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I’ll admit it: in the few minutes I scroll through Facebook every day, I was drooling over the dishes in Plated’s advertisements. It didn’t help that I was getting the feeling that my cooking and grocery shopping game was getting kind of lame. I was in a food rut. So, when plated offered 4 free plates with the purchase of 2, I decided to give it a try.
What’s Plated, you ask? Plated is a food delivery service that provides the recipe and pre-portioned ingredients to make dinner for 2 or 4 people. Plated is a subscription service, and you can choose how many meals you want delivered each week. You choose from their weekly, ever-changing menu. It’s like restaurant fun without having to actually get dressed and go out. Also, you have to prep and cook everything by yourself. And, also, it’s not like a restaurant at all.
So, I’m going to share my Plated experience with you. If you want to jump to the “bottom line” review, click here. It started on April 1, 2015 (no, this wasn’t an April Fool’s joke). I signed up, paid $24 for 6 meals (3 meals for 2 people – bargain!), and then nothing happened. That whole choose your own meals thing? Yeah, it didn’t happen. I went to My Account and looked at my orders. I saw that three meals were selected randomly, and quite honestly I wasn’t really a fan of any of the selections. I used the help box and messaged Plated:
After looking at the menu, I decided to swap the pasta dish for the beef lettuce wraps. Why didn’t I ask to switch all three? Well, I realized that the dishes I was drooling over were premium dishes (not included in the trial) and cost $30 per plate (so, dinner for me & my husband would be $60. If we wanted to include my toddler in this meal, we would have to purchase an additional 2 meals…making the total at home dinner for one night $120. Um, yes, you just read that correctly.)
Two days later, on Friday, April 3, my Plated box arrived. With fucking spaghetti.
I did not reach out to Plated to correct the mistake, because I thought, “Maybe this is pasta fate. Maybe the universe is telling me that carbs are okay on Saturdays.” And I gladly accepted. Who doesn’t like fresh spaghetti?
So, three recipes:
- Day 1: Ginger Trout en Papillote with Miso Butter, Sweet Potatoes, and Snow Peas
- Day 2: Fresh Spaghetti with Pan Roasted Artichokes, Garlic, and Lemon
- Day 3: Pan-Roasted Za’atar Chicken with Spinach-Feta Twice-Baked Potatoes
And I’ll guide you through what really happened with my Plated experience.
Ginger Trout en Papillote with Miso Butter, Sweet Potatoes, and Snow Peas
So, it started with the ingredients. All the ingredients were organized by recipe. Anything that wasn’t in the recipe bag itself was clearly marked with what the ingredient was and which recipe the ingredient was to be used for. As I started the recipe, I thought, “Wow, this is brilliant. It would be super easy for someone who doesn’t know how to cook at all.” I began getting excited about this dish. Could I really make restaurant worthy food without the headache of planning a meal and shopping for everything? Let’s face it, even with a list I forget things at the grocery store. I was really hoping Plated would solve all my dinner dilemmas.
So, I followed the instructions. I prepped all the ingredients. I sliced the scallions and separated those suckers by color. I cut up ginger into 1/4″ round coins. I cut a lime in half. The entire time, I was thinking, “Couldn’t Plated have done this for me? Is it really necessary that I sit here in the kitchen, cutting up produce? Wasn’t the point of this service that it would make things easier? Why am I still doing all this nonsense?”
As I moved on to the next step, stirring up the butter with miso paste, I thought, “Maybe this is worth it. This miso butter thing smells really good.” Because it did. It smelled fantastic. I won’t bore you with the details for Day 1. I’ll cut to the chase: my Ginger Trout en Papillote with Miso Butter, Sweet Potatoes, and Snow Peas, despite my best efforts, came out looking nothing like the pictures. And despite smelling really amazing and exotic during prep (fresh lime, miso butter, sesame oil, etc.), it was disappointingly bland and truly uninspiring. I ate it, because it wouldn’t kill me and after spending 45+ minutes in the kitchen during my toddler and newborn’s evening nap I knew I would not get another opportunity to go fiddle around in the kitchen that evening. But, I really felt duped. I felt like I had been mislead with the fancy French word for parchment paper, and for $12.50 a serving, I could have ordered some truly delicious takeout.
Fresh Spaghetti with Pan Roasted Artichokes, Garlic, and Lemon
I’m not even going to get into the details. This smelled disgusting while cooking (the olive oil, the roasting artichokes? I don’t really know what could possibly make it smell so disgusting, but it truly was gross.) and the instructions were, well, wrong. It said that a sauce would start to form with the pan roasted tomatoes, but from what I know of tomatoes and sauce, the wrong type of tomatoes were provided. Interestingly, this dish came out very close to what the picture showed, but, it was gross. And when I eat carbs, I want those carbs to be delicious. THIS WAS NOT DELICIOUS.
Pan-Roasted Za’atar Chicken with Spinach-Feta Twice-Baked Potatoes
Ok, so day 3. I was not looking forward to making another Plated dish, at all. I was epically disappointed with the first two nights, and I just wanted to get these ingredients out of my fridge so I could go grocery shopping the next day. (Yes, I was looking forward to grocery shopping!)
Like the night before, this recipe included white wine, and given the past two days of Plated experiences, I decided maybe I should just drink this wine instead. And I can only caution you with similar minds that this is a horrible, terrible, awful idea. Because this is what happened to my face after taking a sip of Plated’s “white wine”:
No, those pictures are not flattering. And, no, that was NOT white wine. I’m pretty sure it’s white wine vinegar, and why Plated did not specify that in the recipe or on the package is beyond me.
So, I gladly poured that shit in the pan as directed.
After the allotted cooking time (according to Plated 6-7 minutes on each side for chicken), I noticed that my chicken felt jiggly – like it was still raw. Plated doesn’t tell you to make sure the chicken is cooked, but I did anyway:
That, people, is raw chicken. And I honestly think that Plated’s obligation to tell customers these recipes take 30-45 minutes is what compelled the company to lie about the cooking time. I mean, if someone ate this, they could get seriously ill. Not cool, Plated. Not cool at all.
Since all of my ingredients were drying out now, thanks to an extended and unanticipated longer cook time, I had to do something. I could not contain my inner Paula Deen. I had to add butter and cover.
Which I’m pretty sure saved the day.
The twice baked potatoes? Yeah. Not baked twice at all. The Plated instructions specifically tell you to use the microwave for 5-7 minutes (turning once in the middle) or you could bake the potatoes for an hour – but WHO has time for that when Plated lied and said it would take 45 minutes for dinner and you’re starving? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
But, apparently I did have time to double the microwave time because the potatoes were also still raw. Ew, ew, ew.
By the time I was done making this meal, I was so hungry. Maybe that’s why I didn’t dislike this Plated dish. It was not bad, but, it’s chicken and potatoes. Can you really screw that up? And, if you add spinach and feta to anything it’s going to taste good. You can even make quinoa delicious with spinach and feta. And we all know quinoa is gross.
So, if you want to know if Plated is worth it, my honest opinion is no. I think it’s worth mentioning that I was not paid, compensated, or asked to review Plated, as many bloggers have been. And, that’s important because I made my decision to try Plated based on the opinions of others, who may have been influenced to give a positive review. Or those people are drunk. Drunk people will eat anything and think it’s good. PLATED IS FOR DRUNKS!
Everyone has different taste in food, true. If you really don’t know how to cook at all, I don’t know if Plated can help you because the instructions were not great and definitely not detailed enough for a first-time cook. However, if you know your way around the kitchen a little bit, but just want to try something that’s not frozen or pre-made, go for it. If you think Dominos is good pizza, you’ll probably love Plated. I, personally, am a pizza snob who thinks Dominos is garbage, but to each their own (actually, no, I’m totally judging you and your intelligence based on your taste in food. Wrong? Possibly. Satisfying? Absolutely).
Needless to say, I cancelled my Plated subscription.