HandPick Subscription Box Review – August 2015
HandPick is a new company that sends meal kits that you can cook at home. Unlike many meal boxes, they send full-sized groceries sourced from grocery stores. There’s no subscription required and meals start at only $5.50.
Meals are bundled into different kits, and prices vary from kit to kit. Current available options include: Seafood Bundle ($9 per meal), Gluten-free Bundle ($7.50 per meal), Vegetarian Bundle ($8 per meal), and the Meat Lovers Bundle ($6.50 per meal). I opted to review the Asian Bundle ($5.50 per meal). Each of the kits contains everything you need to make 3 meals for 2 people. You can see the recipes featured in each bundle here.
Currently, HandPick is only available in California, but they plan to expand soon!
HandPick sent me this box at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: HandPick
The Cost: Meals start at $5.50 per person.
The Products: Hand picked groceries that are bundled into meal kits.
Ships to: California
HandPick included a thank you postcard as well as a card with some basic information about my selected bundle.
The groceries were very well packed, and everything was still cold when I unpacked the box.
My groceries arrived in traditional grocery store packaging (plastic produce bags and Styrofoam meat trays), and I received full-sized bottles of oyster sauce and sesame oil. (I find it amusing that one of them is Safeway Brand. I know where they went shopping!)
Meal #1- Garlic Ginger Chicken and Sesame Noodles
Each recipe is featured on a large card. On the reverse, HandPick lists step-by-step instructions with accompanying photos.
(Before my box arrived, I received an email that I would be receiving chicken thighs instead of chicken legs, and that I would not need to make any alterations to the recipe. I actually prefer thighs to legs, so that was fine by me!)
I began by marinating the chicken thighs in a mixture of green onion, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. I let this sit in the fridge for 30 minutes, while I prepared the noodles and made a dressing from soy sauce, honey, garlic, sesame oil, and olive oil.
After the chicken was done marinating, I baked it at 375 for 30 minutes.
To plate, I tossed the noodles with dressing and placed the Garlic Ginger Chicken on top.
This dish was tasty. In particular, I thought the marinade used on the chicken was excellent. It was very easy to make, and I’m confident that even beginners would comfortably be able to handle this dish.
Unfortunately, there were also a couple of minor issues with this meal. I received four small squeeze bottles full of soy sauce (about 1 tablespoon each), which all went into this dish. Both of the other recipes also called for soy sauce, too. Luckily, I already had an open bottle in my fridge. Additionally, the photo of the finished dish on the recipe card showed the chicken sprinkled with sesame seeds. I love sesame seeds, so this made me really excited, but there were no seeds in my box. I understand that they probably just sprinkled on a few seeds to make the photo more appealing, but I think it’s important that the picture of the finished dish accurately represent what the purchaser can make at home.
Meal #2- Asian Lettuce Cups
The next day, I made Asian Lettuce Cups.
I began by browning my ground beef. When it was ready, I removed it from the skillet and sautéed minced garlic and diced ginger. After 4 minutes, I returned the beef to the pan and added oyster sauce and soy sauce.
In a separate bowl, I made a sauce by combining a bit more oyster sauce, sesame oil, and honey.
To plate, I assembled the wraps by laying out leaves of lettuce, topping them with a drizzle of sauce, spooning on the beef mixture, and finishing with a sprinkle of freshly cut green onions.
I love lettuce wraps, and these were pretty good. As someone who cooks regularly, I’ll say that the recipes provided by HandPick didn’t really push me out of my comfort zone. That said, quick and easy meals certainly have their place!
Meal #3- Chicken Chow Mein
I made the Chicken Chow Mein Last.
I began by marinating sliced white-meat chicken in soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, salt and pepper. While the chicken marinated, I cooked my noodles and set them aside.
When the chicken was ready, I cooked it in a skillet over high heat with some minced garlic. When it was almost cooked through, I added sliced bok choi. (Note: I received two heads of bok choi, probably about 1.5 cups. I only needed half of a cup for this recipe. Not that I’m complaining- I’ll happily incorporate the rest into a future meal!)
When the chicken was done, I added the cooked noodles to the skillet, along with some oyster sauce, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, water, salt and pepper. I cooked this for approximately 2 minutes, and then transferred it to a bowl and topped it with spring onions.
I thought this dish was okay. Since all of the dishes in the Asian Bundle share ingredients, I found their flavors to be a little repetitive. All of the dishes were good on their own, but I think eating them back-to-back was a little much for me. If I try HandPick again, I think I’ll opt for a different bundle.
Verdict: Overall, I enjoyed my week of HandPick meals. I think it’s great to see a meal box with such an affordable price point, and the number and variety of different bundles they currently have available impresses me. The box was packed carefully and all of the items arrived in good condition. The produce was fresh and the meat was cold. There were a couple of small hiccups with the quantities of ingredients I was sent (too much bok choi & not enough soy sauce), but I was still able to get by with ingredients I had in my own pantry. I think that HandPick offers a simple, affordable approach to meal boxes, and I hope to see them offer nationwide delivery soon!
What do you think of HandPick? If you live in California, will you be trying one of their bundles?