Food is almost always in better condition when you pick it up directly, but you’ll have to take time to transit – almost always driving, albeit on largely uncrowded roads now – so it is more of a hassle, but it will also be cheaper. Those delivery services are quite expensive, after all. Some restaurants have set up online ordering, making it easier to order, but be patient. These aren’t large online retailers, so you might encounter a glitch or two. Some have also transitioned to more functional take-away and delivery menus like H-Town Restaurant Group (Hugo’s, Xochi, Caracol and Backstreet Café) and Underbelly Hospitality (UB Preserv, One Fifth, Geogia James and Hay Merchant). Morning time, from 9:00 to 11:00, both Hugo’s and Backstreet Café are serving breakfast tacos for just $2.50, which is cheaper than most places these days. The Underbelly Hospitality menu includes the Vietnamese Short Rib Fajitas that I had at UB Preserv just after Christmas. Those are terrific. I recommended trying to order from these, as these two groups include a number of the best restaurants in Houston and also can certainly use your business, as we don’t know how long current conditions might last and which places might not be able to survive. To that, I heard word this afternoon that two long-time, small area chains might be closing permanently or might have already closed.
From Underbelly Hospitality you can also order wine. The selection is not terribly broad, but it is well-chosen, as can be expected from Matthew Pridgen, its wine director, who puts together some of my favorite area wine lists. That ordering of wine, also allows non-restaurants like Public Services to sell wine and beer. An order of food is also required with the alcohol, which is easy to do with a selection of cheeses and excellent Spanish preserved seafood. I really like Justin Vann’s selection of wines at Public Services, and I go there frequently to expand my wine horizons. Some of the cool stuff there includes a few from the estimate orange wine producer in Oslavia on the Italian-Slovenian border, Radikon, the excellent and idiosyncratic Rioja-based Lopez de Heredia – with a rosé from 2009 – plus more than a few of Vann’s pet petillant naturel sparkling wines, and a lot more. Public Services is one of the best wine and whisky bars in the city – and among the very best cocktail bars, too – it would be a shame if it cannot weather this violent storm.
Just think, you can be very helpful in aiding what is part of the very enjoyable fabric of the city, by eating and drinking; eating and drinking very well, at that.
Relatedly, charities need assistance, too. Among the area charities that you might want to support is the Southern Smoke Foundation, Chris Shepherd’s effort, whose stated goal is “provides funding to individuals in the food and beverage industry who are in crisis.” Also, the Houston Food Bank, for those facing food insecurity, which might be many more these days, or soon, with the stark economic toll the pandemic is seemingly already taking.
Even the sandwiches look great from Chris Shepherd and company, and they are the menus.