The Los Angeles Foodie Rating:
I’m doing something a little bit different with this review. Normally, Los Angeles Foodie travels around the city looking for the Indiana Jones equivalent of foodie adventures. But this time, instead of a burger joint, it’s a purple truck. And rather than traveling to the food, the food comes to me (most grandpa restaurants don’t deliver, do they?). By now, you have probably seen the distinctive purple trucks that say Spud! on the side. Spud! is relatively new in town, and they were kind enough to treat me to some free munchies in exchange for an honest review of their food and service. So that’s what we’re going to do.
Spud! is the Netflix of grocery delivery, allowing you to set up “standing orders” that will be delivered at time intervals of your choice. If you opt for Spud!’s “Fresh Harvest Box” (an assortment of fruits and vegetables), you can customize your preferences right down to the varieties of each available item.
The website isn’t perfect, and some of the customization (including delivery dates and recurring oders) can be confusing at first. But once you get the hang of it, it makes a lot of sense. They have been known to compare themselves to Whole Foods, which is apt both in quality and in price. Spud! is not cheap. But the convenience of delivery combined with the exceptional quality of the food (not to mention that I chose for my produce to come from local sources whenever possible — another customizable option) makes Spud! well worth the price, in my opinion.
The website is intimidating at first. I have loads of experience in web development, and even I found the learning curve to be steeper than I expected. But again, once you spend a little time with the interface it becomes clear why there are so many choices. I was able to put together a $34 Fresh Harvest Box in about 10 minutes. By the way, 30 bucks worth of produce per week is about right for the average adult couple, according to the caluculator on Spud!’s site.
When you have a pending or imminent order for delivery, the site appropriately notifies you and asks you if you want to either view the delivery that is coming-up or modify the following scheduled order. This is a feature that I appreciated, especially since I tend to forget all kinds of stuff like this. If you haven’t logged into your account in over a week, Spud! will send you a reminder email. Personally, I like the reminder, but you can opt out of these kinds of communications.
The grub is where Spud! shines. The food is excellent, and I have no reservations about praising everything that I tried. Except of course for one crummy orange, but Spud! is still batting a nearly perfect average. The strawberries were amazing. I cut them up in a bowl adorned with absolutely nothing, and they were some of the sweetest and mildly tart berries I can remember. They reminded me of the kind my mom used to buy from the farmer’s trucks on the roadside in early summer back when I was a kid. Feel free to browse around the gallery below, but a few of the dishes I made from my fresh fruit and veggies are:
- Cucumber with chili salt and lime juice
- Grilled baby Portabellos prepared with a smoked paprika wet rub
- Grilled zucchini marinated in red wine vinegar and olive oil
- Carrots braised in lemon juice, butter, and green onion whites
- Lightly-dressed chopped romaine salad with scallions and salame crumbles
- Julienned apples and orange suprèmes with lemon juice and coarse sea salt
If anyone is interested in any of the recipes, just say so in the comments, and I’ll post the requested recipe there. And now [audible sigh] we’ve come to the part where I need to talk about the Field Roast Grain Meat Co. apple sage “sausage” links. These were included with my order, and I was encouraged to let you know what I think. Any reader of Los Angeles Foodie doesn’t have to do much detective work to figure out that I’m a meat eater. I keep an open mind when it comes to food, so I sampled the “sausages” freshly off the hot grill. Most of the time, I am not a fan of any vegan (or vegetarian) product that is masquerading as meat. This time is no exception. While I found both the taste and the texture enjoyable for the most part, the juciness was absent. They also have a bit of a powdery consistency. Given the choice between a Field Roast “sausage” and pretty much any other meat sausage I can think of, I’m going to choose the real deal 100% of the time.
Having said that, I should be very clear that Spud! offers several options that even some readers of Los Angeles Foodie will find appealing. First, they stock and deliver local food whenever possible, and I am a huge proponent of local. Next, they cater to specialty and health-restricted diets. Organic food is foremost, but gluten-free, kosher, vegan, wheat-free, and yeast-free are all available.
Finally, even though I have spent the bulk of this review talking about the fruits and vegetables that I sampled, Spud! offers an array of fresh and frozen meats, snacks, baked goods, dairy, and soups. I can’t speak to the quality of anything other than the produce, but the Fresh Harvest Box is a home run.
It’s impossible for me to tell you whether or not the customer service is good because they were obviously being friendly to me for the sake of this promotion. But my 2 interactions with the delivery driver, whom I’m guessing was making the rounds with no special instructions on my behalf, were pleasant. I’m sure I was another chump in an office park (OK, I am), and he was more than cordial and all smiles. He even brought the box all the way inside, down the hallway, and to my desk. Most deliveries are free ($34 minimum). Fresh Harvest Boxes are packaged in standard waxed cardboard produce boxes, but any orders that require refrigeration or freezing arrive in plastic tubs packed with freezer bags and dry ice. The tubs are left behind by the delivery driver to be picked up during a subsequent delivery. Anything left behind (including the tubs) requires a nominal deposit that is refunded when the items are retrieved.