We all know that eating nutritious meals is important for our overall health and wellness. Unfortunately, when life gets busy, it’s easy to resort to cheap, easy fast food and crappy convenience meals. Snap Kitchen is aiming to change that with its gourmet heat-and-eat meals, available at their stores, which are located throughout Texas, where the company originated, as well as Chicago and, most recently, Philadelphia.
From the outside, the Snap Kitchen in Philadelphia’s Old City fits right in with the eclectic mix of cafes, boutiques and restaurants lining the city streets. I was envisioning a larger space with an earthier vibe like the health food stores of yore, but what I got was the set from Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” video in miniature, minus Thom Yorke in a shopping cart. A small, spare space was lined with tidy packages conveniently color-coded according to whether the meal is made with red meat, poultry or seafood, or whether it’s a vegetarian dish. Nutritional information is clearly printed on the label, so it’s easy to choose meals that align with dietary needs, such as paleo-friendly or gluten-free items. A little station is set up with a microwave, plastic utensils and condiments. (The packages also have directions for reheating items in the oven as well, if the microwave isn’t your thing.)
Snap Kitchen doesn’t just cater to the lunchtime crowd. Breakfast choices run the gamut from banana pancakes and yogurt parfaits to cheesy egg cups with chunks of roasted butternut squash. A streamlined snack selection includes the shop’s own kale chips, hummus, cinnamon applesauce and tiny baked goods such as cookies and brownies. The beverage selection is small but varied, including a line of Snap Kitchen juices, the requisite cold brew coffee and La Croix sparkling flavored water.
As with most things healthy and cool, all of this convenience comes with a price. My bill for two meals, a flatbread, a dessert and a juice was $31.45 before tax. Not exactly bargain prices, especially if you’re on a strict budget.
Snap Kitchen meals are seriously delicious, no qualifiers necessary. I started my adventure with the Crunchy Coconut Shrimp ($9.49), five large, juicy shrimp coated in coconut, served with chunks of pineapple and Thai basil rice. Rice usually requires a little extra love to be revived, but the gourmet gods have blessed Snap Kitchen with the magical ability to make rice that can be reheated without sacrificing texture or flavor. The package may seem small, but the portion was surprisingly filling. This dish was flavorful and bright, the coconut bringing just the right amount of sweetness to the pleasant hit of heat from jalapeño, black pepper and garlic, while green onion provided extra crunch.
I was similarly impressed with the Chicken Sausage Breakfast Tacos ($5.49), two paleo tortillas stuffed with a fantastic filling consisting of homemade chicken sausage, egg whites and tomato and served with a verdant, creamy avocado sauce. The tacos were surprisingly hearty and tasted fresh, as if they had just been cooked. I paired this with Snap Kitchen’s Energy Boost juice ($7.99), a refreshing blend of lime, papaya, watermelon, mint and coconut water that tastes like summer in a bottle. It was the perfect breakfast to help me get going after a sluggish start to the day. (The juices are unpasteurized, so keep that in mind when choosing a beverage).
The Provencal Flatbread ($4.49) is a solid snack choice for vegetarians and those following a paleo diet. Cauliflower crusts can be tricky business, but this one had a great texture and the tomato sauce was delicious. I did miss the ooey gooeyness that comes with other flatbread pizzas, but there was a tasty sprinkling of cheese. Overall it was a great bite for keeping hunger at bay without leaving me feeling stuffed.
Finish your meal off with a sweet treat. I went with the Key Lime Pie ($3.99), and the lip-puckering power with this one is strong, just the way I like my citrus desserts. The “pie filling” is actually yogurt-based, giving it that extra bit of tang and, along with gelatin, imparts a wonderfully silky texture, while the date-and-pecan “crust” satisfies the need for crunch and tempers the tang just enough to keep it from being overwhelming. This is a home run.
In a way, I’m glad I don’t live or work too close to Snap Kitchen because I would be tempted to go every day, and this girl’s on a budget. That being said, I totally signed up for a rewards card so the next time I’m in Philly, I can try some more goodies, like the Chicken Snack Wraps, Chimichurri Beef and Carrot Ginger Elixir. If you live near one of Snap Kitchen’s locations, check them out and taste the goodness for yourself.