BY MARIE LODI | Photos courtesy of Goldbelly
There’s a scene in the somewhat forgotten ‘90s rom-com Fools Rush In where Salma Hayek and Matthew Perry are at the Grand Canyon, and she surprises him with a tray of his favorite hot dogs—all the way from Gray’s Papaya in New York City. It was a romantic gesture; the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, after all. But it was also a comforting and meaningful one, because the hot dog reminded him of home. Back in 1997, the idea of being able to get someone’s favorite restaurant meal shipped from the other side of the country was something that could only happen in the movies. But in 2021, it’s as easy as clicking add to cart.
In recent years, we’ve been given a myriad of options for our food cravings to be satisfied, whatever, and wherever they are. Goldbelly, for instance, is a new e-commerce platform that ships tasty dishes from some of the country’s most famous restaurants right to your door. The app recently secured $100 million in new funding in May of this year, as reported by The New York Times. Got the munchies for some Texas brisket from Snow’s BBQ? Is Gott’s Roadside’s classic cheeseburger the only thing that can make you feel good about life right now? How about Magnolia Bakery’s legendary banana pudding? You can order up some from Goldbelly.
The food delivery app Doordash has also begun to ship nationwide, featuring delicacies from NYC’s Di Fara Pizza, the famous Katz’s Deli, or Big Shake’s Hot Chicken from Tennessee. Some restaurants, such as Lou Malnati's in Chicago, or the dessert shop Milk Bar, even ship directly if you order from their websites.
Usually, a case of the munchies means a trip to the nearest gas station for snacks or a jaunt through the Taco Bell drive-thru. Now, you can have actual deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati's or a burger from Shake Shack delivered right to your door. Of course, it’ll take some planning ahead of time—it'll take Goldbelly at least a day to arrive and may require light cooking—but the option of having noodles from NYC's Xi’an Famous Foods on hand to curb cravings after smoking some major munchies-inducing flower is a stoner’s dream come true.
If you’re using Goldbelly, all you have to do is search for whatever you’re craving on the website, or browse via region, food type, and diet, see what tickles your food fancy, and place an order. Pricing, shipping time, and delivery costs are all dependent on each individual restaurant and where they’re coming from. There are also various types of subscriptions to keep your cravings regularly fulfilled, such as a three or six-month “best of Goldbelly” as well as monthly pizza, bbq, ice cream, etc. Everything gets packed with ice and come with easy-to-follow directions to ensure a seamless and delicious feast.
The ability to order almost anything we want is undoubtedly a huge privilege, especially when so many of us are seeking comfort during a time of severe stress. “When experiencing strongly negative emotions, eating can reduce their perceived intensity,” says Uma Naidoo, MD, a Harvard-trained nutritional psychiatrist, professional chef, nutrition specialist, and author of the national bestselling book, This is Your Brain on Food.
“Research also shows that the whole experience of eating may contribute to an uplifted mood because eating satisfies pleasure centers in the brain, while the nutrients in our foods influence the endocrine and neuro-chemical substances produced by the body which affect our mood," explains Naidoo. Naidoo also says that strong memories and emotions can underlie food cravings, and the regions of the brain that control emotional memory and visual processing are more active in people who have more food cravings.
The regions of the brain that control emotional memory and visual processing are more active in people who have more food cravings.
As the company states on its website, Goldbelly’s mission is to bring comfort through food. And in the past year, we needed it more than ever. A study conducted by OnePoll in conjunction with Farm Rich last year showed that two in three Americans were going back to their favorite childhood dishes and other comfort foods such as pizza, mac and cheese, and burgers, during the pandemic. “Fond memories, perhaps associated with a loved one or an experience, may constitute a good part of the emotional connection with food, particularly as food cravings activate the same parts of the brain as emotional memory. This is especially true of strongly positive emotions,” says Naidoo.
So, the next time you’re hit with the munchies monster (or need a good dose of culinary comfort), you can already be prepared by ordering something ahead of time off from Goldbelly and have yourself an epic grubdown. (Disclaimer: For any Fools Rush In fans that might exist out there, Gray’s Papaya isn’t on the Goldbelly site, but Papaya King is, and that’s Kramer from Seinfeld’s favorite hot dog!).
Marie Lodi is an LA-based writer, editor, and podcaster. Her bylines have appeared in The Cut, PAPER, Buzzfeed News, Bustle, Fashionista, Allure, and more.