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PROJECT TAKEOUT

3 places we supported this week

Want to order from local, independent restaurants? Here are some suggestions from Globe staff.

Carnitas Torta.Christopher Muther

HUNGRY COYOTE, Needham

Did I feel guilty as I ordered yet another Mexican dish laden with meat, cheese, and stuffed with extra avocados? Maybe a smidge, but it was the kind of night that called for comfort food. With the wind howling and the snow blowing sideways, I reasoned that I needed robust choices that could carry me through to the next day in the event of a power outage.

At least that’s what I told myself as I ordered a girthy chorizo burrito with the circumference of a soup can. And yes, that tightly packed burrito filled with light-spiced sausage and rice was as wonderful as it sounds.

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Chef Francisco Mendez’s menu at the Hungry Coyote in Needham is not particularly adventurous, and that’s what makes it an ideal spot for takeout. The first time my husband mentioned he was bringing home takeout from a Mexican restaurant in Needham I was skeptical (Needham? Mexican food?), but it was some of the best I’ve had in the ‘burbs. My apprehension faded as I stuffed my face with a chicken taco.

Chorizo burrito.Christopher Muther

Let’s start with the quesadilla. The tortilla was lightly grilled and toasted until crisp at the edges, and the inner proportion of cheese to meat was hearty. It’s a simple dish, but how many times has a soggy quesadilla ruined your day? Really, only me?

The beef torta was served on a crusty roll worthy of any Mexico City food hall. I ordered mine with guacamole, which acted as a mayonnaise-like base to set off the taste of seasoned chopped tomatoes. Add the beef, and it was like consuming elevated avocado toast. The chicken tamales came with a kick, although the corn cake was perhaps a bit on the mealy side.

Carne asada.Christopher Muther

This was solid Mexican takeout, but what truly elevated the experience was the carne asada. Mendez’s seasoning for the meat was citrus-based, but contained something more. Was it cilantro? Extra white wine vinegar? The only way to solve the mystery was to keep eating. Thankfully, I was unable to determine the secret, so I have an excuse to order again.

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Hungry Coyote, 1185 Highland Ave., Needham, 781-292-1004, hungry-coyote.com. Breakfast from $5.50 to $9.50. Starters from $7 to $10. Lunch and dinner from $10 to $28.

CHRISTOPHER MUTHER

The writer and her dinner guest enjoy Rail Trail takeout. The food, despite so many sauces, did not get mushy.Meredith Goldstein

Rail Trail Flatbread Co., Hudson

Pizza for takeout is a pretty obvious choice. Fancy pizza for takeout? Clearly a good idea when you’re enjoying a special night with people you love (including yourself).

The thing abut the Rail Trail Flatbread Co. in Hudson, though, is that the restaurant — known for its pizza — can do more than pies for quality takeout. The cute downtown spot across from New City Microcreamery (the businesses — including a speakeasy inside of the microcreamery — are helmed by Michael Kasseris, Karim El-Gamal, and Jason Kleinerman), manages to pack up food that could be a soggy mess by the time you get home, but somehow isn’t. Things taste fresh, even the next day.

I think I got into a rut with takeout, where I was afraid to go beyond the basics — avoiding anything with sauces that seemed like it could get gross within an hour. Rail Trail proved that I can dare to go for the marinades, the sauces, and the condiments without worrying about things getting too mushy.

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The menu changes seasonally, but on a recent night with special friends, I ordered two pizzas — the pepperoni ($13/$18) and the more daring birria flatbread ($19.75/$29.75), topped with tender short rib and served with consommé perfect for someone like me who wants a dip for every dish. I worried about that second pizza being drippy or only good straight out of the kitchen in the restaurant, but it all held together. I could have dipped for hours had I not filled up on everything else. The team saw that birria tacos were trending on social media and said hey, let’s make this a flatbread. It’s been the most expensive on that menu, but a favorite.

What shocked me was the tastiness of the duck poutine ($17), which was moist, hearty, meaty, and not at all gross after the trip home and hours later. The fries are hand-cut, the duck gravy isn’t too heavy. Don’t be afraid to order because it sounds messy.

Rail Trail also has my favorite guacamole-based sandwich. The Holy Guacamole ($14) is in a pita made in-house with greens, hummus, also-house-made falafel, and fried cauliflower that for whatever reason is so hearty I can barely finish the thing. A great meal for leftovers.

Drinks to go — including the appropriately named spicy cider drink Pleasant Company ($11) — were served in easy-to-pour containers. Best of all, we ordered some of that unique ice cream to go; Rail Trail has pints on hand. The list of flavors at New City is always so hard to choose from, but we quickly went for the Baklava, which tasted like the flaky pastry in ice cream form. Worth noting: New City has opened a new location in Sudbury (the official grand opening is Friday), and already has a spot in Central Square.

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Rail Trail Flatbread Co., 33 Main St., Hudson, (978) 293-3552, railtrailflatbread.com. Appetizers, $10-$23, entrees, $15-$29.75.

MEREDITH GOLDSTEIN

Takeout from Ginger Exchange in Mission Hill.Sam Steenstrup

Ginger Exchange, Boston

It’s amazing how much a meal can alter the course of an evening. I recently moved into a house with four near strangers, and getting to know them has been an adjustment. One night, we dined together as a group for the first time. Over plastic takeout containers from Ginger Exchange in Mission Hill, I got to know my new housemates.

We ordered a variety of dishes, but they all could be categorized as either sushi or noodles, two pinnacles of the takeout genre, if you ask me. My salmon sushi combo was the perfect option for somebody who loves raw salmon as much as I do. My housemate, Chloe, got the veggie combo and told me that it was nice to have so much variety in a vegetarian option. We enjoyed our meal with Thursday glasses of wine and pleasant getting-to-know-you chatter.

The next day, I bumped into another one of my roommates, Jamie, in the kitchen. She pulled her plastic container, half full of garlic udon noodles from the night before, out of the fridge. “These really are good,” she told me. “And you can quote me on that.”

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Ginger Exchange, 1625 Tremont St., 617-739-8888, www.gingerexchange.com/mission. Appetizers, $4.50-$10.95, entrees, $10.50-$26.95.

SAM STEENSTRUP


Christopher Muther can be reached at christopher.muther@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther and Instagram @chris_muther.