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How do You Celebrate a Special Occasion During a Pandemic?

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Even when times are tough, you still deserve anniversary steak or birthday cake

Steak and ravioli at Original Joe’s Original Joe’s

Welcome to Ask Eater, a column from Eater SF where the site’s editors answer specific or baffling dining requests from readers and friends. Have a question for us? Submit your question in this form.

Dear Eater SF,

We have an occasion coming up, and would normally go out to dinner. But how do you celebrate during a pandemic? Are there any takeout options that feel a little more special?

The Party People

What’s Up, Party People,

This is a question that readers have been asking for a while, and honestly, it took us a moment to find the right response. With everything going on in the world right now, from the pandemic to rising call for social justice, it never felt like the right time to recommend cake. But people have been celebrating all spring, from birthdays and anniversaries to showers and graduations. Many are missing gatherings with family and friends these days, as well as the big spreads of nostalgic food at their hearts.

So, if I can be of service, allow me to suggest a few party essentials. Personally, my cravings lean toward a trifecta of steak, cake, and bubbles. If you’re into splurging on Michelin stars, step right this way, while if you’d rather kick back with barbecue, by all means. There’s more than one way to party. These are just a few favorites.

Steak and ravioli at Original Joe’s Original Joe’s

Bone-In Ribeye from Original Joe’s

Is there anything that says happy birthday like a outrageously thick steak, sweeter on the bone, with all of the sauces and sides? If it were my birthday, I’d be going all in on California classic Original Joe’s, and getting the 25-oz ribeye, with shrimp cocktail, caesar salad, and ravioli, of course. Hit up the Westlake location for takeout, or dine outdoors in North Beach, if you’re comfortable.

The Donburi Specials from Yubu by the Shota

Sushi spots have been slicing and dicing some beautiful takeout options, with a lot of chirashi bowls, but the new boxes from Yubu, the new takeout iteration of luxe FiDi omakase spot the Shota, feel even more special. Keep an eye on Instagram for the latest options, which come in limited quantities, and order by text at (628) 224-2074 ⁣⁣or via Caviar.

Black Forest Cake from Hahdough

There are so many hardworking bakers across the city who remain in hot demand — people are really taking comfort in sweets these days. But the unofficial dessert of Father’s Day appeared to the Black Forest cake from Hahdough, that sweet new German bakery just off Divisadero. Chef and owner Ha Do has also sized down her options for shelter in place, so you can get a celebration cake that’s not too overwhelming for a smaller household, but still has a cherry on top. Order online for pickup.

Sparkling Wine from the Riddler

There are also a lot of strong wine, beer, and cocktail options to go, but I like to party with bubbles. The ladies at the Riddler have set up a bottle shop, and are now offering boxes of Champagne or sparkling wine, each with a trio of thoughtfully selected trio of bottles, from rosé to brut to blanc, France to California, that are ready to pop. Order online for pickup.

Jamaican patties from Peaches Patties
Jamaican patties from Peaches Patties, often included in the La Cocina Food Box
Peaches Patties

Or, Send a Fun Food Box

It’s worth mentioning, even if you can’t celebrate together, there are lots of restaurants, farms, and organizations that are offering boxes right now, which would make the perfect gift. You could send a friend a bag of oysters from Hog Island, a box of grass-fed steak from Stemple Creek, a veggie box from CUESA, a community food box from La Cocina, and there are many more. See what your favorite spot is offering. There’s a lot of thoughtful food getting boxed up.

The Shota

115 Sansome Street, , CA 94104 (628) 224-2074 Visit Website

The Riddler

528 Laguna Street, , CA 94102 (415) 589-7002 Visit Website


1221 Fell Street, , CA 94117 (415) 691-9570 Visit Website

Original Joe's Westlake

11 Glenwood Ave, Daly City, CA 94015 (650) 755-7400