curry up now in the mission....indian street food by way of--amazon?
It's a delivery world and I just live in it! Or more to the point, I use it so my lazy a** won't have to cook or go out and get something. With all the food start-ups around these days like Sprig, Munchery, etc., there are also increasing established companies getting into food delivery services from restaurants. From Uber to GrubHub to Caviar to DoorDash to Waiter and so on. Into this fray in the last few months come the biggest of behemoths--Amazon.
From their Prime Delivery to their eBooks to their need to be everyone's go to everything, I guess it was only a matter of time for restaurant delivery once they started doing grocery delivery too. In order to get folks on board to the Amazon kool-aid, they've emailed out coupons to get folks to try the service. Not being one to pass up a good (enough) coupon, I decided to take them up on their offer.
While it is not the most extensive list of places to order from at this time, there were still a fair number to choose from that I'd never tried before. My goal though, was to wade through and pass over the usual Chinese, pizza and burger stuff and find something at least a little interesting. It's when I hit upon Curry Up Now. They started as food trucks around town, then grew popular enough to also open a brick and mortar location in the Mission. I'd seen the trucks but for whatever reason had never tried them. I think I figured it was just curry and white rice stuff and I was sort of, blah about it. But looking at their menu now, I saw several things piquing my interest.
While this was a way to try the food it was also a test of the delivery service to see how good, fast, on time, etc. they were. Thus, I ended up trying them twice, once with a work delivery and second with a home delivery on different days. I'll cover the service toward the end, up first is the food.
A kathi roll is basically the Indian street food version of a burrito. Here it is house made flatbread rolled with egg, onions, cilantro chutney and I chose paneer instead of a meat filling. I'm a big fan of paneer which is more or less a non-melting cheese curd usually made with heated milk, lemon juice, vinegar and sometimes other flavor acidic ingredients. Not sure why I like it, I just do. At $8.50 a pop, this isn't the biggest or best of kathi rolls I've had. I like Kasa Indians much better. This one came out a little too soggy and there wasn't much flavor coming from the chutney filling. No real spice or heat to speak of, which it desperately needed to perk any of it. They didn't skimp on the paneer, which was nice, but overall it was just kind of a yawner and not really worth the cost from my standpoint.
Going traditional with the samosas. Housemade pastry dough filled with curried potatoes then deep fried and served with a side of tamarind sauce and cilantro chutney for dipping. These were still warm when we got them. The crust was flaky and you could taste the curry in the potato filling. At 2 for $5 they were pretty large and chunky. I'm a big fan of the sweet hot tamarind sauce you get for dipping. It mixes well with the curry for me. I did wish there had been more, just have to ask for it next time. These were definitely an upgrade from the kathi roll.
Okay, so this isn't traditional Indian, or maybe it is and I just don't know it. But really, did you think I was gonna pass up something else deep fried? And they are what they are listed as, deep fried cheese ravioli with a tikka masala sauce for dipping. Truly, it is not too hard to mess up something like this and they didn't. They were actually still hot with melty, gooey cheese when you popped one open. The outside was nicely crisp and crunchy too. The masala sauce was a little on the oily side and it could have used a bit of spice pick me up, but still, it was different and tasty. Plus at $6 a serving, you get more than enough to share or have all to yourself.
These are the Indian version of poutine. Cross cut sweet potato fries covered in ones choice of tikka masala sauce covered meat, this time it was chicken for $9.50. It is definitely a large portion to be sure. Most assuredly enough to share with someone. There are a mound of fries and ample bits of tender chicken covered in masala. These were ordered on a different day than the ravioli and the tikka masala this time was a bit thicker, less oily and a touch more flavorful than the dip was. Getting this through delivery does change it a bit.
Because it is hot when ordered and packed, the box circulates with heat, making steam and causing the fries to get a bit damp and not so crispy as they'd probably normally be if you got this at the restaurant. As is, me and the SO did like the dish, though I'm sure it is a tad better with crispy fries. But then, aren't most things?
Yep, this is an Indian quesadilla. Whole wheat flatbread dough mixed with potatoes then stuffed with red peppers, cheese, paneer (you can also get chicken, beef or lamb) and cilantro chutney. Served with a side of yogurt, more chutney and chunky salsa for $9.75. This isn't your regular tortilla, because the dough has potato in it, it is softer and kind of tastes like grilled mashed potatoes--that's a tasty thing, not a bad thing. It was still steaming hot leaving the cheese all gooey (like above).
Again, they don't skimp on the cheese or the paneer and while the sauce sides and stuff were nice, it didn't really need them. For me, this was the best of all the things I had. I liked it more than I thought I would. I think it just hit a chewy, cheesy, flavorful hot spot my taste buds responded to. Added bonus, it was big and more than I could eat in one sitting due to the potato addition. It allowed me to spread over two meals and it re-heats quite nicely too.
Indian mini-pizza! Whole wheat flatbread topped with chicken tikka masala, mozzarella, caramelized onions and jalapenos for $10. I think I got lucky, and even with delivery, the bread was still a little crispy around the edges. My toppings had kind of slid to one side but they were easy enough to spread back over the whole naan. This was also a big hit for both me and the SO. Lots of chicken, lots of cheese, a little spicy kick and crispy, almost buttery tasting bread. I think it got all of our food touch points in one bite. Because it also a pretty decent size, we were able to cut it in half and each of us got more than enough to satisfy our appetites.
As for Amazon's delivery service, first time out was a lunch order to work and it came quickly, less than 30 minutes, plus all the food was still hot without sogginess. Second time delivery was on the weekend for dinner and this time it take just about an hour, thus leading the steam/soft issue. Putting that and the kathi roll aside, me and the SO liked everything else we had. Portions sizes were good and able to share, pricing was on par and flavors were on target. Delivery was hit or miss, so I'd recommend either tracking down a food truck or hitting up the Curry Up Now store on Valencia in the Mission.
While they have a number of other things on their menu you should definitely try their versions of a quesadilla and a pizza, a nice blend of Indian, Mexican and Italian. What would you call that? Indextal? Mexdilian? Itexdian? Well, I guess you can just figure it out while you are eating it.