It has been a while since we last had a meal kit service delivered to the lab, but I became lazy after a few months of biweekly trips to the grocery store and trying to create something new. This time we chose the San Francisco based Sun Basket. Don't let the quaint logo fool you, this box is backed by the margarine churning, elixir mixing, soap toting mega-corporation Unilever. Justine Kelly is one of the founders and Executive Chef of Sun Basket whose claims to fame includes both a James Beard Award and an Iron Chef America... Not too shabby.
As I have stated before, having a decent website (and not some shitty blog website) is a baseline requirement for anyone spending $60+ per month on your service. Signing up is about as easy as it gets, if one connects through Facebook [dot] com a credit will be applied for your first purchase. Personally, I hate cross connecting myself on social media platforms as I enjoy my anonymity and I don't mind creating a new password for something I will never use again. Boom roasted Sun Basket.
Website & ease of ordering score:
9.0 / 10
I am constantly disappointed with the lack of originality with meal kit service meal plans. Oh you don't say, you have a 3-meals per week plan that includes 2 servings per meal? Wild! And, you also offer a plan with FOUR servings?! get the fuck out of here.
As I do research on these meal kit delivery boxes I have discovered several comparables; first there is a massive market for these and second there are very tight margins. I get limiting the amount of options increases the efficiency but in reality this just feels like more of the same, so I gave it an average score.
Meal plan score:
8.0 / 10
Delivery Time & Packaging
This box had the best packaging I have seen yet. Each bag was properly labeled and there were no frills and no unnecessary packaging. Items that needed special attention were packaged in clear plastic bags, one of these days I would hope they direct you where to store these. The more I hear friends, colleagues and fans alike cooking delivery meal kits I consider them to be the training wheels of cooking, now train them goddammit.
Delivery time & packaging scores:
9.5 / 10
I would describe all the meals I had with Sun Basket as rustic American. No frills, no fuss, simple and well balanced food. With simplicity comes drawbacks, when choosing your trifecta of meals for the upcoming week there is a palpable lack of variety and choice. Part of this definitely comes from the fact they are trying to appease all the dietary requirements, with a meal for every gluten-free vegan Baptist who eats Paleo on their cheat day and fish on Sundays.
The recipe book contained ALL recipes for the week, even the ones not included in every box. This was a well received notion as other boxes apparently feel as though their recipes are somehow proprietary information and some feel like sending incomplete packets of recipe cards. The recipe cards were well written and clear enough for even the most inebriated cooks.
7.1 / 10
The good news is there are two price points; $11.99 per meal for the couple/single guy or gal who don't mind leftovers & $10.99 for the nuclear family of four. The cost ends up being right around the going market rate for meal kits. It is nice they have an option for an addition 2-servings per meal however saving a couple bucks on a family style meal will not entice TDM to expand operations.
8.8 / 10
Generally Sun Basket checks all the boxes in order to carry the TDM seal of approval. Is it the best box out there? It depends on the person, but it doesn't knock my oven mitts off as a person who is looking for something interesting to cook and expanding his repertoire. I did forget to cancel my subscription once which gave this basket of UV rays a second chance. I don't think I will order Sun Basket again knowing what other boxes are out there, even if they do make pretty sweet recipe cards.
8.48 / 10