Being forced to stay home and practice one’s cooking skills will certainly pay off in the long run—many of us are in training for when we eventually have to host and/or be responsible for all the food on any given holiday. But in the short run, sometimes food just tastes better when someone else cooks it. After all, all the best, most mind-blowing takeout is the stuff you don’t yet know how to make yourself. For when you want to take the pressure off yourself to make dinner, here are eight great BIPOC-owned restaurants to get takeout and delivery from this holiday season.
The Switzerland-meets-Hawaii restaurant Swiss Hibiscus have temporarily converted their giant windows into a makeshift takeout counter off Alberta. Go here when you want a full-blown dinner with all the bells and whistles, including bread, salad, and appetizers. The restaurant’s signature, widely famous Martin Swiss Dressing also works well as a dipping sauce for those warm and toasty dinner rolls, and if you get a bottle from a local grocery store, it can make any salad more exciting. While the celebrated restaurant hasn’t had seated table service since March, partners Jennie Wyss and Tammy Hay are still serving their usual Swiss fare for takeout. Some of their best appetizers include alper magronen ($11.50), a rich mac ’n cheese-type dish that includes potatoes, sautéed onions, and ham, as well as cream and gruyére (which can be made vegetarian). Another “don’t miss” is their sauteéd mushrooms appetizer ($10.50) dressed in their housemade garlic butter. They’re also still serving regular entrees like Paprika Schnitzel (pork medallions or tofu with paprika mushroom cream sauce, $18.50) as well as rotating and holiday plates, such as a recent osso buco, and of course, the frequent salmon special that can be made cajun-style or with a beurre blanc sauce and capers. Entrees come with the customer’s choice of salad/coleslaw, and either spätzli (traditional Swiss pasta fried in garlic butter) or rosti, a hashbrown made with sauteed onion, ham, and cheese—and again, the veg version is great. Speaking of, their deep and flavorful vegan lentil stew is a nice lighter option (still comes with salad and a side!), and might be just what you need delivered at some point during this cold, flu, and COVID season.
4950 NE 14th, Thurs-Sun 4-8 pm, 503-477-9224, swisshibiscus.com/menu
This family-owned cart located in downtown Portland’s food cart pod on SW 3rd has some of the tastiest, most affordable Mexican food in the city. At these prices, get as many fish tacos ($2) and neatly wrapped burritos as you can eat. My custom vegan burrito—beans, rice, avocado, with grilled fajita peppers and onions, $4.50) is one that owner/cook Fili says they’ve considered adding to the menu. Do not sleep on Piñata’s churros, which are often filled with cajeta, AKA Mexican caramel sauce. Also, I have yet to find a salsa verde or roja that’s as consistently perfect as Piñata’s. If you’re within range, you can get La Piñata Takos delivered via Grubhub, otherwise it’s reliably quick to walk up, order, and take it to go.
432 SW 3rd, Mon-Fri 11 am-4 pm, Sat 11 am-3 am, 503-943-9725, restaurantji.com/or/portland/la-pi-ata-takos
The fact that there’s a raging pandemic means we humans have every reason to be concerned with how many nutrients we’re getting, as well as immunity-support. All the more reason to drink ya juice! This fall Cydnie Smith opened her juice shop and wellness hub, Drink Mamey, in the former Tea Bar space on NE Killingsworth with the goal of increasing the Black community’s access to wellness, and overall health. Drink Mamey’s menu separates its items in terms of whether you’re looking for a tasty drink or something to specifically meet a nutritional need. But while the “taste good” side includes Apple A Day (a seriously lovely balance of apple, lemon, and ginger), the “feel food” side includes some pretty tasty juices as well with the mind-bending Majikal, a blue blend of pineapple, mint, blue-green algae, and alkaline water. In addition to stellar juices, they’re also serving up smoothies. After a short hiatus during the grand opening period, Drink Mamey is doing in-house delivery again.
1615 NE Killingsworth, Thurs-Sun 11 am-7 pm, 503-432-8376, drinkyajuice.com
From the salads and starters to the shareable entrees, this stalwart Thai restaurant on NE Alberta does a lot of things well. Among them is the Hot Basil Fried rice, tossed with bell peppers, onion, carrot, and your choice of protein; as well as their warming Pumpkin Curry. This of course comes with your choice of meat, tofu, or just vegetables… in case you’re like me and simply can’t get enough of those delicious tender chunks of pumpkin.
2531 NE Alberta, Mon-Fri 11 am-9:30 pm, Sat & Sun noon-9:30 pm, 503-281-6180, maeploythaipdx.com
This downtown Portland food cart specializes in Chinese noodles that are hand-stretched right before your eyes. Popular for its versatility is the Chao Mian dish of hand-stretched noodles stir fried with vegetables and chili oil. Get it with your choice of chicken or fried OTA tofu ($9), beef ($11), or chicken and shrimp ($12), and then specify your spice level—with caution. The chili oil flavor is significant even when ordered mild and it’s great for cold weather. These massive portions of fresh, elastic, and oily noodles are priced for an individual but can comfortably feed two people, or one person twice.
SW 3rd & Stark, Mon-Fri 11 am-3 pm
When hairstylist Thuy Pham opened this new vegan Korean joint during the pandemic, she thought it’d be a fun way to create content and keep her clients engaged while she couldn’t work in the salon due to COVID. After experimenting with learning how to make vegan pork belly via watching lots of Youtube videos in Vietnamese, Pham mastered it, and unintentionally created a customer base after cooking with her mom on Instagram live. She quickly went from selling vegan pork belly out of a commercial kitchen, to doing lunch pop-ups, and then opening up her own brick-and-mortar in the former Fermenter space on SE Morrison. In addition to selling her plant-based pork and fermented vegetables, Pham now slangs vegan versions of traditional Vietnamese dishes like pork belly banh mi, spicy phish sauce wang banh mi, bao buns, as well as collaborations with other food companies in town.1414 SE Morrison, check Instagram for weekend menu and hours, 503-954-1222, mamadutfoods.com
Couple/business partners Keia Booker and Martyn Leaper run this subscription-focused small batch coffee bean business. Customers can choose from a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly subscription, or buy beans a la carte on their website. The single-origin beans are sourced from all around the world, from Kenya to Ethiopia, and Guatemala to Colombia. If you have a hard time choosing between all the various beans, go with the Roasters Choice subscription or get the best of the globe with the 4-Track Blend ($14). They’ve also got some cute gift box sets starting at $34, and they come with a bag of beans, a bandana with illustrated brew methods, and a Top Cup coffee mug.
After you’ve had one of Kee’s “loaded” plates of comfort food (from $20 to $26), you’ll see why it’s worth the wait. The menu at Kee’s Loaded Kitchen changes depending on what owner/chef Kiauna Nelson feels like making. You’ll find anything from smoky beef brisket to fried “crack” catfish, fried chicken, and sides like mac ‘n cheese, potato salad, baked beans, and loaded fried corn. The cart sold out on Thanksgiving, when folks lined up around the block to get some of Kee’s loaded plates of turkey, candied yams, cornbread, mini sweet potato pies or her famous banana pudding for dessert. You may have also seen Kee catering a walk-up Thanksgiving dinner for the Portland Boys and Girls Club. Nelson is planning another Feed Black Portland event on December 27. Customers, or “winners” as Nelson refers to them, should follow @KeesLoadedKitchen on Instagram, where she updates us on her menu, hours, and more.
3625 NE Martin Luther King Jr., check Instagram for menu and hours