Review – Pop-Up Pantry

UPDATE – Sadly, the company found that they did not have a profitable enough first year to warrant continuing and they have since closed. A shame as I was really enamored with the idea, execution, and taste.

I got a gift certificate to try out Pop-Up Pantry – a new subscription-based gourmet meal company that delivers to your door. After looking over the site, I was definitely interested. They have a good variety of cuisines and for what you are getting, a 3-course meal for 2 including shipping, the pricing is acceptable. It is not however, cheap. You have to consider it is all the benefits of a dinner out at a nice restaurant without having to leave the house (except to bring the delivery box in).

They have a three tier pricing system that is billed per month, and like most you get the better deal the more you buy at a time. There’s no requirement to buy each month, you do however have to opt-out within the first week of every month to not be charged. Beyond that though, there are no minimums, no penalties or other fees for not purchasing in any given month. You can also cancel your account entirely or purchase a single meal at any time. The site is new and could use a little help in the navigation department (if you have questions though, they have a FAST email response time and even a phone number you can call).

Number of meals: 2 Dinners 4 Dinners 8 Dinners
Monthly cost: $76 $128 $224
Per person/meal cost: $19.00 $16.00 $14.00

So again, roughly $40 for a catered type meal in your home and hopefully you don’t have to leave a tip. ;)

I decided to try out the MOROCCAN LAMB STEW which consisted of an appetizer of chicken bastilla, the stew, couscous, and a dessert of Marrakech Honey Cake. Everything arrived on the day I selected, having been shipped overnight via FedEx (their choice of carrier, and shipping is included in the price and/or free depending on how you want to interpret it). It comes in a large box with a styrofoam insulating box inside and dry ice to keep the items frozen during shipping.

It comes with a packing list, instructions for prep and plating of the meal, and the first time you order you get a welcome packet with all kinds of information on the company and ordering.

My husband (who is quick to admit/remind me that he can’t do more than microwave a hot dog) was tasked with making a lovely dinner for two for us and for the most part left to himself to accomplish this.

Table setting

Chicken Bastilla – served as suggested with the traditional powdered sugar and cinnamon on top

Chicken Bastilla cut open

Moroccan Lamb Stew over Couscous

Marrakech Honey Cake – with a pomegranate molasses glaze

A slice of cake

First up was the bastilla. The sugar and cinnamon really enhanced the flavor of this, and if you get this meal I strongly suggest at least doing one bite with it so you can compare. Despite the questionable ingredients (“Walnuts and chicken?” questioned my husband) it was our favorite. If we ever travel we know this is an item we can safely order!

On to the lamb stew – now, I have to disclose something at this point.

The only problem we had in all of the preparation, was that about 15 minutes into cooking/heating my husband asked if the water should be changing color. I came over to look and realized the stew must have had/gotten a hole in the bag as its contents were now bleeding out as it thawed/boiled. Disappointed, I contacted customer service who immediately offered a replacement of the “meat” of our meal. While it would not fix things this evening, it was nice to have a fast resolution with no additional questions. I did send along a picture of the hole (which couldn’t be seen when we unpacked it) to hopefully help prevent it in the future.

After discussion of potential for food poisoning :scared: we agreed to at least take a nibble of the lamb and couscous so we could at least assess the quality of the meal as a whole. The things I do for you guys! :lol: Remember – I’m writing this post in FAVOR of using them despite my less than perfect first experience. Also, no, we suffered no ill effects. Ok – on to my review:

The lamb was exceedingly tender! The sauce was a bit bland (because it got waterlogged) and the couscous got overdone as we tried to figure out what to do but I don’t hold it against the recipe as you could tell how it should have tasted. Again, I and Chris will be more than open to trying some Moroccan dishes (maybe in Disney World?) when we get the chance.

Lastly was the cake. It was very moist with a lovely crunch to the outside where the glaze caramelized from the heat. While I had reservations at the mention of coffee in the cake’s description I was delighted that it did not have any noticeable coffee flavor.

In total – I gave the meal 4 stars. It was hard to decide where the stew might have landed had it not been compromised, but everything else was wonderful and we had to figure the stew would have been just as big a hit. The serving portions were on par with any restaurant I’ve been to (aka quite generous), and it was awesome having a dinner as good (ok, maybe better) than any I would prepare without having to do any work. I am pretty sure I’m hooked and will be a frequent shopper here.

I was certainly looking forward to the Bordeaux Braised Shortribs that were to arrive the next week. See my post on those coming soon!

If you do decide to order/sign up – use my referral link and save $5 http://popu.pe/T1AOGJ or use invite code: QVFW26221A

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