I am so excited! Urban Manna is now up and running and delivering fantastic gourmet meals all over downtown Los Angeles. First stop – my loft! I placed my order last weekend and delivery started this past Monday. I even got a free meal my first week just for placing the order. Quite the deal, I must say. So we signed up for 8 weeks of service, delivery twice per week. We also asked the chef to decide our meals for us, which keeps the surprise factor high – gotta love that!
Monday morning, we opened the front door to find our cheerful little Urban Manna bag waiting for us. We popped it in the fridge and headed off to work. Upon our return home, I fired up a stock pot of water, changed into my comfy clothes, fed and played with the kitties. Once the water was boiling, I dropped in the vacuum sealed bags and 15 minutes later we had a gorgeous meal ready for us to enjoy. Monday it was Chicken Cassoulet, a French slow cooked casserole made with whole pieces of free range chicken with a slightly spicy chicken sausage in a sauce of three beans, tomatoes and white wine, topped with browned panko and parsley topping. On the side we had green beans in garlic butter with a salad and a cute little cookie for dessert. The chicken was extremely moist and just fell off the bone. The sausage was firm and had a nice little bite to it. The sauce was rich and flavorful. I didn’t put quite as much bread crumbs on the dish as I like mine a little on the saucy side. Fantastic! I devoured it all.
Wednesday night was Spaghetti All’amatriciana. I learned from the little story included with the meal that Amatrice is a town in the province of Rieti, in northern Lazio (central Italy) – which is famous for this particular sauce. The sauce includes pancetta, parsley, onion, red pepper and fresh chopped tomatoes. The sauce was served over al dente fettucine and freshly aged pecorino romano cheese. I’m a big carb lover, so this meal was right up my alley! It started with a fresh salad as usual (which is good, cause I never buy salad for myself – so this is a great way to ensure that I am getting my greens every week). Then I dove into my bowl of pasta. The noodles were firm and just right. The sauce was complex, fresh tomato flavor bursting through with a subtle smokiness from the pancetta and just a hint of heat from the red pepper. I slurped up the entire bowl before I knew it! And of course the little cookie at the end was a nice finish too.
Thursday night was our bonus free meal, which Executive Chef Dan made just for us (it’s not part of the regular rotation). Dan knows my predisposition to spicy, so he made this meal just that – Shrimp Creole. This version brought together onions, bell peppers and celery, sautéed and caramelized with “special seasonings” and then everything is slow cooked to perfection with tomato puree. The shrimp are added at the last moment to ensure they remain tender and juicy. This dish was served over a bed of white rice and there was a little container of fresh, chopped parsley – which added just the right note to the overall effect of the dish. The salad tonight was a Caesar, with real homemade Caesar dressing. And the side was sugar snap peas caramelized with sherry and garlic. I pretty much inhaled this dish, only stopping once in a while for a long drink of water to keep myself hydrated. It was just the kind of spicy I like, lots of heat and flavor and just a hint of brow sweat to boot. I couldn’t stop eating it! The sugar snap peas were a mild compliment, which helped break up some of the spicy bites. But being the glutton for heat that I am, I kept diving right back into the shrimp. So good!
Plus, with each meal came a description and instructions on how to prepare properly, along with a little photo insert to compare your end results with the true finished product. I was amazed at how our plates looked a lot like those little photos! Guess we’re doing something right! In addition, Chef Dan told us that he really wanted our feedback, so we made sure to send him our thoughts after each meal. They really do take customer feedback very seriously and strive to make everyone happy with each dinner.
Oh, and one more little bonus item I have to share. Urban Manna partners with the posh pet store, Pussy and Pooch in downtown LA. So along with our meals each night, we received a cute little ribbon wrapped box with freeze-dried chicken nibbles for our little kitty friends. I put a piece in front of Ari and he didn’t know what it was or what to do with it at first. While he sniffed at it, I put a piece in front of Einstein. He barely even sniffed it before inhaling the whole piece and then coming at me for more! Then Ari figured it out and gobbled up his bite as well. It was pretty hilarious! They each got about 4 little nibbles before exhausting the bag. And then there was a new little baggie with each meal delivery. So now my kitties know that when the Urban Manna bag shows up, there is something in there for them as well. Spoiled little guys!
Week one was an amazing start and we are really looking forward to week two. Now that Urban Manna is live to the public, I highly encourage you to get out there and try it yourself! And you’ll get a free meal as part of your initial order. That was a nice incentive, but I gotta say, I would have signed up without the free meal. Now of course, I had the benefit of participating in the trial – so I knew what to expect. You on the other hand might just have to take my word for it. At least until you try it for yourself. What have you got to lose? Nothing but fantastic gourmet delivered meals await you. Call them today!!