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OK, I was over in the same area later this afternoon and popped back in to pick one up. I ended up with two. My husband wanted to try the shrimp quality and I wanted to try a vegan option. Not that I am a vegan or even interested in becoming one, I just find it interesting to see how appealing they can make vegan kits. I was thinking of making the Black Bean Cakes as a starter, followed by the Shrimp Scampi, but decided the Shrimp would suffice.
Here are some pics and details...
The packaging is quite good. The boxes are all the same size, a fairly long and narrow box, good for fitting into the fridge. Info on the box shows if a meal is gluten-free, vegan, etc and the shrimp was labeled as a dietitian's choice. Time to cook is given (are they all 20 mins or less?) as well as level of spiciness and whether you have to do a bit of chopping or none at all. The plastic window lets you see at least some of the ingredients.
Here's the contents of the shrimp dinner. It's only 10 oz (less than 300 gms) of shrimp and the other ingredients are very simple, so the quality of the shrimp and the cooked (!) fettuccini will be key. The onions are already diced, the garlic and parsley minced. Pats of butter included.
Here's the contents of the Black Bean cakes - instant corn grits, cooked basmati rice, black beans, diced red peppers, cumin, sriracha, salsa verde, diced squash and minced garlic.
B and I went there last year in 2016. How time flies!
We found our experience not as good as it could have been.
We arrived early, and they didn't seat us until 50 minutes later, 20 minutes past our reservation time. When I asked what was taking so long, I was told "Well, you arrived early." That's not the point -- we had a reservation time of 9 pm and it's now 9:20 -- does everyone who comes here get seated late? Strike #1. Furthermore, we were seated at the bar and no staff came by to alert us; I had to get up to go speak to the host.
On to the food...
"Thai soup" -- while it reminded me of tom kha gai and hit all the right flavor notes, I was asking myself why are we eating pseudo-Thai food in this restaurant?
Not exactly an auspicious beginning. Strike #2 was that it took nearly 5 minutes *after* being seated before we received the menus, and when they brought us the menus, they also brought us the first amuse-bouche. It felt like a weird combination of: (1) we're being rushed and (2) we're being punished.
Buckwheat blini, salmon, osetra caviar.
Well-made blini -- perfect, actually. Like butter-flavored clouds.
Seared scallops, morels, English peas, Madeira.<br style="background-color:#ffffff;color:#1d2129;font-size:14px;text-align:left;"> <br style="background-color:#ffffff;color:#1d2129;font-size:14px;text-align:left;"> Excellent flavor, from the bite or two I stole off of B's plate. Sear on the scallops poorly executed though.
Lamb loin with farroto, Medjool dates, carrots and chermoula.
The lamb was well-cooked. The plating sucked, the sauce was oversalted (basically, if you can taste it, it's too much), and the accompaniments slapdash. At this point, I was starting to become irritated. This is a restaurant that is supposed to be in the vanguard of San Francisco dining and for the prices that are being charged, everything should feel like perfection from the moment you step inside to when you depart.
There are definitely quality levels in processed cheese. Kraft Singles, for instance, are processed American "cheese food product". They do not qualify to be called cheese. Velveeta is also a cheese food product. There is also American cheese that does legally qualify to be called cheese. Kraft and Borden make versions that can be found alongside their cheese food product slices. My favorite is American cheese sliced to order at the grocery store deli in front of the customers. It is also processed but retains enough cheese to legally still be called cheese. The processing allows it to become creamy instead of stringy when it melts. At the very bottom of the heap is imitation cheese food product, made with oil. Now we are talking plastic. This stuff is vile.
I also like good quality American cheese on a burger. Occasionally, I'll be in the mood for cheddar, provolone or a Swiss and mushroom burger, but I keep going back to the American version. I don't like blue cheese, but almost every good burger restaurant around here offers a burger with blue cheese. I always bend the corners off a square slice of cheese and place them up nearer the center of the burger so they don't melt off into the pan or grill. The smoked provolone I'm currently buying is cut from a round log and is already perfectly shaped to melt on a burger.
Sometimes with very good perfectly cooked beef, I will eat it on a bun as a plain burger with nothing else, or if in a really purist mood just eat it as a "steak". It's all good if you stay far away from the imitation cheese food product. I can't believe they can legally sell that drek as food.