Mother’s Day was a good combination of what I love about food. I got to get my bake on in the morning, putting together a yummy brunch spread for us to enjoy. The girls were in their jammies (actually, they were both in my jammies – harrumph) and we sat and ate and laughed. Two of the things I made – maple scones and cinnamon swirl bread – will be featured in a future blog post. But what I want to share with you in this post is what we had for dinner, and the best part of it was that I did not cook it. Because as much as I love preparing good food, I derive just as much pleasure in having it made for me. If Noah were living under our roof, or even in the same state, I would happily have let him cater my Mother’s Day dinner. But since he is hunkered down in Wisconsin, I opted to have a restaurant prepare my Mother’s Day feast. I went with Hawker’s, one of my favorite restaurants located in South End. (It is right next to Jeni’s ice cream, so David and I like to have dinner there or at Superica around the corner, then walk on the Greenway for an hour or so before ending the evening with a scoop of Jeni’s amazing ice cream. My favorite is salted peanut butter and David’s is brambleberry crisp. But I digress…
So Hawker’s is a very trendy (and almost always crowded) restaurant that features Asian street fare. It has happy hour prices that are a remarkably good deal (okay all you Charlotte folks – the secret is out!) and it is consistently good. I like it because it scratches the I-want-Asian-food itch but is far more interesting and innovative than your run of the mill Chinese or Thai or even Indian (a personal fave) restaurant. And let’s face it, I also love this restaurant because it offers up fare that I am unlikely to cook myself. It is not close to our home and we pass many, many restaurants on the way, but it is worth the drive. So when I saw that Hawker’s was offering a Mother’s Day feast for four, based on recipes that are favorites of the chefs’ and restauranters’ moms, some of which aren’t even on the menu, I was in.
For $75, we picked up a veritable feast. The deal came with three mains: fire roasted chicken, Siu Yoke (roasted pork belly), and char siu (pork). The mains were accompanied by a bunch of sides included with the meal: Sichuan Green Beans, Hawker’s Delight (mixed vegetables with tofu), curry mashed potatoes, basil fried rice, and green papaya and shrimp salad. There were also delicious dipping sauces and I ordered some roti canai (light and flaky pancakes with a scrumptious curry sauce) on the side because the girls have not yet experienced it (or Hawkers, for that matter) and we wanted to address this great deficit in their lives.
The food required cooking on our part – not reheating, but actually continuing the cooking process. It came with very clear directions (temperature, time, whether it should be covered or not, how to cut it or sauce it once it came out of the oven) and I appreciated that it did not taste like lukewarm takeout but more like a hybrid of restaurant fare and food that came out of my kitchen. It was so delicious and had me so grateful that restaurants have adapted to curbside pickup and takeout and just surviving. I was happy to give one of my faves my business and I encourage everyone who loves food and cooking and dining out to show some love to restaurants – especially local ones (Hawkers is actually a chain, but a limited one) – to help them make it through the social isolation and the new normal that will probably not allow them to fill all their tables. Most restaurants operate at a slim profit margin to begin with so many will still be struggling even when they reopen. And as a foodie who likes taking a break from cooking and getting to be fed and served and introduced to new dishes and delicious takes on things I know how to make and plenty of things I don’t do myself or would not want to, I am rooting for these restaurants.