Dinner Elf: A New Kind of Meal Delivery Comes to San Antonio (and Boerne!)
You all know that I’ve been on the hunt for a long time for something…anything to make meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking for a family easier, right? I’ve talked about that here, here, and here. Well, starting March 1st, something really great is coming to San Antonio. I’ve tried it, loved it, and am here to tell you all about it! So,
WHAT IS DINNER ELF?
Dinner Elf considers itself a “meal delivery service”, but honestly, it’s SO much more than that. These are fully trained and background-checked chefs who shop for your food on the way to your house, cook the food in your own kitchen, and package everything up into containers and store it in the refrigerator for you. Then…THEY CLEAN. Yup, you heard that right. You don’t have to shop, cook, OR clean. The hardest thing you are expected to do is choose your meals!
And speaking of meals,
WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
One thing that impressed me about the menu options available through Dinner Elf is that they are all surprisingly healthy! There are quite a few Whole 30 and “Skinny” options on the menu, entrees are mostly made with lean meats like chicken, turkey, or fish and there’s definitely no shortage of veggies. I was also pleasantly surprised that the meals are not at all carb heavy. You aren't going to see a lot of sugar or excess rice, pasta, or white potatoes. But, not to worry, they also have kid-friendly options like scratch-made macaroni and cheese and baked chicken tenders. You can start your menu planning in a number of ways, including selecting categories such as "Simple", "Adventurous", "Kid Friendly", "Gluten Free", or "Vegetarian". You can also sort menu options by price, cuisine, or by most popular.
HOW DOES IT WORK and HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
You sign up through the website, choose THREE meals, pay a $35 deposit, and select your meal delivery appointment day/time. A family-sized main course starts at $30 and the sides start at $10, making the whole meal $40 or $10 per plate for a family of four. You can also opt for organic groceries, which adds a small fee. BUT GET THIS: there’s an optional Savings Club you can join that will save you BIG money if you intend to use the service on a regular basis. In fact, you’ll save $20 per appointment if you have your meals prepared Wednesday-Saturday, making your total start at $100 per week or $8.33 per plate!
You’re probably thinking (like I was) that the fact that meals start at $30 and sides start at $10 must mean there’s like TWO options at that price point and everything else must be way more expensive, right? Nope. You’ll find all kinds of options at those prices, including Asian Barbecue Drumsticks, Beef Ragu over Zoodles, and Chicken Enchiladas. The most expensive options on the menu were in the $42-46 range and included the likes of Brown Sugar Baked Salmon, King Ranch Chicken Casserole, and Coconut Curry Scallops.
In chatting with Nicole, co-founder of Dinner Elf, she mentioned that she “never wanted to start a service for the 1%.”; that she “wanted to create a better way for lots of busy families to have more time in the day and eat better.” And honestly, that’s what she did! For comparison’s sake, if you read my review of Home Chef, then you know that their meals also start at $10 per plate. BUT, does Home Chef come to your house and cook for you? Put it all away? Clean your kitchen? Offer a Savings Club? Nope. So you’re paying the same price with Dinner Elf (potentially less), but again, getting so much more than what your standard meal delivery service offers.
So, HOW DID MY APPOINTMENT GO?
Fantastic, obviously! 😊 Elf Nolan showed up at my house right on time with everything he needed to cook our meal and clean up. Yup, he brought his own cleaning supplies…even his own mop! He removed his shoes at the door (we don’t even do that…ha!), was super friendly and easy to chat with, and I enjoyed picking his brain about his favorite places to dine in San Antonio (he was part of the original crew at The Grill in Leon Springs, you know!). When he left, we had some amazing Chicken Enchiladas with Cilantro-Lime Jasmine Rice in our fridge for dinner that evening, and my kitchen was-I kid you not-cleaner than it was when he arrived.
So, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of this new San Antonio meal delivery service. Here’s what we like about it:
There are so many options on the menu and the variety is fantastic. There were plenty of items listed that I think even my pickiest eater would enjoy.
The menu is full of healthy options that I’d actually be glad to feed my family!
You can save foods to your “Favorites” for easier ordering next time.
There’s no membership required; you order and pay as you go.
If you decide to join the Savings Club, it pays for itself within just two or three appointments…and makes each meal cost less than you’d likely spend going out!
Having dinner ingredients delivered means a lot less time in the grocery store!
Since your items are shopped for immediately prior to your appointment, they’re fresh and of great quality.
The food was amazing!
And can I tell you what we LOVE about it?
That Dinner Elf makes it easier than ever to help a family through a season of need through the “Give Dinner” meal page function on their website. Know a family who’s just welcomed a new baby? Or one who’s lost a loved one? Or one who’s dealing with an illness? You can create a Meal Page to coordinate a group gift of dinner. It’s like the old “meal train” days of yore, only in the digital age and even easier...because you don't actually have to make and take the casserole across town!
That it’s an Austin-based, small business: Texas Proud.
That it was co-founded by a WOMAN...a MOM...who was also a SCIENTIST. Who simply wanted to make it easier for today’s moms to have it all.
And here’s what we don't care for:
Honestly, not a thing. I could say that I don’t like that you have to tip, but that just doesn’t make much sense. If you go out to eat, you tip. If you didn’t tip, then prices would likely be raised to cover the difference. And, I feel amazing service should be rewarded. So…I, for real, do not have a single thing that I do not like about Dinner Elf!
Now here’s the fun part. Nicole has been kind enough to provide a link that will allow one free sample appointment for one of YOU! I have it…in my inbox, just waiting to be given away. How do you win? Well, head on over to this post on Instagram or this pinned post on Facebook and follow the instructions. It’s that easy! I’ll announce the winner through both social media pages on 3/2/18 at 8:00pm. You must be in the San Antonio metro area to enter!
And if you don't care to enter the giveaway (whaaaaat??) or if you don't happen to win, Dinner Elf is giving you a $50 credit when you book a $50 sample appointment anytime in the month of March! Or, if you discover this post after March, you can always use RC5566 to get $10 off your first appointment and generate a $10 donation by Dinner Elf to a local Meal Page for a family in a season of need.
Well, what are you waiting for?! Go check it out and enter to win FREE dinner for your family or book your sample appointment today. You're going to get back some incredibly precious time in your busy life...and you’re going to LOVE IT!
And did you enjoy this post? Want to see more like it? Subscribe here for the weekly newsletter!
NOTE: This post was written in partnership with Dinner Elf.