For Atlanta-based food writer Angela Hansberger, thehas been hard to swallow. She can't write about restaurants when they're closed.
"I was facing a lot of anxiety. I kind of hid it," said Hansberger. "Gosh, I'm crying. I was really sad for all the people in the industry that I worked with."
Hansberger said she had to get her mind off it. So, using ingredients from her garden, and her encyclopedic knowledge of fine dining, she opened her own restaurant on her front porch, where she now serves chipmunk.
The little guy has had a standing lunch reservation for months now.
Whether it's veggie pizza and a side salad, or imitation sushi with walnut wontons, every day, Hansberger goes to remarkable lengths for her exclusive clientele.
"Took a while to try and make little tortillas that I could fold to put the…," said Hansberger, as she started laughing. "I love the way that you're shaking."
"Well, I love how you're realizing how crazy it sounds as you're saying it," I responded.
Today, it's mini spaghetti with tiny date meatballs and a thimble full of almond flour breadsticks. The chipmunk, who she named Thelonious Munk, typically arrives within seconds of serving, eats his fill and packs the rest to go in his cheeky doggy bag.
"And the reviews have been good?" I asked Hansberger.
"The reviews have been great," she replied. "One day he came up with this little tiny bundle – waded up leaves – and put it on the table. So, I take it to mean he brought a tip."
That said, you get the sense that Thelonious is still a little skeptical – like there's gotta be a catch. Her cat wishes there was a catch. But there will be none of that because, for Hansberger, this bit of silliness has become her daily sustenance.
When asked what this has done for her, she responded, "It's brought joy. I have more videos of this chipmunk than I have of my children. It's bad."
We all need to find a way to cope during this pandemic, which is why I'm giving Chez Angela my highest rodent restaurant rating: 3 stripes.
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