We've been all about delivery this past year, and with all of the meal delivery kits out there, it feels like you can have almost any food delivered to your doorstep—from regional specialties to pantry essentials. Here are some of our staff's favorites in the world of food subscriptions.

By Claire Brito
April 30, 2021
Advertisement

GROCERY ESSENTIALS

Imperfect Foods

Box - FlatLay_10
Credit: Photo courtesy of Imperfect Foods

Imperfect Foods is a step-up from your average grocery-delivery by helping eliminate food waste while shopping at great prices. I love that the products are labeled with the reasons they are being sold at a lower price, such as imperfections, surplus, or wrong sizing. I also appreciate the flexibility of their website—they will automatically fill your shopping cart based on your food preferences, but if desired, you can also add and remove items as needed. They deliver once per week and you can skip weeks as needed, so it's perfect if you like to plan your shopping. Plus, there is no subscription fee: you only are charged for the food delivered.

-Phoebe Flynn Rich, Creative Director

Prime Roots

PrimeRoots
Credit: Photo courtesy of Prime Roots

As an enthusiastic omnivore I like to make sure I also get plenty of plant-based meals into my diet, but life doesn't always allow for a ready-to-go fridge full of fresh ingredients. The 'Better Than Best of Box' from Prime Roots comes filled with tasty meals to have on hand including vegan Kung Pao Chicken, Beef Thai Lemongrass Larb, a sampling of their newly-launched vegan ravioli, and their super interesting plant-based bacon made from koji. (Koji is an ancient Japanese cultured ingredient also used to make sake, soy sauce and miso that's an umami-rich source of protein with a meat-like texture.) Dishes are good in the fridge for about a week—I even put a few I knew I couldn't get to in the freezer for a few weeks and they held up really well after microwaving. I love that Prime Roots isn't a subscription service which can be overwhelming for me with remembering to skip or end up with unwanted food and waste. You can shop a la carte, or choose one of their curated boxes (which range from just their weekly specials, to classics, or a sampler of their new plant-based ravioli). It's such a convenient way to keep my diet well-balanced.

-Tara Cox, Executive Managing Editor 

FROM THE SEA

Sitka Salmon Shares

Sitka Salmon Shares Product Box_hi-res
Credit: Photo courtesy of Sitka Salmon Shares

We're always trying to eat more fish in our house, and having a freezer stocked full of it is the easiest way to make that happen! On top of that, it's nice to feel good about what we're putting in our bellies. Sitka Salmon Shares is a community supported fishery (CSF) that sells shares of its harvest even before the Alaskan fishing families reel in their catches, which helps avoid overfishing and waste. The seafood – ranging from various types of salmon to halibut to Dungeness crab – is vacuum-sealed in small portions and blast-frozen soon after it's caught, so it delivers on its boat-to-doorstep freshness promise (starting at $119 per month). Hook, line, and sinker, I'm in! 

-Melissa Knific, Food Director

Oceanbox

Box-Hero-1
Credit: Photo courtesy of Oceanbox

The seafood delivered by Oceanbox was some of the best I've had this year. Since my husband is pescatarian, we eat a lot of fish and seafood at our house, and this delivery was great quality. My family especially enjoyed the fresh shrimp and tuna. OceanBox has a variety of plans to choose from depending on quantity and frequency of delivery, ranging from the 4-serving Small Box ($42) to the 12-serving Large Box ($115). OceanBox works with sustainable systems and regulations and the packaging is made from biodegradable, non-toxic, and recyclable materials. 

-Phoebe Flynn Rich, Creative Director

FOR THE CARNIVORE 

Carne Collective

CarneClub
Credit: Photo courtesy of Carne Collective

After a trip to Buenos Aires years ago, I understood why people say that Argentinian beef is the best in the world. So, when I heard about Carne Collective, a subscription service bringing boxes of Argentine beef to your front door, I couldn't wait to check it out. Pasture-raised by gauchos (Argentinian cowboys of the South American pampas, or plains), grass-fed and hormone-free, this is meat you can feel good about (and it's healthier for you, too!). I tried the Asado Box ($178.50) consisting of New York Strips, Filet Mignon, Skirt and Flank steaks and some ground beef. The steaks were juicy and flavorful– and it's so convenient to have a stash in my freezer for when the craving strikes. In addition to their selections, you can also create your own custom box where you can try the Matambre cut, a thin sliced cut common to Argentina and Uruguay, but nearly impossible to find in the States.

-Tara Cox, Executive Managing Editor 

Vincent’s Meat Market Monthly Boxes

IMG_4935
Credit: Photo courtesy of Vincent's Meat Market

Located on Arthur Avenue (the Little Italy of the Bronx), Vincent's Meat Market is a family-run business and neighborhood staple. Their subscription boxes, which range in price from $19.99/month (Sausage of the Month) to $114.99.month (Steak Sampler Monthly) take the guesswork out of getting high-quality cuts of meat. To give their samplings a try myself, I opted for the Beef and Pork Box ($99.99/month), which includes a rotating, seasonal selection of 10-15 pounds of prime, antibiotic-and-hormone free meat.

First off, unless you're eating pork or beef every day, the amount of meat will last you quite a while! To illustrate just how far one box goes, let me run through a few of the things I've made. On my birthday, we had a (delicious) ribeye; we sous vided a hanger steak (which I didn't know I liked until we made this one, now I crave it); there was a cozy night in that included a decadent meatloaf (the mix is made from ground beef, pork and veal)—a childhood meal I never liked until now (it was gone in 24 hours). We tossed the sweet sausage on the grill at a friend's birthday picnic, which went VERY quickly when sliced and paired with wholegrain mustard; spicy sausages got thrown in a simple pasta (yum); and the stuffed pork chops came in handy as an easy lunch or dinner (they came out perfectly juicy, not dry). And guess what? We still have more meat from our box in the freezer that we haven't touched yet.

If nothing else, I'd recommend subscribing for the summer so that you have plenty of grill-ready meats for all those summer BBQ's you're surely going to be (safely) throwing. This selection FAR outperforms the quality at my local grocery store, and I loved that it forces me to get creative with my cooking instead of eating the same thing week after week. Five stars!

-Hannah Baker, Home Editor

IN THE KITCHEN

Pastene

Pastene
Credit: Photo courtesy of Pastene

Nothing makes me happier than Italian food, so when my Specialty Gift Box ($39.99) from Pastene, the oldest distributor of Italian food products in North America, arrived my heart went a-flutter. The oversized box comes packed with everything you need for an Italian American feast: spaghetti sauce, canned tomatoes, gnocchi, jarred artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, olives, pasta – including the hard-to-find and fun mafaldine ribbon shape –canned tuna, and more. Just seeing all those ingredients in one box brought me joy; making my own feasts sent me over the moon. If the contents of the Specialty box is too much, they also have smaller boxes for date night, pizza, and the gluten-free set.

-Tara Cox, Executive Managing Editor 

Bake Eat Love

EatBakeLoveChai2
Credit: Photo courtesy of Bake Eat Love

Like Rachael, I'm not much of a baker. I'll do the occasional loaf of bread and my usual cookies at Christmas but there's no way I'm going to put in the effort to create something that's delicious and Insta-worthy. That is, until the Bake Eat Love ($37.99) subscription box arrived in the mail and I totally impressed myself with not one but two different types of gorgeous cupcakes I made; crème-filled tiramisu and caramel apple. The box comes with all the non-perishables you need, from the pre-measured ingredients to the accoutrements such as cupcake holders, plus one tool relevant to the recipes (my filled cupcakes came with a corer for removing the centers and the candy apple cupcakes came with an apple slicer). Instructions are clear and easy to follow with supporting videos online, and the results are gorgeous and super-tasty – way better than anything I could do on my own. If you're not into commitment you can skip months or purchase a box as a one-off as well; or simply develop a new beautiful and tasty hobby!

-Tara Cox, Executive Managing Editor 

Olive Connection

IMG_7618
Credit: Photo courtesy of Olive Connection

I go through olive oil like water in the kitchen, and it's a nice change of pace to have some fancier options for salads (which I plan to make nonstop this summer and fall with all my garden produce) and for finishing dishes like steaks or grilled fish. The Olive Connection offers a subscription box three times a year (starting at $50), which includes a curated box of 2 to 3 bottles of olive oil and vinegars, plus other surprises (my first box came with a small bamboo cheese board, a reusable pour spout, and a jar of roasted red pepper and artichoke tapenade). I'm currently obsessed with the lemon olive oil I received in my shipment – I haven't traveled in more than a year, but using it makes me feel like I brought home a special souvenir from Sicily.

-Melissa Knific, Food Director

AROUND THE WORLD 

Eat2Explore

Photo courtesy of Eat2Explore

Though geared towards children, the Eat2Explore boxes can be just as much fun for an adult looking to expand his or her understanding of culinary traditions – I know I has a blast with it. Each country-themed box comes with three recipes complete with detailed instructions from prep to cooking, a shopping list, spices and goodies like a country-specific sticker, a pin of the country's flag and the very cool passport to document the countries you 'visited' and dishes you made. I tried the Moroccan box where I made a tagine with butternut squash, cauliflower and chickpeas, lamb and vegetable kebabs with potato and zucchini pancakes, and a lamb, chicken and eggplant flatbread. All instructions were clear and easy to follow and the dishes were super tasty, though on the lighter side of spice than a truly authentic dish would be (but definitely a good thing for young palettes and those new to this cuisine). What an absolutely fun way to teach kids cooking skills, learn about other cultures and taste some new cuisines. These boxes are an absolute delight (from $21.20/box).

-Tara Cox, Executive Managing Editor 

MunchPak

Munchpak
Credit: Photo courtesy of MunchPak

When I travel abroad, I always make sure I check out the local grocery store as I'm fascinated by what's different (and the same!), especially when it comes to the snacks. With travel still limited for the foreseeable future, I'm getting my fix with Munchpak the subscription box filled with treats from around the world. Available in 5, 10 and 20 snack packs with a customizable schedule (from once a month to once a year with options in between), you can also send the Munchpak as a super unique and delicious one-time gift. My family-sized pack contained snacks from Israel, Croatia, South Korea, Turkey and more, along with a booklet describing each treat and where it's from. All I can say is thanks to these guys, I'm now acquainted with the Japanese Black Thunder Bliss of Butter bar and my life is complete. Who knew snack time would also expand my horizons?!

-Tara Cox, Executive Managing Editor 

SUBSCRIPTION SIPS

MYSA Natural Wine Club

WineClubHeader_1512x (1)
Credit: Photo courtesy of MYSA

This wine club is great if you enjoy organic and natural wines (Need a label refresher? Rach's pal Rita Jammet is here to help sort through all of the wine-aisle lingo here.) Options range from 3, 6, or 12 bottles of natural wine delivered monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly. I loved the personalized touches, including food pairings and tasting notes, and the wines are a great value (starting at $84.95). 

-Phoebe Flynn Rich, Creative Director

Mistobox

27-IMG_7174
Credit: Photo courtesy of Mistobox

Of the things I'm extra-particular about, my morning mug of coffee is up there on the list. I want a reliably perfect cup start my day, but WFH motivated me to change up my small daily rituals. Mistobox was the perfect AM routine shake-up, with artisanal roasts I normally wouldn't reach for over my old faithful at the grocery store. I actually emerged with some new favorites! (Dark roast die-hards: therich, chocolatey smell of Alma Coffee's Enchanted will have you jumping out of bed). The subscription is tailored to your palette preferences, so you don't end up with something out of left field, but also allows you to fill out your own "Brew Queue" if you want to put a blend on repeat or if something new catches your eye. Just slot in your preferences (Espresso or blend? Ground or whole beans?) so the box is curated with your coffee nook in mind, and voilà–fresh java at your doorstep (starting at $10.95 + shipping). With frequencies ranging from weekly to every four weeks, I'm hoping to never face that "out of coffee" feeling, empty-mugged, again!

-Claire Brito, Editorial Assistant