I am a Boston Chowhound, and I'm looking for a place in the DC area where you can buy really good pre-prepared meals. My sister lives in the DC area (near American U) and works way too many hours. She never has time to cook, but hates fast food. Does anyone know of a place that has high quality prepared meals that can be frozen or stored and reheated on demand? Preferably one that sells gift certificates?
One of the best possibilities is in your sister's neighborhood. Balducci's grocery store is an upscale grocery store with an excellent prepared food department. They'll sell food on an a la carte basis or as a Bistro Meal, an entree and two sides.
I looked on the store's web site and found it to be spetacularly unhelpful. The "prepared foods" link under the food category only describes a few limited items with a seasonal focus. You'll probably have to call the catering department if you want to specify particular foods for your sister. If you're simply willing to buy a gift certificate, you'll be able to do that online. (URL below)
Over the years Balducci's has been in my neighborhood, I've bought most the items on their menu. Although some things are better than others, everything is good. The food is orders of magnitude better than fast food. Even so, I've developed some strategies for improving the quality of some items. For example, I'll eat their tenderloin after letting it come to room temperature rather than heating it. As a result, the meat remains rare and juicy. If I buy Chicken Parmesan, I'll also buy an extra plastic tub of marinara sauce.
I'm sure your sister will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
3201 New Mexico Avenue
Washington, DC 20016
re: Indy 67
I looked at their website. Really nice stuff. I went to get a gift card for her there, but they wanted to charge me 8.29 for shipping - for something that you could use a regular stamp on! I am really bummed; I simply refuse to pay that much for shipping. I think I will have to go the whole foods route.
There is a PHENOMENAL Whole Foods in Tenleytown where AU is. It's huge! They have tons of very good prepared foods and salad bar things. Also cheeses, wine, and all kinds of other food. You are probably familiar w/ WF? Anyway i bet they do have gift cards there too. If she isn't already a regular there she will be after using your gift card. I used to go to the Sport & Health club right around the corner and frequently stopped there to take dinner home. And it's right next to the Tenleytown metro stop.
Have you thought about one of the many meal assembly chains in the area? Here is a list of the ones I know about, though I'm sure there are many, many more:
My Girlfriend's Kitchen
I've had a lot of personal experience with Let's Dish and find it a life saver for week-night meals.