As an avid cook, I have been loathe to try all prepared food kits or services. I don't need someone to tell me how to prepare menus for a week and make a food list, this is common sense folks. Time consuming but not hard. I also don't need ingredients shipped to my door, I can go to the food store myself thank you very much, and plus, I hate committing to something in advance when I might have a sudden craving for something else. So when those companies came knocking, I didn't answer.
What did get my attention after all this time? A cool new concept that allows for on the spot choice, selection for the number of servings, wine and beer pairings, locally sourced ingredients, and a variety of meal options on site. A seriously cool new way to meal plan, food shop, and cook: Pantry, freshly opened in Brookline.
When I initially was asked to test drive the service, I admit, there was scepticism.....but after checking out the space and concept in person, I am happy to admit, I came away a convert. The meals are thoughtful, recipes for foodies and families, alike. The space is gorgeous, easy to navigate and shop, and the concept is simple: rather than shipping ingredients to your door, you stop in, whenever you'd like and 'shop' a complete dinner. Each recipe has a station, where you pick up all ingredients. The folks behind Pantry were even thoughtful enough to pair a wine and beer selection with each meal, now they totally had me here.
It's a one stop shop for dinner. There is no waste, no need to commit to something in advance, and it is full of healthful options with EASY directions.
My plan? To cook enough for my family of four, for game day. Kind of a big deal around here. The meal had to be hearty and delicious enough to please two adults and a toddler, with a very discerning palette. It also had to be quick and easy enough to make on a week night, since game day fell on Monday eve.
Maple Dijon sloppy joes and sweet potato flautas with cole slaw and jicama radish slaw were on the menu. The results? Amazing. I love the recipe cards provided by Pantry, complete with step by step images and thoughtful tips- when I had a question, they had a note and answer. Seriously, who knew you could microwave a sweet potato for 10 minutes and be done? The recipes also got me out of my usual cooking comfort zone and had me slicing and dicing jicama, which is something I adore, but never prepare at home.
What was the verdict from husband and toddler, though? All voted game night dinner a delicious success. In fact, hubs requested we make sloppy joes on the regular and the veggie flautas kept the ardent meat eater quite pleased. Last but not least, the beer and wine? Excellent with the food. Excellent on their own, too. We enjoyed some Arrogant Bastard ale and a crisp Riesling from their recommended recipe pairing. It was an excellent game day indeed.
My only regret? That Pantry isn't closer to me. Be sure to stop in and check it out when you are in Brookline.
1622 Beacon Street
*Pantry provided meal ingredients for this post.