While we’re at it, it’s not called take out. It’s Take East Easy.
The French surely do love a good double entendre.
What the heck am I talkin’ about here? Well, let’s just say one of the things New York has over Paris is its ability to deliver cheap food for little to no extra cost pretty much 24/7.
In the good old days, you called up your local Chinese joint (key word: local), placed an order for a General Tso’s chicken with white rice and a half a pint of egg drop soup, gave them your address and got a swift: “20 minutes” in reply. Next thing you know, they’re knocking on your door with a bag of hot food in plastic containers that you’d add to your collection of tupperware to bring to Thanksgiving dinner for leftovers.
Then Seamless came along, which made the need to have visited the ATM prior to ordering-in unnecessary. It also enabled you to avoid the embarrassment of outing yourself as the single girl who orders chicken with broccoli in brown sauce every night of the week like Miranda on Sex and the City.
So you could imagine my delight when I learned about the multitude of delivery services that have popped up here in Paris—and then my immediate dismay when I quickly determined how inferior they are for this single girl who doesn’t want to spend more than $12 on a lukewarm plate of Pad Thai. (Yes, I am well aware of how many points are in Pad Thai and that this blog post immediately follows the one about my attempting to rejoin Weight Watchers.)
For starters, though, I will applaud their efforts. It appears ordering something for delivery (livraison) or taking something to-go (emporter) is a newly acceptable concept here in Paris. While I admire the “take your time” / “waste not, want not” attitude of sitting down to enjoy a meal and finishing what you order without the need to pack up your leftovers, sometimes convenience trumps peace of mind and peace on earth.
So, why aren’t these services doing the trick for this former (and clearly spoiled) New Yorker? First, many of them charge a few euros for the delivery itself, AND require a minimum of €15 ($16). That alone is double what I wanted to spend in the first place!
On my first try with Take Eat Easy a few weeks ago, I decided to choose a Vietnamese place that’s been on my “list.” It’s located in the 10th arrondissement, which is about a half-hour away. I chose a noodle dish for €13, but needed to meet a minimum so I added the cheapest thing I could find on the menu: a beer for €3.50. With the delivery charge of €2.50, this brought the total to a whopping €19 ($20)! Thankfully, I had a first-time-users promo code that shaved €10 off the total bringing it to what it should be in the first place: €9. Order placed. ETA? One hour.
Now, I get that maybe the delivery charge can be seen as what New Yorkers might give as a tip. But the minimum? That’s just cruel to us solo diners. While it may be because these services will deliver to ANY WHERE IN PARIS, that in itself is just silly. Sure, it’s great (convenient, even!) to know that if I WANTED said bowl of noodles from La Petit Cambodge in the 10th, or a pastrami sandwich from Frenchie to Go in the 2nd, a good 40 minutes away, I could have it. But by the time it gets here, surely the lettuce will be drenched in garlic sauce or the bread will be soggy from meat juice and the poor fella pedaling his way up to Montmatre will be in need of a respirator.
In my opinion, the only kind of food worthy of delivery is food that’s a) nearby b) difficult to make yourself and c) cheap.
Bing, bang, boom.
Alas, the next time I considered delivery was this past Sunday night. Nearly everything is closed on Sundays so if you don’t stock up your fridge, you’re screwed. Furthermore, your options for dining out are way limited. Because of this, the way I see it, Sunday should be a delivery money-maker. With so much closed and the looming new week ahead causing extra incentive to stay in and hunker down, restaurants can make bank if they offered delivery-only! But when I went to see what my options were in my arrondissement on FOUR different delivery services (two of which I also had discount codes for), I wasn’t left with much of a choice. It was literally dumplings or nothing.
So, you know what I did? I went out. Well, first I looked in the fridge to see if I could cobble something together. Then I decided that I really wanted some Sunday soul food, aka some sort of Asian cuisine. So I walked all of four blocks and 6 minutes to a local Thai restaurant where I sat down and ordered myself some chicken with Thai basil and a bowl of white rice. It cost me €13—no beer necessary to meet a minimum!—and I had exact change to pay in cash. If only I could’ve taken as long to eat it as those services would’ve to bring it to me.