Every night's the same: After working late, cooking is the last thing we're thinking about. Spice Kitchen and Bar chef and owner Ben Bebenroth feels our pain. "[My wife] and I are working parents," he says. "We cook at home three nights a week and do a big push on Sunday to have leftovers all week, and it's not enough." So when Mod Meals CEO Bruce Teicher approached Bebenroth with the idea for a delivery service offering fresh meals prepared by local chefs, Bebenroth jumped on board as chief culinary officer. Mod Meals offers a rotating lineup of entrees and desserts made by Bebenroth, Flying Fig's Karen Small, Momocho's Eric Williams and Cork and Cleaver Social Kitchen's Brian Okin — all delivered to your door with easy heating instructions. "It's Uber for food," Bebenroth says. "We want to be a step up from to-go food." We test-drive some of the meals.
Ben Bebenroth's Memphis BBQ brisket with creamy slaw and potatoes ($13.95)
It may be the middle of winter, but these fork-tender slices of meat doused with a bright, tangy sauce and hearty side of potato salad warm us up like a midsummer day. And it's easy breezy to heat — just remove the slaw (a crunchy combo of cabbage and carrots with a light wash of mayo) and pop in the microwave for two to 2 1/2 minutes. Our only complaint? We wish there was more to devour.
Eric Williams' quajillo roasted chicken tamales ($12.95)
Skip the Taco Bell drive-thru and put this comforting dish on your table instead. Corn masa patties are wrapped in steamed cornhusks and then slow cooked for hours. It arrives at your door with a mound of shredded roasted chicken, pickled vegetables, Cotija cheese and Mexican crema. Just pop in the microwave for three minutes, and it's fiesta time.
Karen Small's chicken meatballs with pesto, Yukon gold potatoes and broccoli ($13.95)
These meatballs get lightened up by using chicken and an addictive herb pesto. It may take a little extra work to heat the broccoli separately (just one minute in the microwave — yes, we're that lazy) but it's worth it when you scoop up a bite of the creamy Yukon Gold mashed potatoes with a piece of juicy meatballs, bright green sauce and perfectly heated veggie.
Brian Okin's late autumn roasted vegetable salad ($9.95)
We've never had a hot salad. But after heating in the oven for seven to eight minutes, we're smitten with this hearty and healthy dish. This vegan and gluten-free option is filled with green lentils, cauliflower, spaghetti squash, Brussels sprouts, red peppers and toasted curry pepitos. The portion was so big we had plenty left for lunch the next day.