Munching on MealPal : The Good, The Bad, The Delicious

I have been using MealPal for two months

MealPal, for those of you who cook and take your leftovers to work, is a subscription based service that allows you to order food from participating restaurants in the NYC area. MealPal is a godsend for people who have the following three traits:

  1. You can’t cook

  2. You work in NYC

  3. You are indecisive as heck

What’s Good about MealPal?

MealPal is quick and easy

I work in a small business, two small businesses. This means my schedule can get pretty chaotic. I sometimes forget to order food the previous day and in the morning my desk is littered with to-dos and paperwork that I need to sort through.

There were many times that MealPal made it quick and easy for me to place an order one minute and pick it up the next. I’d type in the address of my job, search for whatever looks yummiest near me, and then go pick up my food.

MealPal lets me skip lines

Have you ever heard of ‘Fast Pass’? Well that’s basically the superpower that MealPal gives you. There’s this one establishment Wok to Walk which I never tried because their lunch line would make me lose my appetite.

Thanks to MealPal, when I saw Wok to Walk’s Tokyo Chicken w/ Egg Noodles, I was excited to skip the line and pick up my food. And goodness, it was sooooo good! It was a shame that it took me subscribing to MealPal to try their food, no wonder there’s always a line!

MealPal took me on adventures

Before I signed up with MealPal, I would default to the same 2-3 places in the area for food - or skip lunch entirely! One of those as you already know is Wok to Walk which I raved about above. There were others that either were too far from my office or away from my usual route that I never knew of until I selected one of their dishes.

What’s Bad about MealPal?

MealPal does not let you customize your food

The way MealPal works is that participating restaurants pick one dish from their menus at 5PM of the previous day. While for someone who is indecisive, this is great, there were certainly times I wish I could at least make a few changes to my lunch.

For example, I ordered the Breaded Chicken Platter from Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine, which by the way was delicious. Now the only issue I had with the dish was that it included rice and beans… But it would have been great if I could have had an option to not include the beans. It’s not the end of the world or anything, but it would have been awesome to have a checkbox or something to exclude an ingredient or side on your dish.

MealPal orders use LOTS of packaging

While this may not be an issue for many, I’ve started to become a bit more ‘eco-friendly’ or at least more conscious of the waste I create. This is why I really really wish there was an option while ordering my food that could tell the restaurant to ‘hold off on the utensils’ or just not to double bag everything.

GrubHub has this option while you order food. This gives me hope that as MealPal becomes more well-known or developed as a company, they will start to include this checkbox or option in the ordering process. I know this would probably make restaurants a bit slower when it comes to preparing and giving the food away (since they prepackage all meals), but it’d be awesome if this was an option.

MealPal’s Map User Interface isn’t Ideal

There were times I struggled with ordering my food because the map with all the food places marked wouldn’t work properly. It’s difficult trying to figure out what dish I want to eat for lunch when I don’t know how far the place is from my office.

I love the adventure and I enjoy walking, but I also have to realistically be able to pick up my food and get back to work. So that needs to be tweaked to make the ordering experience much better.

What’s Delicious in MealPal

As promised, here are the delicious dishes and awesome places I found out about during my two month subscription with MealPal.

Crispy Asian Fried Chicken from BentOn Cafe

This was my go-to dish whenever I couldn’t find anything delicious nearby me. Not only was the Crispy Asian Fried Chicken yummy, but BentOn Cafe consistently had it on their menu every single day. They were the MVP of my MealPal experience. My only gripe is that I couldn’t handle the spicy sauce in large doses very well and there was no option to get rid of it.

Chicken Parmigiana from La Stanza

I had walked past La Stanza several times, but I never tried any of their dishes. This was incredibly delicious and goodness the portion size was really generous.

Crispy Chicken Fingers & Fries from PJ Morans

I never heard of this spot until I had ordered their food from MealPal. The restaurant itself looks really awesome and part of me wished that I was able to stick around and eat my lunch inside. Their Crispy Chicken Fingers were good, but their fries were mega soggy and below average. It could have been due to the amount of walking it took for me to get back to the office to eat, or maybe I had a bad batch, but that’s my honest opinion.

Interested in trying out MealPal?

If any of this piques your interest, please give MealPal a shot. Keep in mind that this subscription based service has two packages of 12 or 24 meals. Also that these meals are only valid to pick up and enjoy on weekdays.

Click Here to Try MealPal

Want me to try other Food Subscription services?

Either comment below or tweet at me so I can try out other services. I doubt I’ll be cooking my own meals any time soon so I appreciate any suggestions for services. The cheaper the better and it needs to work in NYC.