Intolerable Foodie: Delivery Food Is Just an IV Drip with Flavor Choices

A rash of companies will now drive restaurant dishes to my house—but does the food deliver?

I do not do delivery. Delivery is a form of depression in which you give up on life by saying that you have neither the energy to cook nor go out and will simply accept whatever sustenance can appear at your door. Delivery is an IV drip with flavor choices.

Apparently, however, things have changed. I’ve read about apps such as Caviar, Postmates, and UberEats, which promise to-your-door options that have moved beyond soggy pizza and lukewarm Americanized Chinese food to soggy lasagna verde from Angelini Osteria and lukewarm pepper-seared scallops from Akasha. Ordering in, they pledge, can now be like having a production assistant in my home, eliminating the need to waste 15 minutes explaining to the other writers why the Daily Grill is not acceptable. Or talk to a production assistant.

Despite my disdain for delivery, I deigned to give it a shot. I used Caviar to order lunch from Gusto (orecchiette with sausage, kale, and fennel pollen; broccolini and charred baby octopus) and then Postmates to get dinner from Night + Market Song (catfish tamale; crispy rice salad). As I suspected, my meals were less like eating at a great restaurant and more like eating leftovers from a great restaurant.

While my wine pairings were clever, they weren’t quite what a sommelier could have suggested. Gusto in plastic containers lost all the romantic ambience I love it for. Song was not a drunken party but a spicy diversion. In essence, I had eaten a terrific three-course meal at a restaurant called Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. What’s more, if I had trained at the Culinary Institute of America, I wouldn’t want my creations traveling for 30 minutes in some struggling actor’s marijuana-infused Honda Civic.

Still, these apps seem quite useful during the first three days after having a baby or if your refrigerator dies and you have to sit and wait for the repairman. But since I am both ambulatory and the owner of a stove, I will not be using them often. Meanwhile I have to figure out what to do with all these flimsy black take-out containers.