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Multitasking for the holidays

November 19, 2021

People love to crow about multitasking. A friend who is a mental health professional defines multitasking as “doing several things at once, none of them well.”

But with the holiday season upon us, there’s a way that gift givers can do several things at once - and do all of them well. How about supporting our still-struggling restaurants by giving gift cards to friends and family?  Everyone eats, so they will certainly not gather dust for very long, and goodness knows they’re easier to wrap than a holiday-themed Mercedes.

Eateries here in Delaware’s Cape Region are still among the best for everything from super-casual-through-a-window to white tablecloth. Rather than the same-old-same-old this year, buy gift cards - and if you run a little late, you can always say it’s a New Year’s present. Either way, it’s still the gift that keeps on giving - at least until you use it.

And many of our local restaurateurs, including SoDel Concepts, Touch of Italy, Fins Hospitality Group, OMG Hospitality (Grain on the Rocks in Lewes) and Big Fish Restaurant Group (certainly not an all-inclusive list) offer gift cards online, so you can do all your Christmas shopping in your bunny slippers.

Venture upstairs at First Street Station to grab a gift card from Cooter Brown’s Twisted Southern Kitchen. The Ghost Ain't Real Margarita whipped up with Libélula tequila will certainly get anyone into the holiday mood.

Speaking of Christmas spirits, that lucky foodie in your life will love the custom-made Manhattan at Theo’s Steaks, Sides & Spirits - not to mention the Stinky Cheeseburger and those Tempura Green Beans.

A few steps toward the sand is the always reliable Café Azafran. Tell your giftee to hold onto that card until Chef Richard presents another of his freshly made-before-your-eyes Paella Feasts. This exclusively Rehoboth event always sells out!

Adventurous foodies will treasure a gift card for Aroma Restaurant. My pick hits include the Piyaz Salad and the Aroma Sampler. Don’t know what that stuff is? Then start hinting now.

Chris and Gary Desch at Chap’s Pit Beef are still dishin’ up wallet-friendly beef, ham and turkey sandwiches at their tiny but tasty spot on the highway behind Iron Hill Brewery. A gift card can go a long way there.

Customer loyalty to 1776 Steakhouse’s 30-year fine-dining reputation has kept the lights on for Tom, Tammy and Johnny there in Midway. One of my happy places is the friendly bar. A gift card can make that experience even friendlier.

The new Taco Reho is creating quite a buzz (have you seen the drive-thru lines!?). If a loved one has not been, you can gift the experience. By the way, you can bypass the line of cars simply by going inside.

If your significant foodie loves barbecue, follow the plume of smoke to Bethany Blues in Lewes or Bethany Beach. A B’Blues gift card can easily morph into a tasty trifecta of pulled pork, beef brisket and pulled chicken sliders.

If you find yourself in Dewey Beach, slip into Woody’s Dewey Beach Bar & Grill. Jimmy O’Conor’s crab cakes are among the best around, but don’t miss out on the burger, the French Dip and the fried green beans.

Those of the not-quite-so-carnivorous persuasion will treasure a gift card from SEED, near Minh’s Bistro at The Highway and Route 24. And meat-eaters are welcome too; Dmitry Gorin and crew have enough chicken, beef and shrimp to top any of their colorful dishes.

A gift card can go a long way at Hari and Orion Cameron’s Grandpa MAC on The Highway. The mac & cheese dishes are legendary, but we also love the salads and soups.

Clever use of an Atlantic Social gift card includes the tender pork chop and amazing wings. The bar is big and welcoming.

Indigo Indian restaurant, Raas Asian/Indian Fusion restaurant, Cabanas Salvadorean restaurant, Minh’s Bistro Vietnamese place and Sawanya Conway’s Sticky Rice in Lewes continue to be among our flagship ethnic joints to brave the vagaries of resort restauranting.

Pick hits at Indigo include the Onion Kulcha and Lamb Vindaloo (do you dare ask for it “10 hot”?). Raas’ Chana Masala and those crispy water chestnuts also make for great Christmas treats. If you like deeply savory spices, don’t miss the Green Curry bowl at Sticky Rice. Fredy and Joachim’s pupusas and tamales at Cabanas, and Minh’s crisp & salty Lime Wings (alongside an Olympic-size bowl of Phở) are ideal rewards for picking up a gift card or two. Or three. Do I hear four?

Just around the corner, Alex Kotanides’ pizzas at Pat’s are certainly tried and proven, but why not encourage your giftee to branch out with the lasagna and their regulation-style club sandwiches?

Touch of Italy’s one-of-a-kind Italian cookies, cannoli cakes and eclairs can turn stocking stuffers into people stuffers.

Of course, we have lots of new kids in town, including Sussex Public House, Federal Fritter, the just-opened Agave Rehoboth, Harvest Tide in Bethany and Matt’s Fish Camp Fenwick. They can all use a little love in the next month or so.

So many restaurants, so little ink. But you get the point: If you want your go-to hangout to survive, ‘tiz the season to do your part. And your favorite foodies will love it. See? Multitasking isn’t so bad after all.

  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at byesbek@capegazette.com.

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