The article first appeared in Washington Post on March 12, 2024

A few commuters driving through Vienna stand at the pumps, absent-mindedly filling their tanks. On this subfreezing day in late January, snow blankets the station’s gray roof. I am sitting in a car outside, having just placed an online order for about $100 of Indian food from this place. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve been duped. I mean, I grew up in Louisiana, so I’m no stranger to convenience store fare — but usually there’s some indication a kitchen lurks inside. Then I spy a small sign in one of the windows.