Ruth Lafler | May 11, 201801:15 PM     11

I was curious about Meal Pal, so when they were offering a 50% off promotion, I signed up.

What it is:

You sign up and pay for a plan, either 12 or 20 meals per month/30-day period.

Various eateries in the area offer a Meal Pal special; some of them seem to be the same every day, but most of them offer something different every day. The offerings go "live" the day before at 5:00 p.m, and you have between then and 9:30 a.m. to browse them (by website or app), pre-order your meal and designate a time slot for pick-up (note, though, that some places only offer a limited number and they can sell out). When the time comes, you just walk in, tell them you're there for Meal Pal (some places have a counter with a sign), give them your confirmation code, take your meal and walk out. I felt really smug today when I bypassed a line to order that was at least 15 deep!

The regular price of the 12-meal plan works out to something between $6 and $6.50 dollars. Note that this includes tax, so the price of the actual meal is under $6; the 20-meal plan works out slightly cheaper per meal.

So far, I've been really happy with my options (chicken curry w/rice; pot roast sandwich with house-made potato chips; three-cheese pressed sandwich with a small salad; beef and lamb shawerma); none of the meals appeared to have been scaled down, even though you're paying $2-3 less than the menu price. There's a huge number of places in the SF Financial District (and you can widen your practical lunch radius because you save time ordering and receiving your food). I've even discovered/rediscovered some new places.

The downside is that you can't customize your meal (ask for no mayo on a sandwich, etc.). The vegetarian options are limited.

Of course nothing beats bringing lunch from home. But if you find yourself spending a lot of money buying lunch (which is getting close to $10, at a minimum) at least three times a week, this is worth looking into.

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

Recommended from Chowhound

Chowhound Editors' Favorite Kitchen Tools for Spring 2019

Chowhound Editors' Favorite Kitchen Tools for Spring 2019

by Joey Skladany | Spring has officially sprung, which means it's out with the old and in with the new. And when it comes...

What Makes a Wine 'Dry?'

What Makes a Wine 'Dry?'

by Pamela Vachon | If you are any self-proclaimed lover of wine, it is likely that you have used the term “dry” to describe...

Rank Your Favorite Flavored Waters
Food News

Rank Your Favorite Flavored Waters

by Jessica Learish | Among topics of socially acceptable dinner conversation, flavored water can spark some of the most...

What Is the Difference Between Jam and Jelly?
What's the Difference

What Is the Difference Between Jam and Jelly?

by Amanda Balagur | For as long as we’ve been eating fruit, people have been keen to find a way to preserve it in order...

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.

See what's new!

View latest discussions ›