Whenever you can't have something, you're guaranteed to want it more. With the coronavirus putting many of the things we love out of reach, we can take solace in the fact that the internet allows us to get practically anything delivered to our doorsteps — even amidst a pandemic. And for a foodie like me, that's a big comfort.
Here are some of the substitutes I discovered while foregoing dinner parties and travel.
> Shop rare grocery items.
You can special order all sorts of things that your local grocery store doesn't keep stocked on its shelves, such as products that allow you to adhere to specialized diets when making favorite dishes — like La Tortilla Factory's gluten-free ivory teff wraps — or less common flavors of popular products, like Bonne Maman's golden plum mirabelle preserves or Drew's organic chipotle ranch or Italian dressing.
Other best-selling items include Ian's Alphatots, WestSoy organic soy milk, Donkey Chips (handmade tortilla chips), Sable and Rosenfeld Tipsy Onions (pickled onions bathed in vermouth used to garnish Gibson cocktails), Frank's Kraut, and Williams Original Chili Seasoning Mix. Visit shopgourmet.com to browse or search available items to have delivered (in bulk) to your door.
> Eat non-local.
Even if you missed out on traveling this year because of the ongoing pandemic, you can still have a taste of vacation with foods shipped from popular destinations like Blackberry Farm, the posh Smoky Mountains resort known for its culinary chops. Stock your pantry with gourmet accoutrements like smoked onion and bacon jam, or re-create a morning meal at the farm with its breakfast collection including bacon, sausage, pancake mix, syrup, honey and more. Order at blackberryfarmshop.com.
Also, you can find the famed Pawleys Island Palmetto (pimiento) Cheese at the local Publix — no special order necessary. Better yet, order it from Publix on Instacart and have it delivered. A taste of the beach is just a thumbprint on Apple Pay away.
> Mail order steaks (they aren't just for gifting).
If you're craving a good restaurant steak without the crowd, get your high-quality-meat fix by mail. Some of the nation's top restaurants get their meat from Snake River Farms, known for the quality of its American Wagyu beef and the humane treatment of its animals. Raised on ranches throughout the Northwest, its "prime" grade steaks stand in the top 5% nationwide for quality and flavor. Order at snakeriverfarms.com.
> (Let them) eat better cake.
Want to elevate an at-home birthday party to pre-pandemic excitement levels? Order a cake from Carlo's Bakery, "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro's New Jersey bakery, which ships nationwide through gourmet food delivery website Goldbelly.com.