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Spotlight on Takeout: Visiting an old favorite and a new kid on the block

20January 2021

This week, we just followed our cravings and ordered what we felt like eating.

We ended up getting takeout from one iconic St. Paul restaurant, and a new spot that seems destined to stick around for a long time.

Please consider ordering as much as you can from local restaurants during this time. If not the ones I mention, then your favorite place. Have you had some great takeout lately? Tell us about it (we love photos, too!) at eat@pioneerpress.com.

TONO PIZZERIA + CHEESESTEAK

The No. 1 South Philly from Tono Pizzeria + Cheesesteak in St. Paul. (Jess Fleming / Pioneer Press)

Nancy had been to the Maplewood location of this up-and-coming pizza and cheesesteak mecca, but I hadn’t gotten around to trying it. So when the new St. Paul spot opened in the former St. Clair Broiler space it was on my shortlist.

Let’s just say, the hype is well-founded. We adored the wood-fired pizzas with tasty crisp-chewy crusts. All the pizzas we tried were great, but being fans of spice, the hot chili oil-hot honey-pepperoni (Spicy Tono) was our favorite. The Fungo, a white-sauce mushroom pie that gets a boost from truffle oil, came in a close second.

And of course, we couldn’t order without throwing in a cheesesteak sandwich. We went with the No. 1 South Philly, and let’s just say my husband is already plotting a return visit. Tender beef and onions are nestled in a pillowy bun and smothered with your choice of cheese (we went with the classic Cheez Whiz, which is lowbrow and frankly, perfect).

1580 St. Clair Ave., St. Paul; 651-243-1978; or 3088 White Bear Ave., Maplewood; 651-243-1953; tonomn.com

— Jess Fleming

CAFE LATTE

Spread Sampler plate from Cafe Latte in St. Paul. Photographed Jan. 8, 2021. (Nancy Ngo / Pioneer Press)

The Salad Sampler is usually my go-to order at Cafe Latte. But it’s a new year. So for a recent takeout order, the thought was, “Why not try something new?”

That led to an order of the Spread Sampler ($9.50), which seemed like another great way to nosh on a variety of things.

It was a great call. You can choose three from eight types of spreads. We went with the Sonoma Basil, Crab Salsa and Chicken Spinach that come with tomato, cucumber and red onion and baguette slices. It was fun to mix and match and slowly get full from noshing while assembling what felt like mini open-faced sandwiches.

That, paired with a bowl of Chipotle Bean Chili ($7.95), was a perfect light lunch for my husband and me to share.

I’m now inclined to occasionally swap the Salad Sampler out for the Spread Sampler for lunch, which, P.S., is also great to keep in mind for when you’re in need of an appetizer spread or something to pack for a picnic.

While the goal was to try new things, which was accomplished with the spreads and chili, it’s hard to head here without ordering a slice of that famous Turtle Cake. So we broke down and added that to our takeout order.

Some habits are hard to break. Especially when it comes to that oh-so-tempting decadent Turtle Cake.

850 Grand Ave., St. Paul; 651-224-5687; cafelatte.com

— Nancy Ngo

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