Hallelujah! There's A Service That Delivers Amazing Asian Food From The San Gabriel Valley
Our food prayers have been answered: there is a company that is now delivering food from Asian restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley—including Chengdu Taste—and we tried it out.
Long gone are the days where some of us would have to trek out to the SGV to get some delicious food, or wait in long lines to get a seat a restaurant. ToGo626 serves as a middleman—in the same vein as delivery services like Caviar—between these eateries and hungry, gluttonous folks like ourselves.
On their website, they offer food from about 50 restaurants from Alhambra to Rowland Heights. There are some notable spots on their list like Savoy, 101 Noodle Express, Beijing Pie House and Class 302. (We checked, and no, you cannot get Class 302's popular shaved ice desserts delivered to your doorstep, but you can get one of their long list of Taiwanese dishes.) The different cuisines they offer include Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Southeast Asian and Vegetarian, and besides restaurants, they also deliver from tea houses and bakeries.
The way it works is that you place an order on their website, pay for the meal (plus tax, delivery fees and optional driver's tip) by credit card, and voila! someone delivers it to your doorstep. There doesn't appear to be a minimum order required for delivery. ToGo626 normally charges a delivery fee of $7.99 for the first three miles, and $0.99 for every mile after that; however, right now they have a limited-time special where you only get charged $2.99 for the first three miles, and the same $0.99 for each mile thereafter.
Toothpick lamb with cumin from Chengdu Taste (Photo by Jean Trinh/LAist)
LAist tested this service in the name of journalism while we were in Chinatown yesterday. At 11:25 a.m., we placed an order for Chengdu Taste's Szechuan cuisine on their website, and by 12:15 p.m.—actually 15 minutes before the time they promised—we got our order at the door. If we had actually gone to the restaurant itself, it would've have been an hour wait to even get a table, and we got our order delivered to us in 45 minutes. The distance the driver had to travel was about 8 miles and the delivery fee came out to about $8. So, we'd say the delivery fee is worth it in our opinion. Another good thing is that the prices for the dishes seem to be the same as the prices if you were to actually eat at the restaurant—or at least in the case of ordering from Chengdu Taste.
The website itself is another story though. While you can look for restaurants by searching for your home address, type of cuisine, dish or even just the name of the restaurant, it's not an intuitive website. We eventually figured out how to get a list of all the restaurants they offer. Ordering is actually pretty simple as you click on names of the dishes they have available on a form; some of the dishes are accompanied by photos as well. You can add in notes for special instructions or request how spicy you'd like a dish. However, one of the confusing parts was that we wanted to add an order of white rice, but that option wasn't available to us until we had reached the part on the form to pay. We would've imagined that would be part of the original order form with the menu. It's something that left us scrambling wondering if we needed to order a fried rice entree in order to get any rice at all. It took us a bit to figure out how to change our order as well. Once we placed our order, we received an estimated time of arrival for the food and a phone number to call in case we had any issues with our order, and a confirmation e-mail.
We ordered Chengdu Taste's Mung Bean Jelly Noodle with Chili Sauce, Toothpick Lamb with Cumin, Sauteed Eggplant, and two orders of white rice. We highly recommend all of these dishes. The cold Mung Bean Jelly Noodles are slippery ones with a uniquely soft, not-too-chewy texture. They are topped with peanuts, sliced green onions, and peppers. This traditional dish is also known to give off what they call a "numb taste" from the type of peppers they use, which basically means your mouth will feel a little numb from the heat. The Toothpick Lamb is a dish with small pieces of meat skewered on toothpicks. It's extremely flavorful and spicy, and it's heavily seasoned with cumin. And the Sauteed Eggplant was perfectly flavored, sweet and savory, and swimming in a chili sauce; it's something you'll definitely need to eat with rice.
The entire order all came out to about $50 with all the fees, which wasn't bad for a party of three. The delivery guy was pleasant and arrived without a hitch, and the food was tasty and hot. We'd definitely try this service again.