In this weekly feature, Apt613 asks blog contributors and local figures about their takeout habits and highlights—to help you find new tasty treats to discover or revisit when you’re just OVER IT with making dinner. We want to hear about the takeout you loved! Leave comments below and if you’d like to contribute to a future edition of Takeout Talk, email <email@example.com>.
Highlights this week
Lives in: Chinatown
Day job: Program Manager for History Nerds
Run, don’t walk, to Corner Peach this weekend. This week, I had the supreme honour of picking up one of their hot chicken sandwiches for a little work-from-home treat and it blew my mind. The sammy has been on the small takeout menu for a while, and this weekend is your last shot at this messy, spicy, pickle-y sandwich perfection. Corner Peach opened as a lovely small restaurant on the corner of Somerset and Booth in 2018 and has weathered the shutdowns as a kind of “corner store” selling fresh-baked breads and treats, frozen homemade meals, daily focaccia pizzas, order-ahead meal kits, and an assortment of takeout sandwiches and nibbles. You can even take a fun bottle of wine or some local craft beer home with you when you order. The glorious chicken sandwich was only $9 and required at least four napkins and a full face and hand wash afterwards. It is spicy without being painful, and the chicken is both crunchy and juicy. Other great choices are currently the corned beef on home-baked rye and a Bánh Mì-style muffaletta that rivals the flavours of any of the banh mi in the neighbourhood. They will be switching to burgers after this weekend, so maybe I’ll see you there next week for lunch pickup? They are open 11–6 Wednesday to Saturday right now, and you can order loaves of their famous sourdough bread ahead of time to be sure you don’t miss out.
Lives in: Hintonburg
Day job: Arts marketing
The rise of pizza in Ottawa has taken many forms, from experiments with deep-dish pizza to traditional Napolese fare. It even prompted a debate on Reddit about Ottawa’s traditional pizza style, which turned out to involve placing every topping under the cheese: think Colonnade or Bronson Pizza. Comparing a traditional Ottawan pizza to something from this new wave of artisanal pizzerias is like comparing apples to very soggy apples, and so the pizza revolution rages on. Top of my list in the contenders for the newly-loosed pie-shaped-crown: Pizza Nerds. Planned as a pandemic-proof business, and operating out of City Goose on Bank Street, Pizza Nerds has made pizza special again.
In this busy life, it’s so easy to reach for the nearest slice for a quick boost as you rush between Zoom meetings. Pizza Nerds is the first pizza in a long time to make me stop and smell the crust. I’ve tried their mushroom pizza (the “Bank”), their goat cheese pizza (the “Queen Elizabeth,” featuring honey), and the secret jalapeno popper pizza, and all of them offer something unique and worth spending time with. Plus, they hand-make their chili-garlic dip, which is perfect for adding a little bit more deliciousness to already delicious pizza. Added bonus: They do gluten-free, though I cannot vouch.
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Lives in: The Glebe
Day job: Culture vulture
One of our “go-to” spots for yummy take-out is also my favourite coffee shop: Café Morala in the Glebe. They serve wonderful Argentinian empanadas. And what a selection! Our recent purchase was of seven different types of empanadas: chicken, beef, Tex-Mex, asparagus, brie, spinach-feta, and portobello mushroom. I’ve lost count of how many types I’ve eaten, but some that I can remember are tomato-brie, eggplant, chorizo, and two kinds (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) of breakfast empanadas. Lidia, who makes these wonderful treats, seems to like experimenting.
One of these, heated up in your toaster oven or microwave, makes a satisfying lunch. With a salad or one of Café Morala’s excellent soups, it’s a delightful dinner. And did I mention that Cafe Morala is my favourite coffee shop? Takeout coffee would go nicely with your empanadas (if you don’t drink it on the way home). And if you’d like something sweet to round out your meal, their alfajores are to die for—two delicate cookies sandwiching dulce de leche, decorated with coconut. My mouth is watering just thinking about them!
I don’t think Miriam, the warm and friendly owner, is a fan of computers. Café Morala doesn’t have a website, but if you phone Miriam or Noel (613-235-4740) or email them (firstname.lastname@example.org) the day before or first thing in the morning, you can ask to reserve your empanada fix for the weekend. Or do what I do—just say, “ I’ll take two of whatever you have.” If you don’t order ahead, you may be disappointed, as they often sell out by lunchtime. They have a lot of satisfied customers!