Food: I ate a day's worth of meals from Too Good To Go, here's how my first time using the app went

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Too Good To Go © Too Good To Go Too Good To Go
  • I decided to eat a day's worth of meals from the app Too Good To Go, which tries to eliminate food waste.
  • I ordered from Dunkin Donuts, Le Pain Quotidien, and a local sushi place called Sushi Capitol.
  • I think the app is worth it when you want to occasionally treat yourself to food you may not typically get to eat.

Living in Washington, DC makes the habit of eating out fairly expensive.

I typically only dine out once a week and try to only spend an allotted amount when I do. Sometimes that means saying no to fancy Italian restaurants, overpriced sushi, or even Uber Eats.

When I heard Too Good To Go made its way to the US and began offering its app in cities along the East Coast, I was eager to try it.

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Too Good To Go is an app with the goal of eliminating food waste. Restaurants, cafes, and even supermarkets in your area offer up surplus food, meals, and produce at a discounted price for you to purchase. I downloaded Too Good To Go because I liked the idea of supporting local businesses in my area while doing so sustainably.

So, this Wednesday I decided to eat an entire day's worth of meals from Too Good To Go. In some ways, I was pleasantly surprised by how it went. I got to treat myself to things I normally wouldn't purchase, but there was some repetition in the availability of food near me which caused some hiccups.

The night before

Restaurants on Too Good To Go offer food in the form of "Surprise Bags," meaning that you don't know what you'll get until you pick it up. It could be anything from their menu, but you don't get to pick and choose. If you have any severe food allergies, this may not be the app for you.

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I noticed that there was pretty high demand for certain restaurants and markets on the app. A bagel place near me always sells out of their "Surprise Bags" of leftover assorted bagels within minutes of being listed on Too Good To Go. My goal was to avoid this problem, so on Tuesday night I purchased all my meals for the next day.

After scrolling through the app to see what was available, I decided on three different locations for breakfast, lunch, and dinner: Dunkin Donuts, Le Pain Quotidien, and a local sushi place called Sushi Capitol.

It was fairly easy to purchase my meals and navigate the app to find what was close by. It was also nice knowing breakfast for the next day was covered.

Breakfast, $3.99

Too Good To Go © Emily Walsh/Insider Too Good To Go "Surprise Bag" from Dunkin Donuts. Emily Walsh/Insider

My Dunkin Donuts order was ready for pickup between 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Not much was given as a description of what could be in it besides assorted pastries and baked goods.

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The order cost $3.99, so to be quite honest, my expectations were not very high.

I was pleasantly surprised when I went to go pick up my "Surprise Bag" and found that it was a box of a dozen assorted donuts that were not stale.

A dozen donuts typically goes for $9.99 at the coffee chain, so I thought this was a good deal. Pickup was simple and my order was ready when I got to the store. One downside is that my roommate and I are still eating donuts (which are now a little stale) days later.

Lunch, $4.99

Too Good To Go © Emily Walsh/Insider Too Good To Go "Surprise Bag" from Le Pain Quotidien. Emily Walsh/Insider

I decided on the chain Le Pain Quotidien for lunch because the cafe tends to be on the pricier side and I have maybe only eaten there twice before.

I was excited to pick up Le Pain Quotidien. I thought $4.99 was a great price for lunch when the meal would typically cost over $12 for a sandwich and some soup.

By the time my 3:15 to 3:50 pm pickup window came around, I was starving. Donuts are great, but they are not filling, so I was early awaiting my "Surprise Bag."

However, when I got to the cafe, I was very disappointed. Too Good To Go says that I could get "an assortment of baked goods and pastries or items like sandwiches, salads, soups, granola, etc," but what I picked up was a bag of just four pastries. This would have been fine if I wasn't starving and had only eaten donuts prior to 3 pm.

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I decided to reheat some leftovers for lunch instead and texted some friends offering my now surplus of baked sweets as I looked ahead eagerly to dinner.

Dinner, $4.99

Too Good To Go © Emily Walsh/Insider Too Good To Go "Surprise Bag" from Sushi Capitol. Emily Walsh/Insider

After lunch's disappointment, I was ready for dinner to redeem my Too Good To Go experience.

I settled on sushi the night before understanding the potential risks of leftover fish. Because sushi can be pretty expensive in my area, this was a risk I was willing to take. I think it was worth it.

When I arrived at Sushi Capitol to pick up my meal around 8:30 pm, I was nervous because the restaurant was closed. Peering into the windows, the dining room was dark and empty and there were no employees around. The door happened to be unlocked, so when I opened it, I saw a brown bag labeled "Too Good To Go" sitting on a bench inside. I grabbed it, marked the order as picked up in my app, and left.

When I got home I was excited to find a California roll, a container of sticky rice, and miso soup in my bag with some soy sauce packets and chopsticks, a meal restaurants would charge far more than $4.99 for in my area.

It also tasted good which was the main thing. I was hungry after a disappointing lunch and the sushi, rice, and soup really did the trick.

I think Too Good To Go is worth it when you want to occasionally treat yourself to items like baked goods and sweet treats, or a meal that you may not typically get to eat, but I would be hesitant to try to order a day's worth of food again. It will be nice to see what restaurants in my area join the app so I can try more local places, but for now I'll keep my eyes peeled for any "Surprise Bags" that might be worth it.

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