Our recent curbside pickup from Torre, our local higher-end Mexican restaurant, served two purposes: supporting a small business and giving me a night off from cooking. It gave us a break from the now-normal routine of life in the time of coronavirus. As I wrote in an earlier blog, you can create a special date night out of curbside pickup. In this case, we chose another ambience. Different food, different mood.
If you don’t live near Center Valley, PA, find your own local restaurant to support. They will appreciate it.
Curbside Pickup Restaurant: Torre
Location: The Promenade Shops in Center Valley, PA
Pickup Hours: Wed. – Sat. 4:30-7:30 pm; Sun. 3:30-6:30 pm
Recommended music: Adagio from Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra (Joaquin Rodrigo, composer)
How It Works at Torre
Restaurants have adopted various routines to accommodate curbside pickup. In the case of Torre, you can call up to 30 minutes before pickup to place your order. We perused the online menu, chose our items, and called to place the order. Although they said that the order would be ready in 15 minutes, we chose instead to designate a time.
When you pick up your food, you park in a space outside the main door (across from their sister restaurant, Melt.) You either call in or talk to a worker who comes out. A glove-clad worker then comes out with your bag.
The only hitch was that they wanted us to sign the credit card receipt. I had just seen that same pen in the hands of the customer in the car next to ours. It didn’t matter that the worker wore gloves since that pen exchanged hands I-don’t-know-how-many times and touched the gloves. We asked the worker to sign for us. But, of course, the gloves touched our bag and the receipt he handed us. It’s amazing how germ-conscious I’ve become in the past few weeks.
(Cascade did not make us sign, and the receipt came stapled to our takeout bag.)
Setting the Mood
Although we couldn’t really do a good job with a Mexican vibe given what we had, we were able to set a different mood regardless. We put a portable lamp in the center of the table and placed a Mexican-made flamingo on the floor in the background. Thanks to our daughter’s gift of a few months of the American Cocktail Club, we even had an appropriate cocktail mix on hand: the Tequila Angeleno. It consisted of watermelon mojita mix, ginger beer, lime, rose petals, and, of course, tequila. We poured the cocktails into red chili pepper glasses.
For dinner music, my husband chose a guitar concerto composed by Joaquin Rodrigo – Spanish, not Mexican, but it was as close as we could get.
And Dinner is Served
Because I had made mahi-mahi tacos and salmon rice bowls for dinners earlier in the week, we went for beef at Torre. We ordered empanadas de carne, Monterrey tacos, and ensalada de la casa. The restaurant also offers a family style meal for four; grilled tuna with spiced zucchini and roasted corn; tortilla soup, and char-grilled skirt steak, among other things. I saw no vegetarian main courses on their curbside menu.
The three empanadas were crispy outside, with a flavorful interior of ground beef and cheese. The side of salsa verde contributed spiciness, although it wasn’t super-hot. Likewise, the beef brisket tacos, in soft white corn tortillas, had spice, but nothing near as intense as their pork tacos (not on the curbside menu.) I loved the lime dressing that came with the house salad; it was sweet, tart, and thin enough to coat the lettuce without my having to use too much.
We love Torre, mostly because it’s not a typical Mexican restaurant. Yes, it serves some standard dishes, but the restaurant tweaks those with its own take on them. The curbside menu offers a sampling of the regular menu, and all our dishes transported well. The family package rotates weekly. In addition to food, you can purchase a six-pack of beer to carry away. During life in the time of coronavirus, we try to support the local restaurants that have switched to curbside pickup, and we’re glad Torre is one of those. If you don’t live in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, find your own restaurant to support. Be safe, though! If you are especially vulnerable, take a pass.
Debbie Lee Wesselmann
To read other articles in my Life in the Time of Coronavirus series, click below.
How to create a special date night, with a review of Cascade at Durham Springs curbside pick up.
Traveling your backyard to relieve the stress of the lockdown
How to substitute flours when you can’t find all-purpose white flour.