About 80 million Americans received a direct deposit of $1,200 in their bank accounts today (4.15.20) from the federal government, relief to help offset the economic impact of the pandemic. If you're like most people, you'll probably spend it on food. But let's face it, while coronavirus panic may have been a boon for national supermarket chains like Walmart, Safeway and City Market, as hoarding stripped shelves of basics like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, bleach and canned goods, it's been a virtual bust for local restaurants. Those businesses that haven't shut their doors are struggling to pay rent and employees and purveyors by offering takeout, at discount prices. So instead of stocking your pantry with more canned soup and pasta, try filling your freezer with ready-to-eat gourmet meals prepared by a local chef. Your grocery store will be there once this crisis has passed, but your go-to neighborhood restaurant may not. At least not without your help. You can make a difference with that bonus from the U.S. Treasury by eating locally, starting with these three standout takeout options:

La Tour Chef Paul Ferzacca offers his Vail Village restaurant's entire menu (and bottles from his wine cellar) for delivery to your doorstep, with zero-contact, at bargain-basement prices

1. La Tour Restaurant When Chef Paul Ferzacca started serving his Vail Village restaurant's entire menu to go last weekend -- three courses delivered to local doorsteps, with zero contact, for as little as $20 per person -- he didn't realize how much work it would take to pivot, or how many of his longtime customers would appreciate the effort. "It was like starting up a whole new business, it's crazy," says Ferzacca. "But people have been extremely grateful. We're even trying out a marketing thing: buy your favorite teacher or nurse a dinner, to spread the love in our community." That they did, with 50 deliveries the Saturday before Easter alone -- the lamb shank was so popular it sold out completely.

The debut week's to-go favorite: Tender beef medallions in red wine mushroom sauce

On the menu recently: teriyaki pepper beef medallions and  grilled chicken breast coq au vin. Order online or by phone from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and meals -- which keep for up to five days -- will be delivered from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Thursday through Saturday (also available for curbside pickup at the restaurant). Even better: Spend $125 and pair your meal with a $100 bottle of Tribaut Schloesser Champagne, for just $1; bundle that with bottles from the restaurant's cellar, discounted from 25-60%. That includes exceptional selections like a 2011 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Puligny-Chassagne Montrachet Grand Cru; while that purchase may eat up a couple stimulus checks, for a wine collector, it's an opportunity to make a savvy investment, and provide a much-needed cash infusion for a small business struggling to stay afloat. "To think that a family-run business like mine might not to be able to make it through this, that's a scary thing," says Ferzacca. "I needed to do something to keep five families fed." By feeding yours, you're helping La Tour feed theirs. 122 E. Meadow Dr., Vail Village, 970-476-4403; la-tourvail.com

Dinner to go: Parmesan-crusted cod with pesto noodles and blistered cherry tomatoes

2. Foods of Vail Since the Avon HQ of one of the valley's most popular upscale catering services also doubles as a retail shop, it's still possible for customers to walk in and browse (and savor the aroma of) the cornucopia of fare available for takeout, and home delivery (free from Vail to Edwards; Mon - Fri 10 am - 6 pm; Sat 11 am-4 pm -- bonus on Saturdays: everything in the deli case is 30% off), everything from more than a dozen soups (from tortellini with sausage to Thai chicken curry; $12.50/quart) to made-to-order weekly specials (from parmesan-crusted cod with pesto noodles and blistered cherry tomatoes to cinnamon beef and udon noodles with spinach and mushrooms; $20-$24, serves 2-3) and a freezer stocked with a dozen different casseroles (from chicken pot pie to beef bourguignon; $28-32, serves 2-3) ready for transfer to yours. 82 E Beaver Creek Blvd, Avon, 970-949-0282; foodsofvail.com

 

TiAmo's Involtino di Pollo: Chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella and garlic, wrapped with prosciutto and topped in a chianti wine sauce, served with sautéed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes

3. TiAmo Ristorante Like La Tour, Eagle-Vail's TiAmo Ristorante has made its entire lunch and dinner menu of Italian comfort food available for curbside pickup or delivery (Mon-Fri 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.; 5-8:30 p.m.; $10 delivery fee, plus $20 gratuity), from soups, antipasti and salads to risottos (including lobster sauteed with oven-roasted tomatoes, zucchini, and garlic in a saffron cream white wine sauce), house specials (like Petti di Pollo alle Fragole: Chicken breast sautéed with strawberries, red onions, and red pepper flakes in a brandy cream sauce over angel hair pasta), four different preparations of veal, a trio of chicken dishes (including Involtino di Pollo: Chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella and garlic, wrapped with prosciutto and topped in a chianti wine sauce, served with sautéed spinach and garlic mashed potatoes), as well as options for vegetarians (like homemade ravioli stuffed with Sonoma organic mushrooms and marscapone in a creamy mushroom marsala sauce). And like LaTour, TiAmo also has opened up its wine cellar for home delivery, many bottles unavailable at local stores, at a 25% discount. "The community has been absolutely fantastic," says owner Paul Yenerich. "The support towards us, I can't express how much that means to me and my staff, to be able to keep employed. That's been the case for restaurants that have been able to stay open across the valley. In the restaurant community, we can't express the gratitude we feel for locals and the way they are supporting businesses in the area." 40928 US Hwy 6, Eagle-Vail, 970-845-8153; tiamovail.com

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