I answered the phone. He was not speaking English.
"Wait! Are you here for the delivery?”
“Are you out front?”
“Great. I’ll be out in a moment.”
I stepped outside and walked up to the window of an idling SUV.
“Are you here for the delivery?” I asked the driver, 20 dollars bills clutched in my hand. He looked at me like I was out of my mind.
Only then did I realize how shady this all was.
Turns out my driver was lost, but a few minutes later a minivan rolled up and a Sikh man stepped out. I handed him my cash, he handed me a weighty, brown paper bag.
I was experimenting with underground Indian food. For $115 (although I gave them $120) I got 6 vegetarian Punjabi entrees and 20 rotis, a whole-wheat flatbread. The delivery was curtesy Mrs. Sohal’s Superfine Catering and Tiffin Services; Harpreet, the Mr. Sohal, delivered my food.
The menu changes week to week and is provided by email. Here’s what I got:
Aloo gobi. An Indian-take out staple of potatoes and cauliflower.
Gheea masala. I actually do not know what this is, even after eating it. It’s spicy and there are big chunks of some kind of vegetable.
Gazer mater. Or Gajar matar, sauteed carrots and peas.
Moong tadka dal. Lentils in a yellow sauce.
Palak paneer. Another common take-out dish, but known better as Saag paneer. Spinach and cheese.
Rajma masala. Kidney beans in a red sauce.
20 roties, a little cup of chutney, and a cup of candied fennel.
I was promised 16oz of each entree. What I got was 1.5-2lbs of each entree, the plastic take-out containers stuffed so full the lids would barely close. I sampled three dishes right away: the dal—a great staple, redolent of cilantro; the Gheea masala, spicy-hot enough to send me running for a glass of milk (but I liked it); and my favorite, the palak paneer, spinach densely packed around huge chunks of paneer cheese, with a nice firm texture like I’ve never had at an Indian restaurant.
Deliveries are between 6-6:30am Monday morning, and it’s enough food to keep me going for a week, if I supplement it with some home made rice (and don’t share with my husband). I found out about the service through a New York Times article that you can read here. $20 a day is expensive eating for me—I usually spend $5-$10 a day on groceries—but this is the kind of week when it’s a relief to pay someone else to cook.
Definitely better than take-out, and for the same price of Blue Apron, I’ve got a fridge full of home-cooked meals.