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Why Green Chef Reminds Me of Reviewing for Zagat Survey

Mary Zubritsky
ByMary ZubritskyMar 1, 2023 | 2 comments


I spent 14 years in NYC and for 6 of them, I reviewed for the Zagat Guide. And while I don't consider myself a foodie (couldn't pay me to eat a heart, a frog leg, escargot, caviar or, of course, a bunny), my reviews were less about the food and more about the ambience, the crowd, and what everyone wore.

Back in the late 90s and the early 2000s, the Zagat Guide was the bible. Every year, New Yorkers all over the city and the burbs, sprinted to their local Barnes & Noble to grab the most recent copy to find out about the city's hottest new restaurants, exclusive lounges, the most romantic spots, velvet rope clubs, and where you'd go to find bankers, models, and Lindsay Lohan dancing on a bar.

When I went to these establishments, I wasn't allowed to mention Zagat (although a few times I did because I was poor and wanted something for free), and I'd sit at the end of the bar and observe the clientele, noise volume, dish and cocktail presentations, the staff, and the general vibe of the place. I'd ogle the food, get a whiff of the deliciousness, and plan my next dates.

It was an awesome, ongoing freelance gig that introduced me to many of the wonderful cuisines I'm still obsessed with today. And for me, Green Chef's worldly menu options take me back to the years I reviewed for the Zagat Guide.

The Tastes of the World

Real talk here. Zagat paid me $35 per review, and here's how each one went down:

  • Travel to the location (sometimes in an unsafe neighborhood).
  • Lug my Cannon Digital Camera.
  • Snag a spot at the bar or just wander around and observe without looking like a total creeper.
  • Travel back home.
  • Scroll through 100s of pages of customer comments.
  • Find my spot and compare the customers' reviews with my own experience.
  • Type up a 60–75-word blurb, making sure to use many customer quotes (and keep them in "quotes"), and then submit to my editor.

Let's do the math here. Each review took me an average of 8 hours + I got paid $35 per blurb = yikes, I was getting ripped off. Well, I enjoyed it and that's all that matters. In fact, many of my friends called me "The Walking Zagat Guide" because I always knew where to go and as soon as people told me what they were looking for, I sent them three different spots in the blink of an eye.

Well, let's be honest here. I couldn't afford any of those restaurants on my salary, even with the additional $35 per review, so I'd avoid the group dinners, and meet everyone out afterwards. Back then, I didn't flinch when I spent $8 for my lunch and $12 for my to-go dinner, despite having a very limited budget, but the way I'd personally enjoy the food I reviewed was either by going on a date, exploring the lunch menu, or getting the dishes to go.

And the thing is, with so amazing restaurant options on every block in NYC, it was a game of eeny, meeny, miny, moe. From Indian to Thai, and Moroccan to Lebanese, the tastes of the world could literally be at my doorstep in a few minutes.

That's how I feel about Green Chef... I can have the tastes of the world delivered to my doorstep in just a few days. Plus, getting setup with Green Chef is so easy. I simply logged onto their site, chose my dietary preferences (you can pick more than one), the number of people I'll be feeding (from 2-6) and whether I'd like to receive the food kits 3 or 4 times per week. Then I scanned the list of 30 meals, read through the descriptions (including ingredients, the recipe, calories, prep time and more) and added the dishes to my cart.

What is Green Chef?

Green Chef is a weekly meal kit subscription service that designs and delivers pre-portioned, organic ingredients to your doorstep along with chef-curated, easy-to-follow recipes. Whether you're Vegan or following the Keto diet, you'll be able to find meals to fit your need since Green Chef takes everyone’s dietary preferences and restrictions into consideration.

As a GMO-free, USDA-certified organic company and the first meal subscription service to be certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers Organization (CCOF), Green Chef is a sustainable company that only uses sustainably caught seafood, and it's the first meal kit service with plastic and carbon offset.

With weekly options including Keto + Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Fast + Fit, Mediterranean and Gluten-Free, they have something for everyone, especially if you're carb conscious and searching for high-protein recipes that taste good and make you feel good too. Each menu offers around 8 or 9 choices each week, and you can switch-up your plan too. Whether you're cooking for yourself, a couple or a family of 6 and you need meals shipped 3 or 4 times per week, Green Chef has you covered.

The Worldly Meals

So, you may be wondering what meals at Green Chef can make my mouth water quite like walking into a Michelin-starred restaurant in NYC? Honestly, none, but they do come close!

Curried Coconut Turkey Soup 

I love all things curry and coconut. And this soup—which is packed with flavor from yellow curry powder, garam masala, onions, zucchini, ground turkey and creamy coconut milk—takes me back to one of my favorite restaurants in Gramercy Park. It's also topped with roasted cashews and sour cream and comes with a side of toasted garlic pitas.

Truffle Linguine with Chicken 

For a quick trip to Little Italy, I ordered this decadent linguine with creamy truffle butter sauce, sautéed cremini mushrooms and green peas—and it's topped with pan-seared chicken strips seasoned with herbs and red pepper.

Steak & Shrimp with Creamy Chive Sauce

True story. I once interviewed Kim Cattrall (Samantha from Sex & the City) and she told me the best place to pick up a man is at the bar of a steakhouse. So, following her advice, I used to grab one of my besties and we'd sit at the bar at places like Del Frisco's, Sparks and Wolfgang's to check out the scenery.

Well, this Surf ’n’ turf meal takes me back to those days, and this dish features a seasoned bavette steak and shrimp with tender roasted broccoli, savory mashed butternut sweet potatoes, and sharp cheddar cheese. It's also topped with a creamy chive and umami mushroom sauce.


Now look, nothing can ever compare to the amazing restaurants in major cities like NYC and LA, but since we're all on a little bit of a budget these days, Green Chef is a more affordable option. So, you can actually save up a little money to take a big culinary trip in 2023!

Starting at $29.94
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EveryPlate offers one of the most affordable meal kit subscription services available, with each meal only costing around $4.99. It offers meal subscription plans for 2 or 4 people and you can choose to receive 3-5 meals per week. Customers can select their favorite dishes from a weekly rotating ... read more.

Mary Zubritsky
Mary Zubritsky

If shopping were an Olympic sport, I’d be a gold medalist. And while my bank account often feels the crunch, I just can’t stop buying secondhand clothing and accessories, under-the-radar designer goods, stuffed animal unicorns (I have about 75), and toys for my pet bunny rabbit. After 20 years of city slicking in NYC and DC, I now have a car and love to tour the Virginia countryside looking for vintage shops, undiscovered wineries and breweries, historic sites, and Thai restaurants—I’m addicted to Thai food. I never leave home without a spare phone charger because I love horror movies and therefore have an irrational fear of being stranded somewhere with a dead battery. 

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Lisa B

Mary! Your turn of phrase makes every review a journey! I think you could make me want spam fricassee 🤣 And your stories make the journey all the more worthwhile. I loved this as much as WIWTW, please do more reviews!

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Mary Zubritsky

Hahahaha thanks, Lisa! It’s hard to come up with topics and stories for these things. I’m actually cutting back a bit and only focusing on rentals because I’m (happily) very busy at work. But I have lots of stories from my past and many are pretty hilarious, so I like to take a trip down memory lane. Anow I’ve got my idea for next week so thanks!

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