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Gourmet Station vs Magic Kitchen

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GOURMET STATION

Gourmet Station has been offering meal delivery since 1999, with more than 100,000 customers in their two decades on the market. Many of their choices are focused on gift-giving, providing upscale dinner options that can be used for employee rewards and incentives and client gifting or for holidays and other events. Of course, all of their selections are available as a personal indulgence for special occasions like anniversaries and birthdays.

The easiest way to shop the Gourmet Station website is by category: Dinner Gifts, Occasion Dinners, Meal Plans, Gift Certificates, Monthly Clubs, or Soup & Appetizers.

Dinner Gift options are impressive:

  • Occasion Dinners for Two - priced at $109.99, you get a card, white cloth dinner napkins, a floating candle and free gift packaging, in addition to your choice of four-course meals (Americana, Parisian, Tuscan). You'll get to choose the bread, soup, entree, and dessert, as well as a coffee or tea and candy.
  • Four-Course Gourmet Dinners for Two - for $99.99, you can select from Parisian, Tuscan, or Americana options (the same as the previous package, minus the extra gift items like the candle).
  • Three-Course Gourmet Dinners for Two - priced at $89.99, you'll get to choose an appetizer, two entrees, and a dessert.
  • Gourmet Dinners for Two - if all you need are the entrees, you'll pay $79.99. Choices include Chicken Cordon Bleu, Lemon Dill Salmon, Mushroom Ravioli and more.

Other selections in the Dinner Gift category include Wagyu (Kobe) Steaks and Steak Dinner Gifts and Dinner of the Month. This last option can also be found in Gourmet Station's Monthly Clubs: if you want a regularly-scheduled meal delivery for yourself or for a lucky gift recipient, the possibilities range from Soup or Dessert of the Month to full 2-, 3-, and 4-course dinners.

On the other hand, if you're specifically looking for meal delivery services that help you with dinners during the week, you'll want to look at Gourmet Station's Meal Plans. These are packaged for one person, for five meals a week. You'll be able to select from Tuscan, Parisian, Cajun, Americana, and International menus. For $144.99, you'll choose five entrees from the categories of Pasta, Beef, Pork, Seafood, and Poultry. Each entree comes with a side vegetable, but you don't get to choose which one you get; depending on the menu you select for the entree, you may get Oven-Roasted Tuscan Veggies, Creamy Spinach & Artichokes, and so on.

All entrees come deep-chilled and should be refrigerated on the day they're delivered. You should eat your entrees within 3 days; otherwise, you can freeze your entree and reheat at a later time. Gourmet Station's meals need to be reheated in an oven, not a microwave. This allows the full flavors and textures of the gourmet meals to be retained, but might be less convenient for people who want to be able to heat up their food more quickly or who don't have a full kitchen.

Standard delivery means that your meals will arrive via UPS on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, with the exception of major holidays. You can schedule special-occasion deliveries even months in advance, but you'll still be limited to those three days of the week due to UPS' scheduling.

Gourmet Station meal delivery is a good choice for people looking for restaurant-quality food, either for a special occasion or for those weeknights where no one wants to cook. But, for customers on a special diet or a limited budget, this service probably won't be the ideal fit.

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MAGIC KITCHEN

Created in 2005 with a focus on providing restaurant-quality, healthy meals for seniors and others, Magic Kitchen strives to cover a wide variety of dietary needs. All meals are prepared, flash-frozen, and ready to be reheated. You won't need any extra dishes, pots and pans, or kitchen tools - making this a convenient option for people who don't like to cook or who don't have access to a full kitchen.

Each meal usually has an entree with two sides. Some of their more popular selections include Basil Chicken with Rice & Zucchini Saute, Eggplant Parmigiana with Polenta & Spinach, and Salmon Caponata with Orzo & Spinach.

We were impressed with the wide range of dietary needs that Magic Kitchen addresses. You can find them listed under the "Dietary Interest" section:

  • Diabetic-Friendly
  • Portion Controlled
  • Dialysis-Friendly
  • Renal Diet (CKD 3&4)
  • Dairy-Free
  • Gluten-Free
  • Low-Fat
  • Low-Sodium
  • Low-Carb
  • Senior Diet
  • Vegetarian

Depending on your needs, you can choose to order a la carte or through a meal program. A la carte options are broken down by Mains, Soups, Sides, Desserts and Snacks. While most of these choices come in either complete meal packages or in two-serving sizes, you can find some options designated as "family size" - ideal for those times when Grandma might be having company over for a meal or when friends stop by for dessert.

In order to sign up for a meal program, you'll have to contact Magic Kitchen via phone or email - you can't place your order online. While that is less convenient than most of the meal delivery services in our review, it gives you the opportunity to custom-design the exact package that meets your needs. Your cost will depend on the specific plan you create, but Magic Kitchen offers an example program for your reference:

  • Low Sodium/Diabetic/Senior Complete Meal Program for 1 Person
  • 1 complete meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner): $75-$85 for 7 days
  • 2 complete meals (choose two from breakfast/lunch/dinner): $150-$165 for 7 days
  • 3 complete meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner): $225-$250 for 7 days

These programs don't require you to sign a contract or make any other long-term commitments; you can have them shipped automatically and have meals sent weekly, every two weeks, or monthly. You can choose your own meals, or have the Magic Kitchen staff select for you within the parameters you select.

If you sign up for Magic Kitchen's email newsletter, you may be able to save money: we got a pop-up offering a discount of 10% off our next purchase. Those newsletters give you access to inside deals, so it's definitely worth it if you plan on being a long-term customer.

We like Magic Kitchen's 100% satisfaction guarantee. If anything arrives in damaged or spoiled condition, they will replace it at no cost to you. Similarly, if any of the foods you try don't meet your satisfaction, Magic Kitchen will either replace it in your next order or give you a credit. The company strives to have 24/7 phone coverage, with core hours of operation from 7:30A-11:30P Central, 7 days a week.

All orders are shipped from Magic Kitchen's warehouse in Kansas City, KS, using dry ice in a reusable, recyclable Styrofoam container. Expect to pay a minimum of $18-$20 for delivery; costs depend on the actual weight of your order and the shipping distance.

So, how do the actual meals measure up? On the one hand, many of the customers who match Magic Kitchen's targeted audience - senior citizens looking for healthy, easy to prepare/reheat meal options - say that it's been a great choice. We were glad to see some caregivers and loved ones saying that their 80-something mother is a picky eater that actually loved what she got with no exceptions. On the other hand, what they have to offer may not be a great fit for most people looking for meal delivery. Some reviews said that the food was watery after being reheated, and even the photos of the entree-plus-two-sides meals were unappetizing in a lot of cases. And, with an average serving cost of $12 and up for most foods, we think many customers will be looking for more than just a TV dinner-style meal delivery plan.

Magic Kitchen does a good job of giving options for seniors and others with strict dietary needs who might only have access to a microwave. But, their pricing is expensive, and their options might not appeal to younger customers who don't mind spending a little time in the kitchen to create a more restaurant-quality meal.

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Best Meal Delivery

To help you find the Best Meal Delivery, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Gourmet Station and Magic Kitchen.

Who is the best Meal Delivery company? Are you looking for a way to simplify dinner after a long day at work? Using a meal delivery service has become an easy way of getting nourishing, flavorful food on the table without the hassle of grocery shopping.

Of course, the most popular reason for using a meal delivery company is the convenience. Customers love being able to order their favorite entrees, side dishes, or even appetizers and desserts, and to choose how much cooking they'd like to do. Some meal delivery services are reheat-and-eat, while others provide you with all of the ingredients you need to create a restaurant-quality meal in your own kitchen.

As these services have grown in popularity, the types of meals and plans has expanded as well. Has your doctor recently put you on a special diet, and you're not sure how to incorporate it into your lifestyle? Whether you're adapting to a diet that's low in carbs, diabetic-friendly, or even gluten-free, you'll find a meal delivery program that can help.

Are you interested in becoming a vegetarian but unfamiliar with how to create a balanced meal? Once again, there's a meal delivery service for that - use it for a few weeks to get ideas of lunches and dinners that you can recreate, or for as long as you like as you adapt to your clean, green way of eating.

As you consider which meal delivery service is best for you, you'll quickly see that they vary greatly when it comes to price, preparation, and types of food offered. Keep these criteria in mind as you decide which company fits your needs:

  • Reputation. What do past and current customers have to say about the meals they received and the overall experience, from ordering to delivery?
  • Cost. What will you spend for the meal delivery plan you choose, whether you opt for a la carte entrees or regularly-scheduled weekly or monthly shipments?
  • Variety. Does the meal delivery provider have an appetizing range of flavors and cuisines to choose from? Will you be able to select meals that you'll actually want to eat?
  • Satisfaction Guarantee. If you're unhappy with the service, the quality of the food, or the condition of the meals at the time of delivery, can you get a refund or a replacement?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best meal delivery services available today. We hope these reviews help you find the service that puts the food that you're craving on the table right away!



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