Category: Meal Kits (Page 1 of 11)

Locale Review

This ready-to-eat meal delivery service brings you yummy food from Bay Area restaurants, but has limited offerings.

Locale is a new-to-me meal delivery service operating in several areas in California. Their hook is that the meals come from well known restaurants in the area and that at $11 each, plus $5 delivery fee, they are more affordable than actually getting take out. They are priced, however, to compete with other similar services like CookUnity and Shef. They only deliver on Mondays, but you are able to order up to the Friday before, which gives you far more flexibility than the other services. I subscribed to Locale with a discount offer I found on Facebook and later got a discount for a second and third week.

Some of the meals are the same that what you can get at restaurants, but others seem to be particularly prepared for Locale and may be smaller than the restaurant offerings. That means that, depending on the meal, you may not be saving money by ordering from Locale vs picking them up yourself, particularly if you live in San Francisco where competition keeps restaurant prices more affordable – though you do save on tax, as the meals are delivered cold.

Locale’s website is sparse but it’s easy to use. You can only order one week in advance and you can decide how many meals you want to order each week. You can also pause the service quite easily.

Like the other services, meals come in an insulated bag, this one with cooling packs, and they will pick them up when they deliver your next order. They are very diligent about texting you with updates on delivery.

Each meal comes in a cardboard tray, sealed with a transparent plastic film. The meals are usually good for 5 to 6 days, which gives you some flexibility on when to eat them. Most can be microwaved, but some need more laborious heating.

You can’t really see how many restaurants Locale has available to you until you sign up, but I was disappointed both on how few there were for me in the East Bay – and how few dishes each restaurant offered. In all, they only had 29 restaurants available and several only offered 1 to 3 different dishes. Those who had more often presented different variations of the same dish (e.g. the same dish but offered with chicken or beef). They also have a very limited selection of vegetarian dishes – my vegetarian daughter could only find a couple she was interested in. All in all, Locale wouldn’t work as your weekly delivery service unless you always want to eat the same thing, or have very eclectic tastes and just like everything.

I subscribed with a discount for my first delivery, and then got texted further discounts when I paused. My meal reviews, however, assume that I’d paid full price for the meals (around $11.50 each). Note, I haven’t felt compelled to tip Locale delivery drivers as they are not offering a personalized service – drivers deliver to multiple people in a pre-set, optimized route – and because I don’t tip other similar delivery services but Locale seems to be pushing tipping, as are all employers who want to keep salaries low.

These are the restaurants I ordered from and the dishes I got. Those that I’d order again have a checkmark.

Asian BoxBurritos La PalmaComalDumpling TimeEl FarolitoHardKnox CafeHawaiian Drive InnMela BistroPeaches PattiesPerillaSumacTenderleafTrisaraVik’s ChaatZareen’s

Asian Box, Bay Area

Asian Box is a small chain with seven restaurants in SF and Silicon Valley, including one at the airport, and one in LA. They specialize in “choose your ingredients” bowls (but in rectangular containers, thus called “boxes”), where you choose a base (e.g. rice or salad), a protein, toppers (e.g. peanuts or pickles) and a sauce. Boxes start at $14 and go up depending on your protein, they also have some “signature boxes” at varying prices. Locale offers 4 boxes from Asian box.

Chicken Curry Bowl with Potatoes and Jasmine Rice ✔

This dish was described as having comes rice, six-spice chicken, potatoes, carrots and yellow coconut curry and being topped with herbs, scallion oil, peanuts and shallots but instead of the “herbs and scallion oil” it came with a spicy red sauce which might have been the “fiery red curry”. The bowl was very good. The star of the show was the six-spice chicken, which did remind me of five-spice but also had a nice acidic flavor and tasted grilled. It was just very good. The yellow curry was a standard coconut curry, a bit on the spicy side and competent but not great. The portion give was just enough to moisten the chicken, rice and potato – so make sure to scrape it all off. The peanuts were chopped too finely to add much texture, but the occasional piece of shallot gave it a nice crunch. The portion made for a filling dinner. I’d certainly have it again. This same dish sells at the restaurant for $15.50

Burritos La Palma, Southern California

La Palma is a small restaurant chain in Southern California which gained famed when the Michelin guide gave it its “Bibi Gourmand” designation in recognition of its Zacatecan style burritos, which seem to be tortillas rolled around meat and salsa, with no other additions. They’ve become famous enough to sell their burritos frozen through Goldbelly. Locale is now offering 4 different types of burritos.

3 Birria y Queso Burritos

burritos
Two of the three burritos – delicious!

Quesobirria tacos are all the rage in California these days, and I can see why this burrito version has become so popular. I loved the softness and elasticity of the tortilla after microwaving it. The filling was tasty, and the cheese worked well to mellow the strong flavors of the birria. My daughter also really liked them. I can see ordering this time and again. The burritos are $5 each at the restaurants, so you get a small discount ordering through here (plus you don’t have to go to LA to get them).

Comal, Oakland

Comal is a well known Mexican restaurant with locations in both Oakland and Berkeley. It’s a favorite place for events, and we’ve gone to a few there. I’ve very much enjoyed their tacos in the past. Locale offers 7 different meals from Comal, 3 bowls and 4 burritos.

Carnitas Burrito with Pinquito Beans, Rice and Salsa Verde

My daughter enjoyed this burrito. The carnitas were flavorful and the whole combination worked well. It was a pretty substantial meal, which my daughter couldn’t finish. Burritos retail for $13.75 at Comal, but they didn’t list this particular one, so it might be a cheaper version than their normal semi-gourmet offerings.

Dumpling Time, Bay Area

Dumpling Time has five locations in the Bay Area. They specialize in Chinese dumplings. They only offer one or two dishes through Locale. The one we got is no longer available.

Dim Sum and Garlicky Green Beans with Wakame Seaweed Salad

This dish consisted of one pork bao (aka pork bun), 2 shrimp & pork siu mai and 2 shrimp har gow served with green beans and sea weed salad. Unfortunately, it’s no longer being offered by Locale (nor is this combo in he menu at Dumpling Time). My husband really liked this offering and would have liked it again but it’s no longer available.

El Farolito, San Francisco

El Farolito is a run of the mill taqueria in San Francisco, best known (in Yelp, at least) for its cheap burritos. They offer three quesadillas through Locale.

Mission Style Chicken Quesadilla with Crema and Salsa

This was an overall good quesadilla. It had a nice taste and it was more flavorful than I expected. The portion was probably the right size for lunch. However, I wouldn’t order it again. The first issue was the heating. It requires that you take out a pan, melt a tablespoon of butter and then heat up the quesadilla for a minute on both sides. This gives you a crispy tortilla, but the heat doesn’t go through enough to melt the cheese. I fixed this by microwaving for an extra 30 seconds. I didn’t like, however, that I had to dirty a saucepan to heat this up. I do take responsibility for not reading the heating instructions before I ordered it, they were right there on the page. I also didn’t like that it came with a green sauce instead of guacamole. Price was, it was a tad cheaper than what I can get at my local taquería for a similar size quesadilla, but I can choose steak and get guacamole if I order it there, which I prefer.

Hard Knox Cafe, San Francisco

This is a soul food restaurant with two locations in San Francisco which seems to get mostly good reviews. Locale only offers this dish and mac & cheese from this restaurant.

Southern Style BBQ Pork Rib with Collard Greens and Mac and Cheese

This consisted of just one spare rib with BBQ sauce, mac & cheese and collard drinks. My daughter enjoyed both the rib and the mac & cheese, she felt they were very good – she didn’t try the greens. It was enough food for her, but she is a girl who can never finish any meal – it really should be two ribs to satisfy a normal appetite. She wouldn’t have it again, however, because most of the meal was the mac & cheese and it wasn’t good enough to be a whole meal. The dish is $21 at the restaurant, but it looks like they serve at least 3 ribs.

Hawaiian Drive Inn, Bay Area

Hawaiian Drive Inn seems to be a 5-location Hawaiian BBQ chain in the Bay Area, serving standard Hawaiian BBQ fare.

Hawaiian Chicken Katsu with Steamed Rice and Green Beans

This was a pretty average Hawaiian BBQ chicken katsu, and there is nothing wrong with that. The green beans, however, lacked all seasoning. The heating instructions also had us using the oven for the chicken and the microwave for the beans which is too much trouble – we just heated the whole thing (minus the sauce) in the microwave. The portion size was similar to the mini-meal size at my local Hawaiian joint which is $12, so this is not a great deal.

Mela Bistro, Oakland

Mela Bistro prides itself on serving “Modern Ethiopian Food”. From its website, I can see that the restaurant forgoes the traditional art and trappings from many local Ethiopian restaurants and it has more sleek surroundings. The menu is short and filled with traditional items. That said, this is the one restaurant we are happy Locale introduced us to and the one we re-ordered from our second week.

Ethiopian Style Beef Tibs with Brown Rice and Green Split Peas ✔

This was a very good version of beef tibs. Flavor wise, it was pretty much on point for beef tibs but it felt less greasy than usual – quite an achievement for a dish cooked in ghee. It was medium spicy. It’s served with turmeric rice. This dish is $18 at the restaurant, so it’s actually quite a bargain to get it through Locale. The portion was enough for one meal without leftovers.

Ethiopian Beef Stir Fry with Spiced Turmeric Rice ✔

These seem to be just beef tibs, but served with turmeric rice instead of brown rice and split peas. Once again, they were very tasty, only a bit spicy, and less greasy that beef tibs usually are. Once again my husband was happy. It was a good sized portion. He thought the rice was fine, but would probably get it with the brown rice and peas next time for a somewhat healthier option.

Peaches Patties, San Francisco

Peaches Patties is a Jamaican restaurant operating from the Ferry Building in San Francisco. The owner previously ran a catering business. It specializes in Jamaican patties, which is their version of empanadas. They get great reviews from these, but they are not available on Locale. They have a few other dishes, including two new ones that don’t appear on their menu. Locale has four dishes from this restaurant.

Ginger Tamarind Chicken with Fried Plantains, Kidney Beans and Jasmine Rice

This dish was described as featuring “tender chicken infused with bold ginger and tangy tamarind, served alongside crispy fried plantains and fragrant jasmine rice.” I can’t say it was a success. The chicken was tender, but the thigh meat felt dry. I usually like sweet-savory flavors, but the sweetness here felt out place, it fought, rather than blended with, the spiciness and the smokiness. My favorite part were the pieces of the chicken that tasted charred, unfortunately there were few of them. I usually don’t mind soggy chicken skins, but I felt this one could be crispier. The plantains were definitely not crispy either and they needed more sweetness. I don’t know, this just didn’t do it for me and I wouldn’t order it again. While this dish is not on Peaches Patties current menu, a similar jerk chicken meal that also includes veggies sells for $20.

Perilla, San Francisco

Perilla is a casual Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco. It offers three dishes through Locale, each consisting of garlic noodles, broccoli and either pork, crab or five spice chicken. At the restaurant, these dishes are priced at $14.

Five Spice Chicken with Garlic Noodles and Broccoli ✔

This dish was pretty good, the boneless chicken was was sweet and savory with light soy sauce overtones, and the noodles were quite good, not too garlicky. My daughter, who had it, enjoyed it and would have it again. The portion was more than sufficient for dinner, though not quite enough to have much in the way of leftovers.

Sumac, San Francisco

Sumac describes itself as a “modern Mediterranean street food” restaurant and has locations in both LA and SF. They serve wraps, salads, rice bowls and hummus bowls with your choice of grilled chicken, meatballs, red lentil balls or felafel. Seven of these combinations are available at Locale.

Chicken Hummus Bowl with Roasted Veggies ✔

Both my husband and I loved this bowl of grilled chicken, roasted veggies and hummus. – so much that we had it a second time. The chicken was tender and well seasoned, and worked well both by itself or dipped in the hummus. It was a little weird to eat warm hummus, though. Next time I might scoop it out before reheating. My husband was actually surprised at how much he liked the veggies, but we both skipped the pickled beets. The restaurant version sells for $21, but it also comes with an arugula salad.

Turkish Kofte Bowl with Basmati Rice and Chickpea Salad ✔

These are lamb and beef shoulder meatballs served with rice, chickpea salad and a labneh sauce. The same bowl sells for $18 at the restaurant. This was a good, filling and satisfying meal. The meatballs had that chewy texture of kibbeh – I think it’s achieved by over grinding the meat -, which I’m not super fond of, but they were well seasoned and very tasty. The buttered basmati rice reminded me just how nice buttered basmati rice is on its own. The chickpea salad was fresh and piquant, and I enjoyed it even though I’m not a fan of chickpeas. And the yogurt sauce was thick and refreshing. Everything was slightly spicy, however, But overall a very good meal that I’d have again.

Turkish Red Lentil Wrap with Tabouli and Herb Labneh Sauce

I got this for my vegetarian daughter and she found it edible but unexciting. It was a good portion, at least (the photo shows just half a wrap). She probably wouldn’t order it again. It sells for $16.50 at the restaurant.

Tenderleaf (Ghost Kitchen)

Tenderleaf is described as a “a beloved Bay Area gem, is a cozy, locally-owned restaurant” located in San Francisco. As far as I can tell, that is a lie. A google search failed to find any restaurant with that name anywhere in the Bay Area, much less a “beloved one”. Instead, it seems that Tenderleaf is a ghost kitchen operated by the owners of Locale. To me, this seems extremely deceitful. I don’t have a problem with ghost kitchens myself, but I do have a problem with dishonesty.

The address that Google has for Tenderleaf is in the San Leandro industrial area, and I’ll probably drive by and check it out some time.

Tenderleaf offers 9 dishes through Locale, the most of any restaurants.

Mom’s Meatballs in Marinara Sauce with Italian Sausage and Parmesan

This dish consisted of four medium-size meatballs and 2 sausages, topped with tomato sauce and a little Parmesan cheese. I warmed it in the microwave. There was definitely plenty of food. I liked the meatballs. They tasted very much like the meatballs you can get at your average pizzeria – I’m thinking of Porky’s Pizza Palace in particular. They had a good texture, they weren’t too soft and not too gritty, and a nice flavor. I would imagine that these are not “homemade”, but it’s not like I can get meatballs that taste like that at the supermarket. The sauce was pretty standard marinara, a little on the acidic side. A bit more cheese would have been better, but you can always add your own. I also liked the sausages, which were pretty dense, and smooth, and tasted primarily – but mildly – of fennel. Obviously this would have been better over some pasta, and next time I might just boil some myself.

Trisara, San Francisco

Trisara is an affordable Indo-Nepalese restaurant that gets 5-stars on Yelp. Unfortunately Locale only offers three of their dishes, the momos below and two biryianis.

Nepalese Chicken Momos with Steamed Broccoli ✔

My husband thoroughly enjoyed these momos – Nepalese dumplings – which were served with a tasty tomato chutney. They were tasty and comforting. The broccoli was just steamed, and he would have preferred it with some seasoning. Still, he’d order this again. The portion of 8 momos sells for $14 at the restaurant, but here you only get 5 momos and the broccoli.

Vik’s Chaat, Berkeley

Vik’s Chaat is a very well known Berkeley Indian restaurant. It’s a casual eatery, meant for college students. It’s been there for decades and has always been very popular. I went there once, over a decade ago, and I don’t remember loving it, but I didn’t write a review. Locale offers 3 dishes from Vik’s Chaat.

Tandoori Chicken with Spiced Chickpeas and Basmati Rice

This dish consisted of a chicken leg – separated into thigh and drumstick – served with basmati rice and spiced chickpeas. I wasn’t super fond of it. It tasted like the sort of tandoori chicken you can make it at home, in your own over, with tandoori masala. The masala sauce, which was a bit spicy, clung to the chicken, which I don’t particularly like. I much prefer the tandoori chicken found at most restaurants where the chicken skin has been died and the flavor has been absorbed by the meat, rather than resting on a marinade outside. Still, it wasn’t bad, just not as good as the Americanized versions of tandoori chicken you usually get at restaurants. It did remind me of why I didn’t like Vik’s when I went. A similar tandoor chicken dish at the restaurant which is served with dal, instead of chickpeas, and with naan and raita, costs $18.

Zareen’s, Silicon Valley

Zareen’s, along with Burma Superstar, are the only restaurants Locale mentions on their Facebook ads and comments. This seems to be because they were listed in the 2020 Michelin guide. It’s an Indian/Pakistani restaurant with locations in Palo Alto, Redwood City and Mountain View. Locale offers 7 dishes from this restaurant, though two are tikka masalas and three spinach curries.

Chicken Tikka Masala with Basmati Rice

I was underwhelmed by this dish. It consisted of shredded chicken tikka in a masala curry and yellow rice. The chicken was tender and had a nice smoky flavor but was otherwise very underseasoned. The sauce lacked the complexity you look for in a tikka masala sauce. It wasn’t bad, but it was underdeveloped. The portion was adequate for a single meal. In all, I think I rather pay more at my local Indian restaurant but have a better curry and leftovers for a second meal. This curry is $16.25 at the Zareen’s restaurant, though I’m not sure if the portion is the same size.

Paneer Tikka Masala with Basmati Rice ✔

I got this for my vegetarian daughter but ended up eating it myself. I liked it more than the chicken tikka masala. The panner was spongy and slightly sweet and combined perfectly with the sauce and the rice. The sauce was pretty standard, but I think better than last time. The portion was substantial enough to leave me full. I’d get this again.

Prepared Meal Services: Shef

The tastiest ready-to-heat meal service I’ve found so far.

Updated on July, 2024. Scroll down for a review of my local shefs and dishes.

If you are on Facebook, chances are that you’ve seen ads for Shef*. It’s a ready-to-heat meal delivery system, where the catch is that the meals are individually made by home cooks in their own homes, rather than in large industrial facilities. That can have both pros and cons, but it’s quickly become my favorite of the ready-to-heat meal services (I’ve also tried Locale, CookUnity, Thistle and Freshly) .

How it works

Shef allows you to order meals individually or subscribe to a weekly service. Their website, however, is very clunky – though they are improving it. In order to use it, you need to enter your zip code. You are them prompted to create your personal profile by choosing the type of cuisines you prefer (I recommend you select “all cuisines”) and how many meals you want to get a week (between 3 and 10). You then choose your delivery date, at which point you can create an account or (now) browse the offerings available for that date from shefs in your area. You can then select as many meals as you signed up for, from as many shefs (home cooks) as you want. The website allows you to look at the profile of each shef, including a photo and some biographical information. After you choose your meals you are prompted to select side dishes, limited to rice and Indian breads (at least for me).

Packaging & Delivery

One of the things I love about Shef is that the food is delivered in reusable cold bags with frozen water bottles instead of freezer packs – which I always end up throwing away in the garbage as disposing of them is such a pain. As far as I can tell, the bottles are sealed so you can drink them. Dishes do come in plastic containers (the same type used for take out food), though one of my shefs uses compostable containers (but plastic lids). Of all the services I’ve used, I’d say this is the greenest one.

You will get e-mails and texts the day your order will be delivered mentioning the time period (something like 3 hours) where the meals will arrive. So far, all of mine have arrived within the promised time.

Type of food available

Shefs are local to you, and what they offer will thus depend on where you live – and also, for which day you schedule your delivery. Below, you can see my reviews of the shefs and dishes that were available to me in San Leandro – a small city in the San Francisco East Bay. Shef has made a particular effort to recruit immigrant cooks – and originally, immigrant women cooks, thus the name . They have been particularly successful with Indian and other Asian cooks. If you love Indian and/or Asian cuisine, Shef is definitely the service for you. If you don’t, this is your opportunity to learn to love it. There are a few other cuisines represented, though not many, at least in my area.

How long the food keeps

While dishes from other subscription services are cooked in commercial kitchens and professionally packaged, the ones from Shef are cooked in home kitchens and cooled down in home refrigerators. This means you should treat them as leftovers and consume them within 2-3 days at most. I have frozen dishes I wasn’t going to consume in time in the containers they came in – just popped them in the freezer – with no issues whatsoever, however. I just defrosted them before microwaving them.

Making changes & cancelling

Unfortunately, once you subscribe, Shef does not offer you much flexibility for subsequent orders. You can change what dishes you will get in subsequent weeks and you can skip a delivery, but that’s about it. If you want to change the delivery day (e.g. from a Monday to a Wednesday), the number of dishes you order or even the number of side dishes you want for the week, you have to cancel your subscription and then re-subscribe. Fortunately, cancelling and re-subscribing is painless. Shef saves all your information so you don’t have to re-enter it. I’ve now done it multiple times – practically very week, really, as my needs change from week to week.

Problems and Customer Service

So far, I’ve encountered two issues with Shef. One week, Shef sent me two dishes I hadn’t ordered instead of two I had. More problematically, this week they sent me only 4 of the 6 dishes I ordered. I contacted them via the chat app on their website and got an e-mail back saying the difference would be refunded – I’ll have to check my credit card statement in a few days to see if this was indeed the case.

Another issue is that Shef seems to have an issue keeping home cooks. Five or six of the shefs I ordered from, including the one non-vegetarian Ethiopian shef they had locally, whose food is amazing, are no longer working for them.

Reviews

Shef does not allow you to review individual dishes – you are prompted to review your whole order, and then the scores apply to each dish in that order! That makes absolute no sense. It’s unhelpful to both customers and shefs – given that the stars a dish gets have nothing to do with how good it actually was. What is more annoying is that they keep e-mailing you asking you to review your order.

The following are the reviews of most of the dishes we’ve had from Shef so far. They are organized by the shef who makes them. I’ve boldened the names of active shefs whose dishes we’ve liked.

Aejung S. | Amit R. | Balihar S. | D C. | Erendira E R. | Frehiwot K. | Geetwani R. | Grachik P.| Izabela P. | Issara T. | Joina L. | Kelly L. | Mak M. | Mandira D. | Phuoc V. | Quynh Sophie E. | Ruben & Nucha G. | Sarjo B. | Shilpa P. | Stacy L.’s | Sukhdeep K | Thazin H. | Theint E. | Vanita Yadav M. | Victor S. | Victoria S. | Wayne F.

Shef AEJUNG S. – Korean

This shef doesn’t seem to be listed anymore.

Bulgogi Korean Ribeye Beef With Rice

I was very disappointed on this dish. I love bulgogi. I make bulgogi frequently (at least, when I’m cooking). It’s a pain to cut the meat (though you can buy shaved beef, and this is clearly what Shef Aejung has done), but it’s otherwise not too laborious to make. You let it marinade and can pan fry it as you go – or just cook it all at once and then reheat it. But the secret, the basis of bulgogi is the marinade – and this marinade just wasn’t there. The beef barely had any flavor. It also had barely any veggies – some shredded carrots but maybe a couple of onion strips. It wouldn’t take much to improve things, as either the marinade he used was flavorless or, more likely, they were not marinated for very long. The portion had a fair amount of meat and it came with white rice, but without any sauce, there was little point to it. I wouldn’t order it again and neither should you – just your make your own bulgogi or buy the amazing frozen bulgogi at Trader Joe’s.

Shef AMIT R. – Indian · Himalayan · Indo-Chinese · Southeast Asian · North Indian · Chinese

Pahadi Chicken Curry

This was a nice curry. It tasted like your regular Indian curry – made from spices, not curry powder. It didn’t have any sweet notes, so given a choice, I’d go for a korma or a tikka masala (or a pasanda!). But as far as regular curries goes, this is a good as you can get in a restaurant. It was very mildly spiced.

Shef BALIHAR S. – North Indian · Punjabi

We’ve gotten two dishes from this shef so far, both showed a very sophisticated use of whole spices in his cooking. While I didn’t like one as much, it was due to personal preferences.

Butter Chicken (Boneless)

This butter chicken was a bit different from others, but still very yummy. It was on the spicy side, and mostly lacked sweetness, but the spices, tasted fresh and were very forward. It felt like a mixture between a butter chicken and a chicken curry, but very well balanced. My one complaint was that the chicken cubes were dry. The bowl was enough as a meal without rice, but could have been extended with it. My husband would definitely want it again.

Tari Wala Chicken

I haven’t had this Punjabi chicken curry before, so I can’t make any comparisons, but it tastes like a pretty generic Indian curry. It’s clearly made with whole spices, rather than garam masala or another such mix, and I appreciated the balance and fresh flavor of the sauce. I’m less fond of the bone-in chicken. It was on the lower side of medium spicy, which meant that it had some heat but I could deal with it. Still, I wouldn’t order it again, simply because I prefer sweeter, creamier curries. But this one is perfectly well made.

Shef D C. – Mediterranean · Italian · American · Comfort · Baked Goods · Vegetarian · Irish

This is an awesome shef who understands his craft, I just wish he would expand his repertoire.

Beef Osso Buco

Another winner from Shef D C. The osso buco meat was extremely tender and the dish was very flavorful. It was, perhaps, too intense, but I had frozen it previously and was heating it up from a semi-frozen stage and overheated it a bit. The sauce really needs a starch to absorb it, so plan on eating this with something.

Shef D C.’s Irish Guinness Beef Stew

This was a good, basic beef stew. Not as good as a tomato based stew, but that’s not the chef’s fault. The meat was tender but a little chalky (typical for beef stews). I’d order it again.

Pollo Al Ajillo – Spanish Garlic Chicken ✔✔

This was a delicious, homey dish. It consisted of three drumsticks, deliciously garlicy, in what I think was a sauce that was thickened with flour, giving it a smooth texture. Not that there is much of a sauce, but whatever remains from it. I ordered it again and enjoyed it just as much.

Shef ERENDIRA E R. – Mediterranean · Californian · Italian

Bolognese Fresh Pappardelle Pasta ✔

This was a pretty tasty Bolognese. The thick noodles were soft and the Bolognese sauce tasted exactly like you expect Bolognese sauce to taste. The portion was sufficient for a meal. My daughter, who ate it, wouldn’t want it again – but she’s not that great a fan of bolognese. I, however, would order it for myself.

Shef FREHIWOT K. – Ethiopian

This shef seems to no longer be cooking for Shef, which is unfortunate as her Ethiopian food was awesome.

Beef Stew (kay Sega Wot) ✔✔

After getting the combo twice, I decided to go for the kay sega wot by itself. It was delicious, but spicier than the meat combo. I actually think I prefer it mixed in with the chicken. This one did remind me far more to the Ethiopian food you get at restaurants. It was sooo good

Meat Combo ✔✔

This plate of food was absolutely delicious. It didn’t taste that much like the Ethiopian food I’ve had at restaurants or cooked myself, perhaps because I asked for “mild” (and yes, everything was mild) – but it was very, very good and addictive. So much so that I had it again the next week.

Shef GEETWANI R. – Fusion · Indo-Chinese · Indian · Comfort · East Indian · Hakka

Butter Chicken

Our second attempt at butter chicken was more successful than the first. This was a spicy dish, what one would normally call “medium” at a restaurant. Mike ate it and liked it, though he didn’t think it was restaurant quality but he’d have it again.

Shef GRACHIK P. – Mediterranean · Middle Eastern · Ukrainian · Armenian · Georgian · Russian · Belarussian

Scrambled Eggs With Tomato Sauce (Shakshuka)

The description of this dish as “scrambled eggs with tomato sauce” is far more accurate than that of shakshuka. This basically was an omelet with some tomato sauce added to it. My daughter thought it was fine, but she didn’t like that it had bell peppers and wouldn’t get it again.

Shef IZABELA P. – Polish

Beef Stew (Polish Goulash)

This beef stew tasted exactly what you expect beef stew to taste. It was meaty and rich and very homey. The meat was a little chalky, but I have the same results when I make stew, so I’m not going to blame the cook for this. The portion was fine, though it could have used a couple more pieces of meat. There was a lot of sauce, so get some rice to soak it up. I’d order this again.

Shef ISSARA T. – Southeast Asian · Asian · Thai

Panang Curry Pork With Rice ✔

My husband liked this dish. It was an average panang, which is not a bad thing. The portion of pork was fine, but there was way too much rice. Still, he’d have it again.

Shef JOINA L. – Latin American · Asian · Fusion · Brazilian · Korean · Chinese

This is another amazing shef. As a Taiwanese-Brazilian she grew up exposed to a lot of diverse cuisines and knows how to make both traditional and fusion dishes. Unfortunately, her portions are skimpy.

Arroz Con Pollo ✔

We’ve gotten this dish twice. It consists of a chicken thigh and Spanish rice. The chicken was bursting with flavor, was slightly spicy and yet still very much chicken. It was quite moist. The rice was also nicely spiced, though it could have used a tad more flavor. I did like the tomato and sausage. Definitely had a homemade taste. The portion is on the small side, so it’s probably best for lunch or those with smaller appetites.

Brazilian Chicken Pie ✔✔

My husband thought this was delicious and enough for two servings for himself (but he tends to only eat half a meal at the time). The crust didn’t maintain too well, it got sort of mushy, but the flavor was amazing.

Cilantro Chicken

I got this dish thinking I was getting the Roasted chicken with cilantro garlic crema reviewed below – my mistake. I thought it was pretty tasty, but my daughter liked it far less than the aforementioned one. She wouldn’t want it again. The sauce in this one was very watery and it seemed more like a soup.

Roasted Chicken With Cilantro Garlic Crema

This was another very tasty dish. The chicken was moist and nicely seasoned, and the accompanying crema was absolutely delicious. Alas, the portion was also skimpy and not enough to fill you up for dinner. They really need to add an extra chicken piece.

Shef KELLY L Greek · Mediterranean · Street Food · Comfort · American

This shef seems to no longer be cooking for Shef.

Salmon Caesar Salad

My husband overall liked this salad. It wasn’t made with iceberg lettuce but with another leaf, and he was a bit iffy about it, and it had tomatoes he doesn’t like, but otherwise it was just a Caesar’s salad. The very top of the salmon was sort of crusty and it seemed dried out, but when you got past that, it was fine. He’d have it again, but it might be better to just buy a Caesar salad at the supermarket and add some salmon – it’s not like grilling some salmon takes any time.

Shef MAK M. – Chinese · Hong Kong · Asian · Fusion · Low Carb · Comfort

This shef seems to no longer be cooking for Shef.

Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice Bowl

This was really a very simple dish, just ground (or maybe chopped) pork on a bed of white rice, but boy, was it delicious. The pork had been braised in a delicious sauce (though none of it was in the dish), and it had a very intense, well balanced flavor. I couldn’t really distinguish any of the flavors (soy? five spice?), but it was just good. The flavor was intense enough that it married very well with the plain rice. I’d order this again.

Shef MANDIRA D. – Bangladeshi · North Indian · East Indian · Bengali · Halal

Rui Macher Kalia (Rohu Fish Curry)

My husband loved he taste of the curry, it was delicious. However, the fish had too many bones, making it vey difficult to eat. For that reason, he probably wouldn’t get it again.

Shef PHUOC V. – Southeast Asian, Vietnamese

Garlic Honey Glazed Grilled Chicken And Garlic Rice

This was a pretty basic dish, but very homey and tasty. The flavors were not gourmet, but they were pleasant, and garlic rice is addictive. I’d have it again.

Shef QUYNH SOPHIE – Middle Eastern · Lebanese · Mexican · Vietnamese

Kafta Potato Stew

This was a very homey dish, just kofta and large chunks of potatoes in a thin tomato based sauce. It was good and very satisfying. Not something you’d have at a restaurant, but that’s the point of Shef – homefood. I’d get it again.

Shefs RUBEN & NUCHA G. – Latin American · Argentinian

This Argentine couple makes good empanadas, but the meal consists of only two, which is not sufficient and makes them more expensive than those at local empanada restaurants.

Mushroom & Gorgonzola Empanadas

As an Argentinian who loves to make empanadas myself, I’m particularly picky about empanadas, so you shouldn’t be surprised about how critical I am of these ones. The main problem was how small the portion was. You only get 2 empanadas, which is fine as a snack, but not enough for lunch, much less dinner. As a child, I used to get 3 empanadas for lunch – you need at least 3 or 4 for an adult, particularly when they have a light filling such as mushrooms and gorgonzola. The filling was actually pretty good, not great, but good enough. The shells, however, needed more salt. They came with a little tub of chimichurri, which was good by itself, but didn’t compliment the flavor of the empanadas. I wouldn’t get them again.

Traditional Beef Empanadas

I had the same issue with these empanadas than the ones above. Two empanadas are just not enough and the shells are not that great. I did like the knife-cut beef, which was nicely flavored. It had that briny undertone of olives and a note of sweetness – though I didn’t see any raisins. I also loved that it didn’t have any hardboiled egg. But I wouldn’t order them again, mostly because they are a poor value.

Shef SARJO B. – Senegalese · African · Gambian · West African

Another excellent Shef, her dishes are little more spicy than I like, but all very flavorful.

Jollof Rice With Beef

This is another winner by Shef Sarjo. Both the chicken and the rice were great, though a little more chicken would have been better. They were very nicely spiced and better than any jollof rice I’ve had.

Peanut Butter Stew (Domoda)

Mike liked it. He thought the sauce was very peanut buttery and the meat was tender and moist. He’d have it again. I just tasted the sauce and I felt the one I’d made was better, this one was missing some umami flavor.

Yassa Bone-in Chicken

This dish was absolutely delicious. Yassa is one of my favorite dishes, and I have made it many, many times since I first started cooking over three decades ago – but this one was far better than any of mine. I don’t know what the secret is, though I did think I distinguished some mustard notes, and when I make it again I’ll see about adding some mustard. In any case, I really enjoyed it. There were a few problems, however.

First, as you can see from the photo, the chicken wasn’t cooked through. While chickens today are safer than in the past, there is always the risk of salmonella, and home cooks, as well as professional ones, should make sure the chicken is fully cooked. Second, the portion only came with one chicken drumstick – that was definitely not enough protein for a meal, even a lunch. The cook should add a second drumstick or a thigh. Third, the dish was too spicy for my taste. At an Indian, Thai or BBQ restaurant, this dish would be characterized as “medium spicy” and it’s just at the edge of what I can stand. To eat the onions – and boy, were the onions delicious – I had to add some rice. So when I order it again (and I will, despite these caveats), I’ll have to make sure I either order a side of rice or that one of the other meals comes with some.

Shef SHILPA P. -West Indian · Maharashtrian · Malvani · Marathi

This shef seems to no longer be cooking for Shef.

Kolhapuri Sukka Chicken

This was a very garam masala forward dish, slightly spicy – in the way garam masala is – but not particularly complex. The chicken was tender but also very bony, so a pain to eat. I’ve made Kolhapuri lamb before, and this dish reminded me of that. Mike liked it, though he also wished the chicken was boneless. I’m not huge on garam masala, so I wouldn’t order it again. Mike probably wouldn’t either.

Shef STACY L. – Southern · Soul Food · American · Comfort · Asian · Fusion

Fried Bbq Chicken Plate

I was intrigued by the idea of both frying and bbq’ing chicken. As it turned out, the extra step of frying was unnecessary. The chicken was moist, so there is that, and it had a nice flavor – but nothing to write home about. It was just a little bit spicy. It came with overly salted mash potatoes and corn. I don’t think we’d order it again.

Southern Fried Chicken

Shef screwed up for me this week and sent me two dishes I didn’t order instead of two I did. One of these was what I presume is Shef Stacy L.’s Crispy Southern Fried Chicken. It came with mashed potatoes and corn.

The dish didn’t work for me. I found the chicken was nice and crispy but the piece of chicken I ate had a disconcerting sour taste. I’m not sure if it’d gone bad (I didn’t have intestinal problems later, so I’m going to guess it didn’t), or if it’s something in the ingredients. In any case, I wouldn’t want to eat it again. My husband had the other piece and didn’t find it sour.

I was hoping that the mashed potatoes would be the saving grace, but they were impossibly salty. My husband agreed. The corn was just corn. I would definitely not order this again, as you can get better fried chicken at the supermarket for less.

Shef SUKHDEEP K. – North Indian · Punjabi · Clean · Desserts · Comfort · Vegetarian

Butter Chicken ✔

Our third Shef butter chicken was the winner among those Shef has sent us. While the sauce was on the thin side and the dish could have used a little more chicken, it was very tasty – almost restaurant quality. It was mildly spiced. You definitely need rice to eat this with. Most importantly, my daughter liked it and would want it again

Shef THAZIN H. – Burmese · Southeast Asian

Burmese Style Lamb Curry With Potatoes

This was a fairly generic meat and potatoes stew. I wouldn’t call it a “curry” per se, in the sense of the spices and flavor profile that the word “curry” usually alludes to. However, according to my notes from when I cooked this dish myself years ago, this is precisely what it’s supposed to taste like: homey. As someone who likes meat and potato stews, I was pretty happy with it. The portion was generous.

Shef THEINT E. – Burmese · Southeast Asian

Basil’s Lemongrass Chicken

This dish was OK. I enjoyed eating it, though I don’t see myself craving it. I think it might be better at a different time of year when basil is brighter/fresher – as it had a slightly bitter taste. It could have used a tad more sweetness, but the spiciness level was good, medium-mild, I’d say. It was an adequate portion. I might order this again.

Shef VANITA YADAV M.– Indian

This shef doesn’t seem to be listed anymore.

Andhra Chicken Curry (Kodi Kura)

I gave this curry the old college try, but after a few bites, I just had to abandon it. It was way, way too spicy for me. In a restaurant, it would probably be described as somewhere between medium and hot. This is a pity, because the curry was very good. The chicken was so moist and tender that I actually thought it was lamb, and there were lots of it. I tend to prefer sweeter curries, this definitely was not that, but the flavor was complex and developed. It did not taste of curry powder, garam masala or anything of the sort. In all, a very successful dish even if I couldn’t eat it.

Shef VICTOR S. – Chinese · Caribbean · Japanese

Chicken Adobo With Pickled Leeks With Jasmine Rice

My husband really liked the chicken, it was very tasty and it didn’t have the skin on, which is a plus for him.

Chinese Cured Pork Belly And Sausage With Jasmine Rice

This dish was OK. Half of the tray was cabbage, which is not my thing. The sausage and pork belly were fine, not exciting, and there was something crunchy, brown and weird that neither I nor the dog liked. I wouldn’t order it again.

Shef VICTORIA S. – International · Southeast Asian · Vietnamese

Caramelized Spare Ribs

This dish came in several containers, and I didn’t realize that I was supposed to put them together into one until after I had eaten the actual spare ribs and looked at the picture of the dish online. Basically, it comes with a tub of spare ribs, one of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, another with two hard boiled eggs and a final one of rice (white, not seasoned as in the website photo), and you are supposed to put it together into a plate. Together, they form a substantial plate of food – the ribs alone might be too little for a meal, though they are so rich, that I wouldn’t have been able to eat any more of them.

The ribs were very tender and tasty, but only slightly sweet and they had a tad too much fish sauce. Each bite is mostly bones or tendons which makes it a bit difficult to eat. But the flavor was there. Mike, in particular, really liked them and would want to order them again.

Shef WAYNE F. – North Indian · Indo-Chinese · Fusion · Indian

Butter Chicken

This plate came in a 16 oz container, which is the container size you get at most local Indian restaurants when you order take out. The dish, however, contained relatively little chicken – it was mostly sauce. The chicken came in large chunks, but was tender enough that it came apart when cut with the fork. Unfortunately, the chicken itself lacked seasoning.

The sauce was just OK – somewhat better than jarred butter chicken sauce or the ones that come in frozen entrees, but not nearly as good as the best butter chicken sauces from our favorite Indian restaurants. It had some disconcerting bitter notes, that I couldn’t quite place, and it was a bit too acidic. It was only slightly spicy, which was to my taste. I wouldn’t order it again, but I didn’t mind eating it.

While I’d say there is only enough chicken for one meal, there is enough sauce for another half-meal if you eat it with rice or naan bread. For the price, I think I’d order it at a restaurant instead.

*This is a referral link, if you subscribe I may get some credit.

CookUnity Review

Great Tasting Ready-to-warm Single-Serve Meals

Updated in June, 2024

(Click to see reviews for meals we tried)

CookUnity is a that sends you ready-to-warm refrigerated prepared meals, in single-serving trays. The meals can be warmed by microwaving them for 2-3 minutes or heating them in a pre-heated oven for 8-15 minutes. When they first appeared, I saw them as a competitor to the now-defunct Freshly. Currently, their competition is some of the traditional meal kit companies which have launched ready-to-heat meal lines, but with far more limited selections, and localized services such as Shef (which offers home cook meals) and Locale (which offers meals from local restaurants). In general, it’s my least favorite of the three, but it’s still a solid choice for prepared meals.

Single-serve meals do serve a very niche clientele. They didn’t work for us as a family, but now that my kids are away at college, they fit my “I don’t feel like cooking” periods.

The Food

CookUnity’s main selling point is the wide selection of prepared meals they offer. They run the gamut of proteins and cuisines, from the exotic to the mundane, from the high caloric, to the diet minded. Lately, they’ve added more ethnic choices, which is a plus. They offer a number of vegetarians, vegans and special diet dishes, though my vegetarian daughter hasn’t been impressed with their offerings.

The second selling point in the taste and quality. While there are some duds, most meals are quite good and some are even excellent. The meals included special ingredients, such as hand-made sausages and forbidden rice, and mostly offered a balance of meats to vegetables to carbs. All the nutritional values are listed so you can choose when you order. Note, however, that many of the meals with special ingredients incur an extra cost.

Most meals are well sized to fill without overstuffing.

We tried both microwaving and heating them in the oven, and there wasn’t a huge difference in results – with the exception of steak. Few steaks could survive reheating in the microwave, so if you don’t want to fire up your oven, go for other types of meats.

The meals come with an expiration date of either 5 or 7 days, so if you are getting for the whole week you probably should look at the dates when you get them and prioritize the ones that will expire first.

As far as I can tell, CookUnity contracts with professional restaurant chefs in major cities where CookUnity has commercial kitchens, and the chefs conceive of the meals and prepare them. In addition to providing chefs with the kitchens, CookUnity also buys the ingredients, packages and ships the meals and is in charge of marketing and sales. All the chefs need to do is cook.

The Plans

CookUnity’s basic meals cost between $11 and $13.50 each depending on how many you order. Some of the meals – progressively more of them – which have more expensive ingredients have an added cost, usually $4 to $10. If you unsubscribe, they will offer you a deal to stay subscribe for $8.50 a meal. Still, when you add the shipping/extra fees, the cost of each meal with the discount ends up being around $11.50 – which is about the same price than the undiscounted meals at Shef and Locale.

It is easy to skip meals, and you can even suspend your account for up to 2 months. Unsubscribing is simple as well.

The Packaging

CookUnity meals come in a microwave and oven-safe tray made out of paper waste product with a plastic seal. They are not compostable, but CookUnity used to claim they were recyclable. However, while they have the recycle symbol on them, they don’t have a number. I am thus guessing they are not recyclable at all. It’s a pity, because if they used wax instead of plastic, they probably could be composted and would eliminate a lot of waste (though probably wouldn’t be oven safe).


The meals trays are covered by a plastic film that you throw away, and come with a paper sleeve listing the ingredients and nutrition facts, as well as cooking instructions and date of expiration, which can be recycled. Some meals have sauces or vegetables in removable plastic containers within the trays. You are supposed to remove these before you cook them. These containers are usually recyclable, or you can wash them and reuse them.

CookUnity ships their meals inside an insulated bag, with small freezer packs in the bottom and/or top. The bag and freezer packs are picked up when you get your next set of meals.

The Shipping & Delivery

CookUnity meals are now delivered. My meals always come on time.

Customer Service

Customer service has been stellar. They’ve been prompt in answering my e-mails, solved problems when they existed and responded to texts.

The Meals

Vegetarian | Soups, Sandwiches & Wraps | Tacos | Shrimp & Crab | White Fish | Salmon | Chicken | Duck | Meatballs | Steak | Beef | Lamb | Pork | Breakfast

These are some of the meals we tried. Photos and individual reviews follow the listing.

  • Spicy Peruvian Shrimp Chowder with Steamed Rice: A+
  • Creamy Polenta with Wild Mushroom Ragout & Porcini Cream: A
  • Cajun Seared Shrimp and Orzo Salad with Fennel Salad & Remoulade: A
  • Teriyaki Roasted Salmon with Brown Rice, Roasted Carrots & Brussels Sprouts: A
  • Roasted Salmon Teriyaki with Tricolor Quinoa & Roasted Romanesco: A
  • Chicken Parmesan with Marinara: A
  • Korean Flank Steak Rice Bowl (Steak Doep Bap) and Asparagus: A
  • Grilled Hanger Steak with Peruvian Pesto Linguine: A
  • Braised Lamb Sabzi with Cumin Seed Rice: A
  • Mushroom Ravioli with Sautéed Mushrooms in Truffle Cream Sauce: A-
  • Shrimp Pancit Canton Noodles: A-
  • Garlic Shrimp in XO Sauce with Steamed Wild Riceberry & Jasmine Rice: A-
  • Crab Cake & Creamy Remoulade with Zesty Corn & Pepper Salad: A-
  • Seared Salmon & Cauliflower Lentil Mujadara with Spicy Za’atar Chimichurri: A-
  • Chipotle Lime Salmon with Brussels Sprouts: A-
  • Southern Fried Chicken with Spicy Honey & Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes: A-
  • Chicken Marengo with Rice Pilaf: A-
  • Lamb and Pork Meatballs with Parmesan Polenta with Tomato-Basil Sauce: A-
  • Stewed Moroccan Lamb Meatballs with Brown Rice and Herb-Yogurt Sauce: A-
  • Hanger Steak and Coconut Forbidden Rice: A-
  • Churrasco Steak with Chimichurri Rojo Sauce and Cilantro-Lime Rice & Roasted Zucchini: A-
  • Blackened Hanger Steak with Chimmichurri Sauce & Curry Potato Gratin: A-
  • Nikkei-Style Steak Fajitas with Japanese Rice and Cilantro Sauce: A-
  • Homestyle Beef Goulash with Basmati Rice: A-
  • Guajillo Beef and Cheese Enchiladas: A-
  • Beef Burgundy & Whipped Potatoes with Crisp Roasted Brussels Sprouts: A-
  • Short Rib Ragu over Pappardelle Pasta with Fresh Ricotta: A-
  • Handmade Merguez Sausage in Moroccan Couscous Stew with Harissa: A-
  • Lamb Kebab with Turmeric Hummus and Roasted Sweet Potatoes: A-
  • Classic Québécois Poutine (Cheese Fries with Gravy) with Applewood Smoked Bacon: A-
  • Adobo Spare Ribs with Garlic Rice and Baby Bok Choy: A-
  • Spicy Beef Birria Tacos with Hibiscus Pickled Onions & Guacamole: B+
  • Lemon Baked Tilapia with Cajun Cream Sauce & Farro Salad: B+
  • Plantain Crusted Mahi Mahi with Arroz Moro: B+
  • BBQ Shrimp Boil with Andouille Sausage, Potatoes & Corn: B+
  • Shrimp Scampi over Spaghetti with Spiralized Zucchini: B+
  • Pork Al Pastor Tacos with Pineapple and Salsa Verde: B+
  • Spicy Yemenite Shrimp Curry with Jasmine Rice & Fresh Snap Peas: B+
  • Chili-Roasted Shrimp with Fresh Corn Grits & Pepper Jack Cheese: B+
  • Cajun Baked Swai Fish with Collard Greens & Pan Sauce: B+
  • Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet with Chinese Sausage & Fried Rice: B+
  • Moroccan Chicken & Couscous Tagine with Green Olives, Currants & Toasted Almonds: B+
  • Crispy Chicken Schnitzel with Mustard Mashed Potatoes & Tomato Salad: B+
  • Chicken Cordon Bleu with Pink Peppercorn Sauce with Peppercorn Sauce & Sautéed Green Beans: B+
  • Red Chile Braised Beef Tamale Salsa Verde & Mexican Crema: B+
  • Middle Eastern Braised Beef Flatbread with Parsley, Pine Nuts & Tahini-Yogurt-Mint Sauce: B+
  • Braised Lamb Shawarma with Pearl Couscous with Red Onion-Sumac Salad & Creamy Tahini: B+
  • Pasture-Raised Rack of Lamb with Creamy Potato Gratin: B+
  • Gochujang Baby Back Ribs: B+
  • Mushroom Ragu with Crispy Polenta Cakes & Porcini Cream: B
  • Classic Shrimp Gumbo with Rice Pilaf: B
  • Grilled Sea Bass with Lobster Sauce & Truffle Mashed Potatoes: B
  • Gingery Salmon Cakes with Sushi Rice and Cabbage Slaw: B
  • Turmeric & Tamarind Glazed Salmon with Roasted Zucchini & Rice: B
  • Creamy Miso Udon Noodles with Salmon & Spinach with Cremini Mushrooms: B
  • Greek-Style Chicken Gyro Pita Wrap with Handmade Tzatziki: B
  • Caribbean Chicken Curry with Sautéed Cabbage & Rice: B
  • Chicken Corn Korma with Green Peas Pulao: B
  • Desi Butter Chicken Breast with Cauliflower Mash: B
  • Halal Cart Style Chicken & Rice with Rice, Garlic Yogurt & Pickled Cabbage: B
  • Spiced Chicken With Pork Chorizo Roasted Peppers: B
  • Orange Pepper Duck Leg Confit with Creamy Herbed Potato Salad: B
  • Italian Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce: B
  • Moroccan Lamb Meatballs: B
  • Miso Butter Flat Iron Steak with Cauliflower Purée & Sautéed Spinach: B
  • Beef Shank Peanut Stew with Vegetables & Rice: B
  • Rustic French Beef Ragu with Potato Gnocchi: B
  • Grilled Beef Lula Kabob with herbed tomato salad, Hummus & Pita: B
  • Masala Lamb Kebabs with Cucumber-Mint Yogurt & Dirty Rice: B
  • Brioche French Toast with Strawberries & Maple Syrup: B
  • Plant-Based Massaman Curry with Brown Rice and Peanuts: B-
  • Classic Croque Monsieur with Frisée Salad: B-
  • Cajun Blackened Swai with Caper-Dill Potato Salad: B-
  • Aleppo Spiced Cod with Roasted Brussels Sprouts: B-
  • Steak Diane over Garlic Fettuccine with Asparagus: B-
  • Tomato-Braised Chicken over Orecchiette: B-
  • Comforting Chicken Roganjosh with Spicy Roasted Cauliflower: B-
  • Belgian Chicken with Rice Pilaf & Creamed Kale : B-
  • Lemongrass BBQ Chicken with Garlic Java Rice: B-
  • Grilled Chicken with Tabbouleh & Hummus with Pita Bread: B-
  • Grilled Chicken Shawarma Bowl with Couscous & Chickpeas: B-
  • Sabzi-Rubbed Flat Iron Steak over Pearl Couscous Risotto with Crispy Shallots: C+
  • Bangkok-Style Linguine with Thai Basil Beef Sauce with XO Sauce & Scallions: C+
  • Chicken Tinga Tacos with Fresh Guacamole: C+
  • Adobo Pulled Pork Tacos with Cabbage Slaw & Pickled Onions: C+
  • Herb Roasted Salmon with Truffle Mash: C+
  • Filipino Chicken Tocino Bowl with Garlic Rice & Pickled Papaya: C+
  • Mushroom & Swiss Beef Burger with Sweet Potato Fries: C+
  • Spicy Braised Beef with Glass Noodles and Roasted Potatoes, Carrots & Shishito Peppers: C+
  • Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes with Thyme-Infused Maple Syrup: C+
  • Bacon Corn Chowder with Potatoes: C
  • Fajita Bowl with Impossible ‘Chorizo’ with Brown Rice and Chipotle Crema: C
  • Nikkei-Style Shrimp Fajitas with Japanese Rice and Cilantro Sauce: C
  • Lemon Tilapia with Cauliflower and Mashed Potatoes: C
  • Coq au Vin with Tagliatelle Pasta: C
  • Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Grainy Mustard Mashed Potatoes: C
  • Jerk-Spiced Chicken with Johnny Cakes & Braised Collard Greens: C
  • Garlic Hanger Steak with Roasted Vegetables and Avocado-Cilantro Lime Sauce: C
  • Mexican-Style Beef Stew with Red Potatoes and Hominy: C
  • Braised Beef and Polenta: C
  • Tonkotsu Ramen with Chashu Pork Belly and Spinach & Corn: C-
  • Herb Marinated Steak with Ratatouille and Rice Pilaf: C-
  • Parisian Chicken Kebab Basmati Rice, Tomato Salad & Green Sauce: C-
  • Chicken alla Cacciatora: D (undercooked)
  • Piri Piri Spiced Chicken with Stewed Peppers: D (undercooked)
  • Grilled Tagliata Steak with Arugula, Parmesan and Lemon: D
  • Bulgogi Japchae (Stir-Fried Glass Noodles with Marinated Beef) with Charred Vegetables: D
  • Greek Shrimp Saganaki Bowl with Farro & Pickles: F

VEGETARIAN

Creamy Polenta with Wild Mushroom Ragout & Porcini Cream: A

This might look like gruel, but it’s really a comforting hug in a plate. The dish is exactly what the name describes and it tastes exactly like you hope it will taste. The polenta is soft and sensuous, the mushrooms earthy and delicious. Microwaving this dish did make the mushrooms a bit rubbery – an expected problem – but they weren’t overly so and the taste made up for it. I’m sure they’d be better if reheated in the oven. The portion is a little small – more like a snack than a meal -, but I’ve still ordered it

Mushroom Ravioli with Sautéed Mushrooms in Truffle Cream Sauce: A-

This was actually a very good dish, but not worth the premium price. Both the ravioli and the cream sauce were very tasty, though a bit on the mild side. It really needed some Parmesan-type cheese to bring it up a notch. It also needed some of the advertised truffle flavor – I couldn’t taste it at all.

Mushroom Ragu with Crispy Polenta Cakes & Porcini Cream: B

This was a pretty tasty dish, but it was very, very salty. I’m someone who likes highly seasoned food, but this was over the line. I was also not much of a fan of the texture of the polenta cakes. They have a thin, crispy layer but below that they are quite soft, almost the consistency of a flan. You have to try to feel the very fine grain in the polenta. I think I’d have preferred them to be grittier. The mushrooms were a bit tough/chewy, but I’d expect that on microwaved mushrooms. Still, the dish was tasty, it just needs far less salt.

Plant-Based Massaman Curry with Brown Rice and Peanuts: B-

This was an OK Massaman curry. It was quite spicy – unusual for a Massaman curry – and the flavors weren’t as complex or inviting as those in Thai restaurants. The rice was a bit chewy. In all, it was fine, but not something we’d order again.

Fajita Bowl with Impossible ‘Chorizo’ with Brown Rice and Chipotle Crema: C

My daughter turned this bowl into two burritos by putting it into a couple of tortillas. She thought it was fine, compared it to Chipotle’s bowl, though she found it a little less flavorful. In all, she felt the dish lacked acidity. It came with a tasty chipotle crema, but it didn’t have the necessary acidity. What it really needed was salsa – she added sour cream, but it wasn’t enough – and some guacamole would be good as well. Finally, she felt it had too much cabbage.

SOUPS, SANDWICHES AND WRAPS

Spicy Peruvian Shrimp Chowder with Steamed Rice: A+
by Peruvian chef Walther Adrianzen

My husband absolutely loved this. It was nicely spiced, it had a great mix of textures, had a great flavor and lots of shrimp and not too much shrimp. He’d definitely have it again.

Classic Croque Monsieur with Frisée Salad: B-

This was pretty good for a microwavable croque monsieur. However, the bread was a bit too thick for the filling and there wasn’t anything remarkable about it. The greens were extremely bitter, to the point that I couldn’t eat them and I usually like bitter greens. I don’t think I’d order it again.

Bacon Corn Chowder with Potatoes: C

This was just OK. It was basically the same quality of the chowder you get at the supermarket, but in a smaller portion. The flavor was pretty mild, and it didn’t have enough bacon to brighten it up. I wouldn’t get it again, but it did remind me that supermarket soup is a good choice for lunch.

Tonkotsu Ramen with Chashu Pork Belly and Spinach & Corn: C-

I was pretty disappointed in this meal. It was basically just noodles with pork belly and corn kennels plus a couple of spinach leaves in a very salty broth. The pork belly itself was plain and not very flavorful and the broth was just salty and one note. Honestly, I prefer Top Ramen to these. Plus it takes about as much work. I’d definitely not order it again.

TACOS

Spicy Beef Birria Tacos with Hibiscus Pickled Onions & Guacamole: B+

These tacos were good but pedestrian. There wasn’t anything really wrong with them, the meat was tasty enough without being outstanding, the guacamole was fresh and the pickled onions added a nice umph. The only problem were the tortillas, which were hard and crumbled when folded. Still, the dish wasn’t exciting or novel. It didn’t make a case for tacos. I probably wouldn’t order it again.

Pork Al Pastor Tacos with Pineapple and Salsa Verde: B+

Overall, I enjoyed this dish – it was fine for lunch. The pork (which is a mush, not discreet pieces) had a nice smoky flavor that managed not to taste like liquid smoke. The tortillas were OK – I did wrap them in a wet paper towel and microwaved them to make them be more flexible. I wasn’t a fan of the salsa verde – which was a spicy, liquidy type rather than the more solid bright green type shown in the pictures -, but the tacos didn’t really need it. It was a good sized portion for lunch – four street-sized tacos – but I was left feeling like something was missing. Not sure what that would have been, though.

Chicken Tinga Tacos with Fresh Guacamole: C+

I didn’t really enjoy this dish. Chicken tinga seems to be a stewed with an old fashioned flavor, OK though not exciting. But the flavor just did not match the fresh and overly acidic guacamole or the cilantro. As usual, the tortillas broke apart when you tried to eat the taco, making them superfluos. I wouldn’t order again.

Adobo Pulled Pork Tacos with Cabbage Slaw & Pickled Onions: C+

This dish was OK. The flavor was good, mostly because the slaw with pickled onions was great and went well with the somewhat spicy sauce. The problem was in the execution of the pork and tortillas. The pork was probably overcooked, when reheated it became one solid mass that I had to put force to break apart. Some of the resulting pieces were extra crispy. The tortillas were also too hard, even when microwaved for twice as long as recommended. They broke apart when trying to fold them. I ate this the day after it was delivered, so it wasn’t an issue of them sitting in my fridge for too long. This is also a rather light portion, there is about as much pork as there is slaw.

SEAFOOD: SHRIMP & CRAB

Cajun Seared Shrimp and Orzo Salad with Fennel Salad & Remoulade: A

This was a good, flavorful dish. We’d order it again.

Garlic Shrimp in XO Sauce with Steamed Wild Riceberry & Jasmine Rice: A-

While not as good as the Cajun shrimp above, this was a tasty dish.

Shrimp Pancit Canton Noodles: A-

It was very tasty. It could do with more mushrooms, but the shrimp had a good size and texture and the noodles were great.

Crab Cake & Creamy Remoulade with Zesty Corn & Pepper Salad: A-

It was a pretty tasty crab cake. The other stuff was fine.

BBQ Shrimp Boil with Andouille Sausage, Potatoes & Corn: B+

My husband really liked this dish and would like it again, but felt it needed more shrimp.

Shrimp Scampi over Spaghetti with Spiralized Zucchini: B+

We ordered this dish twice. The first time, my husband loved it. He thought it was tasty and there was a good ratio of shrimp to pasta. The second time, he wasn’t as enthusiastic, though he couldn’t pinpoint exactly why it was less tasty.

Spicy Yemenite Shrimp Curry with Jasmine Rice & Fresh Snap Peas: B+

My husband had it. He liked it. He didn’t think it was too spicy. Beyond that, he didn’t go into details.

Classic Shrimp Gumbo with Rice Pilaf: B

The shrimp and sauce were tasty, but there was too much rice. My husband would have it again.

Chili-Roasted Shrimp with Fresh Corn Grits & Pepper Jack Cheese: B

My husband liked the shrimp but wasn’t big on the grits – I thought they were quite good. We’d probably not get it again.

Nikkei-Style Shrimp Fajitas with Japanese Rice and Cilantro Sauce: C

My husband had this meal and he gave it 3 stars. He couldn’t really explain why it was only “OK” for him, but he did eat it towards the end of its shelf life and might have enjoyed it more if it was fresher.

Greek Shrimp Saganaki Bowl with Farro & Pickles : F

by Israeli Chef Einat Admony

I should have known better than to order this dish. It was Greek, so of course it had olives. My husband doesn’t like olives. So it was a fail for us, but your MMV

SEAFOOD: WHITE FISH

Lemon Baked Tilapia with Cajun Cream Sauce & Farro Salad: B+

My husband liked this dish a lot. He particularly enjoyed the Cajun cream sauce. The problem was that it comes with baby arugula, which you are supposed to remove before heating the dish. The arugula, however, is sort of mixed in with the farro and placed under the fish, so removing it is a pain in the butt. Still, he’d probably like this again.

Plantain Crusted Mahi Mahi with Arroz Moro: B+

This was a good dish, though the mahi mahi and the rice really needed the sauce to flavor them – the sauce was quite good, though.  The main problem is that there was too little rice, so the dish felt unbalanced.


Cajun Baked Swai Fish with Collard Greens & Pan Sauce: B+

Another solid, flavorful dish. It was too heavy on the collard greens, however, and it really needed a starch for balance. The sauce, however, was tasty and it was a suitable portion.

Sweet and Sour Fish Fillet with Chinese Sausage & Fried Rice: B+

This was another tasty dish. We enjoyed the flavor of the vegetables and the light breading on the dish. There was, however, too much rice vis a vis the other ingredients.

Grilled Sea Bass with Lobster Sauce & Truffle Mashed Potatoes: B

The piece of bass was too small for dinner. The sauce was good but not out of this world. The mashed potatoes were good, though.

Aleppo Spiced Cod with Roasted Brussels Sprouts: B-

My husband enjoyed this dish but wasn’t too enthusiastic. He wouldn’t mind ordering it again, but would prefer a different one if given the choice.

Cajun Blackened Swai with Caper-Dill Potato Salad: B-

My husband liked this, though he wasn’t particularly impressed.

Lemon Tilapia with Cauliflower and Mashed Potatoes: C

My husband was underwhelmed with this dish. He wasn’t specific but said he would not order it again.

SEAFOOD: SALMON

I also don’t like salmon, so all of these dishes were enjoyed by my husband.

Teriyaki Roasted Salmon with Brown Rice, Roasted Carrots & Brussels Sprouts: A

“Anything immersed in Teriyaki sauce is going to be good,” or so said my husband when I asked him what he thought of this meal. He was happy with it. He liked that the Brussells sprouts had been sliced, so it wasn’t the huge whole vegetables he got in a previous meal.

Roasted Salmon Teriyaki with Tricolor Quinoa & Roasted Romanesco: A

This seems to be the newer incarnation of the dish above. Once again, my husband liked the sauce and therefore liked the dish.

Seared Salmon & Cauliflower Lentil Mujadara with Spicy Za’atar Chimichurri: A-

This was pretty good and my husband liked it. He was pleasantly surprised by the spiciness. The salmon was well cooked and he enjoyed the mujadara. His only criticism is that the dish needed some greens to make it outstanding, particularly as a summer dish.

Chipotle Lime Salmon with Brussels Sprouts: A-

This was a good dish. There was a good mixture of textures and tastes and the chipotle sauce was very good. The portion of salmon, however, was on the small side.

Gingery Salmon Cakes with Sushi Rice and Cabbage Slaw: B

by NYC chef Chris Ratel

My husband thought these were quite tasty. The sauce was particularly good. They weren’t mind blowing, but he’d have them again.

Turmeric & Tamarind Glazed Salmon with Roasted Zucchini & Rice: B

My husband liked this dish, but also wasn’t amazed by it. He’d have it again, however.

Creamy Miso Udon Noodles with Salmon & Spinach with Cremini Mushrooms: B

My husband liked this, but he wasn’t wowed. A day later, he can’t remember anything about it to give feedback. So I guess the dish was just not memorable.

Herb Roasted Salmon with Truffle Mash: C+

The salmon and mash were fine, but the Brussels sprouts in the dish were giant. They were about twice the size of a regular Brussels sprout and lacked flavor. We probably wouldn’t get this again.


CHICKEN

Chicken Parmesan with Marinara: A

by NY Chef John DeLucie

My daughter positively loved this dish, and would actually give it an A+. The portion size was perfect for dinner as well. Now, my daughter is a big fan of chicken pamesan in general, so kudos to the chef for executing it well. This meal is a $3 premium.

Southern Fried Chicken with Spicy Honey & Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes: A-
by NYC chef Chris Ratel

This was another dish that I got for my milanesa-loving daughter. She was very happy with both the chicken and mashed potatoes (and she’s not always a fan of the latter), though she didn’t try the honey. She’d have it again.

Chicken Marengo with Rice Pilaf: A-

I enjoyed this dish of boneless chicken and mushrooms in a creamy tomato sauce. The chicken was moist, the sauce was flavorful and not too acidic – it was quite well balanced -, and I just love mushrooms. I’d get this again.

Moroccan Chicken & Couscous Tagine with Green Olives, Currants & Toasted Almonds: B+

by Israeli chef Einat Admony, chef-owner of Balaboosta in NYC.

This is a the new rendition of the a former dish by the same chef simply called “Chicken Tagine”. It now is supposed to have olives instead of the apricots it had before – but there were no actual olives. this means that the dish lost its sweetness without acquiring the brininess the olives would have supplied. This was not a problem for my husband who dislikes olives, but I felt the dish needed something. The chicken is now shredded, which makes it more tender than before. Overall, a good dish but not an amazing one.

Crispy Chicken Schnitzel with Mustard Mashed Potatoes & Tomato Salad: B+
by NYC chef Chris Ratel

My daughter is a big fan of milanesas and she enjoyed this chicken schnitzel. She even liked the mashed potatoes. She prefers the Chicken Parmesan, however, which is basically a chicken schnitzel with tomato sauce and cheese on top.

Chicken Cordon Bleu with Pink Peppercorn Sauce with Peppercorn Sauce & Sautéed Green Beans: B+

Chicken cordon bleu is a hard dish to get right because it’s hard to cook chicken breasts without making them dry.  This problem is even greater when you have to reheat them.  So it’s not surprising that the chicken here was somewhat dry – it would have been almost miraculous if it wasn’t.  Fortunately, the sauce helped moisten it, but I think what it needed was more ham.  Just a tad more.  Still, it was a pretty good dish.

Caribbean Chicken Curry with Sautéed Cabbage & Rice: B

This dish was exactly what it meant to be: a curry-powdered-based, lightly spiced Caribbean chicken curry. It was good, without being great (I don’t think any curry based on a pre-mixed curry powder or paste can be great). The portion was on the small side, however.

Halal Cart Style Chicken & Rice with Rice, Garlic Yogurt & Pickled Cabbage: B

This dish felt pretty authentic to the description, though, of course, not Halal cart quality. The chicken was tasty, though a little underseasoned. The rice was very good, though I wasn’t a fan of the cabbage. I liked the white sauce, though it tasted a little more like ranch than garlic yogurt. The red sauce was too spicy for me, as red sauce usually is, but it tasted authentic. The main problem was that there wasn’t enough white sauce to season the whole dish, and there wasn’t enough chicken. Still, I might order it again.

Greek-Style Chicken Gyro Pita Wrap with Handmade Tzatziki: B

This is my third time ordering this dish. What keeps bringing me back in the soft, doughy texture of the pita after it’s reheated in the microwave, I just love it. The problem with this dish, however, is that the chicken is under-seasoned. I think it might have gotten slightly better this time, but you still need to add salt to it. I also think it could use some lemon juice. Finally, it’s messy to eat, but that’s just a warning, not a dis.

Spiced Chicken With Pork Chorizo Roasted Peppers: B

by chef Dustin Taylor, last at AC Hotel in LA

The first couple of times I had this dish, I really enjoyed it. I found the chicken nicely spiced, moist and tender, the rice flavorful and harmonious with the hearty chorizo/pepper mix. Later, I felt the chicken was a bit scrawny and needed more flavor, and the Mexican chorizo seemed less integrated into the other ingredients. There also seemed to be les peppers. Finally, the dish stopped including the chorizo, even though it stayed in the name. I don’t think they offer the dish anymore, but if they do again, I’d probably try it.

Chicken Corn Korma with Green Peas Pulao: B

This dish was fine overall. I’d say it’s a Trader Joe’s quality korma, not great, but fine for a prepared meal. Same with the pulao. I’d preferred chicken cubes to the large pieces, which required a knife and made it less moist.

Desi Butter Chicken Breast with Cauliflower Mash: B

The butter sauce was pretty good, better than what you get in frozen entrees though not restaurant quality. The chicken came in large pieces that needed to be cut, and I’d have preferred cubes that could absorb more sauce and that wouldn’t require a knife. The cauliflower mash was awful, extremely thin and watery. It didn’t help that it just tasted like concentrated cauliflower.

Tomato-Braised Chicken over Orecchiette: B-
by LA chef Kevin Meehan

The main problem with this dish was that the chicken was dry. Now, this is a problem with chicken in general, and white chicken in particular, but I expect more from a chef. The tomato sauce itself wasn’t bad, I’d say a step above supermarket sauce. The zucchini definitely gave it a fresh, veggie flavor. It was also pretty spicy. The orecchiette were a little tough, but they were tasty with the sauce from the chicken and plenty of Parmesan cheese. However, there was too much pasta and too little chicken – I didn’t necessarily mind, given how awfully dry the chicken was, but it did mean I was hungry not too long after. I wouldn’t order it again.

Comforting Chicken Roganjosh with Spicy Roasted Cauliflower: B-
by Indian chef Aarthi Sampath

My husband felt the chicken skin was unnecessary in this dish. The flavors were good but not remarkable. He probably wouldn’t order it again.

Belgian Chicken with Rice Pilaf & Creamed Kale : B-

by LA chef Ludo Lefebvre

This dish was, unfortunately, a failure. The chicken itself was under-seasoned and the sauce just lacked flavor. I’m not sure what it needed, maybe more reduction or just more salt, but as it was, it wasn’t bad but terribly mild. Better order the chicken marengo, which has a similar type of sauce, but is far, far more flavorful.

The rice with creamed kale was also just OK. It needed perhaps a little more acid. I ate it because I was still hungry after eating the chicken, but it’s not something you’d reach for.

Grilled Chicken with Tabbouleh & Hummus with Pita Bread: B-

This dish was OK but the chicken was underseasoned – a problem when the dish is all about the chicken.

Grilled Chicken Shawarma Bowl with Couscous & Chickpeas: B-

This was another very underseasoned chicken dish. It made me wonder if I had COVID (I didn’t).

Lemongrass BBQ Chicken with Garlic Java Rice: B-

The rice was tasty, especially after I added the sauce. The chicken was mildly spiced and somewhat better than OK on its own. Unfortunately, the sauce didn’t add much to it. The sauce is really what is lacking. I don’t think I’d order it again, unless they changed the formulation.

Filipino Chicken Tocino Bowl with Garlic Rice & Pickled Papaya: C+

This was an Ok and even tasty dish – as long as you could get a bite with all the ingredients together. Separate, the chicken was dry and not very flavorful (and I wasn’t particularly fond of the flavor), the rice lacked seasoning, and the tomatoes (sent fresh but which explode in the microwave) were too sharp. The only actual flavor comes from the pickled papaya, and as long as you are able to get a couple strands in each bite, you are good. But it’s too inexact a science. I wish the dish was good in itself and the papaya added to the dish, not made it.

Jerk-Spiced Chicken with Johnny Cakes & Braised Collard Greens: C

This dish was disappointed. The chicken was dry and lacked seasoning. The pancakes were hard and unappetizing, not worth the carbs. We wouldn’t have it again.

Coq au Vin with Tagliatelle Pasta: C

by French chef Cedric Nicolas, former sous chef at Belle Vie Food & Wine in LA (now closed)

This is a premium dish. I actually found this to be a lazy dish. There is really no excuse to not make a good coq au vin, it’s a simple recipe and one that is ideal as a leftover. But this one was a failure. The main sin is that I don’t believe the chicken had been braised in the red wine sauce, despite the fact that that’s the whole point of coq au vin. The chicken was bland and had not incorporated any of the flavors of the sauce – my guess is that it was cold when it was plated alongside it. Most tellingly, it had not been stained at all by the red wine, which is what happens when you braise chicken in a red wine sauce for a while. The sauce itself was rather pedestrian and there wasn’t very much of it. Still, the dish wasn’t unpleasant to eat, so I gave it a C, but it certainly did not meet expectations. If you do want to eat a good coq au vin, here is the recipe I’ve used for the last 30 years.

Creamy Mushroom Chicken with Grainy Mustard Mashed Potatoes: C

This dish was just “blah”. The sauce just lacked flavor, and there wasn’t enough of it for the mashed potatoes. It’s a pity because it’s a relatively easy dish to make, it just needs a tad more mustard and probably some cognac, sherry or wine to brighten the sauce. The mashed potatoes could be lighter too. Still, perfectly OK to eat – but not for the price.

Parisian Chicken Kebab Basmati Rice, Tomato Salad & Green Sauce: C-
by LA chef Ludo Lefebvre

The problem with this dish was the chicken, and when dish is a chicken dish, that can’t go wrong. The chicken breast was dry to the point of chewiness and tasted like boiled chicken. Yes, I know it was grilled – it had grilled marks and boiled chicken couldn’t possibly be that dry, but the flavor was off putting. The cilantro sauce was really good, but it couldn’t penetrate the dense, dry pieces of chicken and there wasn’t enough of it for the rice. This is definitely in my “not order” list.

Chicken alla Cacciatora: D (undercooked)

by NYC chef John DeLucie, chef at Bedford&co , Ainslie, and Empire Diner, The Lion, and The Waverly Inn

I’ve gotten this dish thrice. The fist time I thought the chicken, particularly the skin, was tasty and the sauce tasted exactly like you’d expect it to, though perhaps it was a little too heavy on celery for my taste. I was a bit disappointed at the size of the portion. The chicken itself was sort of scrawny and there was no starch as a filler (except for carrots, but I’m not fond of carrots myself). The second time my husband had it, and he didn’t like the sauce as much. The third time, however, it was very undercooked – red next to the bone. For that reason, I wouldn’t order it again.

Piri Piri Spiced Chicken with Stewed Peppers: D (undercooked)

The chicken was undercooked, and close to raw near the bone area. The rice and peppers, which I tried before I cut into the chicken, were quite good, the rice was standard yellow rice and the peppers were nicely stewed/spiced and not too spicy. It would be a good dish if the chicken was cooked properly.

DUCK

Duck and Pork Cassoulet with Cannellini Beans. A-

This is a good, but not perfect dish. It’s a nice, complex dish that would be pain to do at home. It convinced me I actually like cannellini beans (they melt in your mouth without the powdery texture of other beans). The duck and pork sausages (two!) are very tasty. But what brings it down a notch is the very pedestrian tomato sauce. I’m not /that/ picky, but it reminds me of Ragu or even Chef Boyardee (shudder). Improve the sauce, and this would be perfect.

Orange Pepper Duck Leg Confit with Creamy Herbed Potato Salad: B

The duck was well cooked and tasty, I liked how crispy the skin was. The orange sauce, however, was watery and added nothing to the duck. The potato salad was just OK.

Grilled Duck Leg with Orange-Coconut Sauce with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Broccolini: B-

The problem with this dish is that the duck didn’t go with the vegetables. The duck was nicely seared, with a light smoky flavor. It was a bit dry – but that would be hard to avoid. It was utterly a savory dish. It could add some spicing, but didn’t really need much. I ended up having duck for dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant, and that one was barely better than the one from CookUnity. The sweet potatoes and broccoli in the orange-coconut sauce, however, were very sweet and completely discordant with the duck. They were good in themselves, but belonged in a different dish. Their flavor notes were just too different to eat together (or even one after the other, as I did). From the title, it sounded like the sauce would go on the duck, not on the veggies. I love duck a l’Orange, and duck can go very well with sweet flavors – but not here because of the spicing of the duck. I wouldn’t get this dish again.

MEATBALLS

Lamb and Pork Meatballs with Parmesan Polenta with Tomato-Basil Sauce: A-

This is a very simple, peasant style dish. It tastes like you expect it to taste, the tomato sauce is quite ordinary and the only thing that elevates the meatballs is the presence of pine nuts (brilliant idea). But sometimes simple dishes and familiar flavors are what you want, and this is the definition of comfort food. I get it pretty much every time I order CookUnity. Update: the meatballs continue to be as tasty as before, but they’ve become lighter and lighter – I think they’ve reduced the amount of meat vis a vis filling.

Stewed Moroccan Lamb Meatballs with Brown Rice and Herb-Yogurt Sauce: A-

This was a tasty dish, but there weren’t enough meatballs, even for lunch. The amount of rice was fine. We’d order it again.

Italian Meatballs with Homemade Tomato Sauce: B

This is one of the new “protein only” dishes. The meatballs and sauce are good, they taste pretty homey, and if you are avoiding carbs no matter what, they seem like a good choice. But I ended up missing the carbs to soak up the sauce and wished the meatballs were lighter. Still, as a low-carb dish it works well.

Moroccan Lamb Meatballs: B

by chef Dustin Taylor, last at AC Hotel in LA

My husband had this dish for lunch one day. He can’t remember eating it at all, so it wasn’t memorable. My own recollection is that he liked it but wasn’t enthusiastic.

BEEF: STEAK

Korean Flank Steak Rice Bowl (Steak Doep Bap) and Asparagus: A
by Korean-American chef Esther Choi

The steak was tender and not fatty. It had a great flavor. The sauce was awesome. The asparagus were well cooked and yummy. Definitely in the “order again” category.

Grilled Hanger Steak with Peruvian Pesto Linguine: A

by Peruvian chef Walther Adrianzen

My daughter loved this dish, though hers came without the promised (and unneeded) chimichurri sauce. The steak was flavorful, if a little chewy (not unusual for hanger steak), and the pesto pasta was fresh. I felt it could have used some Parmesan. She’d want it again.

Hanger Steak and Coconut Forbidden Rice: A-

by Filipina chef Stacy Bareng, chef-owner of Tagalog Takeover pop up in LA

This was my favorite of the hanger steak dishes we had. It’s also one we warmed in the oven. As you can see, it wasn’t cooked medium-rare as on the picture in the website, but the beef was tender and flavorful, and I could still taste the beef flavor. The forbidden rice was tasty and fun. The broccolini, however, didn’t work. It was chewy.

Churrasco Steak with Chimichurri Rojo Sauce and Cilantro-Lime Rice & Roasted Zucchini: A-

This was a very good dish for being a re-heated steak. The beef was pretty tasty, a bit spicy, but not something out of this world. The rice tasted very Latin American – like the sort of rice I’ve had in cheap market food stands in Mexico and Central America. There is something nostalgic about it, that I do enjoy, but it’s not a flavor profile I otherwise seek out. The red chimichurri, however, was quite good, and really brought the dish together. In all, I might order it again.

Blackened Hanger Steak with Chimichurri Sauce & Curry Potato Gratin: A-

I don’t usually like CookUnity’s steaks reheated in the microwave, but this one worked. It was tough, but you expect that from hanger steak, and the chimichurri was really delicious. The curry really didn’t work in the potato gratin, however. I like curry as much as anyone, but it has no place next to chimichurri and cheese (unless it’s a tasteless cheese like paneer). Moreover, it was one note. But the chimichurri sauce was good enough to make up for it.

Miso Butter Flat Iron Steak with Cauliflower Purée & Sautéed Spinach: B

This was a pretty good dish. The beef slices were very tender and had very little, if any, fat. The flavor was pretty mild but overall good. I think the “cauliflower purée” was actually a potato purée, because it had no cauliflower flavor whatsoever. This, of course, was a good thing. What wasn’t good is that it was extremely thin – I had to get a spoon to eat it. The spinach was soggy, but it had a nice flavor if you like cooked spinach, which I don’t. I might order this again, if I was sure I got potato purée.

Steak Diane over Garlic Fettuccine with Asparagus: B

The beef in this dish was severely under-seasoned and it just wasn’t very tasty even after I added salt. The sauce was great, but there wasn’t enough to flavor the beef or sufficiently flavor the mushrooms and fettuccine. I don’t think I’d order this again.

Sabzi-Rubbed Flat Iron Steak over Pearl Couscous Risotto with Crispy Shallots: C+

I was really disappointed by this dish. The beef was pretty tasteless and whatever slight flavor the sabzi rub might have given it, wasn’t particularly pleasant. The risotto was marginally better, but also on the tasteless side.

Garlic Hanger Steak with Roasted Vegetables and Avocado-Cilantro Lime Sauce: C

by NYC chef Andres Mendez

This was probably my least favorite dish of the bunch. The steak wasn’t very flavorful, and it was completely overwhelmed by the spicy sauce. The vegetables where OK, but one-dimensional. I wouldn’t order it again.

Herb Marinated Steak with Ratatouille and Rice Pilaf: C-

by chef Dustin Taylor, last at AC Hotel in LA

This is another strike-out by Dustin Taylor (who fortunately redeems himself with the next dish). I liked the texture of the beef, tender but somewhat chewy/tough, but it had practically no seasoning and it was almost tasteless. What is worse, the smell and flavor it did have was somewhat fishy. I don’t have any fish in the fridge, so it couldn’t have acquired it from something else. The pilaf was nice enough, but the ratatouille was mostly eggplant and zucchini, with little in the way of onions or peppers. It’s winter, so I understand the latter, but still! This is not a dish I’d order again.

Grilled Tagliata Steak with Arugula, Parmesan and Lemon: D

by NYC chef John DeLucie, chef at Bedford&co , Ainslie, and Empire Diner, The Lion, and The Waverly Inn

This is the 3rd subpar steak dish I get from CookUnity, and this helps to cement my opinion that steak just does not lend itself to being cooked in advance and re-heated. This steak was tough, a little chewy and not all flavorful. I did like that it came with a fresh side salad, but it also lacked flavor. I don’t complain often that a meal has too much steak and too little salad, but that was the case here. In all, I would not order it again.

BEEF – OTHER

Homestyle Beef Goulash with Basmati Rice: A-

My husband raved about how good this dish was. He loved that the goulash had very tender pieces of meat, and the flavor went great with the rice. He’d like it again.

Beef Burgundy & Whipped Potatoes with Crisp Roasted Brussels Sprouts: A-

My husband really liked this dish. There was good flavor and the mashed potatoes were smooth. The Brussell sprouts were cooked differently that he usually has them, but he liked them. Overall, he’d have this again.

Nikkei-Style Steak Fajitas with Japanese Rice and Cilantro Sauce: A-

Simple but very tasty lunch. The meat has a nice marinade and it goes great with the peppers, rice and aioli. I’ll definitely order it again.

Guajillo Beef and Cheese Enchiladas: A-

I’m not a huge fan of enchiladas, but I decided to give these a try. I was quite pleased. The beef filling was tasty, the rice was good, and the combination of all with the sour cream worked very well. It was also a very filling dish but that left me wanting more.

Short Rib Ragu over Pappardelle Pasta with Fresh Ricotta: A-

This was a very nice, satisfying meal. Exactly what it advertised itself to be. It was a tad too spicy for my taste, and I think the portion could have been bigger – it left me hungry. But it’d be good for lunch or when you’re not too hungry.

Red Chile Braised Beef Tamale Salsa Verde & Mexican Crema: B+
by chef Jose Garces

These were very good beef tamales. There was plenty of filling, and it was very tasty, ant he sauces that came with it worked very well. Really, as tamales go, these were excellent. As usual, however, I ended up feeling that there was just too much masa. It does help filling you up, but it mutes the flavor of the beef. I’d order it again if I had a hankering for tamales, but not otherwise.

Middle Eastern Braised Beef Flatbread with Parsley, Pine Nuts & Tahini-Yogurt-Mint Sauce: B+

This “stew” has the consistency of bolognese sauce – it’s made with ground beef -, and a slightly spicy, very tomatoey Middle Eastern flavor profile. By itself, it’s too intense/acidic, but the yogurt sauce mellows it wonderfully. As a combination, it’s among the most flavorful, homey dishes I’d had at CookUnity. What brings it down is the flatbread. It’s *extremely* hard. More like a thick, dense cracker than the pita bread you expect. The problem with that is that it can’t absorb the stew – plus it’s not that pleasant to eat. I’m taking away a star for that reason. I don’t know if the bread is meant to be that hard or if the problem was with microwaving it. Next time I’ll test it before I do, and perhaps cover it with a moist paper towel. Or just eat it with my own bread (I’ll have to make sure to get some). But you definitely need *something* to absorb the liquidity of the sauce and balance the acidity.

Grilled Beef Lula Kabob with herbed tomato salad, Hummus & Pita: B

The patty was tasty but dry. The hummus and pita bread were average as was the tabbouleh, which due to the lack of bulgur, seem more like pico de gallo. I wouldn’t rush to order it again.

Beef Shank Peanut Stew with Vegetables & Rice: B

This dish was completely underseasoned. I’d be surprised if they used any salt at all. It was fine after I salted it, the meat was a bit fatty – but you expect that from a shank – and the sauce could have used more complexity. It might be better to actually cook the meat in the sauce, rather than add it later. But in all, it was a pleasant dish.

Rustic French Beef Ragu with Potato Gnocchi: B

This dish was fine but it could be improved. The gnocchi were a bit too chewy and dry in parts. There just isn’t enough liquid sauce to withstand the heating up process. I also think the gnocchi themselves could have used more flour and less potato to make them a bit lighter. The sauce was tasty but a little too sour/intense, it didn’t really taste French, though now thinking about it perhaps the acidity came from wine (though it didn’t taste boozy). If the sauce was thinner maybe the gnocchi could have absorbed more and counterbalanced it.

Mushroom & Swiss Beef Burger with Sweet Potato Fries: C+

by NY chef Ruben Garcia

I was both curious and apprehensive about ordering a burger that has to be reheated. As it happened, the burger was better than I expected, but not by much. The burger itself was dry. I guess they must cook the patty to medium-well to be food safe, and that doesn’t make for a particularly juicy burger. The burger also felt like it had fillers, though I can’t say for sure. In any case, there was little flavor in the meat itself. I did like the flavor the mushrooms and beef imparted, however. The “sauce” it came with was a mayo/sour cream mixture with chipotle/adobo flavoring, which tasted slightly like BBQ. It was also slightly spicy and not bad. The potato buns worked well after lightly toasting them. It was a filling meal and I’d say the burger was better than fast food, but not what I want in a burger. Still, I’m going to guess that’s impossible for a commercially made, reheated burger.

Bangkok-Style Linguine with Thai Basil Beef Sauce with XO Sauce & Scallions: C+

This was an OK meal. It was simple noodles and mostly unseasoned beef with a liquidy sweet soy sauce that gave the whole dish flavor. It was pleasant enough to eat, but not interesting or complicated enough to bother ordering it again.

Spicy Braised Beef with Glass Noodles and Roasted Potatoes, Carrots & Shishito Peppers: C+

I wasn’t thrilled by this dish. I thought the beef lacked flavor. It was spicy, but it should have been flavorful as well. it was, however, very tender. The vegetables and noodles were OK, but as the whole braising liquid wasn’t that flavorful, it didn’t elevate them much. My husband, however, who tried it, liked it.

Mexican-Style Beef Stew with Red Potatoes and Hominy: C

I was rather disappointed in this stew. It just lacked flavor. The meat was tender, though one large piece was pretty fatty, but it lacked seasoning. There was little sauce to speak of and what there was didn’t add much flavor to the rice. I’m also not sure what made this stew Mexican beyond a little bit of spiciness. I wouldn’t order again.

Braised Beef and Polenta: C

by Filipina chef Stacy Bareng, chef-owner of Tagalog Takeover pop up in LA

On the one hand, there is nothing I can fault this dish for. It tasted exactly like what I expected it to taste. On the other hand, there are more delicious ways to braise beef, some wine and caramelized onions would have done wonders. Still, a satisfying meal.

Update: I got this dish for a second time, and it now came with only a tiny bit of sauce. There was too little to even moisten the meat and polenta, and the meat was overcooked and terribly dry. Without the sauce, it was also rather unseasoned. I wouldn’t get it again. (Note: photo is from the first time I got it).

Bulgogi Japchae (Stir-Fried Glass Noodles with Marinated Beef) with Charred Vegetables: D

This dish was utterly bland – not what you’d expect from bulgogi. It was edible, “not gross” but not in the least flavorful. There was absolutely no complexity to the sauce. A big fail

LAMB

Braised Lamb Sabzi with Cumin Seed Rice: A

by Israeli chef Einat Admony, chef-owner of Balaboosta in NYC.

This dish tasted exactly what I expect lamb sabzi to taste. It’s a dish of Persian origin, tangy and fragrant with Middle Eastern spices.

Handmade Merguez Sausage in Moroccan Couscous Stew with Harissa: A-

by French chef Cedric Nicolas, former sous chef at Belle Vie Food & Wine in LA (now closed)

This was a very tasty dish. The merguez sausages were delicious, if much smaller than those shown, and the whole dish tasted very home made. Definitely a winner. For some reason I enjoyed it less the second time around, but it may just be how I was feeling.

Lamb Kebab with Turmeric Hummus and Roasted Sweet Potatoes: A-

by Kentucky born chef Akhtar Nawab, owner of Alta Calidad in New York, Otra Vez in New Orleans, and Prather’s on the Alley in Washington, DC

These were kofta-like rather than kebabs per se, as the lamb was ground and mixed with spices, but it was very tasty nonetheless. Kofta tend to be dry, and this was no exception, but it was no drier than pretty much every other one I’ve ever made or encountered. They came with a cumin spiced hummus, which tasted lightly of curry and was also very tasty. It worked as a dip for both the sweet potatoes and lamb. I’m not a huge fan of sweet potatoes, but these were quite good.

Braised Lamb Shawarma with Pearl Couscous with Red Onion-Sumac Salad & Creamy Tahini: B+

This was an overall tasty dish. I liked the lamb very much. It was moist and soft, without much fat, and had a pleasant, mild lamb flavor. The couscous, OTOH, was just OK. It was tasty enough, but nothing special – more could have been done with it. The big miss was with the tahini sauce. It was too bitter and not acidic enough, and didn’t add anything positive to either lamb or couscous. Perhaps if there had been more onions it would have worked, but there weren’t enough to have them in every bite. Still, an overall tasty dish.

Pasture-Raised Rack of Lamb with Creamy Potato Gratin: B+

by NYC chef John DeLucie, chef at Bedford&co , Ainslie, and Empire Diner, The Lion, and The Waverly Inn

This was a premium dish, almost restaurant-priced at $19. Unfortunately, while it was good, I don’t think it was worth it. The lamb chops were tasty and juicy enough, but they were underseasoned. They needed the accompanying gelatin to brighten them up, but the flavor of the gelatin hid the lambiness of the chops. The potato gratin was very tasty and satisfying in itself, but it matched the lamb very badly. The flavors were not at all complimentary – the strong cheesy flavor in the gratin overwhelmed the lamb, so the two components had to be eaten separately and with sips of water in between. Scalloped potatoes would have been a better choice.

Masala Lamb Kebabs with Cucumber-Mint Yogurt & Dirty Rice: B

This large ground lamb patty/meatball was tasty but dry. The yogurt help to some degree and the rice was tasty, but I wouldn’t rush to order it again.

PORK

Adobo Spare Ribs with Garlic Rice and Baby Bok Choy: A

by Filipina chef Stacy Bareng, chef-owner of Tagalog Takeover pop up in LA

The ribs were very tasty, moist and tender. I also liked the rice quite a bit. It came with bok choy which I don’t like, but my dog does. that gives you a discount and, if I’m subscribed at the point when you claim such discount, might give me one as well for future purchases. As always, look to see if there are better discount deals elsewhere. Note: I just had this dish again under its new name (it’s been edited to reflect it). It’s just as good as before, though now you get smaller chunks of ribs rather than full ones. The bak choi must have been added to replace some of the quantity of meat.

Classic Québécois Poutine (Cheese Fries with Gravy) with Applewood Smoked Bacon: A-

I was hesitant to order this dish because of the many reviews saying that the fries were soggy. And yes, they were soggy. If you are going to microwave French fries and then put hot gravy on them, they are going to get soggy. What I wonder, though, is if this dish could be re-imagined to warm the fries in an air fryer.

In any case, the fries were fine for soggy fries. The curds and gravy were good, the bacon was nice. Probably as good a poutine as you are going to get in the States without making it yourself.

Gochujang Baby Back Ribs: B+

by Korean-American chef Esther Choi, chef-owner of Mokbar and Ms.Yoo in New York City

I liked these tangy and tender ribs and really enjoyed the sweet corn. The rice was just OK.

BREAKFAST

Brioche French Toast with Strawberries & Maple Syrup: B
by French chef Cedric Nicolas

This was fine but unremarkable. It tasted like you would expect it to taste, but there was nothing surprising or interesting about it. It definitely could have used more strawberries. It did made me realize that I could, too, make French toast and refrigerate it or freeze it for later.

Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes with Thyme-Infused Maple Syrup: C+

Who doesn’t love having breakfast for dinner once in a blue moon? Unfortunately, these pancakes were a disappointment. I had hoped the ricotta would have made them moist, but they were very dry. The thyme flavor in the maple was good, but using all the syrup to moisten the pancakes made them too sweet. And, of course, it’s just carbs. Some bacon would have made it better. I wouldn’t order again.

Gobble Meal Kit Review: Butter Chicken With Basmati Rice & Naan Bread

8/10

I absolutely love Indian food, but I’m cursed with not being able to successfully replicate my favorite dishes – of which butter chicken ranks at the top. I’ve tried making it, and while the results weren’t bad, they were not nearly as good as those of my local Indian restaurants. I’ve also tried a number of commercial sauces, none of which can compare to restaurant-make. That’s why I was particularly impressed that Gobbled managed a very good butter chicken sauce, that rivals that at any of our local restaurants.

The kit was fairly easy to make: you cooked the pre-cubed chicken for a few minutes, then added the prepared butter sauce and cooked it for a few more. Pre-made rice was heated in the microwave and a single naan bread was supposed to be baked in the oven. I hate preheating a whole oven just for that, so I put it in the air fryer for 4 minutes. It was a bit crispy, but very good.

Finally, the kit came with a cucumber & tomato salad with a pre-made salad dressing. I don’t like cucumber and my husband doesn’t like tomatoes, so we ate our vegetables separately. The dressing was OK, but didn’t really have much to do with the rest of the meal.

In all, another very good Gobble meal.

Gobble Kit Review: Braised Beef Stroganoff with Fresh Gigli Pasta

8/10

I learned my lesson in my last Gobble box: order meals that include sauces and items that I cannot easily replicate myself. Otherwise, Gobble is not that much of a convenience. While it seems fewer of Gobble meals meet both this requirement and my personal meal preferences, this kit did both. It was quick and easy to make and very tasty. What it was not is beef stroganoff.

The kit required minimal preparation, all I had to do was slice some onions and mince some garlic, probably just so I felt I did something. Beyond that, I had to boil some fresh pasta, and prepare the beef from pre-made ingredients. I mixed the braising liquid from the beef with a prepared demi-glace sauce and some beef stock in a bowl and then heated the beef in a pan. I added the sliced mushrooms, cooked for a few minutes, and then added the sauce I’d mixed and pre-cut carrots and peas. After a couple of minutes I added the cooked pasta as well as some pre-made herbed butter. After plating it, I finished it with sour cream and parsley.

Both my husband and I were happy with the meal, it tasted homey and like something I’d make (just not like stroganoff), and the portion was adequate.

HelloFresh Review: Italian Beef Melts

8/10

My final HelloFresh kit this week was Italian Beef Melts with Onion, Green Pepper, Mozarella & Roasted Potato Wedges. Once again, I was impressed at how tasty this dish was. HelloFresh has given me a new appreciation for how good simple American cuisine can be.

To make the sandwiches, you slice and sautée the onions and peppers, you cook the ground beef with Italian seasoning and beef base and then mix them together. The kit has you make garlic aioli by mixing mayo with garlic powder and garlic butter by mixing your own butter with that same garlic powder. Instead of the garlic powder, I minced some of my own garlic cloves and used that. The buns are toasted with the garlic butter and mozzarella cheese, you spread the mayo and then add the beef filling. They were filling and very tasty.

The side dish was HelloFresh ubiquitous oven baked potatoes – they were plain this time, but I added some Italian seasoning to make them tastier. I feel, however, that HelloFresh should have chosen a different vegetable. This dish was very carb heavy to begin with and very light in vegetables. Maybe zucchini chips would have been a better choice? I did like the potatoes, however.

Kit for four servings

I made this dish five days after receiving it and everything was still fresh.

This post contains a referral link, if you sign up you get a discount and I get a $10 credit if I’m subscribed to HF when you subscribe, which I probably won’t be.

Hello Fresh Review: Chicken in Dijon Sauce with Balsamic Greens, Walnuts & Grapes plus Garlic Bread

7/10

Hello Fresh often offers slight variations of the same dishes. I’ve encountered the Dijon sauce in this meal kit as a dill sauce and a chives sauce, both served on chicken breasts. I’m happy to say that the sauce is just as good without the herbs, though the kit makes about half as much sauce as you really need for this dish.

The garlic bread, made on a ciabatta bun, was very good as well – even though I had refrigerated the buns for four days by the time I made it. The reason was probably the copious amount of garlic butter it contained. HelloFresh doesn’t end you butter, so they’re very generous in their recipes with your own supplies. Here, each bun slice asked for a whole tablespoon of butter. Still, at least the results were worth it.

The main reason I’m giving this kit low grades was the salad. It was nothing special and I don’t think it went particularly well with the chicken.

The meal kit was easy enough to make, but the chicken half breasts were too thick to cook in the recommended time – they took me about 15 minutes to cook altogether. The ingredients were fresh, even though I cooked them four days after I received the box.

This post contains a referral link, if you sign up you get a discount and I get a $10 credit. Before you do, though, e-mail me as I may have credit for a free box to be sent to you.

HelloFresh Meal Kit Review: Mozzarella & Herb Chicken with Roasted Carrots & Buttery Couscous

8/10

This was my first HelloFresh kit in over a year, and an update on a Parmesan chicken kit I had in 2019. I’m glad to say it was an improvement. The mozarella-panko-Italian seasoning crust was delicious – so much so that my daughter ate a second chicken breast (I got a meal kit for four this time) and asked me to make it again. Indeed, the kit made enough breading for six breasts altogether, so I did make it again for her a couple of nights later.

The couscous, which I found to be rather tasteless last time, was cooked in chicken broth and lemon zest this time, and was very tasty. The copious butter didn’t hurt, of course. The carrots were OK, not exciting, but good enough.

The portion size was adequate for non-huge apetites or people with a carrot fetish. Among the three of us, we ate the whole 4-person meal kit, except for the carrots. There were lots and lots of big, fat carrots.

I should note that the instructions for this dish left out how long the chicken should cook for. Fortunately, I was able to figure it out by looking at the Parmesan chicken instructions. The answer is 15 minutes.

The ingredients were fresh, and overall I was quite happy with the meal kit. It should be easy enough to recreate.

This post contains a referral link, if you sign up you get a discount and I get a $10 credit. Before you do, though, e-mail me as I may have credit for a free box to be sent to you.

Gobble Meal Kits Review: Seared Salmon with Crispy Potatoes, Frisée & Lemon /Walnut Vinaigrette

I did not actually order this meal kit, and I was quite unhappy when I saw it added to my order online. Neither my daughter nor I like salmon, and I need my meal kits to at least serve two people. I e-mailed Gobble right away, and they gave me a credit for the cost of the meal. As it happened, they sent it to me with top sirloin instead of salmon anyway.

Overall, this meal kit was a disappointment – even free. It consisted of another tiny steak, pan grilled and then sparkled with some paprika sumac spice mixture which didn’t add anything. The steak was good, but boring. On the side was a salad of frisée lettuce, pan fried potato slices, walnuts and olives (I omitted these) in a rather pedestrian lemon gremolata. It wasn’t a bad meal, but I can accomplish the same thing by getting steak and ready-made-salad at the supermarket. Again, I have no one to blame but myself for selecting this meal. But really, I’ve had trouble finding exciting meals in Gobble – something I noticed as well last year.



I do have to commend Gobble for the freshness of their food items. I cooked this meal exactly one week after I got it, the beef was perfectly fine and the lettuce had barely started to wilt.

Gobble Meal Kit Review: Pan-Seared Steak with Chimichurri-Roasted Carrots & Sweet Peppers

My second Gobble meal kit this time was a little disappointing in its simplicity. I have no one to blame for this but myself, as I was the one that selected it, but it was the sort of meal that I could put together on my own without the need of a meal kit.

It consisted of a miniature top-sirloin steak, multi-colored carrots, sweet peppers and a slice of onion, a small jar of chimichurri sauce and some pepitas. All I had to do was cut the carrots in two, put the veggies in the oven with some chimichurri sauce and saute the steaks.

Because the meal was so simple, it all came to as how good the chimichurri sauce was. As an Argentine, I can’t say I was impressed. It was very tangy and didn’t really taste like chimichurri. If it had any oregano at all, I couldn’t taste it.

So the meal was OK, but it didn’t wow me. I should mention I cooked it 6 day after I got it and all the ingredients were still fresh.

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