can’t score a mountain of brisket, ribs, pulled pork or sausage buffeted with post oak smoke, consider another world-class BBQ option in the area, including nearby La Barbecue and Snow’s BBQ on Saturday mornings in Lexington.
Deep-Dish Pizza: Pequod’s Pizza
Deep-dish pizza is a Chicago tradition that girds people against frigid winter weather by featuring a formidable crust with tomato sauce on top that’s baked in a pan. Pequod’s Pizza, named for the mythical ship in “Moby Dick,” isn’t the best known deep-dish pizzeria, but may be the most revered. They sell pan pizzas up to 14 inches in diameter. The large costs $20.59, should easily feed two people and comes with toppings such as meatball, pepperoni and local favorites like Italian beef and giardiniera. Giordano’s, Lou Malnati’s, Gino’s East and Uno, the pizzeria that supposedly created deep-dish pizza in 1943, are other well-known deep-dish pizzerias.
Kebab Feasts or Whole Roasted Lamb in Dearborn
Dearborn is located just nine minutes west of Detroit and is known for serving some of the best Armenian and Middle Eastern food in the U.S., which often involves kebabs. K&M Shish Palace kebab combos are plenty hearty. Their Shish Palace Tray costs $135, feeds up to 10 people and combines three shish kabob skewers, three shish tawook, four shish kafta, five lamb chops, whole boneless chicken, salmon filet, a large hummus, baba ghannouj, tabbouli, eight grape leaves, a choices of rice or fries or salad or fattoush. Malek al Kabob (with locations in Dearborn and nearby Taylor) also offers a similarly festive party tray for eight eight people that costs $123.99.
Some restaurants also let diners pre-order whole roasted lamb. Sheeba is a Yemeni restaurant that requires one day’s notice, feeds 20 people for $550, and comes with two rice trays, two salad trays, and a half-tray of roasted vegetables (potatoes, zucchini and carrots). K&M Shish Palace charges $450 for a 29-30 pound lamb that requires one day’s notice and comes with two trays of rice and one tray of salad. Malek al Kabob‘s whole roast lamb requires one day’s notice, feeds 20-25 people, costs $450, and comes with rice and salad.
Standout pastry chef Margarita Manzke, who co-owns multifaceted République with husband Walter, makes a truly indulgent 3-layer salted caramel chocolate cake that’s drizzled with caramel and also contains caramel pockets. A whole 9-inch cake costs $89. Pizzana co-owner Candace Nelson, who also founded Sprinkles Cupcakes and Sprinkles Ice Cream and served as a judge on the TV shows “Cupcake Wars” and “Sugar Rush,” provides another strong alternative. Given her resume, it’s no surprise that she devised a devastating torta al cioccolato, a dark chocolate olive oil cake served with a scoop of Sprinkles vanilla ice cream. Pizzana charges $80 for a half sheet pan (12 slices) or $150 for a full sheet pan (24 slices).
Argentinean Parrilladas: New Campo Argentino
Grilled meat platters called parrilladas are popular in Argentina, designed to be communal dining experiences. Since Miami has the largest Argentinean population in the U.S., parrilladas are readily available. Restaurants that have embraced takeout and delivery include New Campo Argentino in Miami Beach, which serves Parrillada Mar Y Tierra (Land & Sea Grill) that combines short ribs, skirt steak, chorizo, lobster tail, shrimp, prawns, calamari, mussels, and clams for $85. Other places that offer parrilladas to-go include Rincon Argentino and Lo de Lea Argentinean Grill.
New York City
Lasagna: Don Angie
New York is home to many Italian-Americans, so of course hulking lasagna slabs are readily available. Rubirosa sells lasagna for two for $30, and traditional lasagna is also available to go from restaurants like I Sodi and obvious choice House of Lasagna. A more stylish version for two people is part of Don Angie at Home, a takeout dinner with a set menu from Don Angie chef-owners Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli. Their West Village restaurant features their signature spiral-shaped lasagna rounds rolled with Bolognese, plated with tomato sauce and Robiola cheese dollops, served with chrysanthemum salad, black cocoa tiramisu and a bottle of wine for $125.
Pie: Lauretta Jean’s
Portlanders clearly appreciate pie based on all the great options around town. Lauretta Jean’s is one of my favorites. During the pandemic, they’re selling whole butter-crust pies in flavors like Bourbon pecan, tart cherry and chocolate cream. Other PDX pie options include Bakeshop, where Kim Boyce bakes brown butter apple pie with walnut streusel, pumpkin pie, and seasonal fruit pie with lattice crust.. Keep on the lookout for Sweedeedee’s return to North Portland post-pandemic, where beekeeper Eloise Augustyn bakes a truly luxurious salted honey pie.
Duck seems to get treated with particular reverence in San Francisco, and the three Ms in this story are true duck-stinations. Ming Kee in Westwood Park is especially good for Cantonese-style roast meats. A whole roast duck costs $23. Mister Jiu’s is a higher end Chinese restaurant in Chinatown that serves Peking-style Liberty Farms bird as part of their Dinner For 2, which costs $135 and features crisp-skinned breast, wings, & legs served with house-made savory pancakes, peanut butter hoisin, duck jus, cucumber, and scallions and fives sides: steak fried rice, wok’d veggies, mouthwatering eggplant, kohlrabi salad and tofu skin. In the Mission, The Morris is best known for their succulent smoked duck, which comes with root vegetables and costs $70 for a half-duck and $140 for whole.
Shellfish Platter: Taylor Shellfish Farms
The Pacific Ocean, Puget Sound and surrounding waters are bursting with shellfish that feed Seattleites. Taylor Shellfish Farms has six locations in the Seattle metro area (and beyond), including their sustainable aquaculture farm in Bow. Five locations offer curbside pickup, where they sell shellfish platter building blocks like cracked Dungeness crab, Kumamoto and Pacific oysters, mussels and clams. They also ship across the U.S., including 30-oyster packs, 5-pound mussel sacks, and whole geoduck. Emmett Watson’s Oyster Bar and Lowell’s Restaurant are two more shellfish sources, both located at iconic Pike Place Market.
RoomMatch is a 100% free way to find roommates. They help people find a roommate to live in your room and find a room to rent. Their match-up quiz provides a match percentage with potential roommates/homes. After all, somebody craving quiet won’t be happy in a party house, and vice versa. They also ensure greater security than sites like Craigslist and even let people chat securely with potential roommates until they’re comfortable enough to share contact info.