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Portland Food Writers and Personalities Share Their Takeout and Delivery Standbys in 2020

Eem curries, thick slabs of pizza, and more comfort foods that we kept ordering throughout the year

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A bowl of white curry with hunks of brisket burnt ends
White curry with brisket burnt ends from Eem
Dina Avila/EPDX

Per tradition, Eater Portland ends the year by reflecting on the last twelve months of dining in a series we call Year in Eater. We reach out to Portland food writers and influencers for their perspectives on major trends, impressive newcomers, and standout meals, and share their responses in a single package. Of course, 2020 was a historic and catastrophic year for the restaurant industry, so our questions this year hinge on that reality. Still, many wanted to celebrate the restaurants, chefs, and trends that really stepped up this year, and lament the restaurants lost to 2020. Look back on past years here.

For those of us who didn’t subsist on beans and elaborate baking projects this year, takeout and delivery ruled the world. Even after restaurants could, once again, serve diners onsite, many Portlanders still relied on curbside pickup lasagnas, mochi doughnut delivery, and walk-up window breakfast burritos while waiting out the pandemic. We asked Portland food writers and personalities about their go-to takeout and delivery spots in 2020 — here’s what they said:

“I’ve seriously had to limit myself to ordering the Arabian Breeze meze from Nicholas no more than once a week, or else I would eat it for dinner every night. I’m not even vegan, but the variety of fried cauliflower, nutty muhammara, oil-drizzled hummus, m’jadara, crisp falafel, and tahini smothered in caramelized onions — plus a giant warm pita to scoop it all up — hits the right notes. As an added bonus, this Lebanese bounty easily stretches to three meals for one person (no, I don’t share), and you can add a skewer on the side if you want to beef (or lamb) it up.” -Krista Garcia, Eater Portland contributor

Chin’s Kitchen has soothed me on many a stressful day during the pandemic. My go-tos include the shrimp and egg dumplings (I keep a bag of these in my freezer for emergencies), the la pi cold noodle salad, the pork and Chinese sauerkraut casserole, and the fried eggplant, potato, and pepper dish. Taqueria Los Puñales makes some of the best tacos I’ve had in Portland—I particularly love the choripapas and the barbacoa. Ha VL and Rose VL always brighten up a rainy day, and their two-soups-a-day menu really helped me differentiate the days during the pandemic.” -Katherine Chew Hamilton, Portland Monthly food editor

2020 was the year of comfort foods. For me, that means noodle soups from Ichiza Kitchen, Kayo’s, and Van Hanh were on heavy rotation, as well as stews from Akadi, curry from Mirisata, and pizza from Baby Blue and Boxcar. At the end of the year, I may have to tally up how many pies I’ve ordered from Odie, just for funsies.” -Waz Wu, Eater Portland contributor

Hit the Spot!, Matt & Memere’s, Jojo PDX, Portland Pizza Peddler, Hot Lips.” -Bill Oakley, television writer and Instagram influencer

Admittedly, I ended up not eating out a ton this year, but just as I did before the pandemic, I frequented the Earl Ninsom rotation of Hat Yai, Paadee, and Eem.” -Nick Woo, Eater Portland contributor

We had a lot of takeout from Master Kong and Danwei Canting for Chinese food, and Dil Se and Swagat for Indian food. We also had an ungodly amount of pizza and Chipotle this year.” -Vicki and Vanessa Ng, Instagram influencers

I still can’t get enough of Eem’s white curry, and my wife happens to love their fried chicken. The way the brisket pieces hold the smoke flavor without it permeating the curry honestly blows my mind. The overall complexity of the dish is incredible.” -Ron Scott, Eater Portland contributor

“My habits were based on proximity, ease, and craving because I wasn’t eating for work. I picked spots that were convenient because they were near my house, had easy online ordering, and reliable pick-up times. My go-to dishes included Little Conejo’s newly added sopes topped with greens, fresh corn tamales, and oyster mushroom tacos. I also frequently got puttanesca pizza, meatballs and greens, and a mason jar of the “industry margarita” from Rally Pizza. The Alambre from Los Alambres, a platter of Mexican grilled sausage, asada, bell pepper, onions, and ham under a blanket of melted cheese served with warm corn tortillas, was perfect for grazing during a night of films from the Criterion Channel.” -Rachel Pinsky, Eater Portland and Columbian contributor

Paadee for big flavors and consistency, Rough Draft for a big hug of a burger, and Quaintrelle for when I want my life (and tastebuds) to sparkle.” -Daniel Barnett, Eater Portland contributor

Malka, Baby Doll, Big’s Chicken, Yonder, Ranch Pizza.” -Alex Frane, Eater Portland contributor

Lots of Holy Trinity Barbecue, Whole Bowl, Chimcking, and Tokyo Sando — basically an assortment of comforting foods that travel well. I also ate an absurd amount of doughnuts from Pip’s and matcha soft serve from Matcha Cafe Maiko.” -Seiji Nanbu, Eater Portland contributor

“I’ll be honest, most of my go-tos have been mentioned by other Eater contributors (I’ve ordered ba mhee phitsanulok at Paadee way too many times in the last 12 months), but, like Waz, I was super reliant on noodle soups this year. Beyond places like Kayo’s, Rose VL, and Paadee, I ordered plenty of Afuri yuzu ratan ramen, Phnom Penh noodles from Sunshine Noodles (come back soon, please!), Marukin tonkotsu, and Gado Gado laksa. Other than that, we’ve been eating a lot of barbecue and meat delivery — namely, Holy Trinity, Matt’s BBQ, and Mama Bird.” -Brooke Jackson-Glidden, Eater Portland editor

More Year in Eater [EPDX]