How I miss sitting in a basement bar with a cocktail and my friends, or sitting snugly at a back table at La Buvette over beef bourguignon, or in a semicircular booth with friends at V. Mertz in the Old Market passageway.
Among the many things 2020 took from me is the chance to ring in the new year somewhere in the Old Market, as we’ve done with the same group of friends for the past several years.
While we wait to once again celebrate — hopefully in 2021! — we’ll all be celebrating separately this year over a takeout meal or something fancy we make at home. Champagne is a non-negotiable.
If you’re planning the same, here’s your list: Ten options for takeout to kiss this stinker of a year goodbye once and for all.
Here’s to 2021!
Le Bouillon, 1017 Howard St.
It’s where we’ve spent several New Year’s Eves, including our most recent, and it’s never disappointed. This year, the restaurant has a very cool lineup of retro snacks available for takeout. For $40, you’ll get bayonne heart of palm, braised Swedish meatballs, cucumber and salmon, a winter relish tray and shrimp cocktail. The restaurant will also provide a special playlist to pair with your snacks — grab a bottle of something bubbly from Howard Street Wine Merchant and you’re set.
The Homy Inn, 1510 N. Saddle Creek Rd.
Ok, so no food here, but this dive bar (the kind I desperately have missed in 2020) is known for its Champagne on tap, and you can bring a growler of it home to ring in the New Year. Choose from sweet, dry, strawberry or peach and toast this year a final goodbye.
La Buvette, 511 S. 11th St.
Seeing the daily menu post from La Buvette on Instagram these days is like rubbing salve on the wound of 2020, at least for me. Buvette is one of the most romantic spots to ring in a new year — I’ve done it myself several times — and even eating their beautiful food at home carries with it a tinge of that romance. They’re open all day on the 31st, and I highly recommend checking out whatever specials are on the menu that day. Hey, at least we can pretend we’re in Paris instead of our living room couch.
Lincoln’s Pub, 157 W. Broadway, Council Bluffs
I saw this special on Instagram this morning and thought it sounded fun, plus I’ve never been disappointed in my meals at Lincoln’s, in downtown Council Bluffs. They’ve got a to-go wagyu tomahawk or beef Wellington special for the new year, complete with sides: spinach artichoke dip, roasted truffle potatoes, lobster mac and cheese and triple chocolate cake. Don’t worry about calories until Jan. 1.
Plank Seafood Provisions, 1205 Howard St.
Lobster seems like a good way to kiss 2020 adios. For $39 a diner, Plank will let you take home a 6 oz. lobster tail, twice baked potato gratin, broiled Brussels sprouts, the choice of New England clam chowder or a salad and a grasshopper chiffon for dessert. Add a bottle of Blanc de Blancs brut for $25. The meal comes with directions for baking, and quantities are limited.
Umami, 1504 Galvin Rd. S., Bellevue
Umami — oh, how I have missed in-person sushi! — has two limited time specials on its menu: two options for a family sized sushi tray and another two options for kitchen meals. Were it up to me, I’d get one of the raw options, which include a wide variety of rolls for between $50 and $60. If you don’t do raw, the kitchen options include crab rangoon, egg rolls, lo mein, General Tso’s, fried rice or vegetable hibachi.
Railcar, 1814 N. 144th St., and Timber, 8702 Pacific St.
Chef Jared Clarke has a special New Year’s Eve dinner for two available at both his restaurants, which includes Champagne. The appetizer and dessert arrive ready to serve. Diners can join Clarke in an online video to cook the main course with his assistance; guests will receive further instruction. The menu includes jumbo crab cakes; pan roasted filet au poivre with peppercorn sauce, truffled potato au gratin and roasted broccolini; and a dark chocolate olive oil cake.
Mahogany Prime, 13665 California St.
Mahogany is one of the best steak experiences in West Omaha, and this year they’re offering a new years “kitchen-to-table” package. The menu: a house salad with candied walnuts and goat cheese and chateaubriand for four with sweet glazed carrots and chive whipped mashed potatoes. The meal comes with instructions on how to heat and serve, and the Omaha location’s wine experts have suggested three bottles for pairing.
Lola’s, 4952 Dodge St.
I did a review of Lola’s back in January — it seems like it was longer ago than it was. But they’ve carried on inside the Dundee Theater through the pandemic with takeout, and for the New Year, they’re offering takeout charcuterie that looks dynamite. The lineup includes a full sized platter or, perfect for our current times, individually sized meat and cheese portioned for a single diner. They’re also offering beef tenderloin, roasted chicken and plenty of Prosecco.
Big Mama’s Kitchen, 2112 N. 30th St.
If you want to ring in the new year with some luck, a family-sized takeaway of Big Mama’s black eyed peas seems like a good idea. The Southern restaurant is also serving red beans and rice and seafood gumbo along with homemade cornbread and their famous sweet potato pies and cheesecakes. You can also add a pound of Andouille sausage or smoked ham to any order.