The Uber For…
If you’re an Angeleno, you probably can’t get by without Uber, the app that’s allowed us all to finally indulge in more than one glass of wine at dinner and still get home safely. And on the flipside, you probably can’t live without Waze, the crowd-sourced traffic app that’s reinventing commutes all over the city. While those are the two that are proving most impactful on our lives, there are a host of others that are making mundane tasks so much more appealing. From grocery delivery services to dry cleaning, these apps are reinventing their categories.
While currently limited to parts of Los Angeles, it’s hard to imagine that this alcohol delivery app isn’t going to take off across the country. Super slick and streamlined (and a bit, well, saucey), you can order anything from a $15 bottle of Pinot Grigio to a $1,200 bottle of John Walker & Sons Triple Malt Blend, and watch as it’s delivered to your door. There’s no delivery fee, but the prices per bottle are admittedly a bit higher than what you’re going to find at your nearest liquor wholesaler. Bonus: Saucey donates a portion of profits to Charity Water, which provides clean drinking water to impoverished communities around the world.
Operating in Boston, Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Hamptons, Los Angeles, and Chicago, Drizly has big ambitions: They want to be the Amazon of alcohol. It isn’t as clean and streamlined as Saucey, but they charge no mark-up on in-store prices, and make delivery fees pretty negligible (it’s free in NYC).
If you’ve ever soaked a label off a wine bottle to remember the name—or taken a bleary iPhone snap of a bottle at a candlelit dinner only to not be able to decipher the words the next day, this label-scanning app is your new best friend. Not only does it log your finds, but it tells you where you can buy the bottle in question, and offers the ratings, reviews, and suggestions of other wines you might like. Drync is similar (and shoppable), though it isn’t packed with as much wine-related content. And we’re excited to try Delectable, which relaunches today.
It’s difficult not to fan-hard for this Chicago-based start-up: Not only do they deliver alcohol to your doorstep, but they do it via bike. We haven’t yet tried it ourselves, but we hear good things.
Serving parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Hamptons, Minibar offers some nice perks: The ability to filter by price, plus case discounts for parties. Delivery is free, and your booze will arrive in under an hour.
If you live in Williamsburg, Bushwick, or Greenpoint, you can summon FlyCleaners to pick up your laundry, anytime between 6AM and midnight. What’s more? They’ll notify you via the app when your laundry and dry-cleaning is ready, and you can pick your delivery window. (You can also adjust your address, meaning they can pick up from your house, and deliver to your office.) Another perk: You can set all your preferences— hot or cold, starch or no starch, eco detergent or regular—via the app.
Servicing Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, this eco-focused company actually kind of makes doing laundry fun. They pick up laundry and dry-cleaning in a reusable tote—and return it to you (minus those pesky plastic bags) the next day. They use earth-friendly detergents, and will even pick-up clothing donations, saving you a trip to Goodwill.
Woefully, Munchery currently only serves San Francisco (and soon, Seattle)—were we to live there, we’d likely outsource plenty of dinners to them. The premise is pretty simple: Some of the city’s best chefs (Chez Panisse alums and the like), put together menus and super-fresh, organic, pre-assembled meals. You select what you’d like, and they’re delivered same day—generally, they require just a few minutes in the oven. Prices are extremely reasonable—and for every meal ordered, they give one to someone in need.
This app is pretty much a life-changer: They offer delivery from 1,000s of stores and restaurants. Essentially, they connect you with a local courier, who can grab that extra charger at the Apple store, or pick-up healthy lunch from a restaurant that might not typically deliver, and bring it to your doorstep in under an hour. All transactions happen under cover of the app, meaning cash doesn’t exchange hands, and you can track your courier’s progress through the city (you’ll also see his or her photo and information). Delivery starts at $5, and ranges up, depending on location. Postmates is expanding rapidly: They just launched in Austin and Silicon Valley, and already serve San Francisco, Seattle, New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Los Angeles.
This is one of those apps that, quite frankly, seems almost too good to be true—not only will they hit any of the main stores in your area, including Costco, but they’ll hit them all as part of a single order. And then deliver within an hour (you can also schedule a later delivery). They offer a photographic inventory from each store that’s fairly comprehensive, and you can simply dial in the quantity (either through their site or their app). You can also request that they shop for items not represented, though our experience was that they couldn’t always find them. Like Amazon Prime, Instacart (after your first foray), offers a yearly membership for $99, where orders over $35 are delivered free. They’re expanding rapidly, and currently serve the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.
This is the sort of app you never thought you’d need—but then can’t imagine living without. Cover—available at select restaurants in NYC and the Bay Area—let’s you pay your check via app. It also lets you split your bill however many ways you’d like without having to ask your server to stand and swipe an endless number of credit cards.
Two worthy sites to bookmark now
The mission here is admirable (“to grow and sustain local food systems worldwide”)—and it’s reflected in the goods. You can shop from a handful of local farms and producers, check-out with one cart, and receive free delivery. Beyond gorgeous organic peaches, freshly-baked breads, free-range eggs, and grass-fed beef, they offer pre-made meals as well, crafted by local kitchens and chefs. Currently, Good Eggs serves Brooklyn, LA, New Orleans, and the SF Bay.
Don’t feel like waiting for a table at Blue Ribbon Sushi, Corner Bistro, Han Dynasty, or Boqueria? No matter. For $9.99, Caviar will pick up dinner at restaurants that don’t traditionally deliver, and bring it to your door. Bonus: They offer real-time GPS tracking on delivery. Besides Manhattan, Caviar serves San Francisco and the East Bay, Boston, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.
Packing a quality picnic is surprisingly hard. Too much cheese, not enough napkins and, is it just us, or does everyone always leave hungry? In advance of the last al fresco dining opportunities of the summer, we put together a simple, foolproof Vietnamese-inspired picnic menu that can be made...