Chances are if you're reading this blog, you've heard of Blue Apron. It's everywhere. If you haven't heard of it you can click here, but it's basically a meal-kit delivery service. ( similar is "Plated" or "Hello Fresh") They send you meals based on your family size and dietary preference (vegetation, pescetarian etc.) in pre-proportioned ingredients with step-by-step directions so you cook it yourself at home. And they deliver weekly right to your doorstep. I had signed up on numerous other blogs for the "two free meals" deal but was on the waiting list because they weren't delivering in Texas yet. So when I got an email a few weeks ago that they were coming to this area, I signed up immediately. We aren't too "adventerous" recipe-wise, and tend to get stuck in a rut of making the same things over and over again so I thought this would be fun.
I was going to try to surprise John and set up my delivery for a Saturday thinking we could cook together Saturday and Sunday night. Well come Saturday, I was watching the clock and tracking the package like a psycho and it never came. So when it wasn't here at a certain point and dinner plans started to come into conversation, I had to tell him about it. Surprise ruined. Strike 1. I was totally thinking that it wasn't coming ever, and I was going to have to call and have that awkward conversation and ask for a refund and all that not-fun-stuff. Then later that night when I went to take Ted out for the last time, (about 10pm) there it was. Whoever dropped it off didn't even knock. If I hadn't been taking Ted out it would have sat there all night and been spoiled by morning. Strike 2. (you see where this is going right?) It does come in a "refrigerated box" so it was fine, but the fact that it was on a Fedex truck for over 12 hours made me a little nervous.
The 3 meals we received were:
- Salmon Burgers with Creme Fraiche, Aurugula & Potato Salad.
- Arepas de Carne Molida with Avocado & Pickled Jalapeño.
- Chicken Piccata with Fresh Linguine Pasta & Garlic Chives.
Instead of boring you with the step-by-step details of the cooking process, etc. I decided to let John tell you how he felt about it. I interviewed him this morning over coffee, and he took it very, very seriously. (warning- foul language)
What were your thoughts on using Blue Apron this week? J- "No. Too broad of question."
Ok, what did you like about it? if anything? J- "I thought that the food was pretty good. Used some pretty fresh ingrediants and they gave you everything you needed to make the meal...didn't have to go to the store, that's a big one for me." (he never goes to the store lol)
Anything you particularly disliked about it? J- "It made a lot of dishes. If you mess something up, you're done. Especially with the portion sizes. If you drop a spice on the floor, your f*cked. You lose it. And I think it would have been better if they would have done something you could throw in the oven. If you're not good with a frying pan, you're screwed. Baking is for dummies."
What did you think about the packaging?J- "Not impressed. It came in the box with the foil and all that, and it was actually kind of warm by the time that we got it. It wasn't super cold by any means. I thought that was a bit cheap."
What was your favorite meal? J- "The Chicken Piccata. I mean we could pull that one off by ourself though, you know?"
Favorite ingrediant? J- "Out of the whole thing? The capers." (we already had capers lol)
Do you think they were fairly healthy meals? J- "No. Because I think they were just so small. That's like saying a lean cuisine is healthy. You have to eat 6 lean cuisines to feel full."
Did you think the cooking itself was easy enough for normal people to pull off? J- "For normal people? Absolutely not! We are semi-decent at cooking and I thought that was pretty difficult. Do you agree? I mean, that salmon thing? No. Full f*cking process and not that easy. No, no, no."
Was it better than what I normally cook? J- "No. Not really. I mean, yeah, yes and no. It had some cool unique flavors but would I prefer to eat what we normally eat."
But do you think it's a fun activity to do with someone else? J- "Yeah cooking together with someone else can be fun. With your spouse, but..I mean yeah, I guess cooking with your spouse is good. I mean we have our normal routine though with how we cook, like I handle certain things and you handle certain things, so trying new things is hard because no one knows what they should be doing."
Do you think it would be cool to buy for someone as a gift? Like for newlyweds? J- "No! Newlyweds? Absolutely not! They would have to clean 800 dishes! F*cking annulment!"
Do you wish it included dessert? J- "No. are you kidding me? Do you know how long that would have taken? Four days to make bread pudding with banana crumble or something. Making creme brulee with a torch or something. No."
Did you learn any cool new skills though? J- "With cooking? No, I didnt learn anything."
What do you think the best part about it was? J- "We got to try some unique flavors that we wouldn't normally. Like it forces you to have to try new things. If you go to a restaurant you always order the same things. Like a salmon burger? I would never order that at a restaurant."
And the worst part part about it? J- "I would say the worst part is..it's a nice meal with good quality ingredients, but a lot of room for error. Like it's cool to learn how to cook, but you kind of want someone to tell you "yeah you flip that now" and the card doesn't do that. I know it's not supposed to be perfect but...not impressed."
Did it bring you out of your comfort zone though? J- "A little bit."
So I take it you're not impressed overall. Is that correct? J- "I am unimpressed yeah, I thought that thing was kind of bullsh*t."
Any other thoughts? J- "No leftovers."
So there you have it, haha. I agree with a few of his points, but I am the kind of person who thinks everything is great so I can also add some good points.
True, there were no leftovers. Which it's my opinion that if you're going to spend time cooking something good, double the recipe so you can have it the next day too. And the portions were on the smaller side, for him especially. It was a lot of effort for not a lot of food in the end. But they were pretty, and a lot more "gourmet" than anything I usually do. I definitely learned a thing or two, technique-wise. But some things were harder and didn't turn out so great. Like the second meal, the "tostadas" as I called them. Our pans aren't non-stick, so that didn't work out too well. They just burned, so we had to toss them out and use tortillas that we already had. And it was only 8 oz. of beef, so it was hardly enough. But the toppings really made all the difference. I think that was my favorite part of this, the addition of all the fresh ingredients. It reminded me that a little lemon or lime can make anything better. And sometimes a vegetable doesn't need to be dressed up much. A little arugula salad with just olive oil, salt & pepper on the side is quick and easy. But, on the contrary, all of that fresh produce at once doesn't last long. I prefer to pick things like that up as I need them. Once we went to use the chives on the third day, they had gone bad. (..Strike 10) I felt rushed to use it all fast, and cooking extensive meals three days in a row was a little much. Especially for week nights.
But most importantly, it really doesn't work for our budget. The 2-person meal plan is normally $59.95 a week, and with the promo I got it for $39.95. We try to keep it around $100 per week on groceries, (key word is try lol) so personally, I could stretch $60 a bit further than this.
And maybe it's just me, (I feel like I say that a lot) but it was not at all as easy and glamorous as everyone makes it look. I mean, just in the last week I've seen it here and here. And I didn't look anywhere near as good as this! Maybe it's just us, (here I go again) but we also try to cook quick. We are efficient. And I think maybe that was our problem too. When we don't know what we're cooking already, we make a way bigger mess because we are scrambling trying to keep all the parts moving. Pulling out a new pan for every little thing, knives everywhere and a cutting board for each individual herb. Haha. We really did have the sink full of dishes by the end. It's pretty funny now. But that isn't necessarily Blue Apron's fault.
Needless to say...we aren't continuing with their services. But I am going to search for some new recipes to use capers in ;)