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Get Linked: Take-out Menu Inspiration

I may be admitting too much here, but this is the best I’ve got right now! I thought I had absolutely nothing creative to offer today. I used up a few days’ worth of creativity (and energy, both mental and physical) finishing off the Disney Princess dresses, which are now on their way to Disneyland. That blog post should be up within 2 weeks – watch for it!

While recuperating from my absorption in sewing by surfing the internet, I was reminded of a wonderful restaurant we recently visited in Seattle. The burgers were delicious, the atmosphere was modern sleek combined with kitschy retro – fun!

The menu was a must-read!  In fact, our group all seemed to have our noses stuck in them for longer than normal.  The “did you see?” comments were constant, the “I’m going to have that” averaged at least 2 per person, and I cannot wait to go back!

The memory of all those burgers and their eclectic but oh-so-good combination of toppings brought to mind a habit of mine. I collect take-out menus.

Yes, we do use them to order from the local restaurants, but mostly I collect take-out menus from everywhere I find the food inspiring for one reason. To get inspired in my own kitchen.

Ever have one of those evenings or menu planning sessions, when you are going to use chicken, and probably pasta, but then your thoughts come to a screeching halt?  Want to turn those Sunday morning pancakes into something less-ordinary but your coffee hasn’t finished brewing /kicking in yet?

Pull out the take-out menus.

Not to order from! Look for the pasta section, and see what they’ve done with chicken. Check out the sandwiches for out-of-the-ordinary but yummy combinations that aren’t (yet) in your mental repertoire. Get in the kitchen with a fresh outlook!

No computer required. No commitment to following a recipe required. No expectations of super-blogger prowess or the distractions of your personal computer time-sucker. Just a little kick-start for your own inventiveness.

I suggest starting your own take-out inspiration menu collection. Almost every restaurant I’ve asked has had a paper copy to provide. It might just rescue you one day when you are staring at a package of uncooked chicken wondering what to do next. Or maybe that’s just me.

Here are a few menus I find inspiring – yes, they are online. But you could print them and start your collection!

  • THE AWESOME Lunchbox Laboratory in Seattle.    Be sure to also check out the Experiments tab for the specials, where Sam and I found a lamb burger with grilled onions, Havarti, and sambal-oelek + lime mayo. It was fantaaaaastiiiiiic!
  • Mercato in Olympia, WA part of a group of restaurants by my fave South Sound area restauranteur Adam Adrian.
  • Applewood Grill in Wenatchee, the “Apple Capital of the World” and my hometown.
  • Silver City Brewery restaurant; Sam and Aaron introduced us to this great place and we’ve all been back many many times. I think I have a coupon; time to go again!

Share your favorite menus! Yes, I do have an ulterior motive ;)


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