Takeout from Paley's Place in Northwest Portland. ##Photo by Andrea Johnson
Takeout from St. Jack in Northwest Portland. ##Photo by Andrea Johnson

Takeout for Two

Kindle your love of community restaurants on Valentine’s Day

By Annelise Kelly

February is the month for lovers. St. Valentine’s Day is traditionally a day for exchanging declarations of admiration, devotion and love. It’s also the ultimate day for a romantic dinner à deux in a fancy restaurant. However, that’s not in the cards for 2021. State safety guidelines to restrict the spread of COVID-19 are limiting whether restaurants may serve indoors or out, and many people choose not to dine out until the situation improves.

However, your Valentine’s feast need not be a DIY affair. Restaurants throughout the state are offering takeout, so why not let them take care of the cooking? Take some of that money you’ve saved by postponing dinners, drinks, concerts and Mexican vacations over the last 10 months, and enjoy the ultimate takeout dinner at one of the many fine dining restaurants highly qualified to prepare a meal you’ll remember.

Takeout offers the perfect chance to support your culinary community while spoiling yourself. The Oregon food scene is a national treasure. “To lose it all would be just a shame,” said Chef Vitaly Paley, owner of Paley’s Place in Northwest Portland. “As a restaurateur for over 25 years, I have seen the growth and I’ve seen us become a viable, strong, vibrant, thrilling dining scene.”

With every dollar we spend, we can help our beloved and beleaguered restaurants and wineries, as well as their staff. Paley observes how restaurants provide more than food: “After this is over, I think we’re going to be providing the emotional restoration the general public will need. Restaurants will be there to provide that place of comfort and hospitality.”

Whether you favor seafood bouillabaisse from Marché in Eugene, wild mushroom pasta from OutAZABlue in Gales Creek, or Wagyu beef bavette from Restaurant Beck in Depoe Bay, you can savor a delicious chef-crafted meal in the comfort of your home. Don’t forget to include appetizers and dessert — it’s a celebration, after all! Many of these restaurants also can add wine from one of Oregon’s superb vineyards.

To make the most of your top-tier takeout, here are some tips:

Set the table before you leave to pick up your meal, so you can get it on the table quickly. Tonight’s the night for all the bells and whistles: a vase of flowers, twinkling candlelight, your best china, polished stemware, cloth napkins and a full set of flatware.

If you’ll need to reheat — and even if you won’t — tidy up the kitchen ahead of time, so you’ve got a calm, clean area to work in. Warm the dishes on this cool February holiday, and plate your meals with loving care. It’s a great night to get pizza and ice cream for the kids, and let them eat in front of the TV. Unless they would enjoy serving as your waitstaff.

This past year has taught us much about gratitude. Chef Paley agrees: “We have this loyal group of people, and we all know them by name, by faces, by their orders sometimes. I have a diehard group of customers that, honestly, I can’t even thank them enough for that. It’s pretty special.”

So spread the love by supporting your favorite restaurant or trying something new, perhaps from the esteemed places listed below. Send these businesses a love letter by running up a big romantic bill, so they’ll survive to serve you in the years to come.

Valentine's Vittles To Go

Marché -- Eugene

Begin your tête-à-tête lingering over a charcuterie platter and sharing some of Chef Stephanie Kimmel’s crab cakes, then move on to a delectable main such as roasted black cod with Marcona almonds, brown butter and lemon or winter vegetable tagine with mint-pistachio couscous, preserved lemon and spicy harissa. Finish with the English classic: sticky toffee pudding served with vanilla ice cream and toffee crunch. Order wine to accompany. 

OutAZABlue -- Gales Creek/Forest Grove

Save the restaurant’s popular pizza and pasta dinners for another day (or order one for the kids), and go all-out with surf and turf: top sirloin steak grilled to order, and your choice of seafood including lobster tail, seared ahi, grilled salmon and more. Match that with a Caesar salad and baklava cheesecake, and trust Chef Gabriel Barber to select the perfect bottle of wine to complement your meal. 

Paley’s Place -- Portland

Chef Vitaly Paley launches a new thematic menu every two weeks. The new year opened with a tribute to New York’s Little Italy: insalata di frutti di mare (cold poached seafood salad with Meyer lemon vinaigrette) followed by an entrée of brasato al barolo (beef cheeks braised in red wine) or foraged mushroom and ricotta cannelloni, plus pumpkin tiramisu to finish. Curated wine and à la carte options are also available. Experience Paley’s Tea for Two, reminiscent of the lavish tea service at the Heathman Hotel, on Feb. 12, 13, 20 and 27. Delivery available. 

Restaurant Beck -- Depoe Bay

Stimulate your senses with Chef Justin Wills’ contemporary haute cuisine. Start with tetsukabuto squash bisque (mountain rose apples, candied pine nuts, buttermilk gel) and move on to local albacore tuna with dill yogurt, pear, honey-fermented gooseberry and fennel frond. For dessert, try his reimagined lemon meringue “pie” (kiwi, basil syrup, fried basil, cranberry leather, candied lemon). Don’t forget a bottle of red, white or sparkling wine. 

Rosmarino Osteria Italiana -- Newberg

Taste the romance of Italy with a starter of roasted asparagus on farro or roasted porchetta with greens, then move on to some of Chef Dario Pisoni’s authentic homemade pasta like prosciutto and rucola (pappardelle topped with mascarpone, prosciutto and arugula sauce). Tempting desserts include: cioccolato and caramello (chocolate cake, caramel cream and chocolate hazelnut ganache) and house-made gelato. 

St. Jack -- Portland

In his rustic French café, Chef Aaron Barnett crafts country cuisine with simple elegance. Pretend you’re in Paris with a starter of pâté en croûte studded with hazelnuts and prunes, followed by duck à l’orange served with radicchio marmalade, roasted beet, blood orange and agrumato. For dessert, split a pint of house-made ice cream by the fire. St. Jack’s selection of red and white wine includes its own Willamette Valley blend. Delivery available. 

Sybaris Bistro -- Albany

Chef Matt Bennett has planned a special Valentine’s menu. After sharing an antipasto appetizer, enjoy your second course of smoked pheasant and wild mushroom soup, then your entrée of surf and turf Wellington: beef tenderloin, Maine lobster and spinach in puff pastry, with a silky Maine lobster sauce. Finish with Valrhona chocolate raspberry tart with raspberry whipped cream. 


Web Design and Web Development by Buildable