Category Archives: Best Takeout Food

Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 38

Shrimp sate from Warung Siska.
Shrimp sate from Warung Siska.

Warung Siska, Redwood City

One of the few Indonesian restaurants in the Bay Area, Warung Siska opened with a splash this year in downtown Redwood City, providing a real pop of joy in this dismal pandemic.

The space was formerly Nam Vietnamese Brasserie, which was opened by restaurateur Anne Le Ziblatt just weeks before the pandemic hit. Rather than reopen as is, Le Ziblatt decided to team with Chef Siska Silitonga and Ervan Lim, managing partner of Napa’s Live Fire Pizza, to start anew with an entirely different concept.

Perhaps it was kismet that the Indonesia-born Silitonga and Lim would join forces with Le Ziblatt, who fled Vietnam with her family and wound up in a Jakarta refugee camp, where local Indonesian families would help sustain them with homemade food.

Warung Siska is a tribute to the warmth and vivacity of the culture and cuisine, serving up Indonesian dishes full of big, bold, unforgettable flavors you’ll find yourself craving time and again.

The restaurant has no outdoor seating, and requires proof of vaccination to dine indoors. However, if your preference is takeout instead, you’ll be glad to know that the food travels quite well, which I discovered when the restaurant invited me to sample a to-go order recently.

Corn fritters that are to die for.
Corn fritters that are to die for.
Musubi-like sticky rice cakes with shredded chicken.
Musubi-like sticky rice cakes with shredded chicken.

When I interviewed Le Ziblatt for a story in the Nob Hill Gazette earlier this year, she told me one of Silitonga’s dishes that absolutely blew her away from the get-go was the bakwan (corn fritters, $13). I heartily agree. These golden, crisp and lacy fritters, each the size of my entire hand, are chock full of corn kernels, okra, and green onions. Makrut lime leaves give them an irresistible perfume and floral-citrus note. Best yet, they actually stayed crisp until I drove home with them nearly 40 minutes later.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 37

Butter & Crumble's lavishly layered Cinnamon Brown Sugar Almond cake.
Butter & Crumble’s lavishly layered Cinnamon Brown Sugar Almond cake.

Butter & Crumble, San Francisco

After being furloughed during the early days of shelter-in-place, Chef Sophie Smith thought she would pass the time by baking cakes for fun.

Little did she know that it would turn into a sweet new business that set her on an entirely new career path.

As she started baking cakes for her nascent Butter & Crumble, she wondered if anyone in the world would want an entire cake while stuck at home.

Turns out loads of people did.

She now runs her baking business out of bar in the Marina District of San Francisco that has a full-fledged kitchen. That’s where customers can pick up their pre-ordered cakes, too.

On an outing to San Francisco recently, I decided to to try one, myself.

The lofty, 4-inch-tall, 6-inch-diameter, three-layer cakes can serve 8 easily. They are priced at $45 on up, depending upon the flavor. There are usually at least nine different ones available, including Lemon Ricotta Pistachio, Chocolate Ganache Toffee, and Chai Creme Brulee.

I went with the Cinnamon Brown Butter Almond ($48). Styled after the “naked cakes” made famous by Milk Bar, Smith’s creations also sport unfrosted sides that reveal every layer clearly.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 36

The 3-piece Hat Yai Fried chicken at Roost & Roast.
The 3-piece Hat Yai Fried chicken at Roost & Roast.

Roost & Roast, Palo Alto

Southern fried chicken is a staple most everywhere. Korean fried chicken just had its big moment. Now, comes Thai fried chicken on the scene.

Roost & Roast opened in Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village in June. Although there are a couple of outside tables, this tiny place with no inside seats is largely takeout.

Hat Yai Fried ($14) is probably the most popular dish with three pieces of Southern Thai-style fried chicken that come with a mound of rice strewn with deliciously crisp, fried onion and garlic slivers. Dusted in potato starch, the chicken, while at times cut into rather haphazard pieces, has a wonderfully crisp, airy exterior. There’s little to no seasoning on it, though, which is surprising. As a result, you may want to drizzle on the accompanying sweet chili sauce to boost the flavor. You better like sweet, though, because that’s the predominant taste of the sauce. However, you can also get a container of Sriracha to mix in to add more heat.

A generous portion of BBQ Chicken with rice.
A generous portion of BBQ Chicken with rice.

The BBQ Chicken ($14) was actually much more flavorful. The moist chicken tasted of rice wine, fish sauce and herbs. So much so that you really didn’t even need the accompanying sweet chili dipping sauce. It was a generous portion of chicken, too, piled over a foundation of white rice.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 35

Fresh bucatini and beef ragu from Etto that I cooked in a flash for dinner at home.
Fresh bucatini and beef ragu from Etto that I cooked in a flash for dinner at home.

Etto, Paso Robles

Yes, this might be a stretch for takeout, but since I actually did get everything to-go to enjoy later at home, I say it qualifies.

Plus, if you are ever in the Paso Robles area, you owe it to yourself to drop by Etto, a three-year-old boutique pasta shop started by third-generation Italian American Brian Terrizzi.

After reading an SFGate article about this charming store that makes and sells both dried and fresh pastas, I knew I had to stop in when I was in the vicinity last month to attend an outdoor wedding.

The small shop carries olive oils, salumi, cheeses, cookies, wines (including from Terrizzi’s Giornata Winery, and a slim selection of locally-grown produce. Basically, it’s everything you need to put together a simple yet satisfying Italiano meal at home.

The containers of bucatini and sauce.
The containers of bucatini and sauce.

Terrizzi learned how to make pasta from his grandmother, and from regular trips to Naples and Tuscany. He is a purist, making pasta with only organic durum semolina flour and water, which gets extruded through traditional bronze dies.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 34

The butternut squash and salsa verde Milan-style pizza from Pizzone.
The delicata squash and salsa verde Milan-style pizza from Pizzone.

Pizzone, Palo Alto

Let’s start by saying that I’ve never paid nearly $70 for one pizza before ($69.90 to be exact).

But Pizzone’s pie is unlike most.

For one thing, it’s a massive 18-inches in diameter and 1-inch thick all around.

It’s also Milan-style, meaning that it’s airy, soft, fluffy, and more like focaccia.

Milan-native Dario Presezzi, founder and CEO of Redwood City’s Biotechforce Corp., put his entrepreneurial skills to use in a different way this summer when he opened this ghost kitchen inside of Palo Alto’s Vina Enoteca.

That means it’s pick-up and delivery only. And if you pick it up yourself, just note that you do so at a side door just to the left of Vina Enoteca’s main entrance.

By the time you get the pizza home, the cheese may have congealed just a bit, so you can rewarm it in the oven or zap it in the microwave for the briefest of seconds.

The whole pie.
The whole pie.

The pizza comes either in a box of two slices ($9.90 to $11.90, depending on the toppings) or as a full pizza (12 slices that will serve 6, starting at $54.90). Because the crust is thick, two slices will definitely fill you up comfortably, too.

There are five vegetarian pizzas to choose from, and four meat ones. The beauty of the whole pizza is that you can choose up to six flavors on one pie, which is what I went with.

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