Pop-Up Pantry Delivers Gourmet Meals to Your Door; We Try Their Moroccan Lamb Stew

Pop-Up Pantry is an LA based operation focused on giving “everyone access to a world class restaurant experience at home”. In other words, they bring seasonal, gourmet meals right to your door.

When I first heard about Pop-Up Pantry, I wondered “is this another frozen food service?!” Well, turns out it is and it isn’t. Yes the food they send is frozen but its so much more than that. Let me explain.

Pop-Up Pantry prepares menus crafted by award winning chefs (including some you might have seen on Fox Network’s MasterChef), flash-freezes the dishes in their Torrance based kitchen, and sends them to you to be warmed up and served at home. In 30 minutes, you can have a gourmet meal for two with little more effort than warming up the oven or boiling a pot of water.

I was invited to try the Pop-Up Pantry service* and wanted to report back that, yes, it works. Read on for a description of the ordering process. I’ll also be including a discount code so you can try Pop-Up Pantry for yourself.

The Menus

Items on the Pop-Up Pantry website are listed as three-course menus portioned to serve two people. Mouthwateringly beautiful pictures show each component of each menu which includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. Menus are priced between $35 and $45.

Along with the menu are suggestions for wine pairings and preparation instructions so you know what sort of baking or boiling you’ll be getting into. If you’re monitoring your intake for health reasons, you’ll be glad to see that nutrition and allergy information are included as well.

Once the menu is selected, ordering is just like any other online shopping experience. Enter your info and then sit back and wait for your meal to arrive!

The Shipment

Pop-Up Pantry shipments arrive in a distinguished box stamped “PERISHABLE”.

The shipment - a classy box stamped "PERISHABLE".

The Pop-Up Pantry shipment – a classy box stamped “PERISHABLE”.

The contents are packed with dry ice and will be fine for some time. Ideally you would prepare your meal right away or place it in a freezer for later.

The edible - but frozen - contents of the box.

The edible – but frozen – contents of the box.

Along with the frozen goods are preparation instructions and serving suggestions.

Preparation instructions -- and a nice note from the founders  --  accompanies the meal

Preparation instructions — and a nice note from the founders — accompanies the shipment.

The Preparation

If you paid attention during the ordering process, you’ll have a good idea of what you’ll need to get your dinner on the table. Most of the menu items are reheated by baking or boiling them right in the package they’re shipped in.

One of the neat and useful things about the preparation is that the menus are planned so that dishes complement each other in heating methods. An entrée that needs 20 minutes to boil, for example, might be accompanied by a side dish that boils for 10 minutes. The same pot can be used for the side dish 10 minutes into the reheating time.

Most cook times are 30 minutes or so which is plenty of time to play with the dry ice that came in the box!

Playing with the dry ice

Playing with the dry ice!

The Results

I’ll go ahead and spoil the ending by saying the results were remarkable. I ordered the Moroccan Lamb Stew menu which included bastilla as the appetizer, the namesake lamb stew as the entrée, and Marrakech honey cake for dessert.

The bastilla was the highlight. Flaky crust enveloped savory meat, flavored with cumin, herbs, and nuts. I was genuinely impressed to see how this dish went from frozen to aromatic and crispy in the oven.

The crispy, flaky bastillacooked perfectly

The crispy, flaky, perfectly cooked bastilla.

The textures and exotic flavors made the bastilla the highlight of the meal.

The textures and exotic flavors made the bastilla the highlight of the meal.

The entrée was a great combination of tender lamb and lentils served over a bed of couscous. The lamb was nicely done but the couscous was just past warm per the boiling instructions; I’d say drop it in a minute or two earlier if you like your couscous piping hot. The flavor and texture, though, were right on point.

Moraccan Lamb Stew with Couscous

The lamb stew and fluffy couscous made for a satisfying entree.

Waiting for dessert was difficult. The scent of the spicy cake dominated the kitchen without giving the boil-in-bag lamb stew a chance.

The cake was very much like a spice or carrot cake in flavor and texture but was not too sweet on its own. It was genius on the chefs part to include a honey sauce to drizzle over the cake just after baking.

-Marrakech honey cake for dessert

It was hard to wait for dessert: a spicy, moist cake topped with a honey sauce.

Add to Your Own Pantry

I’m eager to try other dishes from Pop-Up Pantry. I appreciated the way I could put a three-course gourmet meal on the table with no more effort than shopping online, boiling water, and turning on the oven.

If you’re interested in trying out Pop-Up Pantry, visit their website and sign up to browse the menus. If you place an order, use discount code “SOUTHBAY15” at check out. You’ll receive $15 off your first order, including and special products.

* Some items mentioned in this article were provided on a complimentary basis for the purpose of this review. Prices and menu items mentioned are subject to change without notice. This story was accurate when it was published and reflects the uninfluenced opinions of the reviewers.

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About the Author

Michael loves grilling, rum, and has a weakness for key lime pie.

2 Responses to “Pop-Up Pantry Delivers Gourmet Meals to Your Door; We Try Their Moroccan Lamb Stew”

  1. This looks great! I’m going to need to try this!! Thanks for the review!

  2. You’re welcome! Let me know which ones you try out. We can swap notes on the menus, prep, and results. I’ll be trying out a couple more too!