In times of trouble, there are certain comforts that can be relied upon to heal the heart and salve the soul. Now that home delivery is no longer an indulgence but practically a social duty, community-minded citizens should take it upon themselves to support small businesses by ordering their finest online offerings. From orchids to survival tools, negronis to vintage paperbacks, Robb Report has tracked down the internet’s finest delivery (and occasional pick-up) options to help nurture the body, mind and soul from the comfort of your armchair.
Restaurants for whom take-out was once a dirty word are now reliant on home delivery. In New York, that means you can summon up 9 oz of caviar from L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon for $200, and a 30 oz rib-eye steak from Carbone for $140, where the new take-out menu has proved so popular that last week police had to enforce social distancing among the crowds of delivery workers.
In the Hudson Valley, Blue Hill at Stone Barns has swapped its usual jacket-and-tie $278-a-head set menu for a selection of build-your-own hotpot kits, at $150 per person (pick-up only), plus optional botanical cocktails and a sommelier selection. Other Michelin-starred options include omakase and sake from Sushi Yasuda, and a gourmet Korean barbeque experience in your own home, courtesy of Cote NYC, which will deliver an “ultimate steak feast” to your door and advise on the finer points of home grilling technique.
Off the Michelin trail, New York’s hottest no-reservation neighborhood favorites, such as Le French Diner on the Lower East Side, and Lucali’s pizza in Brooklyn—where it’s usually the work of several hours to get a table—are now providing exquisite meals to go.
For those working towards their own domestic Michelin experience, take advantage of the fact that, with many restaurants closed, gourmet wholesalers are now moving into home delivery. You can take delivery of epicurean ingredients from Foods in Season and “eat well from home kits” from New York’s most illustrious butcher, Debragga, while specialist restaurant supplier Regalis Foods is now selling 80 percent of its online portfolio to home consumers at wholesale prices.
Many restaurants depend on wine sales for profitability, so consider splashing out on a bottle as part of your order, or, if your decision-making capacity has is not what it once was, order “wine roulette” from Air Champagne Parlor in New York, and let them do the thinking. Dante, regularly voted the world’s best bar, will also deliver its famous negroni cocktails in 8 oz bottles, while Brooklyn’s Sauvage Wines now includes a roll of toilet paper with each order.
If you’re in mourning for your dearly departed local coffee shop, redirect your grief into honing your own barista skills. The perfectionists at Blue Bottle Coffee have a $120 subscription package that supplies you with six different 12-ounce bags of coffee beans every other week, plus a Japanese dripper which apparently took 70 prototypes to perfect.
Chicago coffee company Passion House has a range of subscription options, including the $252 5 lb bag Roaster’s Choice package, while Crema offers an “expansive library of “third-wave artisan coffee roasters” from which you can sample and choose your favorites.
You may be holding virtual meetings in your closet while your kids home-school from the living room, but all-day PJs lead only to despair, so consider it an act of self-care to indulge in a little retail therapy online.
Matches Fashion stores may be closed, but the brand is still delivering designer threads to 176 countries, with the exception of parts of China and Italy. Mr Porter is accepting online orders, but has temporarily closed its warehouses —expect deliveries to resume “in the near future.” Meanwhile, Grailed, the online marketplace for new and used designer clothes, is open for business, as is the curated digital menswear store Thread.
Now is very much the time to spend entire weekends developing a hobby, whether that’s bonsai topiary, transcendental meditation or mastering the ukulele. Survivalists—who are very much in “I told you so” mode right now—will relish the monthly prepper-kits from Battlbox. The “Pro Plus” package, $149.99 a month, promises a cornucopia of extreme survival tools for the “enthusiast and big spender.”
In terms of survival, some of us are just trying to make it through another day in our apartments. Try reframing your alcohol dependency as a craft cocktail hobby, and subscribe to Saloonbox, which delivers a two-person mixology pack containing new seasonal recipes and ingredients to your doorstep each month.
There is no better window onto the world than reading, and now is the time to approach it seriously. Amazon does not need your money. Independent and antiquarian booksellers do, and their hand-picked selections will help to stock your library. Crooked House Books in Portland, Oregon, will send you a monthly vintage non-fiction hardback printed between 1800 and 1975. Fiction fans should try London’s Prudence and the Crow, which will ship a monthly vintage paperback, beautifully wrapped, according to your genre of choice.