‘Takeout” used to be shorthand for Chinese food. But in the COVID-19 era and with the rise of meal delivery services, takeout can be anything.
This also has been a lifeline for eateries struggling with empty dining rooms and no reliable revenue.
Enjoying takeout while eating at home also allows us the chance to try wine pairings at a fraction of the cost of restaurant-ordered alcohol. We all know that any beverage ordered while dining out costs more than retail. The markups cover the cost of maintaining inventory, service time and equipment, such as glasses and carafes. Also, that markup helps pay for pricey liquor licenses.
I recently enjoyed some takeout-friendly wines with the unique, ever-changing, Asian-inspired cuisine from Peculiar Slurp in Scranton. When you have something meaty, as with the Bulgogi Bao, the bao bun with beef brisket, you need some heft to your wine. You certainly can go with a range of reds, or you can go part-way toward red wine with a dry rosé. When there is no red available, a rosé will almost always do.
An elegant rosé, Sonoma Cutrer 2019 Russian River Valley/Sonoma County Rosé of Pinot Noir shows character of fresh strawberry and watermelon with a crisp finish that cuts through the brisket and pairs with kimchi mayo topping. $19. ♦♦♦♦
Citrus and herb-marinated Shrimp and Crab Lo Mein packs a lot of flavor and citrus that would be hard to match. With dishes like this, the best approach to pairing may be to complement, rather than match, the flavor intensity.
The off-dry Nine Hats Columbia Valley 2017 Pinot Gris offers just enough character of sweet citrus, white pepper and green apple. $9. ♦♦♦ 1/2
Buffalo Chicken Karaage, Japanese-fried chicken morsels, offer a twist on boneless chicken wings that are buttermilk/sriracha-brined and finished with chili flour. The regular was considerably spicy, leaving the occasional spicy food lover to the wonder about the intensity of “Nashville hot” option. This much spice calls for the cooling effect of a sweeter wine.
For something sweeter that can cool the palate, try the inexpensive Fetzer Monterey County Gewurztraminer, which offers flavors of passion fruit and peach with spiciness and discernible sweetness. Softness and lack of acids, often a shortcoming, here smooths out the heat of spicy foods. $7. ♦♦♦ 1/2
Use the option of ordering out and dining in to experiment with wine pairings in ways that may not have been as practical in the days of enjoying a meal out.
GRADE: Exceptional ♦♦♦♦♦, Above average ♦♦♦♦, Good ♦♦♦, Below average ♦♦, Poor ♦
David Falchek executive director of the American Wine Society, reviews wines each week. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org