Last March, when our lives changed dramatically due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus, a deep sense of anxiety set in, fueled by the worry for the health of my family, friends, and husband while being a longshoreman. By early April, the restaurant closures began to weigh on me. I felt particularly sad, because the independently-owned restaurant owners and their employees, many of whom live in our community, were suffering due to the shutdowns.
Out of a desire to support our local eateries, I engaged some of my local friends to join me in purchasing takeout on Fridays and eating together on Zoom. That’s how Eat in San Pedro was born. As spring made its way into summer, our lunch group became thinner as people ventured out. However, my commitment to purchase takeout never stopped; it continues as evidenced by the pictures I post on Eat in San Pedro’s Facebook group and Instagram account.
February is synonymous with Valentine’s Day and all the fanfare associated with romantic dining. Although restaurants are closed for in-person dining, we can support Pedro establishments by ordering takeout. This month, I’d like to engage you in what I have dubbed “Date Night Takeout” or “Hangout Takeout.” Pick whichever fits you: a date with your romantic partner, family member, or a socially-safe friend to share takeout with from one of our great local restaurants.
If you miss a romantic or cozy ambiance, then pull out your favorite tablecloth, set the table, and add flowers and a candle. Weather permitting, if you have an outdoor space, how about dining al fresco?
Here are some high-end and more affordable options from a few places
J. Trani’s Ristorante is the first choice in town. Recently I ordered the impressive and mouthwatering “The Best” Veal Chop Parmesan. The perfectly moist and seasoned veal chop is my new entree to obsess over. Of course, another must-have is the local calamari new style. The truffle potato pancetta pizza is simply divine. J. Trani’s cocktails are well-crafted and satisfying; select your favorite to enjoy with your food. Current takeout hours are Wednesday to Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Compagnon Wine and Bistro offers traditional dishes that showcase the pleasures of French cuisine. I gravitate toward classics such as beef bourguignon and coq au vin. The “Maman Compagnon” savory tomato & mustard tart is delightful. If you enjoy cheese as much as I do, then give the raclette a try, because it’s glorious. Don’t be shy about consulting with owner and sommelier Thomas Compagnon about the perfectly-paired wine to take home from their collection. Current takeout hours are Wednesday to Sunday 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Think Prime Steakhouse didn’t disappoint on a recent roasted prime rib dinner takeout. I opted for the potato au gratin and sauteed mushrooms. Surf and turf choices are aplenty, and the regular menu portions are generous in size. The extensive Think Snacks menu offers reasonably-priced plates ranging from bar favorites such as loaded steak fries to more refined options such as smoked salmon carpaccio and oysters. Grab a bottle from the bar’s wine selection or your favorite cocktail to enjoy with your meal. Current takeout hours are Monday to Sunday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
My favorite sushi spot in town is Senfuku Japanese Restaurant. The father and son sushi chefs diligently cut and mold fish into delectable sashimi, sushi, and rolls, while the rest of the family members take care of the friendly customer service. Our order always includes tempura #1, albacore sushi, spicy tuna roll, and rainbow roll. Purchase a bottle of ice-cold Asahi or Sapporo beer with your takeout for a full Japanese experience. Current takeout hours are Monday to Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Last but nowhere near least is Conrad’s Mexican Grill, where my husband and I have shared many dates. I am a huge fan of the Ensenada ceviche, Mexican tostadas, chicken mole, and chile relleno burrito. The house salsa served with chips is fantastic. The menu is the most vegan-friendly to be found in San Pedro. Owner Conrad Aguilar will greet you with a friendly smile and warm hospitality upon arrival when your order is ready for pickup. Current takeout hours are Monday to Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Date night or not, please support our eateries by purchasing takeout food to help the owners and workers as they navigate these challenging times. spt