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Sadly, this is my last Blue Apron review. I don’t think I’ve ever had a subscription service that invoked such a range of reactions. As you guys remember in Week 1, I wasn’t even sure that I was going to be able to stick with this service for an entire month since there were so many issues that it seemed like it was a waste of money. Then things started to get better -the food, the services, the delivery-, and now I am going to be genuinely sorry to hit that “cancel subscription” button.
I did roll my eyes a bit when I opened the box and realized that I was going to have to find, wash and repack all of the tiny tomatoes, but nothing was damaged and I’ve had similar things happen in the trunk of my car on the way home from the grocery store so I decided to give it a pass.
The food was absolutely phenomenal this week.
Spicy Ponzu-Glazed Catfish
Asian style catfish with garlic rice and veggies? I’d eat it every week if I could.
Corn & Green Bean Empanadas
I was sure there was no way I’d like these, but man, they were good. We are already planning on making them again.
Fresh Basil Fettuccine
I knew I was going to love the zucchini and fresh basil pasta, and it did not disappoint. It’s one of those dishes that make you wonder why you’d ever settle for dried pasta when you could be eating fresh herb infused noodles instead.
The Verdict: I would absolutely recommend Blue Apron; in fact, Andy and I are considering going back to it after I am done with this round of subscription service reviews. I would warn all first time users that the service is only as good as your local delivery guy and to be aware that there may be a little bit more effort involved than you initially think, but the food is pretty darn good and is something that can be an interactive family experience. I’d give it one and a half thumbs up.
Before I get into all the posts from my Savannah, I wanted to give you guys a Blue Apron update. We just finished our third week, and things have gotten so much better!
Our box actually made it on time for the very first time. It was waiting at the door when we got home, perfectly chilled, and relatively unscathed. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed about this service is all of the seasonal ingredients that are showcased in the various recipes. This week the focus was on corn, endive, and tinkerbell peppers, and the food was absolutely fantastic.The skill level required this week was a bit more than in previous weeks, but Andy was a champ and even made his very first jam for the grilled cheese recipe.
Shrimp & Squid Ink Spaghetti
I’d really been looking forward to the squid ink pasta; it looked so cool, and we really enjoyed the dish. I think I typically enjoy my pasta with a bit more sauce, but with a few minor tweaks, this is something I can absolutely see us making again.
Sweet Corn & Tinkerbell Pepper Pizza
I dropped the ball a bit with this recipe. I didn’t get enough oil on the baking sheet, and our pizza ended up practically glued to the pan. I managed to chisel it out with a very sharp spatula, but it wasn’t the prettiest plate. The kale salad that actually topped the dish was so good. It took the whole dish from, “pretty good” to “we HAVE to make this again”.
Grilled Goat Cheese & Plum Jam Sandwiches
This was the best grilled cheese sandwich I have ever had. The goat cheese was smooth and creamy; the shallot plum jam was so perfect I actually ate the left overs out of the pan with my fingers. The tart crunchy salad kept the meal balanced and fresh. So good. I can’t even.
I am really loving this trend of the boxes getting better every week. With such a rocky start, I was wondering whether we’d even want to use the service for a full month, but now I am going to be really sad when the month is up. I can’t wait to see what is coming our way next.
Two weeks into this Blue Apron thing, and I have to tell you guys that, the stress of the delivery schedule aside, I am loving having groceries delivered to my door every week. Our package was late again, but it made it to us much earlier in the day this time around and all of the cold packs were still cold. The box was a little mushed, but everything inside was in good shape.
The other thing that I am really enjoying about this service is the seasonal recipes. I don’t think I’ve eaten as much squash and zucchini in the last year as I have in the last couple of weeks, and you know what? It’s awesome. We even been eating it outside of our Blue Apron meals.
Crispy Cod & Summer Squash
Like last week, we went for the seafood dish first. I was having an off day, so Andy whipped up this recipe all on his own, and he did a very good job. I am not a huge fan of cod, but the panko breading was kick-ass, and the marinated summer squash was amazing. I even stole an extra bite of Andy’s.
Summer Squash Quesadillas
Best meal yet! These quesadillas were everything you want a quesadilla to be. Toasty, melty, and full of perfectly seasoned goodness. The corn was, and I don’t say this lightly, smack-a-bitch good. As in Andy and I took one bite, looked at each other, and in unison murmured “oh my god” around a mouthful of corn perfection.
Zucchini & Cherry Tomato Quiches
The meal above may have been the best overall meal, but this quiche was the best single item out of all of the recipes. Unfortunately, Andy and I weren’t great about eating at home this weekend, so the zucchini and tomatoes for this recipe went bad, but we’d already picked up some more summer squash to recreate the recipe above so we subbed that in instead. Still amazing!
Overall this week was so much better than last week. The food was incredible, and while we were on the fence about keeping this service going at the end of the first week, we are down right giddy about what the rest of the month is going to bring.
To change things up a little bit for Round Three of Thinking Inside the Box, I decided to review a subscription service that delivered weekly vs. monthly, Blue Apron. You’ve probably seen it all over the internet, but in case you haven’t, Blue Apron is a service that delivers recipes and ingredients for three meals to your door each week. You fill out a quick and easy form about the things that you will and won’t eat and then select the 3 meals you’d like from a list of 6. Each week new recipes are available.
We had some issues with our first order. Fed Ex delayed our package overnight and then delivered our box battered and bruised at the end of the day (where we’d been assured we’d get shipping priority). To top things off, they left our packaging outside in the 90 degree heat without ringing the doorbell or knocking. Fortunately, Andy and I were keeping an eye out, and we spotted the box.
On first glance, there didn’t seem to be much of a problem; the food was still cool (although not the refrigerated cool we’d been promised), and we quickly unloaded the contents so they could be stored properly. This is where we ran into the biggest issue. Many of the items had been damaged in transit. The container holding our seafood had been punctured and had leaked into the bottom of the box. Fortunately, the dividers had kept the rest of the crate from being tainted. The produce was nicked and bruised from the can (pictured), but luckily, only one item actually was too damaged to use. We bought a replacement so we could still try out all three recipes.
I will say the food was pretty good, and it was nice to cook with my husband, since it’s usually an either/or situation. The recipes were easy to follow and gave very detailed instructions, plus pictures, which I think is always helpful.
Spiced Shrimp & Pearl Couscous
This was the best meal of the three, and it helps me do something my doctor has asked me to do recently which is add seafood back into my diet.
* We’ve recently discovered I have some odd food allergies; my body has trouble processing beans/legumes, and it’s left me fumbling a bit for vegetarian protein options. I’m not exactly thrilled by this setback, but it’s temporary, and I’ve added more vegan meals into my breakfast and lunch to help me feel a little better about the situation.
Brown Butter Gnocchi
I loved this so much! I am going recreate it with a few minor tweaks maybe even later this week.
This last one I wasn’t a huge fan of, but Andy went nuts for it. He ate the rest of mine and the little bit left over in the pan. All and all, not a bad first week.
One thing that I want to make sure to tell you guys about is the amazing customer service I received after the delivery fiasco. I was really pissed with the way that the entire situation had gone down and was very close to calling this experiment a huge failure, and when the Blue Apron people reached out to ask me about my delivery, I sort of let them have it. Not in a bitchy way, just letting them know what happened and that I was really disappointed. Not even 24 hours later, I had an email from an actual person who was almost as upset as I was; he wanted all the details of everything that had gone wrong and after getting the list, I was issued a full refund and an additional credit on my account. And before you get all skeptical, I never once mentioned that I was a blogger or that I was reviewing the service.