This week, I didn’t shop for dinner. I ordered it. I’ve been meaning to try The Munchery and Blue Apron since they started delivering to Westchester eons ago, but with all of the holiday parties this week and next, I decided this was a good time to try both. Here’s how they compare:
A service that delivers gourmet meals prepared by local chefs. After downloading a snazzy and easy-to-use app, you scroll through this week’s options, which are sold as individual portions starting at $7.95 per meal.
My First Dinner: On Monday, we had chicken and broccoli with coconut rice for $11 per person; on Tuesday, it was Korean-style beef with rice and green beans for $11 a person and an order of mushroom ravioli for the kids for $11.50.
Delivery: Prompt and packed neatly in a stylish tote. No tip necessary; the driver left it at my door when I wasn’t home.
The Upside: It’s easy. Dinner at my doorstep! The food is prepared and comes with easy reheating instructions, i.e. toss it in the oven or microwave. Nothing could be better during an extra busy week. And overall, the quality of the food is good.
The Downside: Still, since the dishes are prepared earlier in the day, their longevity is spotty. The chicken we ordered was rubbery and dry; we tossed most of it. We had better luck the following evening; the beef, soaked in a zesty sauce, was full of flavor. A kale salad still had crunch.
Bottom Line: For two nights of dinner, we paid $79, which is a bit steep. I can certainly cook for less, and the food wasn’t so good to warrant the price tag. But it’s ease that wins out here.
A service that delivers the components of three recipes at your doorstep. Think of it as a pre-planned roster of meals for the week.
My First Dinner: I received a box of individually wrapped and labeled items for the recipes I selected, and I unpacked it all in my fridge, like an order of groceries. My first recipe, pork chops and a freekeh salad with Brussels sprouts and clementine chutney, was a flavorful, homey meal, and my husband and I gobbled it down.
Delivery: Prompt. It came in late afternoon. Again, left on the porch.
The Upside: It was pretty easy to follow the recipe, and there was very little waste. Whatever they gave me — a small chunk of ginger to slice, a dozen Brussels sprouts — were used in the meal. It also tasted better than the average dinner, feeling a little like a treat.
The Downside: It wasn’t a lot less work than cooking any dinner. I still had to slice and dice everything, and the real down side was that my kids wouldn’t eat it. So I was baking chicken tenders anyway, which was annoying. I like to cook things we’ll all eat.
Bottom Line: Maybe I need to try the service again once the kids are older. For two servings, which was a bit leaner than I imagined, it cost $70 per week for three dinners. But I think you’d need to order the family portions for four, which run $140 for three meals.
Do you have a favorite? We’d love to hear why in the comments below.