Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Visit to Sprig!

Disclosure: All opinions below are my own. Sprig provided me with lunch in exchange for my feedback on their service. I asked and received permission from Sprig to post some fun facts about their service on my blog. All images courtesy of Sprig.

It's no secret that I am crazy about Sprig. When I first heard about it from my best friend, I immediately downloaded the app that night and ordered my first delicious meal after a long day at work. Twenty minutes later, my meal was delivered to my apartment by a smiley server who also handed me a delicious gourmet dark chocolate truffle. 

You may be asking, what is Sprig? Sprig is an app that allows you to essentially dine on demand. Right now, it serves San Francisco. But I have a good feeling they'll expand...

Each day, the simple Sprig app features three homemade lunches and three homemade dinners for you to choose from. Lunches are priced at $9 a meal and dinner is priced at $10 a meal, plus tax and delivery. Meals are clearly labeled such as "vegetarian" or "paleo-friendly" and there is always at least one veggie and one gluten-free option, which I appreciate. There are many things I love about Sprig, but what I love most is that their meals are made with real food, which is local, sustainable, and organic, and they are very fairly priced, in my opinion. I could easily drop at least $12 at the Whole Foods hot bar. But these days, I much prefer Sprig to that. 

Grilled local peaches on a bed of watercress and spinach, topped with toasted hazelnuts, prosciutto, and a smoked tomato vinaigrette - Source

Bavette steak crusted with peppercorns, grilled and served with a red wine dijon vinaigrette. Served with roasted sweet potatoes and asparagus - Source

I received an email from one of Sprig's co-founders, Morgan, asking me if I'd like to come to Sprig for lunch and provide feedback on the service. I was pretty pumped to get this email, because I obviously get excited over anything good-food related, so I happily obliged. And better yet, Morgan also kindly agreed to answer a few questions about Sprig for the blog. 

I pranced on over to Sprig's 'office' which is located in an old Chevy's restaurant in San Francisco. The office is absolutely beautiful, spacious, and features a huge commercial kitchen in which the dinner meals are made (lunch meals are made in a different location in the city). Over lunch, which was a delicious "Irie Bowl" featuring greens, rice, roasted chicken, pickled veggies with a cumin dressing, I sat with Morgan and answered his questions about Sprig, and then, he answered a few of mine!

Me: So, what exactly is your role at Sprig? 

Morgan: Good question! I am one of the co-founders and I work a lot on visual design, menu design, and the overall culinary strategy. 

Me: Since I'm studying nutrition, when is Sprig going to have nutritional information available for the meals?
Morgan: Nutritional information is on it's way soon. This means, you'll be able to review calories, fat, protein, etc... for each meal on your mobile device. 

Me: How on earth do you keep your prices so very low for the excellent quality of food? 
Morgan: Honestly, it's all about efficiency, scale, and relationships. And, we pay fare wages to our servers. Our head Chef, Nate Keller, has great relationships with local farmers. We believe in and practice responsible sourcing. This can translate into using the whole animal for the meal, rather than just certain parts.*
*(When I heard this, I liked it immediately. Who would want to eat chicken breasts every night anyways...?)

Me: What are you seeing in terms of trends of how San Franciscans like to eat?
Morgan: Our customers continue to surprise us! We'll think something will perform well, but then something else will perform even better. We have data scientists working on figuring out trends, but our customers really do continue to surprise us in terms of what they do and don't order.

Me: Has there ever been a dish that didn't sell very well at all? Which dishes sell really well?

Morgan: We did a kale and ricotta sandwich on focaccia bread. We thought it was great because it was so simple and delicious. However, it was just too simple, and didn't sell all that well. The chefs loved it, but apparently it wasn't as appealing to the customers. As far as top-selling dishes, customers love our Beef Bourguignon and Coq au Vin.

What is your favorite Sprig meal?

I tend to prefer fruit-forward dishes, and I really like the Kale Sunrise Salad. Who would think to put granola on a salad? It just works though. We came up with this idea late one night while working. 

San Francisco friends: have you tried Sprig? They've got some incredible guest chefs lined up in the near future...just warning you! Past guest chefs included Stuart Brioza of State Bird Provisions and Cortney Burns of Bar Tartine. Of course, they always have their own great Executive Chef, Nate Keller (former EC at Google). You can use this code to get $10 off (basically a meal!) when you sign up: Duggan929

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Sprig has continued success and expands across the states, beyond San Francisco. I just really love that they are committed to making it easy for anyone to eat well, and by well, I mean, eat real, darn good food.  

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Student

5:31am: Alarm goes off. Thank goodness for the time change this past weekend! Time to get ready for yoga, with the boyfriend (I always enjoy this more than he does).

6am - 7am: Vinyasa flow class. I haven't made it to a 6am yoga class in a while, but this was a lovely way to start my day. Sweat, sweat, sweat with a fabulous teacher. I freshen up a bit after class.

7:10am: I convince Brent to grab a quick coffee to go with me across the street before driving home to drop him off and then to school.

7:50am: Park at school and walk to O-Chem class. I'm a morning person, and my favorite part of the morning is drinking coffee or tea and perusing my favorite blogs and websites, before O-Chem of course. 

8:10am-9:30am: Sit in O-Chem lecture, nod my head a lot, though I am really, really confused. My Professor moves so quickly through PowerPoints, and I begin to think about my final midterm next week for this class. Oh, this class...

9:30 to 10:50am: I have a break Tuesdays and Thursdays between classes, so I usually head to the library to study and print various things out. I also eat my overnight oats in a jar! Now that the weather is cooler, I am craving heavier foods. 

Overnight oats with gluten-free oats, flaxseeds, almond milk, coconut butter, and almond butter.

11am to 12:15pm: Foodservice Systems Management class.

12:20 to 12:40pm: After my class, I swing by my O-Chem professor's office hours. Then, I walk back to my car. I'm starting to get hungry so I eat a hardboiled egg that started cracking in my backpack. 

1:30: I decide, last-minute, to drive to the VA Hospital as I need to get an antibody test done and turn in some paperwork before becoming a volunteer in their Nutrition department. When I arrive at the VA, I unfortunately have to sit there for an hour and a half only to find out that I can no longer get this testing done there for free. Major bummer. Majorly frustrating when I could have been using this time to be more productive. And now, I'm majorly hungry! At 3pm, I drive home.

3:30pm: Get home and eat eat eat! I didn't plan to go to the VA this afternoon, so I was beyond starving when I got home. Some things piled up on me today and I kind of lost it, alone, at one point in my car. Sometimes when I'm stressed, it takes just a tiny thing to tip me over. So when I got home, I decided to chill out for a bit and take some yoga breaths (for reals). 

Trail mix from Trader Joe's. If only there were more pistachios in it...

3:45pm to 4:15pm: I heat up leftovers from dinner last night which includes zucchini and carrot noodles with jalapeƱo sausage and tomato sauce, topped with Pecorino Romano. This tastes so good! I eat while watching the last half of Revenge from the other night. (PS: Revenge has gotten pretty bad...)

4:15pm to 4:45pm: I get ready to go to a volunteer gig I just started. Tonight, I am observing a weight loss support group for morbidly obese people at a medical clinic near my apartment. 

5pm to 7:15pm: I observe the weight loss support group. I absolutely love the RD who I am volunteering for. I take notes and ask lots of questions. After feeling rather frustrated earlier today, as well as overloaded by the thought of my looming O-Chem and Physiology tests, I feel grateful to be pursuing the career I love. Sitting in on this group makes me feel excited to do what I want to do. 

7:30 to 9pm: I walk home and work on my first draft of my budget paper for my Foodservice Management Class. This class involves writing a full business plan, and this budget paper is one of the main components. I have to admit, with all the science involved in my program, I look forward to anytime I get to write. 

9pm: Eat dinner. I know, I know. This is probably too late. My schedule got screwed up today by my spontaneous trip to the VA and my late lunch filled me up until 9pm. I heat up some PaleOMG beef and broccoli (without cashews since I didn't have any), also known as the most delicious dinner. Ever!

9:30pm to 10:30pm: Work on my paper a little more, then catch up on emails. Munch on a large piece of this while thinking to myself that I think I may in fact have a mild food allergy towards bananas...that's another story though.

I go to bed around 11pm. This day was good, but long and emotionally draining for some reason. Probably some built-up stress.

It's a reminder that 1) I worry and stress too much. And 2) There will be challenging days but I must be kind to myself and remain positive. And 3) I need to have a better snack stash in my car and backpack!