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May 14, 2020

It’s fascinating watching how states are handling the reopening of their economies, especially as it relates to restaurants and the measures they are taking, or not taking, to protect citizens from contracting or spreading Covid-19.

In one corner, Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has just cancelled the state’s stay-at-home mandate and opened the flood gates for people to roam freely – and that they did as they crowded bars and restaurants.

On the other hand, California just put out 12 pages of guidelines for restaurants to follow before reopening such as spacing tables six feet apart, erecting partitions to separate closed bars, and cutting down wait time inside the restaurant by having customers order meals in advance.

I give kudos to at least two restaurants for creativity in adapting to dining out in the time of coronavirus: in Amsterdam, capital of the Netherlands, Mediamatic ETEN has been testing social distancing while dining. With project “Serres Separees,” French for separate greenhouses, customers may soon be able to enjoy taking their meals overlooking the waterfront – from inside little all-glass greenhouses. Person-to-person contact is minimized as gloved servers wearing face shields use long wooden boards to deliver healthy locally-sourced dishes. It looks rather romantic!

Stateside in Virginia, The Inn at Little Washington (three Michelin stars) will compensate for social distancing requirements. Starting May 29, customers won’t feel alone dining all dolled up because every table will be occupied with mannequins dressed to the nines in between spaced-apart diners. Romantic? Depends how you look at it. Bizarre? A little. Cool? Indeed!

But for the moment, as we stay safer at home, we’ll continue making our meals, but we will take note of what restaurants are doing out there. I made tostada shells from a bag of fresh corn tortillas the other night for a wonderful comfort meal of tostadas topped with leftover beans and cabbage salad. Then Louie cooked chicken sausage and picked cactus from our back yard and made a refreshing cactus salad – nopales in Spanish -- that we added to the tostada fixings of shredded cheese and chopped tomatoes.

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