Delivery has come a long way, baby. Some of the pitfalls of yore — from soggy fried food to overcooked pasta — are mostly a thing of the past, thanks to the ingenuity of chefs and restaurateurs. Here are a few tactics DoorDash restaurants have employed to make their food travel better.
Keep the toppings separate.
There may be no bigger bummer than a dish that arrives with its components mixed together in a soggy mess. But there is a way around that, restaurateurs have learned. In New York, you can get one of Nick Morgenstern’s finest ice cream sundaes in person, at one of the restaurant’s two locations. But how do these a la minute treats translate to delivery? Toppings are packaged separately, and the pints of ice cream are kept extremely cold. (They’re also delivered directly to you, with no other stops, thanks to the DoorDash Delivery experience.) You can set up your very own ice cream sundae bar in the privacy of your own home, complete with the literal cherry on top. When it comes to any composed dish — salads, poke bowls, soups, etc. — the key is separating crunchy components so you can add them right before your first bite.
Heat it up at home.
Not all delivery items are created equal — and that’s okay! Ramen, one of the world’s greatest comfort foods, is excellent at home. But the process of transporting ramen is another story entirely. In New York, the superlative ramen at Ivan Ramen stays bouncy and perfect with the help of a little delivery magic. The noodles from his iconic restaurant are sent separate from the broth so that they don’t absorb the liquid and lose their springiness. At home, diners can heat their soup in the microwave, making it perfectly piping hot.
Reuse and recycle.
Companies like DeliverZero are changing the landscape of packaging by providing reusable takeout containers. “We started DeliverZero because reusable containers beat single-use alternatives through every environmental measure, including climate pollution, energy use, water use, resource extraction, waste, and plastic pollution,” says Lauren Sweeney, Co-founder and CEO of DeliverZero. These microwave-safe containers can be returned and then reused, which means less garbage in landfills. “I hear over and over again from people who ordered much more restaurant delivery than usual during the pandemic,” Sweeney says. “And having to take out the trash each time made them cognizant of how much packaging waste comes with each delivery.” The containers are not only better for the planet — they’re 100% BPA-free, so they’re better for you, too. Plus, they’re sturdier than single-use takeout containers, so there’s less chance of your food getting smushed.
Make it custom.
Ever order sushi and then spend half the night setting up tiny containers of ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce? Bondi Sushi, in New York, developed a custom delivery box that tucks common sushi accoutrement safely next to the rolls themselves. Noods to Go, in Los Angeles, had a similar idea, with noodles tucked in the center of a custom box, flanked by sauces and sides. This innovative packaging is just one more way that restaurants are stepping up their delivery game to bring the best of dining right to your doorstep.