[Lunch] Why I love Maple and no, it’s not the syrup

Maple photo // Beaches & Brie

Image source: Maple

Seamless, beware. Maple is here to stay.

Maple is a food delivery service that brings in fresh, high quality meals right where you need them with the promise of excellent service and satisfaction. If you seek variety with a sense of security when it comes to your delivered meals, keep on reading.

Maple is not a subscription service, unlike what my first impression suggested. There are no commitments when you sign up for Maple, every day is a new opportunity for you to order, or not, up to you. Its unique and sleek presentation might make you forget that it’s really just a restaurant ready to make you happy with delicious meals.

How is it different? What first attracted me to inquire about Maple was their chef-inspired meals and the promise of fresh ingredients being used in healthy, yet savory plates. Little did I know that I was also about to encounter pretty much excellent customer service.

I really like the fact that they use recyclable material for the food containers and in addition, they give you bags you can actually use again for other purposes. Special shout out to their branding team, it’s easy to find your delivery guy in a busy lobby (first world problem, I know).

If I had to say something “negative” about Maple is that their menu constantly changes, so if you find a favorite plate you might not see it every single day. But hey, I think that’s part of the excitement and its charm. There’s a play with anticipation and looking forward to that element of surprise.

Now, let’s talk about what matters… the food. Don’t worry, I will not bore you with every single plate me and my coworkers have ordered from Maple thus far (a lot). Instead, I will share my first few meals which really sold me in and turned me into a fan.

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Meal #1 – Ginger Braised Chicken

Like I mentioned before, their customer service is great and that is definitely the firs thing I noticed. Not only did they have a perfectly seamless experience, but they were right on time. On top of that, the food was delicious, fresh and just the right amount. Absolutely tops my typical, boring salad game I have going on for lunch most days.

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Meal #2 Citrus Ginger Tofu on Cashew Rice

I did not know tofu could taste so good and feel so tender. Also, the spice was an excellent kick to keep my day going. I have not seen this plate a lot, but it is probably my current favorite.

Maple Kitchen // Beaches and Brie

Another thing to note is that they do not currently accept substitutions. I imagine it is to keep the efficiency going and I respect that. They literally list every single ingredient used in every single plate so you know what you are getting. I have chosen not to order certain plates because of one ingredient I may not be a fan of (mustard, ugh) but there is always at least one option each day that I feel happy about.

Overall, I love how they separate the food to keep it fresh and true to its flavor, yet they pair perfectly. Quantities are also just right, I’ve never been ridiculously full or left feeling hungry. Honestly, prices are not bad at all. Considering that the itemized price includes tax and tip, $11-$13 for the type of lunch you get is great, keeping in mind it’s New York City.

Have you tried Maple yet? If so, what has been your experience? Would love to hear about your favorite Maple plates too!

 

** Thank you Maple for providing me with my first free meal! All opinions are my own. **

Komeeda Chef Showdown #3

 
(Photo from Komeeda)

Comida, Komeeda, Food.

A while ago I got the chance to meet the great mind behind Komeeda, a community that is passionate about discovering and tasting new food. I remember being immediately sold on the idea and I’ve been happy to see Komeeda keep on growing and evolving from group dinners to the most recent Chef Showdown series. Komeeda, just like me, believes that food makes people come together and through food, we can all have new and exciting experiences.

This month, I attended the 3rd Chef Showdown at District CoWork. It was a night buzzing with flavors and excitement as 3 chefs faced each other, providing delightful plates for everyone to taste and judge. My kind of evening, if you ask me.

(Photo from Cristina Nogueras)

Before even getting to the three main judges, we were welcomed by some delicious treats from the past chef showdown winner, Chef Flo from Eemas Cuisine. I’m sad I missed his first round of sweet potato & apple gyoza, but his pumpkin & mushroom bolognese on cornbread was delicious, pictured above. Seriously though, that cornbread was on point. I really enjoyed the Hawaiian cuisine twist he brought into the mix. Which makes me thing, I think I want to explore more Hawaiian cuisine, something else to add to my list.

(Photo from Cristina Nogueras)

Then the action began. The clock started ticking and we were tasked with tasting and judging everyone’s food. First for me was Chef Brandon Walker. He had a fall squash custard and a turkey confit croquette, pictured above. The croquette was DELICIOUS. I’m used to the classic Spanish croqueta, but I like the twist that Chef Brandon brought into the mix. I could have easily eaten a full plate of those croquettes dipped in a variety of sauces, no problem at all.


(Photo from Cristina Nogueras)

Next came Chef Amy with her beautiful, colorful plate. As she describes it, she made “delicata delights” for the vegetarian portion of the dish, delicata moons on rosemary skewer sprigs with sun dried tomatoes and collard greens, drizzled in a cashew aioli. For the meat dish, she made “squashta ragu”, baby bella mushroom cap stuffed with spaghetti squash “squashta” with lamb ragu, topped with homemade dehydrated onion crisps and freshly sliced basil. I wish the spaghetti squash with the lamb ragu had been a bigger portion because it was delicious.

(Photo from Komeeda)

Last but not least, Chef Paula delighted us with her winning plates. For the meat plate, she prepared a delicious adobo braised porkbelly over pork fat red bliss mashed potato, garlic sautéed spinach topped with adobo sauce and garlic chips. Again, another moment when I wished I could have kept on eating beyond what was on my plate just because it was so good. For the vegetarian plate, Chef Paula served Kare-Kare- Japanese eggplant, green beans, baby bok choy and onions on top of bibb lettuce drizzled with peanut sauce and topped with toasted “bagoong” peanuts. All of this was vegan, which to me, is quite impressive! Learned a lot by just reading more on each of the ingredients chosen which is almost as fun as eating the food itself and one of the reasons I like to go to events like this.

After a busy tasting session, we got to meet some of the sponsors of the event. I was especially intrigued by The Foodstand, a food community that not only shares good dining spots, but helps you find the freshest ingredients and more. I just joined the community this week and already I have discovered some new great food lovers to follow and new spots to try in the city.

We all got to vote and Chef Paula was crowned the Chef Showdown winner! Seriously, everyone’s plates were flavorful and down right delicious. Excited for Komeeda’s next culinary adventure, Friendsgiving! Be sure to follow them on Instagram or Twitter for more information.

Buen provecho!

Congrats again to Chef Paula! (Photo from Komeeda)