There comes a day in every homebound office worker’s life when she begins to crave that which used to torment her every weekday around noon: the sad desk lunch. I’m talking about an overpriced bowl of grains, slightly wilted greens, and a bevy of add-ons, retrieved during the only 15 minutes one would set foot outside between the hours of 9 and 5, in exchange for $19.
For me, that day first arrived some eight-odd months into the pandemic, but it was only recently that my perverse desire grew so strong I was powerless to resist. So I seized the opportunity during a brief field trip from my home desk to order a build-your-own bowl from an establishment called Zoup!, exclamation point theirs. Walking back to the car, I buzzed with excitement, picturing the bowl that I so coveted from my favorite chain (which will go unnamed until I can secure a sponsorship): rice, falafel, feta, hummus, quinoa, pearl couscous, pickled onion, shredded romaine, zhug, garlic sauce, and pita chips.
I knew this Zoup! attempt would be nothing compared to that dream bowl, which I had last eaten in February 2020, but the reality was so much worse than I had even dared to imagine. Pitifully meager, with “lively greens” that were anything but, supposedly roasted broccoli that was so soggy I almost gagged with every bite, and none of the hummus I had asked for. “Is this your god?” I cursed myself. “You stupid white-collar wench, your hubris undoes you: without an office to return to, the sad desk lunch in its idealized state does not exist. The only condition remaining is ‘sad.’ There is no one to blame but thyself.” And I wept, seeing as I still had mouthfuls yet to go. 2/5 stars.