There are a lot of meal delivery services in NYC. Why not? We like delicious food but we don't have the time to actually shop for it and then cook it. Me, I like my food fresh and local, and not prepackaged like a frozen dinner--which is what I imaged most food delivery services to be. But my interest was piqued when I found Greatist's list of healthy food delivery services. The one that I settled on to try was Plated, a service that delivers pre-portioned ingredients for chef-designed meals to your door. Nice enough, but here's where I got excited: they use in-season, local ingredients whenever possible. It's actually pretty affordable, coming out to $10 to $15 a plate, depending on how many you order--much lower than other food delivery options, and great if you consider the high-quality ingredients and inventive recipes. So one night, after drinking wine on an empty stomach and staring dolefully into my sad, empty refrigerator, I went a little crazy and ordered six meals, two each of three recipes. Knowing that I am a single woman living with just roommate (who eats like a bird and refuses to eat any of my food), I should have held back, but it was too late. I found myself with the makings of three scrumptious meals for two: cornmeal crusted cod with citrus romain and sweet potatoes, seared tuna sushi bowls and pork chops and roasted brussels sprouts with pancetta. I seriously should have done an unboxing video. The ingredients came packaged in a cardboard box, complete with an icepack and an insulating bag, eco-friendly air packs and those green bags that keep produce fresh for longer. (I'll save those for later, thank you!) It includes three beautiful, illustrated recipe cards and a bio of the chefs. And each ingredient is labeled. It's so freakin' adorable. For my first taste, I invited a friend over to help me. ("Please, help me eat this high-brow drunk food I ordered.") I showed him the cards, and it turns out he's a good friend of the chef who designed the sushi bowls. But we decided to do the cod, and worked together to get it crusted and in the skillet, the fries in the oven and the simple salad tossed. As promised, preparation was simple and fast, at a half hour, and only required basic kitchen tools. (FYI: They don't include common kitchen ingredients in the package, like olive oil, salt and pepper. Not a big deal if you're a semi-regular cook.) And as we ate our meal, I kept interrupting my friend who was trying to hold a conversation to exclaim, "Wow, this is so good." The sushi bowls I made for myself later: delicious. I threw the pork chops in the freezer but managed to find time to cook them before the produce went bad within the week, and loved them. Reader, this service is amazing. But to be fair, I will point out the downsides:
- Despite their commitment to sustainability, some ingredients, like apple cider vinegar, come in tiny plastic jars. The others all come in plastic baggies. I'm sure they are aware that this isn't ideal, but I can't think of a solution either. Would it be too hard logistically to allow a customer to check a box that says, "I actually already have apple cider vinegar" to cut down on packaging?
- They need a few days' lead time to assemble, so you have to plan ahead. No last minute ordering--you'll have to hit up Seamless for that.