Thursday, August 18, 2005


I'm not sure how, but I made it almost to age 24 without really feeling much love for takeout. Oh, sure, I've used it--I can't count the number of times I ducked into a teriyaki joint on the Ave for chicken teriyaki (back when I wasn't a hippie) and some of that cabbage salad with the strange and wonderful dressing to take home and enjoy for the next two meals. Or the cheap and delicious lunch-is-anytime special Chinese that my Hong Kong-born roommate swore by. Or the time only a styrofoam container of bi bim bap could soothe my angry mind. Or, naturally, the zillions of boxes of leftover Thai.

No, since moving to California, takeout has been a bland experience, dotted with overpriced and surly Whole Foods lunches, cheap but bland Togo's sandwiches, and vegetarian Chinese that was of a sub-par quality compared to its in-restaurant brethren. Until recently, we suffered under the early closures of area restaurants--10 p.m. is hardly late for the man who gets home at 9 and his girlfriend who staves off the hunger pains with unnecessary junk food.

But there is a solution, and it's one so beautiful, I find myself wondering what the catch is:

The Internet. No phone, no need of a photocopied takeout menu, just a few clicks and a short drive before closing and bam, there's your bag of delicious food. It works for pizza that is far more delicious (and expensive) than Pizza Hut. It works for goddamn burrito joints. Tonight we got Indian, which was so enormously satisfying, I don't even care that I was eating the Indian equivalent of supersized french fries in my order of spinach pakoras. They were too delicious, and came with three vats of equally delicious chutneys. The moong masala dosa, while not up to my beloved Udupi Palace standards, especially taking into account the comparative distance. I didn't even have to change out of my skanky workout clothes.

I am so full now, I could burst. And it's much later than I like eating, but I'll suffer through the inevitable bizarre dreams. Every gram of buttery fat is worth it.

Tomorrow my mom and brother will be here and the food wars will begin. Who will win: The middle-aged dieter, doing a damn fine job of working down her dress size? The tall not-quite-18-year-old with a penchant for steak, potatoes, and fettuccine alfredo? Or the neo-local with knowledge of area ethnic restaurants and a deep sympathy for vegans? Tune in next time.

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