The Bread Workshop’s mini quiches and roast chickens are just one convenience food designed for busy families. There are hundreds of take-out places in the East Bay doing everything from three-star French to steam-table Filipino, but most to-go food is meant to be hot when you buy it and hot when you eat it. Here are a few suggestions for finish-at-home convenience foods made by small local producers. Chuck the Stouffer’s and stock your fridge with these:
Pork and chicken tamales from La Borinqueña — While Christina Ramos and Isabel Ramos Esquivel prefer that you steam their tamales back to life, they concede that the microwave works in a pinch. Pork: $17.88/dozen; chicken: $19.08/dozen. 582 7th St., Oakland; 510-832-1346; TamaleGirl.com
Boiled dumplings from Shan Dong Restaurant — You can make a lunch out of a half-dozen of Shan Dong’s plump, chewy pork, pork and cabbage, or vegetable dumplings — twelve minutes in boiling water and they’re done. $13.95/fifty frozen dumplings. 328 10th St., Oakland; 510-839-2299.
Half-baked pizzas from Arizmendi, Cheese Board, or Zachary’s — A staple among Berkeley parents, these half-done pizzas crisp up and melt down in your home oven. All without long waits, fake cheese, or guilt. Cheese Board: 1512 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley; 510-549-3055; $18/pizza. Arizmendi Emeryville, 4301 San Pablo Ave., Emeryville; 510-547-0550; $15/pizza. Zachary’s Oakland, 5801 College Ave., Oakland; 510-655-6385; $15.55-$20.95/pizza.
Meat or vegetable pies from the New Zealander — Kiwis drive to Alameda from all around the Bay Area for a taste of home. Owners Clive and Donna Hitchens serve hot and frozen pies with flavors ranging from curried vegetable to good ol’ minced beef at $6 a pop. 1400 Webster St., Alameda; 510-769-8555; The-NewZealander.com
Meatloaf from Joe Scalise Jr. and Sons — This Alameda butcher has been selling meat to islanders for seventy years. For $2.98 a pound you can purchase as much of the Scalises’ premixed meaty meatloaf as you need. Cook it in your own pan, slather the top with ketchup, and lie like hell to your guests about your talent. 3211 Encinal Ave., Alameda, 510-522-4848; ScaliseMeats.com.
Lasagna from Genova Delicatessen — The original Genova Deli sells its own ravioli, pasta sauces, and lasagna in meat and meatless varieties. A small two-person lasagna costs $7.95, a large six-person one, $26.95. 5095 Telegraph Ave. 510-652-7401.