Jump to content

Recommended Posts

TedE, consider trying Home Chef when you are interested in going with meal delivery again. I think the meals may be slightly less adventurous, but Home Chef addresses some of your cons. A lot more meal choices each week including gluten free options (meals are clearly labeled, including gluten free, paleo, low carb, etc.) and all of their packaging is recycleable, including the freezer packs. I haven't done Blue Apron, but both myself and another friend who have done Hello Fresh feel the packaging is better/less with Home Chef. 

I am paleo (well technically primal because I will eat small amounts of dairy) and haven't had difficulty finding meal choices. I also can't exercise much at the moment and there is a lot of overlap between the paleo and low carb options. The result has been that without making other changes I have actually lost weight. This is in the midst of grieving the loss of my father so though it's a stretch financially I decided to stick with it for a while to take some pressure off. 

Anyway, each seems to have its own pros and cons, though I don't hear as much praise for Plated and Hello Fresh, but I think for people with gluten or grain restrictions Home Chef is the clear winner. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After about 6 weeks with Purple Carrot, I finally pulled the plug.  I'd say 80% of the recipes were ok, 15% not great, and 1 was good enough to repeat.  I also began to question the value...The family plan was $74 for 2 four-serving meals.  Our last week, one of the meals was a black bean burger and sweet potato fries, which meant that for about $37, I received: 1 large  can of black beans, 1 onion, 6 leaves of lettuce, 1 tomato, 1 sweet potato, a few teaspoons of various spices, 4 English muffins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just switched from Blue Apron to Home Chef.  Like the choices better, less prep (I'm always rushed at night, unfortunately) and less expensive.  The Blue Apron options were getting weirder and weirder, and I didn't like that I couldn't blend vegetarian and meat choices.

I do skip a lot of weeks but think that Home Chef will work better for me in the long run.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife and I have been trying Plated now for about 10 weeks. Overall pretty good. It is exposing me to some recipes I had not experienced before and shown me how easy it is to construct pretty easy to make meals in not a ton of time. It is on one hand bad for the environment (shipping, boxes, cushioning, chiller packs) but there is no waste in the food at all, which is great.

We decided to try it because we were going in to the same narrow field of things for weeknight meals or increasingly depending on carry out that we both knew was unsustainable and ultimately not good for us. This is working out well for us for two meals a week. Usually seven choices plus two upgrade options. Usually 1 to 2 veg options. Some method repetitiveness, but we are not getting bored. We can skip weeks whenever we want but have not done that yet.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We tried Blue Apron for a few weeks in January.  I have a job which involves a quarterly close cycle; during that cycle it can be very difficult for me to plan meals or shop.  My husband ends up in charge of meals which turns into us eating way too much delivery food which is both unhealthy and expensive.  Blue Apron seemed like an easy way to eat more healthy and interesting meals.  My husband can competently cook basics but found the recipes too fussy and time consuming.  In theory prep time was supposed to be 30 minutes; for him it was over an hour.  It was about 35-45 minutes for me when I took over for some meals.   We did enjoy the results and the 2 person option was plenty for 2 adults and a 16 year-old.  But he found the cooking too stressful so we dropped it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just tried the second Blue Apron meal, after getting a free week. Eh. Very so so... ties back into the other thread - if you like cooking or are good at it, this is a poor facsimile.

This weekend I was joking with my married with children friends about their upcoming all-inclusive vacations. Okay, not joking - derisively mocking - "I get only 10 weeks of vacation and I would never spend one of those weeks at those resorts." It made me think of this...

Why Cooking With Blue Apron is Like An All Inclusive Vacation

1. You really want to cook/go on vacation but you sure are busy


2. You really like cooking/vacations and you used to do it before


3. You are just too busy to plan a meal/vacation


4. You have the money to cook nice meals/go on vacations but you don't have the time


5. So maybe someone can plan the meal/vacation for you


6. Maybe someone can even purchase all the ingredients/set up all the hotels-flights-meals-activities


7. You literally just pay money and the meal ingredients-instructions/itinerary just show up at your house/email


8. You have to do things similar to those activities like pack/cut things and fly/sauté 


9. While you're doing it, you think "Man, I'm cooking/vacationing"


10. You don't really learn anything about the meal/place you visit 


11. The pictures of all the meals/vacation look sort of like all your friends. In fact if you squint you can't tell it's yours 


12. Afterward you tell your friends that actually cook/go on vacation all about your meal/trip and they look at you with a weak smile and say "That's sounds really ... nice"


13. Eventually you realize you aren't really cooking/going on vacation and you try to get back to actually doing it again...

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm surprised to find I didn't mention this already. I started to get a bit bored with Home Chef right when I saw an offer for a new service, Sun Basket, so I thought I'd give it a try. I've now been ordering from them for about 5 months and they are by far my favorite of these types of services. Food is from local farms, organic when possible, seafood is sustainable, meat is hormone free, packaging is recyclable and the ingredients are always packed well. There is even less prep than with previous services I have tried (sauces are often already prepared, for example a recent frittata dish came with a romesco sauce already prepared) and best of all I find the dishes more inventive and almost all have been delicious. I've gotten some really good ideas on new combinations or spice blends that I've since used when cooking on my own, as well as cooking techniques (this is how I learned to toss wings in baking powder before grilling so they get and stay extra crispy). They also have a lot of meal choices, including paleo, gluten-free, and vegetarian plans.

Of course there has to be a downside and that is that Sun Basket is more expensive than the other services I've tried. $74 instead of $60 for 2x3 meals. 

I've kept an eye on Home Chef and occasionally switch back to them for a week to save costs when the Home Chef menu is particularly appealing and unfortunately I've had issues with the quality of the ingredients nearly every time. So I think the added cost for Sun Basket is worth it. It's all well and good when Home Chef offers a credit for useless ingredients, but that doesn't help when you're ready to put dinner together and suddenly can't (or the fact that it's never a refund, but always a credit toward your next box). 

Here's more info: https://www.sunbasket.com/faq

And if anyone is interested in trying the service, get your first 3 meals free:  http://sunbasket.com/3free/Jennifer118095

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Dang, I only want 2x per week.  I wish there's a service that uses recyclable packaging that does 2x/wk.

We've been using Home Chef for three weeks worth of deliveries so far. It certainly suits two empty nesters who aren't in the mood to decide upon a meal, shop, and then cook. Everything has been very good to excellent so far.

Home Chef's packaging is recyclable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I see that Home Chef has weekly menus on their website.  Can you choose which dishes you want?  I'm tempted to sign up but I only want 2 meals/week for 2 (cost $40, which is less than their free delivery minimum of $45).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I see that Home Chef has weekly menus on their website.  Can you choose which dishes you want?  I'm tempted to sign up but I only want 2 meals/week for 2 (cost $40, which is less than their free delivery minimum of $45).

Yes, you can decide which ones you'd like. If you do not choose a meal, they will send meals matching your preferences. There's no obligation, and you can skip weeks whenever you like and cancel at any time.

We typically add a smoothie or fruit to break the $45 threshold.

If you use this link, you'll get $30 off of your first order. (Disclaimer; if you use it, I also get $30 off) 

If you choose to sign up, you have to add your method of payment before you are able to see the menu and other options. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't find mention of Galley Foods, Munchery, and Hungry (tryhungry dot com).

In 2017, I have tried Galley twice, Munchery once and not Hungry because their website confuses me.  All are food delivery services that deliver chilled, yet complete meals and two highlight the "chef" who prepared them.  Galley delivered some fabulous fresh sushi salmon on a salad that I loved.  Munchery delivered an eel bowl thing that was fabulous, but the Korean beef dish was fatty and didn't really contain a full serving of veg. 

As you can see, I am not really feeling the food review muse right now and also am not sure if this is the correct location for this conversation. Regarding packaging, it's just a take out container that is recyclable in both cases. The service was fast and friendly in both cases. Kids meals available with both too. Food allergy info easily attainable (and having a dairy allergy makes many of the box options difficult to impossible).

However, this week I did not order because I was not inspired by the options...I won't purchase cooked salmon over a carb with a veg b/c (a) I can do that (b) everybody can do that and (c) boring. However, I cannot, or don't often create Korean, Thai, Japanese, or Indian inspired dishes yet love them.

Anybody tried any others?

Each of the above has a limited delivery area in the DMV too.

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/25/2017 at 9:21 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

I've done Home Chef for a few weeks.  For every protein, the instructions say to rinse and pat dry.  Do the other services also instruct people to rinse their proteins?

I can't recall off the top of my head whether others I've tried have, but I do know Home Chef uses something to keep the meat fresh that can cause an off smell so I presume that's why they instruct you to rinse it and I always rinsed very well. I think there's an explanation in the FAQ section of their site - look for a question about the meat smelling bad. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/25/2017 at 9:21 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

I've done Home Chef for a few weeks.  For every protein, the instructions say to rinse and pat dry.  Do the other services also instruct people to rinse their proteins?

Yeah Plated does that a lot too. Most of the time this is unnecessary IMHO, so we skip it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just realized that "munchery" has charged my credit card a "membership fee" in both February and March even though I only used the service once.

No human answers the phone.

No human or robot mans the "chat" feature.

Canceling membership took about 10 minutes to find the right place to do that.

I could not find a way to request reimbursement for the "membership" charges so I reported the charges as fraud to my credit card.

No notices of new membership fees were sent in February or March notifying me of the fees collected each month.

I will fully admit to agreeing to the use of service but they are obviously actively working to keep users from canceling membership and the companies deceptive practices boarder on fraud. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We recently restarted our Plated service, which is the third time we've given it a whirl.  I think we've finally reached the point where it works for us.  Time 1 we were young and childless and I ended up throwing the ingredients away too often because... life.  I also found the recipe selection limited.  Time 2 my wife was pregnant and had too many specific food preferences/prohibitions.  I also found the ingredients repeated too often - I could not LOOK at one more arugula salad, and there were too often critical ingredients missing with what I felt was a lack of appropriate response from Plated (partial refunds when missing a central ingredient... sure I'll have a chicken salad without the chicken).

But this time I feel like Plated is more mature, and so are we.  There are a number of recipes available each week, plus a monthly archive of previous recipes that have been scored highly by their customers.  This gives enough options so that it's possible to avoid foods due to preferences or repetition.  I also haven't had a missing ingredient for quite some time.  We get the twice weekly plan, which is about how many times I find myself looking around the kitchen at 7:30 thinking hmmm, I don't know what to make for dinner so it works.  

Admittedly it isn't cheap, but I somehow am unable to make chili dogs without spending $75 at the grocery store so in the end, this works for us.  But I am intrigued by all the above references to Home Chef...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've being ordering Home Chef every other week.  The selection is generally pretty good - there's fish, shrimp, chicken, pork and beef.  One thing that I've noticed is that any steak dish will turn out tough.  Even after dry rubbing the steak with salt for 24 hrs and then cooking it to medium rare still produces really chewy meat.  I guess at $10/portion, one can't expect quality steak.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We recently got back on the home delivery band wagon (at least temporarily) thanks to all of the deals aimed at News Years resolutionists.  We tried Hello Fresh first and are on the second week of Sun Basket now.  All of the recipes we tried are gluten free and one of chicken/seafood/vegetarian; most would have qualified as "paleo".  All were menus for 2 people x 3 meals a week. We find that this easily makes dinner for our family of 2 adults and 3 kids with some supplementation (when the kids will eat it, anyway)

Our experience with Hello Fresh is pretty similar to what's been posted in this thread.  It was slighter better than Blue Apron when it came to menu selection but not great by any means.  I got the biggest sense from those two companies that a vast majority of their recipes are plug-and-play: "protein + oven-roasted veg + pan sauce", etc.  We had back-to-back weeks with chicken dishes that differed only in the ingredients; the actual prep was exactly the same.  Not very inspired, and I could have put them together with fresher ingredients for less (one of the aforementioned chicken dishes included broccoli heads that were starting to yellow).  There are clearly some "filler" recipes every week that are meant to offset the cost of the more expensive options.

Sun Basket has been much better, but at a premium as noted above.  The menus choices are more varied as these things go (none of these companies could survive without some level of cut-and-paste menu assembly).  What has set them apart has been the quality and freshness of the ingredients, notably the sauce bases.  Most recipes include one that is either partially reconstituted or included in some part of the prep, and they've been uniformly pretty good. We've had to make some modifications to tone down the spice level for the kids on occasion, but these have been the most interesting.  They've also thrown in some random extras, like a jar of arugula pesto, that had nothing to do with the menus in the box.  Just an added item for the pantry.  As opposed to the other services we tried the recipes are not printed on meal cards, but in a small catalog that lists *every* recipe for that week, not just the ones you ordered.  There have already been a couple that we've looked at but did not order with our box and will probably try with our own prep and sauce preparation or substitution. I also like that all of their packaging is recyclable (but just the idea of the packaging and shipping overhead still bothers me).  I think they are the only one we've tried where the ice packs can be cut open, drained and recycled.  The goo inside the chill packs is supposedly non-toxic, so they say to add it to compass and recycle the bag.  I'm not risking the health of our compost bin, so I poured it down our utility sink followed by hot water. I still had visions of it solidifying in our sewer line ...

We're at the same conclusion after this round of demos: these were worth a couple of weeks of discounted meals, but we won't continue at full cost. We will keep our Sun Basket subscription active, however, and re-activate it for a week every couple of months as a break from our own recipe ruts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/3/2015 at 11:04 PM, Rieux said:

I guess I am seeking absolution.... What do people think?  Is there a place for these kind of services in the home of good cooks, who like to shop, etc?  Am I going to foodie hell if I sign up for this once a week for a while?  I mean, I can still make interesting/fancy/more difficult dinners on weekends, and I think it is actually saving me money over my usual grocery bill.  Should I feel guilty given that with some more planning and more strategic shopping I could try to achieve the same results (but would inevitably end up with waste of ingredients?)

Let's get a discussion going here....

My feeling is that you're no more going to foodie hell than someone who orders a pizza.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, DonRocks said:

My feeling is that you're no more going to foodie hell than someone who orders a pizza.

David Chang confessed (nay, resolutely defended) to liking and frequently ordering Domino's.  We're worried about cooking a meal with the correct portions delivered?  Life's busy.  Not every meal can or should be gourmet.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/28/2016 at 11:18 AM, Pool Boy said:

My wife and I have been trying Plated now for about 10 weeks. Overall pretty good. It is exposing me to some recipes I had not experienced before and shown me how easy it is to construct pretty easy to make meals in not a ton of time. It is on one hand bad for the environment (shipping, boxes, cushioning, chiller packs) but there is no waste in the food at all, which is great.

We decided to try it because we were going in to the same narrow field of things for weeknight meals or increasingly depending on carry out that we both knew was unsustainable and ultimately not good for us. This is working out well for us for two meals a week. Usually seven choices plus two upgrade options. Usually 1 to 2 veg options. Some method repetitiveness, but we are not getting bored. We can skip weeks whenever we want but have not done that yet.

We're still happy Plated customers. We have used it about 80% of the past two years, skipping vacations, holidays, busy times, etc.  They have gotten better with their packaging, but there is still a lot of waste (probably 50% reduction in waste though).  Their meals are getting more diverse. We also find, over time, what meal options tend to to work best for us,and those that we need to avoid.  We went through a rash of problems in getting our deliveries on time for the days we wanted to use the two meals for 2 adults a week meals because they switched final mile carriers to LaserShip (which got the meals there often after 9PM). After complaining, they switched us back to FedEx and we have it delivered a different day. Sometimes some of the vegetables suffer a smidge as a result, but overall we're happy. We've considered doing it 3 times a week, but have not yet pulled the trigger.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We’ve been opting in and out of Hello Fresh and Gobble on a weekly basis for two years now.  I grew up cooking for a suburban family of six, some of whom loved leftovers.  This wasn’t an optimal approach for the urban (typically car-less) family of three I helped create here.  I adapted some — and then some more, when omnivorous daughter became veggie daughter at age 8.  But, even so, too much food got wasted and a lot of mental overhead went into meal planning/shopping/prep.  So I decided to reset my habits when veggie daughter left for college.  

Having already introduced my Dad to Hello Fresh (and having it become too demanding for him as he got slower), I found Gobble before it came to DC.  Gobble’s pitch is (was?) 15 minutes/1 pan — which spoke directly to Dad’s issues with Hello Fresh.  And it had the side benefit of being less meat and potato-y.  Specifically, more veggie dishes and more Asian spices/treatments.  Lately Gobble is getting the lion’s share of our orders.   I compare offerings for any given week and decide to order either, neither, or (very occasionally) both.

Agree that the packaging waste is off-putting.  But I love two things about these services — very little food waste and I don’t have to think about dinner until DH calls and says he’s leaving the office.  His 30 minute commute is all the time I need.  No planning, no rushing to the grocery store for a missing ingredient, no thought about what to make that will use up random perishables left over from other meals.  Another positive has been that we consume fewer serve-the-eating-function meals out (and less takeout).  But the mindlessness is really what hooked me.  In the early days I joked about cooking in the “agentic state” — if the recipe card concluded with the instruction “top with ground arsenic” and the bag had included a packet, I just might have!

I think I may now be approaching a stage where I’ll ease out of this system, having learned a few tricks and rethought how I shop.  At a minimum, I’m at a place where I’ll cook primarily because I want to cook (vs because I need to feed people).  And eat out because I want something someone else can do better than I can (vs something that involves no work on my part).  And those are good things.  

Haven’t had a chance to test this, but I think one of the killer apps for these services would be teaching teens to cook. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

l

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...