Strangely enough, it is the second week in a row that we have a Washington D.C. related inquiry. “I need to find a meal planner in the Washington D.C. area.” Interesting question, but the staff of the Newton Falls Public Library really required more information. Upon further questioning, it was discovered that the real need was “I have friends who are getting married. It is a second marriage for both. They live in Arlington, Virginia near Washington D.C. and are very busy people with jobs that often take them out of town. I want to get them a gift certificate, where someone will prepare some gourmet meals for them so that when they get home they can just take meals from their freezer.” Sounds as if what is really wanted is an upscale restaurant that has take-out service or a personal chef who will prepare meals.
Looking at books available in the catalog of the library and TiPL [Trumbull Independent Public Libraries] Consortium there is very little which may have references to restaurants in that area of Virginia. More titles about travel could be found in Ohio Libraries Share MORE, but the patron doesn’t want to wait for items to come from other parts of the state.
Online there are more options to consider. An Internet search for ‘Arlington Virginia prepared meals’ brought up some interesting results. www.HomeBistro.com, www.ChefsDiet.com, and www.Let’sDish.com were three of the sites where meals may be ordered online, and then they are prepared, frozen and delivered to the couple’s home. The library also contacted ‘Ask A Librarian’ at the Arlington Public Library for recommendations of local restaurants near the engage couple’s home which offer take-out service. Their librarian emailed back 7 restaurants with ratings and reviews.
Another option is a personal chef who will come to the house, cook a number of meals and place them in the freezer. The advantage of a personal chef is the meals will be personalized to suit the couple’s tastes or special dietary requirements. Searching for one in the Arlington area brings up a large list. Many of them are members of the American Personal & Private Chef Association. The patron should consider those who are certified food managers, and are licensed and insured. As this is a long distance purchase and would require the chef to go to the gift recipient’s home, it was suggested that the patron contact the local Better Business Bureau [http://welcome.bbb.org] to see if there have been any complaints about a chosen service provider.