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Lagusta’s Luscious, (Good) Organic Vegan at Your (Mediocre) Service

They also make some bangin' truffles.

They also make some bangin’ truffles.

Lagusta’s Luscious is a vegan food home delivery service run by namesake Lagusta out of New Paltz, New York. LL emphasizes organic, healthy, whole foods with a gourmet angle, e.g. Meyer lemons cured in olive oil and sea salt for thirty days, brown rice soaked at high temps in a fancy cooker to increase levels of fancy amino acids. The food itself is solid and good (despite an overabundance of pumpkin oil). The tofu and greens, lavender roasted vegetables and brownie bites were particularly tasty, even great. But I became less and less excited by the meals the more I revisited them. Their tastes were too similar (rice, veggies, sauce, repeat), and I have a short attention span with food. The cost of the service, $125 per week for four meals that serve two people ($7+ delivery charge), doesn’t make sense for my lifestyle. I’ve got time to steam greens and roast veggies myself–sans GABA brown rice and cured lemons. And living in Brooklyn, I can get good, oily vegan food delivered from a number of establishments within a half hour (suck it, Portland).

But if the service were better, I might consider signing up for a particularly busy week now and then. Lagusta gives you a two-hour window during which your food is supposed to arrive and another a week later, for the reusable dishes to be picked up. The delivery was an hour and a half late, and the pick up was two and a half hours late, making the whole thing completely unusable for anyone with a steady job and no doorman building. Lagusta prides herself on the eco-friendliness of her company, but is the carbon-usage of the car that drives down from upstate each Tuesday offset by the savings of her bike-powered washing machine? Methinks not. (That being said, I totally want one–the washing machine, rather, not the car.)

Update: Oops, that’d be pumpkinseed oil and pesto-roasted veggies.

3 Comments

  1. Comment by

    Patrick Kwan

    on #

    I prefer my own trans fat-laden truffles, but Lagusta and Jacob make some pretty awesome ones as well with tons of fun flavors – wasabi! ginger! Kahlua! pomegranate! They only make truffles every now and then, and the next ship date is just around the corner on March 30th. If you miss the March shipment, the next one will be some time in May.

  2. Comment by

    lagusta

    on #

    I’m a fan of supervegan, so I thought I’d weigh in here with my perspective on Susie’s review. A few comments:

    1) As I said to Susie in an email that day, the week that she got the meals it just happens that our excellent delivery woman, Jenny, had major car troubles. She actually got into a pretty bad accident that day (car totaled, she was fine). The next week when she went to pick up the meals, was also an unusually hectic week – as anyone who has driven around NYC can attest, it happens. We pride ourselves on almost always delivering within the 2 hour time frame.

    2) I thought that Susie would review the food from an objective standpoint – obviously the service is not intended for her, as someone who has time to cook. It is intended for busy professionals, often with families, who desire to eat healthy organic food but don’t have the time to cook it.

    3) I am rather flummoxed by the statement that my meals are “rice, veggies, sauce, repeat.” The week that she got meals they included a slow-cooked Moroccan chickpea tagine, barbecued tempeh (did I mention I make my own tempeh? All my tempeh starts with soybeans and tempeh spore.) with a homemade complex barbecue sauce, and grilled greens-stuffed tofu pockets with a cilantro/garlic/ginger/pumpkinseed oil marinade – none of which could be classified as “rice, veggies, sauce, repeat” – only one of the dishes even had rice. And shouldn’t vegans be eating veggies? I also make sure to include a healthy protein source in every meal. Again, I’m a little confused.

    4) Pumpkinseed oil! I actually only use pumpkinseed oil four times a year, as I repeat dishes in a four-month cycle. The dish that she refers to is a special dish (mentioned above) that emphasizes the flavor of Syrian roasted pumpkinseed oil (which is high in Omega 3s and all that – a healthy fat!) – it’s certainly not a flavor that I use every week.

    5) Perhaps the reason that Susie got tired of the meals was because of over-generosity on my part – I gave her the biggest meal plan, which is usually shared by 2 or more adults. I always have a desire to feed vegans – I guess my generosity didn’t pay off so well this time, as if I had given her less food she would be hungry for more. : )

    6) Because I cook with the freshest seasonal ingredients, my menu occasionally changes. I had a dish of roasted vegetables with lavender listed on the website for the week she got the meals. When I realized that I had lots of pesto frozen from my summertime local pesto harvest (I cook seasonally, so I freeze what I can’t use during the season), I changed the dish to roasted vegetables with pesto, which was listed on the menu sheet that comes with every delivery. I hope that Susie did in fact eat the meals – her mention of “lavender roasted vegetables” has me a little worried since that dish didn’t exist that week.

    7) The review stated that the delivery was 4 meals. In actuality, it is 6 different dishes, not including various sauces or toppings, like the homemade spicy harissa (chile paste with spices) that accompanied the Moroccan tagine mentioned above.

    8) As she stated, I am indeed obsessed with the “eco-friendliness” of my company. In addition to the bike-powered washer, low-energy appliances, locally-sourced food, compact fluorescent lightbulbs, 0 VOC paint, (forthcoming) bamboo flooring, lack of animal protein, minimal packaging, reusable containers, eco-friendly cleaning products, recycled paper, and much more, I also donate money to offset the carbon emissions of running the business, and about half of our deliveries are done in a hybrid Prius, which takes care of some of my guilt about delivering food 1.5 hours from where it is made (and, mostly, grown).

    Thanks for your time.

  3. Comment by

    R.Johnson

    on #

    Pay little attention to Susie’s review!
    Lagusta’s food is wonderful and tasty. I have been eating it for over six months now. I’m always satisfied, and often surprised.
    Pay particular attention to the fact that Susie claimed to eat a meal that Lagusta never even made (I remember that week).

    Criticizing Lagusta’s attempts at being “eco-friendly” is absolutely absurd!!! Are there any organic farms in Brooklyn? Is anything in NYC locally grown? If Susie were to have bought any of those veggies locally, which she claims she could easily do, the veggies would no doubt be organics trucked all the way from either California, or if she was lucky, one of the same local farms that Lagusta receives hers from! In either case Lagusta’s carbon-usage is less, or at worst, equal to anything Susie could do in Brooklyn.

    Pay particular attention to these comments made by Susie:
    “The food itself is solid and good”
    “I have a short attention span with food”

    Susie’s comment that Lagusta’s service “doesn’t make sense for my lifestyle” is honest and respectable, but I also believe Susie allowed that fact to influence her review.

    As for late deliveries, it was only a very rare occasion that this has ever occurred (in my experience), and Lagusta explained that adequately.

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