Posted by Maribel on Aug - 25 - 2013

You’re running home after a long day at work, followed by a workout at the gym, and then you realize that you don’t have enough groceries to make dinner. Forget about the groceries. You’re just too tired to make dinner period. It looks like another delivery night.

Enter Mealku, an exciting new meal delivery service in New York that offers home-cooked meals accessible at any time of the day. mealku meal

Life in New York can be hectic with work, school, gym, meetings, coffee dates, whatever. The availability of food delivery at any time is a great convenience that many New Yorkers fall back on when the pressures of a busy schedule keep them from the kitchen. But sometimes all you want is a home-cooked meal. Pizza, Chinese, and Thai can get old after awhile, especially when you have no idea what goes into those meals.

Mealku works as a food cooperative, linking up talented at-home chefs with hungry customers looking to try some of the culinary specialties served up by their fellow New Yorkers. There’s complete transparency on their website, making the process interactive, easy and fun. There are no guessing games as to what goes into the food you’re eating. All of the ingredients and recipes are available alongside the profiles of each cook.

One of the best features is the option to suggest your own meal. Have a hankering for whole wheat mac and cheese? Or maybe you want to serve boeuf bourguignon to impress your in-laws. You can request these dishes and more on Mealku’s website and a cook will send you an offer with a corresponding value, called ku, to make that for you. It’s up to you to accept or decline their offer. It’s really that simple!

The Mealku database is extensive, with filters for diet considerations such as gluten free or vegetarian to cultural cuisine preferences. I specifically searched for vegetarian dishes for my Meatless Monday goals and was thrilled to see so many choices available.

I had the opportunity to give this a try last week and decided to order dinner and a dessert from two separate cooks. Both meals I ordered were already available on the Mealku database and offered a unique twist to some classics.

The first dish was a Lentil, Mushroom, and Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie. I placed an order for 2 servings to be delivered Monday afternoon. I accepted an offer from Angelin Borsics, a Louisiana transplant living in Brooklyn with a taste for Cajun classics. I was curious to see what she would do with the twist to this shepherd’s pie and chose her as my cook for the night.

mealku delivery

My order was delivered right on time by a friendly messenger who brought the food to my door with a smile. It was packaged in a brown Mealku bag with instructions on how to reheat the pie. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Angelin was thoughtful enough to include a small romaine salad with a homemade vinaigrette on the side. This wasn’t part of the order, but it took the whole experience to a more personalized level. I couldn’t help but smile at that considerate step taken by this cook which made it a more enjoyable meal.

The portions were generous, the flavors incredible, and the food well-prepared. The lentils and mushrooms were delicious and a perfect choice for a vegetarian meal. I couldn’t help but feel like I’d gotten a glimpse into the kitchen of a neighbor and was privileged enough to enjoy a special dish that was made especially for me. That feeling lingered as I sat down to dinner and made each bite that much more satisfying.Then there was the pie. I’m a fan of hearty, stick to your bones food and given that I had planned this meal after an intense workout, I was in the mood for something filling and nutritious that would leave me satisfied. Angelin’s shepherd’s pie did not disappoint.

mealku dessert

After Angelin’s spectacular shepherd’s pie, I wanted to see how the Mealku cooks would fare with dessert. The zucchini nut bread cookie sandwiches stood out from the rest as a refreshing change of pace that I wanted to sink my teeth into. Any opportunity to take something in-season and to turn it on it’s head, like these zucchini cookies, is always exciting.

Molly Harris, a recent college grad and self-styled baker from midtown Manhattan, became my cook of choice for this order. With the first bite, I knew I’d made the right choice.

The delivery arrived just as scheduled with minimal fuss by a friendly messenger. I only ordered two cookies, although I quickly wished I’d ordered more, because they were that good. They were packaged simply in a small plastic bag with my order number on the front. That made it feel more like I was sharing cookies made by a friend who packaged a few extra to take home.

The cookie sandwiches were amazing. The wonderful combination of chewy and nutty from the zucchini bread and nuts gave it great texture, while the cream filling was the right amount of fluff and sugar that make cookie sandwiches so fun. I appreciated Molly’s mission statement of using local ingredients in her baking, and these zucchini cookies were a fantastic way to explore summer produce in a creative way. There is no doubt that I will order more of these cookies and hopefully some other treats from Molly Harris.

When we sit down to enjoy a meal with our loved ones, we’re doing more than eating what’s on our plates. We partake in the experience of sharing a meal prepared at home, mixing the pleasure of eating with the connection established by the hands that created the dish. Mealku delivers that emotional experience with each order by providing an environment where cooks and hungry patrons can meet and exchange.

Therein lies the real value to Mealku that makes their approach truly remarkable and addictive. It’s thrilling to see firsthand what makes someone’s dish famous in their household, and to become a part of their story. These small moments of connection across dinner tables is why I will keep going back to Mealku. That and those zucchini nut sandwich cookies.

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