The time of takeout

It’s not easy to get out of the house these days, and when it comes to finding safe opportunities to indulge in the finer things in life, there aren’t a whole lot of options.
However, there is something about this time of quarantine that has sparked my imagination when it comes to fulfilling that desire to go out into the world and enjoy myself. I am, of course, talking about takeout.
There is a special place in people’s hearts and minds where going out to eat sits atop a shiny throne. It’s just so nice to be able to go out and enjoy a stellar meal and not have to do the dishes afterwards.
This isn’t feasible in our current pandemic world, so I’ve taken up takeout as a means of savoring that feeling of eating something that I didn’t have to cook.
My most recent night out on the couch took me to Moog’s Joint, just a five-minute drive outside of Johnson Village. My previous experiences in person, back when that was a thing that I could do, were pleasant and I looked forward to being able to sample the menu, albeit from a distance.
It’s easy enough to order. I found the menu online, and then simply called in and spoke with one of the servers on duty who took my order and gave me a twenty-minute wait time before I could come pick it up. For a night on the town during the weekend rush, I was pleasantly surprised by the short turn around from call to pick up.
The menu was what I would consider decadent for a diner or pub style restaurant, and I wasn’t entirely sure what to get from the plethora of food items that they had to offer. Appetizers ranged from hand breaded artichoke hearts, to a marinated beet and goat cheese salad, and the entrees would look at home at a higher end restaurant menu with such selections as spinach and mushroom risotto and rosemary pork tenderloin. There’s even the classics, like a fried chicken sandwich and a series of dressed up burgers that go from the spare to the loaded.
Most of the appetizers range from $5 to $10, though the beet salad comes in at $13. As for the main course, if you stick to the sandwiches, you’ll spend about $15 dollars for your meal. The entrees are more expensive at about $20 and depending on what sort of options you get they can be almost as much as $25. In addition, they have an ever-changing specials menu that rotates on a weekly basis, with items usually trending towards the more expensive.
After agonizing over the choices for several minutes, I decided to treat myself by ordering an appetizer of maple sriracha chicken wings and the Joint burger, the top end of the sandwich menu.
After a short drive in the country, I collected my order with minimal fuss, the waitstaff pleasant and quick to check me out and have me back on the road in only about five minutes.
Not all takeout can survive a journey home, though I am glad to say that Moog’s Joint fare is an exception to that rule.
The wings were the highlight of the meal, even though I am a burger devotee at heart. The sweet and spicy sauce was delightful, and I found myself immediately won over by the crunchy goodness. My only point of contention with the appetizer was that there were only six wings. Given the $10 price tag, I would have felt far better had there been a dozen of the mouthwatering wings instead, but these days going out has gotten pricey and I wasn’t otherwise disappointed.
The main course was lovely, the burger cooked to perfection. I asked and received a medium rare burger as any good human should and was delighted at how juicy the patty was. In my humble opinion, no burger should be left alone in the nude, and this one came adorned with bacon, Cabot cheddar, sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, Joint sauce (which I am ashamed to say I have no idea what it was other than tasty), and the regular lettuce, tomato and pickle.
The bun was a treat, nice and crisp and more than able to keep up with the associated juices that come with a generously apportioned burger. I’m a sucker for a loaded hamburger and it was certainly one of the better of its kind that I’ve had. The fries were surprisingly sturdy given the amount of time they had spent in the container, and I munched away with joy on the hardy spears.
Truly, the experience was positive, and I found myself looking forward to returning for takeout the next time I had a craving for some diner fare, though at the current price point, I’m going to have to have my cravings sparingly.
At the end of my finger licking meal, I spent a little over $25 on the meal before tax and tip, which seems to be the new standard for a meal out these days. I remember the days of the $10 burger and beer, but it seems that today a $15 burger and fries is the new standard. While I could have done with a second handful of the amazing wings, I was satisfied with the meal overall.
Moog’s Joint is located just outside of Johnson on route 15 on the way to Cambridge and is open five days a week from 3pm – 9pm Wednesday through Saturday, and 12pm – 7pm Sundays. Limited indoor seating is available on site at socially distanced tables, though calling ahead for takeout is encouraged. With the current trend of rapidly changing COVID guidelines, it is also encouraged that you call ahead for information on the latest dining availability.