Freshly Review Part 2A : The Entrees – Seafood Risotto

As you may have seen, there’s several new fresh (cooked) food delivery services available to people that are short on time or just lazy or tired of cooking like me. FRESHLY is one such company and their offer to “first time customers” looked good enough to give it a try. The “unboxing” of my first Freshly order can be found Freshly Review Part 1: The Unboxing.

NOTE: I will attempt to focus my reviews on the facts using photos, visual perspective, nutritional statements, and actual ingredients. It’s impossible to leave out subjective comments from an entree’s taste and quality, but I’ll try to keep the bias to a minimum. I purchased this product outright; receiving no compensation and you will not find any referral or affiliate links. I may provide direct links to websites for your ease. Don’t bother correcting me on my grammar, I just don’t care.


I ordered the following items from Freshly:

 

  • Seafood Risotto

  • Homestyle Meatloaf

  • Grilled Flat Iron Steak

  • Southwest Chicken Bowl

  • Roasted Balsamic Chicken

  • Southern-Style BBQ Pork Chop

 

 

Let’s start with the Seafood Risotto …

Exactly as delivered, still packaged: (more detail below)

Below: Package opened, entree plated with some respect, and cooked exactly per directions in a microwave oven:

 

 


 

FOOD COMPONENTS NUTRITION
Risotto : firm, good Calories / from Fat : 520/230 DV
Sauce : thick, creamy Total Fat (g) : 25 38%
Shrimp : perfect, not rubbery Saturated Fat (g) : 11 55%
Scallops : perfect, not rubbery Trans Fat (g) : 0
Mushrooms : lost in the sauce
Asparagus : mostly tender Cholesterol (mg) : 155 52%
Sodium (mg) : 640 41%
First Visual Impression : shrimp look beautiful Carbohydrates : 43 14%
First Taste Impression : bland Protein : 32 16%

The Directions: Very simple and were followed exactly as suggested. After cooking, I thought the meal looked appealing but my wife disagreed. Hey, it’s risotto! Taste and texture described above – I won’t go into that any further.

The Good: I liked the flavors. No MSG added. Although the meal looked small it was adequate for a dinner, especially when eaten slowly. I would order this again.

The Bad: The nutrition. The fat calories should equal around 25% of total calories. Cholesterol is through the roof – more than half of your daily intake. Sodium is extremely high for a single meal. For those with high blood pressure, cholesterol or heart conditions, I don’t think this is the meal for you.

Thanks for stopping by. Tomorrow’s meal is: Homestyle Meatloaf

Chef-Cooked, Healthy Meals Delivered to You" ... "Fresh Healthy Convenient

FRESHLY Review Part 1 : First Glance

As you may have seen, there’s several new fresh (cooked) food delivery services available to people that are short on time or just lazy or tired of cooking like me. FRESHLY is one such company and their offer to “first time customers” looked good enough to give it a try.

NOTE: I will attempt to focus my reviews on the facts using photos, visual perspective, nutritional statements, and actual ingredients. It’s impossible to leave out subjective comments from an entree’s taste and quality, but I’ll try to keep the bias to a minimum. I purchased this product outright; receiving no compensation and you will not find any referral or affiliate links. I may provide direct links to websites for your ease. Don’t bother correcting me on my grammar, I just don’t care.


Freshly: “Chef-Cooked, Healthy Meals Delivered to You” … “Fresh Healthy Convenient”

I saw the Freshly $39 ($59 value) first order incentive on Facebook. Their website is clean, simple and easy to navigate. You first choose your plan: 4, 6, 9, or 12 meals per week. I special deal was for the Flex 6 meal plan. You then choose your entrees. Each entree has a description, (a professionally plated) photo, plus the nutritional facts and ingredients just like you’d find on any food item in a grocery store and some restaurants.

  1. Choose your plan
  2. Choose your entrees
  3. Choose your delivery dates
  4. Enter address & billing info (creates an account)
  5. Checkout
  6. Free Shipping
  7. Wait

I placed order my first order with Freshly on 1/23/17 and, since most Monday deliveries appear “Sold” out, I requested a delivery date of Tuesday 1/31/17. I received confirmation of my order and also received a reminder the day before my delivery. The Freshly box arrived as promised on my doorstep in the mid-afternoon. What follows is the unboxing of my FRESHLY Food Delivery.

Chef-Cooked, Healthy Meals Delivered to You Fresh Healthy Convenient Southwest Chicken Bowl, Homestyle Meatloaf, Seafood Risotto, BBQ Pork Chop, Balsamic Chicken, Flat Iron Steak

  • Freshly: Initial Delivery
  • Freshly Entree: Southwest Chicken Bowl
  • Freshly Entree: Homestyle Meatloaf
  • Freshly Entree: Seafood Risotto
  • Freshly Entree: Grilled Flat Iron Steak
  • Freshly Entree: Roasted Balsamic Chicken
  • Freshly Entree: Southern-Style BBQ Pork Chop

After opening the box, I see there is an abundance of insulation materials and ice packs to keep the food cold. The approximate weight breakdown of this particular order was:

Box & Insulation = 3.5 pounds
Ice Packs (2) = 10 pounds (1.2 gallons)
Food & Packaging = 4.5 pounds

Maybe a little over kill, but on a hot day it’s probably a good idea. In the end, I was left with a some heavy-duty packing materials that I could probably use for another day. To give them credit, they have clear instructions on recycling of all non-food materials.  Still, if I had a regular subscription to this food delivery, handling the packing materials would drive me nuts.


Freshly Food Delivery

 

BONUS!
You get TWO large ice packs in each delivery box. These
ice packs  (filled with water) are monstrous in size and
will definitely come in handy camping this summer.

 


Freshly Chicken Bowl, Homestyle Meatloaf, Freshly Seafood Risotto, BBQ Pork Chop, Freshly Balsamic Chicken, Flat Iron Steak

So, the entree order was correct and everything was nice and neatly packed. I peeked inside each entree pack to inspect and found most everything looked pretty good. Bright, fresh colors. Nothing looked canned, stale, faded or overcooked. The insides were pretty much a mess though as shipping would do this but none of that distracted the potential goodness inside.

Southwest Chicken Bowl, Homestyle Meatloaf, Seafood Risotto, BBQ Pork Chop, Balsamic Chicken, Flat Iron Steak

I suppose you’re wondering, how each of these really look and taste?  My reviews will be coming soon …

–   –   –    F – R – E – S – H – L – Y   –   –   –


 

TN: 2011 Montaria, Portugal, Antonio Ventura

Portugal is now producing some of the best value red quaffing wines on market today. This gem from Portugal, produced by Antonio Ventura, is no exception.  

The Montaria is a blend of several local wine varietals, which gives the wine superior complexity for such an inexpensive price.  Although the nose seemed a little bit angular for me, black cherry and ripe blackberry fruit assaults the mouth in a pleasant way.

Antonio’s 2011 Montaria one was a little bit rough for me although I do like big, tannic reds, lately I’ve been looking for wines with a little more bursts of fruit on the nose.  On the nose, I got charcoal, ash, wet stone, and dark blackberries.  On the palate, lots of blackberries and blueberries throughout.  Black pepper and tar.  Sm-oaky goodness with a burnt match finish.  I think this was a very nice structured wine for 3.5 stars, but the wife absolutely loved it for 4.5 stars – hence the rating.  I think this will improve given more time in the bottle and/or the glass.

2011 montaria wine, portugal wine, nakedwines.com, Antonio Ventura, red wine

TN: 2012 Jim Olsen California Chardonnay

Wow, It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been staring at this bottle just waiting for a good time to crack it open. I loved Jim’s Barbera so much, I bought a few bottles to stock away and it took me three days of tasting to discern all the characteristics….so I’ve been looking forward to this Chardonnay.

jim olsen, nakedwines.com, chardonnay, white wines, naked winesCracked open a nice chilled bottle while grilling marinated chicken and roasting some garlic potatoes. It’s got a nice rich, golden color which first made me think of heavy oak. I really am not a buttery oak fan at all. However, Jim’s latest Chard has only some hints of vanilla and oak. Nothing overbearing at all, but there’s just enough to tease your tongue.

On the nose, I got an immediate whiff of overripe honeycrisp apples. Maybe Fuji apples drizzled with orange blossom honey? I think you get the idea. Then a little bit of sulphur which dissipated after the bottles was open for 30 minutes. You can taste the steel in this wine and I just love the acidity and structure that taste brings to this wine. Then fresh cut straw filled my nostrils along with a tad of menthol. The nose smoothed out with a little banana after some ample breathing.

This is a nicely balanced wine. Plenty of acidity and fruit unlike many California Chardonnays. Love this style. On the palate, leesy with a little oak on the mid palate. It finished off with a nice taste of butterscotch and then a punch of lemons providing a nice dry acid on the tongue.

The wine overall is a little heavier and has more body than what I would drink on a real hot day as a refresher around the pool. So paired with a meal or around the fireplace in autumn is where I’ll be drinking my next chilled bottle. The Angels get this wine for less than $10 and that is an absolute steal! Way to go Jim, I’m definitely a fan of your tastebuds!

 

My Experience with nakedwines.com

I bought the Groupon for it’s plain intrinsic value. I mean, how bad could a case of wine be for $60? Okay, I admit I’m a bit of a wine snob, I love my $50+ Napa Cabernets as much as my wife does but we can’t drink them every night now can we? In the supermarket, I’m always searching for decent $10-15 wine that I can enjoy with every dinner. I’m not going to get the greatest wines anywhere at that price point, but I’m hoping for bargains and surprises along the way.

Before I bought the Groupon, I combed through the http://nakedwines.com website searching for potential issues or loopholes that I couldn’t get out of. For one, I saw that I did NOT need to become an “angel” to get the Groupon deal. From what I understood, I could go in, select my wines, apply the Groupon and checkout without ANY further obligation.

nakedwines.com, groupon, deals on wine, naked wines

So, even though they had a new angel case with a sample of their wines, I browsed through their wines looking for the styles that I like. I created a wine “profile” that would recommend to me certain styles of wines based on my preferences. I found 12 bottles and placed them in my cart. I checked out and did only that. I did not opt into their Angel program until after I received my first case of wine.

When the wines arrived, I too, noticed that many were screw caps. Being once an investor in a synthetic cork company, I knew the issues with real corks and the high percentage of spoilage (cork taint) that occurs. The industry would just love to run out and change many of their wines to screw caps, but they didn’t for two reasons…

1) The uncorking of a bottle of wine is a tradition. It’s all about anticipation while the sommelier, with the white linen draped over his forearm, displaying the esteemed bottle of wine for your and your guests approval … the cutting of the foil … the angle of which the bottle is held as he (or she) gently presses the point of the corkscrew into the center of the cork … the turning and twisting … and then finally the pull … as the cork “pops” from the bottle’s firm and longing grip. It’s a presentation, an event (albeit small), a ceremony that holds tradition for many, many years. Screw caps don’t have that ceremony. They aren’t much different than opening a bottle of Diet Coke. The winemakers know that ceremony is an integral part of enjoying a nice wine and screw caps aren’t yet accepted by the American public at large.

2) There is some concern about aging fine wines under a screw cap. Some believe that any amount of oxygen will hurt the wine and others believe that just that little hint of oxygen over the many years helps the wine to fulfill it’s destiny as a balanced symphony of fermented grape juice.

If you do some research you will see that many countries and wineries have embraced the screw cap. New Zealand, for example, produces world-class Sauvignon Blancs. Every NZ SB that I have ever opened had a screw cap and these are not crap wines. Of course, this is just my opinion and I wouldn’t mind arguing this and much more on this subject all day long.

Enough about corks and screw caps. Back to http://nakedwines.com … I received my first case, and in less than three weeks tasted every bottle. Many of them I reviewed and posted on the http://nakedwines.com forum. It was fun to interact with others and their reviews comparing notes along the way. As I rated the wines, the recommendations became more focused for my specific tastes. I once asked a professed wine critic “What is the best wine?” His response was, “The best wine is whichever one YOU like.” That has stuck with me throughout the years as an important point in my role as a wine snob.

I looked at the http://nakedwines.com program some more and decided to become an angel and to order another case of $8 wine. Roughly the average angel price. They took $40 from my credit card and I immediately applied that $40 to another case of 12 bottles. My total paid with tax was about $110 with free shipping. Okay, that’s more like $9 a bottle, but from my prior case, they were worth it for a couple of reasons. It’s not a wine club where the WINEMAKER decides what to ship you. Nakedwines.com gives you the opportunity to choose your styles of wine andeven wines from a variety of wineries and countries. It’s delivered to your door speedily and free of charge. They have a 100% guarantee on all their wines. Try that next time you return a bottle of wine at your local store.

I’ve since ordered over 100 bottles of http://nakedwines.com wines. Some are screw top, some are with cork, some are okay, but most are worth the price you pay and decent wines. Through the http://nakedwines.com program, you do come across some really good wines, but a good deal of them are made for quaffing (drinking now and lots of it!). For me, that was what I was looking for. I already have a cellar full of $40+ bottles of red aging for that special day, but for now… I want something to drink tonight!