Top 5: Leftover foods

It's the time of year when maybe about the last thing you want to be thinking about is cooking or spending any more money than is absolutely necessary on going out to eat. This is where some strategic dining forethought comes into play. If you play your cards right, you can milk 2-3 meals out of one dinner out. Hint: Playing your cards right does not involve eggs, lettuce and, in many cases, pasta. Here's our Top 5 surefire leftover bets for post-holiday relaxation and thrift.

Top 5: Leftover foods

1. Sure, pizza's a leftover gimme, but actually, not just any pizza is good leftover. Neapolitan pizza, for example, can really never be resurrected when it is a day old. (Plus, Neapolitans don't usually leave leftovers anyway.) Your best leftover pizza bets come from pies that a) have a thicker, more substantial crust that will hold up later either reheated or cold, b) don't have excess amounts of cheese, because cheese can get weird when its reheated and c) are big enough to start with that you'll have a couple extra slices. Galactic and Black Sheep are two great local candidates.


2. To leftover seekers, Indian food has the benefit of not including noodles, which can make for unpredictable leftovers, or vegetables like lettuce or broccoli which can get wilted and weird on their own later on, let alone when they might be in close proximity to or smothered by other leftovers in a styrofoam clamshell. For those of you who don't want your leftovers touching each other anyway, broccoli or not, Minneapolis's Gandhi Mahal is a good choice. providing many mini-containers for you orderly Type As.


Top 5: Leftover foods

3. Chinese food in general is a pretty good bet for leftovers, and Szechuan style particularly so. As leftovers, the peppers have had a chance to blend and work their magic a little more, providing the bonus benefit of having a leftover meal that possibly exceeds the quality of the original. Szechuan also provides one of the rare exceptions to the "no noodles as leftovers" rule. Plus: Hello, family-style! Family-style meals are nothing but a good thing as far as leftovers go. St. Paul's Little Szechuan and Chanhassen's Tian Jin make for some deeply badass leftovers for starters.


Top 5: Leftover foods

4. Grease sort of guarantees durability and preservation, so that makes lots of pub grub fairly good as leftovers generally speaking. There are some caveats however: 1) Watch out for certain sandwiches, particularly depending on how crazy you go with the condiments. As we all know, bread gets weird when it's sitting next to mustard or your favorite wasabi mayo. 2) You may have to reheat to crisp up those fries or tots, which might be against the rules for some of you who believe leftovers should involve no more effort than reaching into the fridge. Grumpy's and Bulldog N.E. are two good spots for bar food leftovers.


Top 5: Leftover foods

5. If you're careful enough, Mexican food can make for some great leftovers. Meat dishes like carne asada and carnitas, for example, are pretty much a home run. Beans and rice are also pretty surefire (charro beans in particular are fantastic leftover). Be wary of dishes with lettuce and cheese, as well as tortas. Avocados and corn tortillas don't really hold up very well either. Boca Chica and Los Ocampo have good selections to wade through.

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