It’s been two months since restaurants closed to dining-in and I am very glad to say that Grand Szechuan is still open for takeout. This is not to say that they’ve not been affected severely, of course. Though I do see more people picking up food each time I go, business is obviously down drastically: they’re now closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. I do hope that the staff—most of whom must have been laid off or furloughed when this began—are doing well and have managed to get access to financial support; I haven’t read much about what support systems are in place for restaurant workers in Minnesota, and have generally not read much about what programs/support networks there are for restaurants outside the high-end in general. (It’s quite possible I’ve missed things that are out there—if so, do point me in the right direction.) Against all hope I hope that we will see all the familiar staff again when restaurants can open fully and we feel confident enough to go back and eat in again. In the meantime, we also hope to be able to continue to get Grand Szechuan’s food as takeout. As I said in my first pandemic takeout report on them, we get a huge order from them once every two weeks and eat it all slowly over four or five days. This report is of our last two orders.
As with the orders covered in the previous report, we have continued to order a mix of old favourites and dishes that we haven’t ordered much in a while or at all. We’ve continued to mostly get braised dishes or others that are likely to survive the 40 minute drive home—plus repeated reheating—well. There have been some exceptions with fried and grilled dishes and I have to admit these have not been good choices. For example, our old favourite, country-style chicken was still very tasty but the crisp texture was history by the time I got home. Ditto for the Chengdu-style grilled fish fillet—which I don’t remember having eaten before: extremely tasty but the fish had gotten a bit soggy. Others that I was iffy about but survived well include the Szechuan cold bean jelly, which they cleverly packed with the bean jelly “noodles” separate from the sauce. We have also (re)discovered some dishes we haven’t eaten in a really long time and one of them has become a new favourite: diced fish with chopped dry pepper. And the boys too have two new dishes from these recent orders that they like a lot: sweet and sour pork ribs and fish with black bean sauce.
I’m also glad to report that we’ve influenced a few more people into getting takeout from Grand Szechuan since my previous report—including a few who’d never been before. If you too have never been before please take a look at the slideshow below; maybe it will persuade you as well to give it a go. And if you’re a regular and have been getting takeout from them too, let me know in the comments if there are particular dishes you’d recommend for takeout.
Next week I might have another report on ramen from Bull’s Horn. Or maybe something else. The possibilities are quite a bit less than infinite but well be getting takeout from somewhere or the other this weekend—and who knows we might even attempt a takeout picnic in a park somewhere if we can find a place that isn’t swarming with people. If you have any tips on that front as well—especially in the South Minneapolis area—please write in as well.