Generally speaking, I try to be really good about bringing my breakfast and lunch to work. It’s challenging, because my office is located in the same building as not just one but TWO food halls. On the ground floor of our building is a French market called Le District, which has everything from soups, sandwiches, and salads to a lovely wine bar with a great happy hour deal: $5 glasses of wine, $1 oysters - which I love, but which do not love me (I am allergic). As if that Gallic bounty wasn’t enough, on the second floor is a food court called Hudson Eats, which has about a dozen vendors selling sushi, barbeque, bahn mi, tacos, and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Basically, what I’m saying is that I work in foodie heaven. If that wasn’t enough, there are locations of Parm and Shake Shack right across the street. My company also has a cafeteria in our offices - but let’s be real, with those options, who wants a sad steam table meal?
With all of these options, it would be easy to spend well over $100 each week just on lunch, to say nothing of how unhealthy it would be. So normally, I force myself to bring my food with me - a salad, leftovers from the previous night’s dinner, or something else that is generally considered wholesome and healthy.
Every so often, however, I like to indulge just a bit and try one of the options from downstairs or nearby. Yesterday I found myself without my usual pre-packed lunch, mostly because I was just too tired to pack a lunch for myself the night before, and in the morning, I had to run out the door in a pre-caffeine frenzy to try to get to the primary polls before work. So, with a full afternoon of meetings staring me down, I wanted something that would be filling and delicious, but not so heavy that it would put me to sleep, and I decided I’d finally try out Maple. Maple is a fairly new lunch and dinner delivery service in NYC backed by David Chang, the owner and chef of the Momofuku empire. You log onto their website and choose from one of the six or so rotating meal selections they have available and try to maintain enough willpower to say no to their amazing dessert offerings (I mean, mocha marshmallows? Salted honey pie? Ice cream from Ample Hills? MAPLE, ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE ME CRY?!). You pick a delivery window, and that’s it - you’re done! Tax, tip, et cetera are all bundled into the cost, which is around $10-12.
I was in the mood for something that I could pretend was healthy, so I picked the spinach salad with dates, chorizo, manchego, and croutons. Like I said, I was pretending to be healthy. Twenty minutes later, I had the most beautifully packaged lunch sitting at my desk. Seriously, they’ve really nailed their branding. It felt like opening a birthday present, and not just because I was so hungry. Your food comes in it’s own little box, with a separate little container for utensils and a napkin, and most importantly, they give you a free maple sugar cookie with your meal! I thought these were all really nice touches.
It will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever eaten at one of David Chang’s restaurants that the food was amazing. The salad was perfectly portioned, and the chorizo and manchego on top were both of really high quality. They packaged the salad with dressing on the side, which is crucial, because soggy salad literally makes me dry heave. This salad was so damn good - I practically inhaled the entire thing, cookie and all, in ten minutes flat. Mid-meeting, no less. Apologies to my coworkers who had to witness that. It was the salad of my dreams. The lunch I never knew I wanted. I mean, this thing was just really freaking good.
So, to sum it up: if you’re in their delivery zone, and looking to indulge a bit for lunch or dinner (or if you’re pressed for time), Maple makes for a great, pretty reasonably priced delivery option. I would definitely recommend it, if for nothing else than that amazing cookie (oh man, I really want another one of those).