Monday, February 29, 2016

SpoonRocket Meal Delivery

Update Review, 2016

Over a year ago, I reviewed my meal from Spoonrocket, one of the many meal delivery startups in San Francisco.  I wasn't impressed.  The food wasn't good, you couldn't order in advance nor see the menu beforehand, and they didn't even have dessert.

Some of that has gotten better.  The service is still on-demand only, so, no advance ordering, but they do now have a dessert rotation.  But the major thing that has changed since my last review is they started serving breakfast.  Imagine biscuits and gravy, brought to your door?  Now THAT has potential.  I watched the daily menus for a few weeks, often toying with the idea of ordering breakfast, but never quite going through with it.  And then ... a menu item appeared that I couldn't resist: a pecan sticky bun.

So, even though my previous experience was far, far from stellar, I decided to give SpoonRocket another try.

The basic experience was much the same as before, it was easy to order online, it was fast, and I could track the vehicle making its way in real time.  It was still pretty annoying that I was expected to meet the driver curbside, but the system calls you when they are close, and you head out.  It does allow them to keep their delivery times fast, so, I am not actually opposed to the meet-the-driver-curbside thing, except that they charge a delivery fee and ask you to tip.  So, my mini-rant, I find it a bit crazy that they want me to pay for delivery, add a tip, and do the leg work myself.  Just eliminate any one of those things, and I'd be happy.

But back to my review.  Let's just say that at least on the baked goods front, SpoonRocket has more than redeemed themselves.  It was crazy-good!

If you'd like to try SpoonRocket out, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner (clearly, I recommend it for breakfast!), you can use my referral link to get $5 off, which entirely covers most breakfast items, desserts, or, makes a dent in a lunch or dinner entree.
Compostable Packaging.
The packaging hasn't changed, still cardboard compostable.

I was a little surprised by the box size, given that I just ordered a small little baked good.  Or ... so I thought!
Sticky Bun. $4.95.
“Decadent, sweet & gooey cinnamon pecan sticky bun for your morning snack.”

I opened my box to quite a surprise.  Yes, it was a sticky bun, that was expected.  But it looked nothing like the online photo.  Now, it is normal for items to not match their photos, the glamor shots online always are beautifully plated, etc and the actual item you get rarely lives up.  But in this case, the real product blew away the photo.  Not because it necessarily looked better, but because it was easily 2-3 times larger.

As you can see, it came in a full size entree box, and the sticky bun took up more than half the box.  And, although you can't see in this photo, it was quite thick too.  It was a monster.

I'm not complaining.
SpoonRocket Photo.
In comparison, the photo provided by SpoonRocket, shows a much, much smaller, reasonable size mid-morning snack, listed at ~380 calories.

I assure you, the one I had was NOT 380 calories.

But again, I'm not complaining.
Close up of bottom side.
Now, going back to that first photo, you might be wondering, "uh, where are the pecans?"  What kind of "sticky" bun is this?  You might be thinking, "Julie, that really doesn't look that great".  And, I agree.

From the top, and at first inspection, it didn't really look like it had many pecans, perhaps just a few tucked into the folds.  And it didn't look very saucy or sticky (more on that soon).  I'll be honest, my first impression was not positive, besides, obviously, the massive size.  But what good is a massive sticky bun if it isn't actually good?

And then I realized the glory was on the underside.  The bottom is where all the sticky goodness was, along with the pecans.

I dug in.

Wow, ok, this thing was good.  Really, really good.

It was warm.  I wasn't necessarily expecting that (although I intended to warm it up myself if necessary).  Bonus points for warmth, and it certainly made a difference.

The dough, although it looked quite plain and boring, was really awesome.  I can't quite describe it.  It wasn't flaky and buttery like a croissant, but was more like a sweet brioche bun.  I really liked the fluffyness.  It was a tiny bit crispy on the outside, and actually delicious on its own.  Or dunked into the extra sauce (more on that soon).

Between all the layers of the bun, and coating the bottom, was the signature brown sugar/butter/cinnamon mixture that makes sticky buns awesome.  There was a generous amount of it.  Sweet, well seasoned, perfectly buttery.  So tasty.  And of course, chopped pecans, inside the roll and underneath.

The very center is always my favorite part of a sticky bun/cinnamon roll/morning bun.  This one did not disappoint.  It was moist, doughy, sweet, and pretty much perfect.
Extra Sticky Sauce.
I was surprised by the massive nature of the sticky bun, but I was also surprised to see a little extra container of sauce on the side.  I realize that the stock photo does show sauce on the side too, I had just missed that.  Here you can see the remains, after I had used up most of it.  The container did come full.

The sauce was really delicious, thicker than maple syrup, full of buttery flavor, sweet, with slight pecan notes to it.  I enjoyed pouring some over my sticky bun, or dunking chunks in it, but actually, the sticky bun was totally delicious as it was, and the sauce wasn't actually necessary.  Although very welcome.

I think that next time I would save the sauce, and use it over ice cream later.  I think it would be insanely delicious warmed up and poured over vanilla ice cream with some nuts.  Or drizzled on pancakes.  Or, who am I kidding, just by the spoonful!

So the sauce?  Like the bun, definitely a winner, although each could stand on their own with no problem.

Savor that sauce, add it to the sticky bun if you wanna go all out, or, save it for any other purpose.  I guarantee you'll find something awesome to do with it.  And if not, just send it my way.
The Damage.
So uh ... that happened.

I never expected to devour the whole thing in one sitting.  I sent Ojan a photo a few bites in, telling him how great it was, and intending to bring him half (or, at least a big chunk).  Once I realized how insanely good it was, I pulled back on that idea, and planned to save the rest for myself, to have after lunch.  It was just ridiculously huge, way bigger than I needed for breakfast, and I knew it.  I didn't plan to eat it all in one go.

And, I did take a break, about halfway through.  I went back for "just one more bite".  You can see what happened.  I couldn't resist.  I only barely stopped short of drinking the remaining sauce as a shot.

The roll, simply put, came together pretty much perfectly.  Tasty dough. Delicious filling.  Warm.  I appreciated the plain outside layer when I wanted a moment away from the super sweet (this was breakfast after all), but I also could easily have poured extra sauce all over it, or dunked these pieces into the sauce (which I did).

It was an absolute winner, and I'd order one again, in a heartbeat.  I wouldn't even complain about the delivery fees next time.

Original Review, August 2014

Every once in a while I order food for delivery.  But, I'm a complete snob when it comes to takeout, and I generally hate it ... the food is never hot and fresh!  Munchery has been my solution, as their meals arrive intentionally cold, and I heat them up myself.  It works quite well, as you know, I've reviewed them many times.

But, in the interest of trying new things, I decided to try out another meal delivery service: SpoonRocket.  Their model is completely different.

Unlike Munchery, you order on-demand only, there is no advance ordering.  They are open for lunch and dinner, M-F.  The same menu is offered all day, and is not available in advance.  Each day there are 3 entrees, one vegetarian, one meat or seafood, and one seems to generally be a salad.  They also have a daily smoothie.  The listings for each dish includes a picture, a description, and a calorie count.  There are no desserts on the menu. All dishes are $8, which includes delivery (although you can tip on top of that).

Once you order, the food arrives within 10 minutes.  They call you 2 minutes before arriving, and you are expected to meet them curbside, so they can just hand it over and go.  Inside the cars, the food is kept in a hot bag to stay warm.  They just cruise around the city, ready to drop off at a moment's notice.

That part all worked as expected.  I would have liked to see a menu in advance so I could plan, but one day, I was looking, and saw a tasty looking mac and cheese, so I went for it.  Ordering online was easy, and I got an automated call a few minutes later, saying it would be there within 2 minutes.  I went down to the street and ... waited.  And ... waited.  After about 7 minutes, I got a call from my driver, who said he was there.  So was I.  After some confusion, I realized he was down the block.

He handed over my meal, and I looked down to see ... baby back ribs.  Not exactly what I ordered!  Luckily I caught the error before he drove away, and he fetched the right one from the bag.

The process was smooth enough, but I definitely prefer to be able to see a menu in advance, and I like having far more selection.  It took me a while to order from SpoonRocket in the first place, since the menus often didn't have an option I wanted.  It is an interesting idea, to have the food hot and driving around the city, but ... it didn't really work for me.

I'll be sticking with Munchery.
Homestyle Mac & Cheese.  $8.
The description read "homestyle macaroni & cheese with penne pasta, creamy four cheese sauce, steamed zucchini, & roma tomato gratinee (~700 cal)".

It arrived reasonably hot.  Their heat bags do seem effective.

The mac and cheese was very lackluster.  It had some breadcrumbs on top, and was very cheesy, in a stringy cheesy sort of way.  It wasn't remotely creamy.  The pasta was well cooked I guess, not mushy.  Ojan seemed to like it well enough.

The zucchini were loaded up with seasoning and herbs, very overpowering.  But decently cooked.

And the tomato ... just a warm tomato with more breadcrumb stuff on top.

There wasn't a single element of this dish that I enjoyed.
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