At the start of lockdown, when that casual zoom banter would take place (while waiting for Susan to figure out how to come off mute), you couldn’t go without getting asked the question: “so what do you look forward to the most when things go back to normal?” My answer was always: “I can NOT wait to eat out again!”
I am not a great cook [we have this in common], so I have always looked forward to going out to dinner after work or brunch with the girls on the weekend. I mean – a hot meal that’s not Digorno – can it get any better?! Hence, lockdown smacked me in the face with a loaf of banana bread and made me make a choice: learn how to cook or order in. [your banana bread is very good for the record…]
If you thought this was going to be the story of me finding my passion for cooking and starting my journey to become a chef – spoiler alert – I still overcook pasta. However, I have gone through quite the dining evolution over the past year and I’m pretty proud of myself…
I have to be honest. As we all began to learn what would be our new reality, I definitely used food as my coping mechanism. I didn’t let the fact that delivery took an hour to get to me – I just planned an hour ahead.
Uber Eats is my go to. When you’re hungry, being able to watch your delivery guy drive across town with your Emily’s Pizza in tow, it’s the best feeling in the world [slowly tracking the bike crosstown brings me peace too]. Whether it’s a hungover Ess-a-Bagel on a Sunday morning, or a warm bowl of Totto Ramen on a chilly weeknight, they’ve got it all. Order up (and remember to tip your delivery drivers a little extra)!
Once the initial shock of the pandemic passed, I realized that my order-in lifestyle wasn’t sustainable (for my body or my wallet). This is when I took a long, hard look in the mirror and decided I should grow up and learn the difference between an onion and garlic. [mom will be proud, concerned it took you this long, but proud]
Queue Blue Apron. This is one pandemic habit that I am definitely going to try to maintain as we ease back into real life. I did so much research on meal kit delivery services. There are SO MANY options out there so it is easy to get overwhelmed. When comparing services, Blue Apron was affordable, healthy, and offered meal plans that seemed like an appropriate amount of food for one person each week. They offer ‘cook along’ walkthroughs in their app for each meal which is key for someone like me who needs to be shown every single step along the way. Go check them out if you haven’t already.
Back to the streets
The day finally arrived that we could go back to the NYC food scene [BEST DAY EVER]. Outdoor dining came at us fast, and the busy NY streets quickly built out to resemble the al fresco streets of a small European city. I have uncovered so many new restaurants around the neighborhood during this time. Though I love a good ambiance, focusing on the food and the food alone reveals a lot of new gems you may not have known are right around the corner!
Clearly, I need to eat more vegetables [and fruit…], but life is short, right? Next time that Susan can’t work zoom, I can now proudly answer: “I will miss being antisocial on the couch with my doggy bag or meal kit when things go back to normal.” OH how the tables have turned!
I can’t wait to hear your NYC go-tos – I need more recs for this weekend…