One of my favorite kinds of Groupons is the kind that gives you discounts to food. I’ve gotten tons of them over the years and it is this fact that makes me feel that it is too bad that Groupon seems to get less and less restaurants to ante up for them as time goes by. However, a few weeks ago, I did notice one new groupon that didn’t really get advertised much but seems to be rather awesome. And that is Plated. The idea behind Plated is that they get chefs to provide them with fairly easy to cook recipes and then send those recipes to you along with everything you need to cook it. What a great idea!
First, let me get some of the bad stuff out of the way. When you make an order, you must order at least 4 dishes in a week and you can’t order less than 2 plates per dish. The first of those problems I think comes from the fact that they don’t charge for shipping and they get the food overnighted and refrigerated so it costs a lot to ship. The second problem comes from the fact that I think the recipes would be hard to put together for just one dish. So both of these issues are understandable, but they still kind of suck.
The next problem is cost. It costs $15 per plate, and that is $60 for week, which in reality is not any cheaper than just going to a restaurant and spending between $10 and $12 per plate not including tips. However, one secret method to this is to subscribe. A subscription makes it so that plates cost $12 instead of $15. The subscription costs only $10 so you actually will save $2 for the first week total including the cost of subscription. The trick is that you then have to go and turn off auto-shipments in the future so that you don’t spend more than you want, however if you do get additional plates in the month, you obviously get even better savings. Now for cost, I got the groupon that gave $95 for $60 instead of $60 for $40, the percentage was worth but I figured it’d be worth two weeks of food. I got the subscription and only had to pay $11 extra dollars. Essentially with the groupon and the subscription I paid $71 for $120, or $8.87 per plate, a much better price.
I will say that delivery went extremely well. Both deliveries found their way to my door even though I live in a building with no doorman. They were also well packaged with ice so they could likely stay there overnight if need be, though thankfully they didn’t need to be. The ingredients themselves were put together in very well marked packets so that you knew pretty easily which ingredients belonged to which meal, and it was also easy to tell what each ingredient was.
Now the food! I got 4 plates: Pumpkin Rigatoni, Acorn Squash and stuffing, Skillet Lasagna, and Qunioa stuffed Peppers. Overall, I enjoyed all the plates very well although they weren’t perfect. The Acorn Squash sent were entirely too small, we didn’t think we could even fill a quarter of the stuffing into them and they looked too raw but were actually a little bad on the insides. This led us to put the dish on hold until we got new acorn squash from the supermarket which was too bad. I did feel that while the recipes tried to reuse pots and dishes whenever they could, some of the recipes were intensive on the pots and messed up the kitchen rather quickly but this wasn’t a big deal. The acorn squash recipe had another issue of saying it was 30-40 minutes and being closer to an hour of prep & cook time which really messed up a night we had planned on shorter cooking times.
That being said, the food was good and quite interesting. Definitely felt that we got our veggies more out of these foods than we ever would have gotten elsewhere which was nice. We did feel that outside of a couple minor moments the food was fresher and healthier. And even though they only advertise 2 plates, you tend to get more than that. The Lasagna for instance was enough for 4 plates, though it was light on hamburger. Had we had a couple of extra peppers for the Stuffed Pepper dish, we easily could have gotten 4 plates out of that one given the amount of Stuffing, and I feel the same about the Acorn Squash. The only one i felt was actually just two plates was the Rigatoni. So just a little FYI, you may not want to count on the extra food, but you very well get your moneys worth and generally end with leftovers.
Overall, I would highly recommend this service despite the price, but it obviously becomes more worthwhile if you can find deals like the groupon. In fact, I had decided to try a third week while subscribed, but most of the menu items had sold out. So only two for me for now. I might treat myself every now and then in the future to a month of dishes. For new subscribers, they do generally give out discounts. For instance, right now you get $20 off your first order if you use the code 20PLATED. Not bad at all. If you subscribe, that’s only $38 for a week of food. If you are interested in Plated, sign up here.