9888 Waples Street, Sorrento Valley
With the glut of Silicon Valley tech companies vying for a piece of the food home delivery market the past year, I was surprised to discover a small local business pursuing its own niche: Car’s Jars.
Car would be Carly McHenry, whose idea is to use glass mason jars as vessels for salads prepared weekly, ordered via a website and delivered to a customer’s doorstep on a Monday morning. Construction-wise, the salad dressing sits at the bottom of the jar, with salad ingredients stacked above it to keep fresh for several days.
Carsjars.com offers between six and ten salad options, in pint or 1.5 pint jars. But other dishes may apply to the four-jar minimum order. I went with a yellow split pea soup, turkey/broccoli meatball pasta, and overnight oats with spiced pumpkin and chia seeds in addition to a peppercorn chicken salad.
Salads run $8.50-10.50, the Soup du Jar goes $7.50-9.50, and oatmeal $5.25 for a half pint. I’m terrible at figuring out portion sizes versus my appetite, so to start out the four-jar order I opted for a pint each of soup and salad, figuring I would pair them for lunch. I hoped a pint and a half of pasta would suffice for dinner, with the oatmeal for breakfast.
I ordered just before the 11:59 p.m. Friday deadline, and by 11 a.m. the following Monday the doorbell rang. I broke out a couple of bowls, pouring the soup into first. I couldn’t find any heating instructions on the jar, order invoice, or website, so I just stuck it in the microwave awhile and hoped for the best.
With the salad I used even less tact. I thought I could just pour the salad out of the jar the way I had the soup. And after a lot of smacking the jar with my palm, it worked. But it earned me the full dose of red wine vinaigrette at the bottom of the jar — and Car doesn’t skimp on dressing.
Ingredients are sourced at Specialty Produce, so the spinach, tomatoes, kalamata olives, and green beans were fresh and of good quality — same with the chicken. But I think the idea is to fork this stuff out of the jar and then pour the dressing to taste. Still, between the vinegary salad and cuminy soup, I enjoyed a satisfying lunch — albeit for 17 dollars.
At dinnertime, a note on the cap of the larger pasta jar wisely reminded me to remove the arugula before heating. I didn’t have great expectations for turkey/broccoli meatballs, but the whole dish tasted great, and would have satisfied me...except I have a great hunger, apparently, and went out for a couple slices of pizza to fill me up afterwards.
The oatmeal proved enough for a light day starter, and I liked the food across the board. But cost-wise I’d hoped one jar would be enough to fill me up and learned instead that I’m a two-pint kind of guy. In the plus column, I’ve got a great new set of pickling jars.