Itching for normalcy to return, take-out pizza seemed the best way to skip cooking without feeling like we’re living in a pandemic. After all, what’s more normal than picking up a pizza for dinner on a Thursday night?
For our first takeout pizza since businesses shutdown nearly two months ago, not just any delivery would do. Instead we decided to try a new-to-us spot with an impressive word-of-mouth following, as well as a steady social media presence that is certainly entertaining while you quarantine at home.
At The Food + Drink, there are a few specials but the super-yummy-delicious one (syd1) seems to be the go-to and a decent place to start. Logging onto the website to place my order I automatically had a good feeling about this place thanks to the off-the-cuff comments strewn about. For example, the website greets visitors with its tagline “serving both kinds of food: pizza and tacos.” After that, parentheticals state, “(unless there’s a global pandemic in which case it’s mostly just the pizzas.)”
Navigating the ordering process gets a little tricky, but bear with it. Toggle to take out, select the time in which you want to pick up your pizza and then customize your order from there. Pick-up times are staggered to avoid overcrowding and long waits.
Perhaps the coolest pandemic-style flavor this place offers is the option to buy survival gear with dinner. We’re talking rolls of toilet paper for $1 and other staples the grocery stores might be struggling to keep on shelves, like eggs.
I dropped a dozen eggs, a beer (just $2.50!)and a cookie into my cart along with the super yummy delicious one complete with a poached egg on top. At 8 p.m., my selected pick-up time, I pulled up to the curb and my order was walked out to me. So, while ordering took a few beats to figure out, the system is pretty seamless and I applaud the owners for keeping guests (and themselves) safe.
By the time I got home the pizza had lost a little heat but was still warm. Opening the box revealed a slightly mangled poached egg that had stuck to the top and a tantalizing aroma that smelled like gourmet takeout pizza should. This pizza is made with extra virgin olive oil but skips the marinara sauce. The dry dough instead is baked with sea salt, burrata and prosciutto. When it comes out of the oven, it’s layered with arugula and sea salt again.
I always joke that my favorite type of pizza is one that has a salad on top, so the heap of arugula excited me but proved to be a tad overwhelming. Without the optional poached egg, I worry this particular pizza would have been a bit dry (nothing a little ranch dressing can’t fix) but the flavors of the prosciutto and the sea salt were a match made in heaven. And with the poached egg, you could forgo any dipping sauce at all. I am curious to know how sauced pizzas, would fare in comparison.
The best part of the entire meal, however, is dessert.
The owner posts on Instagram about his mom’s magic cookies (yes—that’s what they are called on the menu). These chocolate chip cookies are
probably definitely the best I’ve ever had, and I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur. Instead of chips, they use wafer-like chocolate pistoles, and these bad boys weigh in at ¼ of a pound. Topped with sea salt and overloaded with melted chocolate, the flavors are complexed and balanced.
I split this cookie with my boyfriend and, honestly, I wish I didn’t. Next time I’ buying the frozen dough (yes she sells her magical cookies by the half-dozen for $12). The best part? Baking instructions are included so hopefully I don’t mess them up.
Despite reopening allowances, The Food + Drink has decided to stick to its curbside model for now, which means tacos are still off the table. But, you can enjoy a pie, some groceries and liege waffles to-go. Oh, and don’t forget the alcohol!
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. She graduated from California State University Sacramento with a bachelor’s in English and is pursuing her master’s in Professional Journalism as we speak. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.