3 Take-and-Make Options for Lazy Nights at Home
With COVID-19 still in the air, venturing out to restaurants is an uncertain prospect, even as dine-in service becomes more widely available. In response to the changing times, restaurants across the state have come up with innovative take-and-make options that let you support local businesses while staying safe and impressing your housemates with your cooking (or heating) prowess. From full dinners to mouthwatering brownies and fluffy donuts, here are three of northern Utah’s best restaurant options for make-at-home meals.
Communal – Provo
102 N University Ave
Mon–Fri: 5 p.m.–9 p.m. || Sat: 10 a.m.–2 p.m. ; 5 p.m.–9 p.m.
In the heart of Downtown Provo, Communal offers family-style meals and has recently added cook-at-home options to their pick-up menu. Their menu rotates, so the take-and-bake choices may vary. Over the past months, they’ve offered breakfast and dinner options, such as baked french toast and meatloaf, along with cookie dough and even chicken stock to use in your own cooking. Their online ordering is simple: You can request curbside pickup, and the baking instructions are easy to follow.
Most recently, I bought the Braised Beef Short Rib meal. It’s $25, feeds 2–3 people comfortably, and comes with salad, mashed potatoes and squash. Not much preparation was required—I got home, preheated the oven and had dinner ready in about half an hour. The meat needed to heat for about twice as long as the vegetables, so I added them to the oven halfway through. In about 18 minutes of total cooking time, everything was ready. I had some concerns about reheating the meat, but it came out fork-tender and delicious with the horseradish cream. The potatoes were smooth and a little salty, which helped balance the slightly crunchy squash. The beet salad was fresh and tasty with earthy notes and tangy goat cheese, though I wouldn’t have minded a little more tartness to play with the natural sweetness of the beets. Overall, it was a delicious meal.
If you have a sweet tooth—which I certainly do—I would grab a butterscotch pudding to go as well. The combo of pudding, cream and cookie crumbles is incredibly satisfying after (or before) dinner.
BROWNIES! BROWNIES! BROWNIES! – Salt Lake City
1751 1100 E
Tue–Sat: 12 p.m.–9 p.m.
A small, blue shop on 1300 East, BROWNIES! BROWNIES! BROWNIES! is a joy to support. During the pandemic, they have added Take and Bake Brownie options (ranging $12–16) for bakers (and eaters) of all kinds. They even offer vegan and gluten-free brownies so you can bake something fit to your nutritional needs. Their website organization is simple and clear, featuring large images that read well on a phone, making mobile ordering easy.
These take-and-bakes come in eight-inch pan sizes, and baking instructions are included on a card with your purchase. The batter is thick and sturdy, resulting in fudge-y brownies with crispy, caramelized edges. We portioned ours into ramekins, baked and topped with ice cream. With only three people at home, dividing the brownies into individual servings has been a great way to have hot, fresh brownies on demand between orders.
Mountain Donuts– South Ogden
3836 Washington Blvd
Mon & Sat: 7:30 a.m.–6 p.m. || Tue–Fri: 6:30 a.m.–6 p.m.
A donut shop in South Ogden, Mountain Donuts provides a unique opportunity for donut lovers to create their own combinations. Orders can be made online or at the window, and pick up is easy with a convenient drive through. Service is friendly and quick, and Mountain Donuts’ take-and-make options is the easiest (and most child-friendly) option on the list.
The At Home Donut Decorating Kit ($13.99 for a half-dozen) makes for an interactive donut-eating experience in the comfort of your own home. The kit comes with six donuts, two icing flavors of your choice, two coatings and three toppings. I chose chocolate and maple icings with coconut, Reese’s crumble and explosion sprinkles for my donut experience, and had a great time putting them together. Assembly is easy, and only requires heating the icing in the microwave for 10–15 seconds before giving each donut a twist or two for maximum coverage. Then, toppings can be added for texture and flavor, all while making them look irresistible.
The topping process was easy and fun for a couple of adults, but I am sure it would have been even more entertaining to share the experience with kids of most any age. The donuts themselves were fluffy with a slight crispness on the outside, and I loved the crunch of the sprinkles with the melty icing. I can’t wait to go back again, as this is an order I could make time and time again with slight adjustments for seemingly infinite combinations.
Take-and-make options from these restaurants are a great way to support the local food scene while also maintaining social distancing guidelines. It’s been exciting to see local establishments stepping up and finding ways to bring the restaurant experience home, and I’m looking forward to seeing what our food community comes up with next! –Corinne Bauer