In mid-March, when the city of Los Angeles ordered restaurants to close their dining rooms, I worried that these places wouldn’t survive. As a lifelong lover of restaurants who has devoted the past thirteen years of my writing life to them, I had to respond. So, I hatched a wide-ranging plan, from calling Congress to supporting beloved businesses.

The plan included my significant other and me getting as much takeout, every week, as we could. In the process, we also tried to save money and climate by not driving, and to minimize the number of exposures to the virus by ordering from just a few trusted places. We soon found a groove: picking up dinner from three restaurants, each once a week, the same ones, in the neighborhood, on foot.

This routine turned us into “regulars.” I never wanted to be a regular. I enjoy the anonymity of urban experience,...

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