Tag: Food delivery services

Meal kits: we try out “Gobble”

Meal kits: we try out “Gobble”

Previously we have written about Freshly, a meal delivery service that provides completely prepared, microwavable meals, and we weren’t all that thrilled. This article is about meal kits, which send you the ingredients and simple preparation instructions.

There are an awful lot of meal services out there trying to get you to subscribe, and one of the better rated ones is strangely named “Gobble.” Their slogan is “Make dinner in 15 minutes,” and this seems to be about right. We ordered three meal kits for two, for $73.93, or $24.64 each. They come delivered iced, but not frozen and so well sealed, they lasted nearly a week in the refrigerator until we’d tried all three. You will probably need a couple of cooking pans, a bowl or two, and perhaps a knife to chop up salad ingredients.

Spring Pot Roast

The first one we tried was “Spring Pot Roast,” with fava beans and asparagus. The meal kits come in several little sealed packages, one for the beef, one for the legumes. The asparagus was loosely packaged, but fresh, and the other envelopes were a red wine demi-glace, a shallot-garlic confit (which seemed to have little flavor), lemon gremolata and fried garlic bits.

Putting this one together was pretty simple. You put the beef cubes, red wine glace and some water in a covered pan and cook for five minutes.  Meanwhile, you cut the asparagus into short “batons.” You saute the beans as asparagus in a little oil and then add the garlic confit.

You put half of the beans-asparagus mixture on each place, divide the beef mixture over them and garnish with the lemon gremolata and fried garlic.

I found it pretty good, although my wife didn’t agree. Each portion was nominally 560 calories, and it left us feeling hungry. Of the three dinners, we liked this one the least.

Fortunately, the overall package came with two cookie dough puck that you could bake into cookies in 14 minutes, and we did.

Miso Glazed Pulled Pork Sandwich

pork plated

Our second meal was the miso glazed pulled pork sandwich with Gochujang aioli. It was really simple to put together. First you toast the brioche bins in a pan for a few minutes and set them aside. You heat the shredded pork, add the miso glaze and heat 2-3 minutes more. You chop up the lettuce, slice the Persian cucumber and mix with the shredded carrots to make a bit of a salad that you dress with Nuoc Cham (fish sauce). This salad was also to contain the cilantro which we decided to omit.

Then you put the supplied mayonnaise in a small bowl and add the gochujang paste, a mild Korean fermented red pepper paste. To assemble, you put half the salad on each plate, the buns on top, spread the mayo over the buns and distribute the pork among them. You can put a little salad on top as well, but there is so much pork it doesn’t all fit.

We thought these sandwiches were outstanding, and at 1120 calories each, were plenty filling.

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

chickn plated 2

This pasta dish also came with spinach and broccoli, and that same shallot-garlic confit the first meal also utilized. For this dinner, you brown a couple of small chicken breasts in a pan, and then roast them in the oven along with the broccoli at 450˚ F for six minutes. Then, you take out the chicken, simmer the broccoli with some water while covered, and then plate the broccoli while keeping the chicken warm. Oh, and that pan that was in the oven is going have a really hot handle, and burning your hand when you put the lid on is not improbable. And I’ve been cooking for 50 years! I think it might be better to steam the broccoli in a small saucepan instead.

Then, you boil the fettuccine, drain it and put it in the pan and add the spinach leaves and the alfredo sauce, along with that garlic confit. Finally, you plate the pasta and sauce and add the slice chicken breasts on top. You sprinkle with sone grated cheese, and most important, add the packet of chili flakes to keep the dish from being bland. We thought is was very good, and at 1050 calories it should have been more filling that it turned out.

Probably, my only real criticism with Gobble is that they are a weekly meal kit delivery service, but the deadline to make changes or skip a week is a whole week before. So, I ended up with another set of meals we hadn’t planned on arriving this evening, including one with a diminutive piece of salmon that looked like it wasn’t even enough for one. It says it weighs 10 oz.

Overall, we think Gobble is a very good meal kit service, and we will probably order more in the future.

 

 

 

 

We try ‘Freshly’: delivered meals of little distinction

We try ‘Freshly’: delivered meals of little distinction

Freshly has been advertising heavily on TV and the Internet, promising “meals cooked by chefs and sent to you fresh.” The meals aren’t terribly expensive, amounting to $8.99 per meal in small quantities and $7.99 per meal if you commit to 12 per week.

We too advantage of an introductory offer and ordered six meals, figuring that we would order the second six after we’d tried them out.  As you will see, we never got that far.

We placed our order on March 30 for 6 meals: two each of

  • Slow-cooked Pork and Herbed Gravy with Skillet Kale and Roasted Potatoes
  • Steak Peppercorn with Sautéed Carrots and French Green beans
  • Homestyle Chicken with Butternut Mac and Cheese

We got an acknowledgment that they would be delivered on Friday April 3, and they did come late that afternoon, but after our dinner plans had already been decided as homemade pizza.

The meals come packed in an insulated box surrounded by two sheets of frozen gelatinized water-ice. The meals were cold but not frozen and we quickly refrigerated them. Their literature says that they should keep for at least 5 days, or you should freeze them to keep longer. They also noted that we should use them fresh by the Use By dates, which were April 9 and 10. You can heat any of them up in the microwave in around 3 minutes.

Pork

Saturday April 4, we decided to try the Slow-cooked Pork and Herbed Gravy. We supposed there would be real pieces of pork in the dish, but it was for the most part present only in very small granular pieces, like bits of ground beef. These meals are not for hearty appetites, the pork dish was rated at 420 calories, and the portions were small. But we are dealing with the old Catskills joke here: “The food is terrible and such small portions.”

The pork mixture had an unpleasant aftertaste that grew with each bite. We found we had some leftover homemade applesauce in the refrigerator, and by alternating bites of applesauce with the pork mixture, we were able to finish eating it. The Skillet Kale was another story. While there are number of well-known techniques to reduce the strong flavor of kale, they didn’t seem to have used them. It allegedly contained turkey-bacon crumbles but we didn’t notice them. The taste was simply vile. We rated this dish as one of the worst dinners we had ever had.

steak

But we still had two more meals to try. Steak Peppercorn with Sautéed Carrots and French Green Beans seemed innocuous enough, so we had it for dinner on Tuesday April 7, long before the April 10 Use By date. The beef was actually Flat-Iron Steak, but their literature seemed to indicate that they had marinated it in something, so it was fairly tender.

beef cut opneHowever, by the third bite we knew we were in trouble. There was a taste and aftertaste that was so strong it began to make us feel nauseous, and we didn’t finish it. The carrots and beans were no better. My companion asked, “how can they screw up carrots?” They too had a different, unpleasant aftertaste and we ended up tossing both meals in the trash. The steak is supposed to be “topped with a creamy peppercorn sauce,” but we really didn’t detect this at all.

Since we hadn’t had much to eat, we broke out one of the Homestyle Chicken dishes, with Butternut Mac & Cheese. At first, we though this was going to be a winner, but by the third bite, the chicken tasted odd, although reasonably tender, and we couldn’t finish it either. The only thing we can say is that the mac and cheese was OK. But the green beans had the same off taste as the other vegetables, and we couldn’t finish them either. This may have been the “fragrant garlic oil” but we didn’t note any garlic flavor.

chicken

Now, we’ve eaten in lots of restaurants in a lot of places, and there have been a number of misfires in all those meals, but this is the only time we can think of where we really couldn’t finish the meals because they were absolutely terrible.

We immediately canceled our subscription to Freshly and they sent us nice polite acknowledgement. However, they’ve placed a cookie in our web browser’s database that keeps us from browsing their website further unless we renew our membership. This is unprofessional. Fortunately we have other browsers we could use to look up their prices and policies.

We obviously don’t recommend Freshly at all.