Blue Apron Box: Reviews

I am always looking for ways to make my day-to-day a little easier. As a single mother who works full time, it’s imperative that I minimize the things that don’t matter but are required. The first thing I outsourced was cleaning. After a few misses, I finally found a cleaning service I am satisfied with. The next thing on the list was menu planning. Obviously I love cooking, but I must admit that coming up with meal ideas can be difficult, especially when I lack inspiration. I am often conflicted between serving the same things and finding recipes that are good for us. It also never fails, when I finally figure out what I am serving I forget one important item and have to send Shonn out to grab it for me.

I’ve known about Blue Apron, a weekly meal delivery subscription service, for quite some time. I decided to finally give it a try when they offered a Groupon deal. It took about 5 minutes to register my account and create a profile which included selecting my food preferences. You have the option to choose vegetarian meals or meals with meat. If you choose the meat option, you can choose to eliminate certain meats. I originally chose every meat to keep my options open. After I selected my food preferences I selected my first delivery week. Once my week was confirmed(I selected the following week), the menu selections were disclosed.

The day before delivery, I received an email confirming my box was on the way along with the tracking number. The box was sitting in front of my door when I arrived home after work that day. Excitement!

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This week’s menu included salmon burgers with basil butter corn on the cob, hanger steaks with roasted potatoes and sauteed long beans and tomato, and parmesan-basil chicken patties with braised romano beans and barley. My daughter Annie wanted to try the salmon burgers first and I wasn’t going to deny my first born. Ha! This was definitely my favorite meal out of the three. The burgers came out perfect and the basil complimented both the burger and the corn very well.

Salmon Burgers with Basil Butter Corn on the Cob

Salmon Burgers with Basil Butter Corn on the Cob

Our next meal was the hanger steaks. I am not a steak eater at all. I am not even a beef eater outside of burgers but decided to give it a try. After having this meal I changed my meat preference to exclude beef. As the meal was tasty, I didn’t enjoy the steak. If steak is your thing, this was a nice spin on the a steak and potatoes dinner.

Hanger Steak with Roasted Potatoes and sauteed long beans and tomato

Hanger Steak with Roasted Potatoes and Sauteed Long Beans and Tomato

The last meal, parmesan-basil chicken patties, was a very filling meal. It was my first time cooking with barley and I think I made it a bit too al dente. Nonetheless, it was a good meal and the girls enjoyed it. The chicken patties were great compliments to the braised vegetables.

Parmesan-basil Chicken Patties with Braised Romano Beans and Barley

Parmesan-basil Chicken Patties with Braised Romano Beans and Barley

After the first week I decided to continue my subscription with Blue Apron. Even at the regular price of $59.95, it is a cost effective and convenient way to try new foods, save time at the grocery store, and spend time with the girls in the kitchen. They were very excited to help prepare each meal so I am hoping that momentum stays high for every other meal.

Thank you for making my life just a little easier, Blue Apron!

Empanadas: Reviews and a Weekend Getaway

Good news and bad news… Good news is that I was able to try a good deal of empanadas this month. Bad news is none of them were in Philadelphia.

Remember those gracious friends I told you I was visiting in New York? Well, they outdid themselves! All the credit goes to my friend Kim who made empanadas her mission. I am very thankful for the time and effort she put in to make sure I tried a diverse sampling. When all was said and done, I tasted six different kinds of empanadas.

I will also add some restaurant reviews at the end. Not at all related to empanadas but still helpful information if you visit New York and are overwhelmed by all the good eats.

1. ABC Cocina

As soon as you walk into this place you know you are in for a unique dining experience. The decor was very delicate but rustic. Chandeliers and brick walls set the tone of this eccentric menu. The tapas style menu includes remixes of familiar dishes. We started off with the spring pea guacamole. For my entree I ordered the spring pea empanadas and the beef empanadas. I also ordered churros because it seemed right. The spring pea empanada was very unexpected. They had a nice kick to them and the side of green chili yogurt was a nice compliment. The churros were perfect. Crispy and light with a yummy crunch.

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2. La Sonrisa Empanadas Flatiron

After walking around after brunch we decided to make our way to the Flatiron district. While there, we stopped by Madison Square Eats. I of course wanted empanadas and found this gem. As soon as I walked up I was greeted by a gentleman who was eager for us to try their empanada offerings. I ordered the chicken coconut curry and Shonn was undecided on the beef and veggie. He ordered both after chatting with the fellow taking our order. Shonn mentioned my empanada journey and he threw in the pork empanada for free so I could try them all and give a fair assessment. The four of us tried them all and the veggie and chicken coconut curry were tied. I personally enjoyed the veggie empanada the best. Very flavorful! They also served the empanadas with four different sauces which I can’t remember the name of. I do know one was a chipotle mayo. Yummy! I would definitely visit this place again.

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Restaurant Reviews

1. Miss Lily’s Soho

This place is popping! We walked in around 10:45 and the place was way live. Reggae music permeated the place and set the tone for the hip crowd. We were seated and greeted by a sultry waitress who was serious about her moves. Any chance she got she was gyrating in the middle of the restaurant. She was of course joined by the other waitresses who had zero shame in their game. On to the food… The roasted coconut jerk corn. Seriously. Amazing. You really only need about 3 minutes to devour this piece of heaven. Go for it! Shonn and I shared the curried goat. Falling off the bone with just the right amount of heat.

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3. The Meatball Shop Upper East Side

Why use a dry erase menu? Because they can and they do. As the name suggests, it’s all about meatballs here and you can build any type of meal you want. Meatballs with pasta, meatball sandwich, meatballs with polenta, even meatballs with a simple salad. Have it your way. I chose the chicken meatballs with pesto on top of polenta. Comfort goodness! In addition to their regular menu items, they feature daily rotating specials that include items like the daily meatball, veggie, cocktail, and more. I ordered the Fool-aid off their specials menu. It tastes just like that stuff you drank as a kid. Too sweet for me. What was not too sweet was my custom ice cream sandwich. One snickerdoodle and one chocolate chip cookie with espresso ice cream in the middle. I would definitely recommend this place. Unlike the other million great places to eat in the city, this place won’t send you to the poor house. They also have jello shots. Cheers!

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Photos courtesy of Yelp…

3. Locanda Verde Tribeca

This cute “urban Italian” place hosted us for brunch. We started with the Pastry Misti Del Giorno, which included a sour cherry jam scone, lemon pound cake(super lemon punch), blackberry glazed donut, and an almond danish. Decadence! For my entree, I ordered the zucchini fritatta with roasted tomatoes, goat cheese, and basil. It had just the right amount of goat cheese. Nothing worse than have a heap of goat cheese that over powers every other flavor. My favorite thing about this place was the open kitchen. I loved seeing the food coming out and the flawless system they have.

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4. Luzzo’s BK Brooklyn

I love pizza, but that’s nothing new. This place is awesome! Service was impeccable. The pizza was everything you expect out of authentic Italian cuisine. Can’t decide which wine to drink? Just give the waiter liberty to decide for you. His choices were dead on for all of us. We ordered the margherita and Luzzo’s BK pizzas.Get here!

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After reading that novel of a post, hold tight for my recipes!