With kids’ activities and work taking up our weekday energy, we started turning to food service options more and more. Take out is the same old, same old and that got really old fast. The Bay Area seems to be experiencing a food service renaisaance with several options for delivery, but we’re either out of delivery range for some options nor are we interested in making dinner with delivered ingredients. I like cooking, but when I’m short on time, cooking dinner every night can be stressful. If I’m out-sourcing, I don’t want to make dinner. The point is to make my life easier.
In our quest to find the best dinner solution for our family, we were sent a complimentary introductory package from TableRunner, with four meals to test the service, including: olive fennel roasted chicken with sweet pepper ragu and parmesan gratin; short rib beef stroganoff, with wild mushroom cream sauce and caramelized pearl onion; honey thyme braised pork belly with sauteed rainbow chard and Rancho Gordo lima bean ragu; and smoked gouda, aged cheddar with campanelli pasta and braised chicken. The meal size may be designed to serve one person, but it was enough for two adults at our house or one adult and two kids. Two meals were enough for our family of four. I was a little worried about how some of the dishes would go over, for instance the beef stroganoff, because my son isn’t a big meat eater. I was right on the stroganoff, but everything else was met with approval. My favorite dish is one that I didn’t taste (it smelled amazing, though) – the campanelli pasta and chicken. That was perfect to serve to the kids at home before my husband and I went out to dinner with friends. The kids LOVED it and I didn’t have to make a whole meal before I left the house to eat out.
A little bit about TableRunner: it is a subscription service without commitment, which means it can be stopped or held without any penalty. We walked away from a CSA that we loved because of the restrictions on holds. No one wants to feel locked in to a service that is supposed to make life easier, and TableRunner recognizes that. Packages come in 4, 6, or 8 meals groups, all are well balanced, chef-made, using ingredients from local farms, with an affordable cost of $11.99 and up per meal. While based in Emeryville, the food comes via UPS, ready to pop into the refrigerator, where it can be heated and eaten any time in the next week. Our package came when we were in Florida about to board a plane home, and when we arrived many hours later, everything was still cold thanks to the well insulated packaging. The current delivery zone includes NorCal, and parts of Central California and Nevada, deliveries arrive every Monday, and delivery is free, which means no surprise fees.
I love TableRunner’s local flare, too, not only in using local farms for supplies, but in their fanfare. During the NBA Finals, TableRunner has offered Steph Curry Chicken as a secret menu item. New subscribers can get a free limited edition Curry chicken t-shirt using the special Warriors link.
What we liked:
- the food was really good
- it all arrived at once, which meant no waiting around for delivery
- the menu changes each week
- it’s chef-made, high quality meals
- cheaper than take out!
What we’d change:
- A little less lead time on the orders. Orders need to be placed a week in advance. This makes perfect sense, and while food is refrigerated and can be put off a night or two, sometimes plans and desires change.
- More kid-friendly options. My kids aren’t only mac and cheese eaters, but some of the options were more adventurous than they’d like to be.
Overall, we think TableRunner is a great meal service. It was a high quality dinner with little effort and even less clean up. Win!