Every day, another meal delivery service pops up with promises of delicious meals, time-saving options and yet another way to order food. I decided to undertake the challenge of trying as many meal delivery options as possible in the span of a week while my husband was out of town on business. It was a week of some great and some disappointing meals, more trash but less time spent washing dishes and a new desire to have all my meals delivered to my home.
I started out the week with a delivery from Maven Meals. I've used them in the past right after I had a baby and loved their offerings. In fact, it's the one gift I consistently give new parents - a gift card to Maven Meals. Since they only deliver once a week, I had to think ahead about my food options. With a reasonable delivery fee of $4.25 but only once a week delivery, I wanted to get enough food to cover a majority of my lunches and some breakfasts. I love their Granola Breakfast Cookies as do my children so I put a few of those in my order along with salads, corn chowder and green garbanzamole & chips for a snack. I also put two orders of their monkey chips in my basket. Monkey chips are basically dried bananas covered in maple granola. They are amazing and my kids gobble them up. The day of delivery, Maven Meals leaves a insulated cooler bag on your doorstep filled with your order. Each item comes in a returnable container with heating/cooking instructions, complementary side dishes and an expiration period. My favorite thing about Maven Meals, excluding the delicious taste is the food items are identified on the website as gluten free, vegetarian, ready-to-eat, some cooking, etc. It also helps that the food from Maven Meals is fresh, nutritious and flavorful. This is a service I plan to use again and again.
One of my friends is always talking about the great offerings from Lish so as I embarked on this experiment, I hit her up for a promo code. As a first time customer, I got a free meal (up to $12 off) which made me very happy. I decided to enjoy the bucatini with rapini pesto for my free meal. I was also thrilled to see that Lish carries the Puget Sound Co. Kombucha Early Grey Blend. I love kombucha and have been pretty addicted to the Puget Sound Co. Kombucha's blends since I wrote about them a few weeks ago. I also snagged a meal for my kids to share of turkey meatballs & linguini. They can be fickle eaters in the evening so I didn't want to make two meals for them and have them reject them. I figured with one meal they could share and I could supplement with snacks. In the end, I wish I had gotten them two meals. They plowed the meal and held up their plates with sad little eyes while asking for me. They were not pleased with my offerings of applesauce and cheese. Lesson learned! I enjoyed the bucatini but when I found myself looking for something to eat an hour later, I wished I had chosen something a bit more substantial. It was really good though. I did like that Lish works with local chefs from Ethan Stowe to Ericka Burke and many more to bring you handcrafted meals.
Amazon recently launched Amazon Prime Now in Seattle and while I've used it for deliveries of milk and eggs, I hadn't yet tried it for restaurant deliveries. Amazon Prime Now uses its fleet of drivers to get restaurant meals to customers within an hour. Restaurant offerings differ depending on your location. I live in Ballard so I had choices from Skillet, the Golden Beetle, Cupcake Royale and Moshi Moshi Sushi to name a few. On my second night of dinner deliveries, I decided to try sushi from Moshi Moshi. I opened my Amazon Prime Now app and ordered a few items for delivery. My delivery was free as a Prime member with my $20+ order but I also opted to add a tip to my order directly in the app for the driver. My order arrived well within an hour and while it didn't come in a beautiful bag like my Lish order, it did contain delicious sushi. My delivery driver was prompt and polite which is about all I expect from a delivery driver. My food was perfect and satisfied my sushi craving. Since my kids do not properly appreciate sushi, I decided to cook a separate meal for them that night.
Wednesday nights are a bit hectic around my house and I wasn't sure if we'd be home in time for my Munchery delivery so I was thrilled to see that they had an option to leave your order on the doorstep. We ended up being in home in time to greet, Dave, our delivery guy which meant our food didn't need to sit outside waiting to be picked up. Munchery also lets you pre-order meals up to three days ahead of time and select your hour time slots for delivery. This had to have been my favorite meal for the week. I ordered a Vegan Squash Curry with Waldorf Kale Salad. The kids got mini sliders for their meal which delighted them to no end. They kept telling me about their mini food and cleaned their plates. I was a little concerned that I wouldn't enjoy the curry since it was a vegan dish but that was a silly fear. It was creamy, flavorful and so good. I almost called back the next night to see if I could get the same order but then I remembered that my experiment was to try different services and not just order the same dish over and over again from the same place. The delivery fee of $2.95 was super cheap and once again I love the option of adding a tip right to my order (which I did). I also like that once you order, Munchery tells you who is going to deliver your food along with their photo.
Thursday was my delivery from Purple Carrot, a new service that brings seasonal recipes and portioned ingredients to you home which allow you to cook flavorful vegan meals. I was amazed at how fresh all the ingredients looked when I unpacked the box. There was so much food too and I quickly double checked that I hadn't ordered doubles of everything. After unloading everything and checking out the recipes, I decided to tackle the Tofu Larb with Crisp Noodle Pancake. I figured the noodles would at the very least be enjoyed by my children. The recipe was time-consuming and took way longer than I anticipated. The crisp noodle pancake was nearly impossible for me to make and looked nothing like the photo on the recipe card. There were also so many dishes. Doing dishes is one of my hated household chores so I'm always looking for meals that don't require extra appliances or pans. The Tofu Larb was delicious but my 4-year-old took one look at the meal on her plate and said, "We don't eat this". She then refused to take even a bite. She's not usually a picky eater so I was amused by the fact that I could not even tempt her to take one bite. I have yet to make the other meal from my box, Khatti Dal with Fresh Pear Chutney. I already ate the pears so when I do make this, it will be without the pear chutney. This service is also on the pricer side at $68 for two people, three times a week and $74 for four people, twice a week.
I've used Postmates once before when a desperate need for Molly Moon ice cream hit and an utter inability to get off the couch. They awesomely delivered a pint of Salted Caramel to my doorstep. The only drawback was that the delivery charge was almost the same cost as the pint. This time I decided to get a little bit more bang for my buck and ordered from I Love Sushi which is also my all time favorite sushi restaurant. I did get super excited about this service and had to talk myself out of ordering too much sushi. I always want all the sushi but there is a limit to how much one can have. Once you place your order with Postmates, you can track your driver from the time they pick up your order to the time they arrive at your house. The service also sends you a text when they are 5 minutes away so you can be prepared. I couldn't find a way to leave a tip on the app so I ended up racing around the house to find enough cash to give my driver a semi-decent tip. I would have given him more if I could have added it to my order since I rarely have cash in my wallet. Once again my driver was prompt and polite.
My final meal delivery to try was Blue Apron. I've used them here and there in the past with mixed results. I love how everything arrives, perfectly portioned with fantastic tasting recipes. I don't like how most of their meals are under seasoned and how much waste is left from the packaging. I decided to make the Tuscan Ribollita Soup for lunch. It turned out so good and was a filling lunch with some great leftovers. The only big downside was since my husband was out of town, there was way too much soup for just me. I ended up throwing out about half the soup after eating it for three days in a row and getting really tired of it. I saved the Pork Chops & Apple Mostarda for when my husband was back in town and it was a family hit. The kids ate most of their food and my husband asked where I found the great recipe. The other downside is the cost. They offer a 2-person and a 4-person subscription. The 2-person plan is $59.94 per week with three meals while the family plan is $139.84 per week with four meals. I did however enjoy using my kitchen skills to cook some meals that were on the fancier end of normal.
In the end, I learned about some great meal delivery options and added quite a few to my meal resource list. It was hard to adjust from having all my meals to delivered to having to cook all my meals again but my wallet is feeling a bit happier with meals cooked at home. I, however am scouting out other meal delivery options from Seattle Salads, Kendal's Kitchen and Acme Farms + Kitchen.