Food, Life

Plated Review

I love grocery shopping. Probably more than the average person, so when Plated showed up on Rue La La I wasn’t that interested in trying it out. While I was debating whether to buy the voucher, I went to Plated’s website and looked at the meal options – and to my surprise, they looked awesome! For instance one of the available meals I ordered was Skate Fish – something I have only had once, and have been really wanting to try to cook myself. The perfect excuse. The Rue La La discount + my store credit = let’s try this sucker out!

Well the week came (last week) where Plated was needed in our lives. Mostly because we had blown the majority of our food budget on beer and eating out while Tim was here. I went on to Plated’s website to search for meals. Their website is incredibly user friendly. I settled on their Baked Gnocchi, Skate Fish, and Tunisian Chicken, with a scheduled delivery date of 3/25.

I got notice that the box was on its way on Monday, and I was super excited!!! When I got home Tuesday the box was waiting by my door. Not sure who invented the packaging for Plated, but I assume it is an ex-NASA employee. This box is on lockdown. You could easily repurpose it as a cooler.

The first thing I noticed was that one of the recipes they sent me was wrong. (Whoops!) I called to let them know and they apologized profusely and offered to email the right recipe to me, and explained that all of the recipes were on the website as well. The first awesome part was that I got to talk to a real human with very little hassle, and the second part was that they were so nice! I wasn’t upset – just needed the recipe.

Each recipe came with its own bag of goodies – and if an ingredient was loose, it was still labeled. Very organized!!! And I love organized. Like, a lot.

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The first recipe we tried was the Baked Gnocchi. I set up all of the ingredients and read briefly through the directions. Word to the wise – don’t do this, instead read the directions VERY thoroughly. What threw me, was that the directions are given in paragraph form. I am more of a list person – so I definitely skipped over a few items in the paragraph, which caused some confusion later. (Not their fault… my fault). Another oopsie – they forgot to send garlic! We got two packets of oregano, but no garlic! Luckily we pretty much always have garlic in the house… for vampire protection and such. When I let them know about the missing ingredient, they credited me $8, which I thought was nice.

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Tucker was all about Plated.

I started the gnocchi recipe – it was pretty easy, it did take a little longer than they said. But that may have been my fault… I omitted basil from the sauce, since I’m allergic. (Fun fact!) The sauce was rich and delicious, but also super simple. I’ll definitely make it again using my own ingredients. The gnocchi was great – well made, and considering that I have yet to master gnocchi from scratch, much more successful than our last homemade attempt at gnocchi. In my opinion there was not enough cheese, because there is never enough cheese.

On Thursday we made Skate Fish Schnitzel – it was absolutely delicious but made a disaster out of our kitchen. Like tornado disaster. I think it was worth it. The weird thing about this recipe was that an ingredient (parsley) was given directions on how to prepare – but not what to do with it! We figured it was probably for garnish so we used it during plating. Also, we made the mistake of starting the sauce when the pan was too hot. Insert vinegar explosions and “oh sugars.” Total failure. I didn’t know you could burn mustard. A little bit of lemon on the Skate went a long way, and I like to pretend that this made it “light” because it had less butter.

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The sides to the Skate Fish were purple potatoes and fennel. I have had some experience with purple potatoes, which are potatoes that are purple… not terribly complicated. The fennel, however, I had never cooked with. We use fennel seed pretty frequently, but I had never started from the raw stuff. It is really good! See this is the benefit of a service like Plated – you end up trying different foods, and liking them! Definitely a win for Plated.

Our skate fish night was also Tucker’s birthday – so we finished off our Skate Fish with Sprinkles cupcakes. I am #TeamSMore ALL THE WAY. Charlie said the Salty Caramel was average. I don’t even understand why it is a competition. It should be S’More time all the time. Tucker was excited because #TuckerWantsSome finally became #TuckerCanHaveSome! Cannot wait to try out some dog treat recipes in the next month or so.

The last meal was Tunisian Chicken. To be honest I pretty much ordered this for Charlie. He likes spicy food WAY more than me, and this looked spicy and delicious.

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The prep was pretty simple, marinate the chicken while you saute some onions and smoosh some tomatoes with your hands. *Cooking Tip* Make sure to remove the seeds when you are cooking with peppers. I learned this the hard way. Actually, Charlie learned for me – I basically made him pepper spray nachos the first year we were dating. It’s a miracle we made it. And in the interest of full disclosure, we added waffle fries. Because we apparently are incapable of eating dinner without a starch.

I had never cooked with chicken thighs prior to this, and I have to say I prefer the breast meat. But Charlie was 100% totally sold on the meal. What is nice about Plated is that even though they sent “spice mixture” they also included in the recipe all of the spice contents, so we can replicate the mixture.

Charlie wants to take the sauce portion of the dish and make a vegetable stew to serve over cous-cous and goat/feta cheese. I think I love him and want to marry him all over again.

Overall, Plated was a great experience. I can definitely see the advantage of a service like this if you’re a busy professional, or live in a city like LA where it takes 3 hours to drive the mile to the grocer. I think I’ll stick to doing my own shopping for now – but I am definitely going to keep my account for the future!

*Please note that Plated in no way compensated me for this average review. I’m not that cool.

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Food, Life, The Manimals, Travel

Little Brother Visits/Brewery Tour (SD Bucket List #7)

Family is the best. This past weekend Charlie’s brother came out to visit us in SD. We had a jam packed schedule all weekend, and I am only slightly recovered. Tim got to meet his nephew, Tucker. He was already familiar with his other ornery nephew, Walter. And we got the opportunity to really show off our “home” in San Diego!

Tim arrived late Thursday night and had a Monday afternoon departure, which left us with all day Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and part of Monday to cram as much SoCal as we could. If our sleep deprivation is any proof, we succeeded.

Friday

I had to work… LAME. But I was kept up to date with Snapchats and texts as Charlie and Tim headed out to explore SD. After breakfast at the casa they headed to Fiesta Island/Dog Island so Tucker had a chance to show off his talents. Then they, of course, headed to In-N-Out for a classic animal-style lunch. (Digression – Does anyone else not really like In-N-Out? Not a huge fan. Apologies to the West Coast.) They then headed to the brew store to pick up some brewing equipment as well as the ingredients for a Honey Dunkelweizen (NOMS! Amanda Beer!) I arrived back at the apartment from work to a steaming hot apartment, beer debris everywhere, and two very happy productive men.

After they finished their liquid gold, we headed to Hodad’s for dinner. Hodad’s being what I believe is the best burger place in SD. After a brief line we headed in to the beautiful license plated dining area and ordered our food. I conquered a milkshake for six people, and we all felt terrible about ourselves afterward. (Terrible meaning – absolutely satisfied with no regrets.)

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Saturday

We had a JAM PACKED Saturday, which required a very early morning alarm and a rush out the door to get to a Farmer’s Market where no one was ready for us. (Whoops!) Must have been Daylight Savings Time hangover from last week – the merchants at the Little Italy Market were moving sloooowly. We ordered up some Papalecco coffee drinks and patiently waited for our favorite stands to kick it into gear. We had some delicious Crepes courtesy of La Creperie – the boys feasted on the California Surfer while I returned to the Green Gobbler. With time running out, I headed to pick up our CSA from JR Organics while the boys perused our other favorite stands – including Vonda Lee’s California Cheesecakes – YUM!

We raced home and changed into our sea-adventure clothing and headed out to kayak! We got to La Jolla just in time and wet-suited up to prepare ourselves for a deep sea adventure of snorkeling and kayaking. We brought waterproof cameras, and learned afterwards that no one does one-day film photo anymore? It has to be sent away – so pictures and a recap will come next week.

When our time with mermaids had come to an end, we showered, and changed to go to breweries! We started at Intergalactic. Oh. My. Nerdfest. I say that in the best endearing way possible. Classic Star Wars posters, hilarious beer names, amazing people – definitely a new favorite for this girl.

After Intergalactic we set out for Greenflash – a consistently awesome brewery that is extremely popular in San Diego. Apparently it had been a while since we had gone, because they did a COMPLETE overhaul of the place. It’s beautiful! There is even a fancy Greenflash food truck with meat and cheese plates. And parmesan garlic fries. We were so impressed with the new set-up, and can’t wait to spend some cash in the gift store. When we have cash.

We then set out to Rough Draft, another brewery we had been before, where we played a tantalizing game of Connect Four and drank more beer. (Are you sensing a pattern? A beer pattern?)

To finish off the day we stopped at St. Archer, or the Mockingjay Brewing Company. See the similarity? Credit to Tim. I loved the set-up of St. Archer – they had a great patio with lots of space and some nice lighting that came on as the sun set.

We decided Tucker had probably had enough stimulation for the day and headed home to drop him off before going to dinner. He basically crated himself and waited for us to leave, we must be such a bother to him. We decided the best way to finish a day of total debauchery was pizza – so we headed to Pizza Port. An OB staple that is a must on our visitor checklist. Good beer. Great pizza. Awesome people watching. At this point all of us were completely exhausted, and two of us had definitely been over-served. (Spoiler Alert – it wasn’t me. I was driving).

Sunday

After a VERY long lazy sleep we woke up and crafted some breakfast burritos. They took a long time, but the end result was worth it and delicious. I’ll more purposefully make the recipe again so I can post it on here.

I sent the boys to go to Torrey Pines and told them I would walk Tucker while they were gone, but instead I took a nap… It was 90+ degrees out, so when I did wake up and try to get Tucker to go outside, we made it about a block before he turned me around. In that he dragged me across the street towards home and wouldn’t walk any farther. Dogs are hysterical.

When the boys returned home we cooled off in the pool for a bit and then headed to the ultimate SD spot – Bluewater Grille. We had originally tried to go Friday but it was SO CRAZY. They were basically out of every kind of fish. Sunday was just as insane! They hadn’t run out of quite as much fish though. After about 45-minutes we made it to the cash register to put in our order. I can tell you indisputably, no matter how long you have to wait for Bluewater. It is worth the wait. I will do an entire Bluewater Ode eventually. But here is a preview of what deliciousness is waiting for you if you head our way…

Because we felt that our stomachs still may not be stretched to their absolute maximum capacity, we stopped at a new favorite Baked Bear. To give you an idea of how the gluttony had finally taken a toll on me – I didn’t finish my ice cream sandwich cookie. That’s a really big deal.

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We then all collapsed on the floor at home, praying to the digestion gods that they would move quickly so we could all feel back to normal.

Monday

I again had to work – STILL LAME. So Charlie and Tim headed to Dog Island and Lucha Libre! Ugh – taking away my bucket list items before I even get the chance to go! Not fair. They said it was delicious, and I am making Charlie take me back sometime soon. After that Tim went back to the cold east coast and Charlie and I slept for a day straight.

(Please note the sleeping comment is wishful thinking… we’re still trying to get off the struggle bus.)

xx

Amanda

Life, The Manimals

Fiesta Island (SD Bucket List #19)

Charlie and I often say that we wish we loved anything as much as Tucker loves everything. And we mean it. There is not a happier dog in the world, and his ultra-extreme-happiness mode can be found at a HIGH LEVEL at Fiesta Island. For those non-San Diegans, Fiesta Island is a man-made island (read – technically trash) on Mission Bay. Part of the island is a fenced off dog-park that has 2-3 beaches and SO MANY BIRDS. If you haven’t caught on via Instagram, we have a Brittany… and Brittanies LOVE birds. They literally cannot handle their own love for birds. Our dear friend refers to the island as “Dog Island” and we couldn’t agree more.

Our favorite part about the island is that there is enough space for all types of dogs. Dogs like Tucker who need to run-run-run, water dogs, fetching dogs, playing dogs, really ALL dogs. It is amazing. We try to bring Tucker there twice a week to give him his bird fix.

We got a new fancy camera for the honeymoon, so far I’m just using it for food and animal pictures…

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xx

A