NatureBox Canada – July 2014 Review

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2014-07-16 21.11.20

I hope everyone is enjoying their subscription so far. We’re pretty happy with ours and we hope the rest of you are as well. With so many yummy snacks in their vault, we can’t wait until we try each and every one!

For those of you that are still on the fence, I think you can always give it a try and if you don’t like it, you can always cancel at any time. Maybe these posts will convince you by giving you that little push you needed.

You probably want me to stop blabbing now. I’ll cut right to the chase and let you decide for yourself :).

You can find the following in this month’s NatureBox:

  • Cinnamon Swirl Kettle Kernels
  • Coconut Date Energy Bites
  • Sourdough Cheddar Pretzels
  • Black and White Granola
  • Granny Smith Apples

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Cinnamon Swirl Kettle Kernels

Crunchy and oh-so-slightly sweet, you’ll be amped up to tackle the rest of your day in no time.

Manley-Icon

“I love cinnamon and kernels so the fact that the two of them are able to come together is amazing! I will admit though, I find kernels taste better with saltier flavours like BBQ or ranch but this one is pleasant as well. ”

Duy-Icon

“A surprisingly good combination. Crunchy with a nice kick from the cinnamon.”

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Coconut Date Energy Bites

Sweet yet simple and totally satisfying, eating clean has never been so delicious.

Manley-Icon

“I wasn’t sure how I would feel about these because I like dates but hate coconut. It actually comes together really nicely but are a little too sweet for me. I can probably do one a day but that’s it.”

Duy-Icon

“Dates are already near the top of my list as a snack, but these only solidified it’s ranking even more so. They’re really soft and sweet, reminds me of those rolled up Chinese fruit candies.”

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Sourdough Cheddar Pretzels

Pretzels with the comforting flavors of cheddar-sprinkled sourdough and a dash of ale.

Manley-Icon

“I don’t mind cheese on my snacks but this one was just too salty. I might just pass on this one and share it with some friends.”

Duy-Icon

“Again, not a fan of cheese on my snacks; but these were delicious. The bite sized blocks were dusted lightly with cheese and (did I read this right?) BEER? Loved them.”

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Black and White Granola

Rolled oats are flavored with sweet cocoa, light vanilla and floral spice from a pinch of cardamom.

Manley-Icon

“I know Duy finds granola bland but I love putting it in my Greek yogurt every morning. This one had a nice twist to it; chocolate granola bits blended with vanilla.”

Duy-Icon

“As mentioned in my last review, granolas have becomes fairly stale to me as a snack lately. This version adds in some cocoa flavouring which changed things up a bit. Better but still nothing new by any means.”

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Granny Smith Apples

These tart and chewy apple rings will help you naturally replenish your energy.

Manley-Icon

“I was expecting the dried apples to be a little crispy but they fell pretty flat. It’s not addicting but I can picture myself finishing the whole bag. It’s not overly salty or sweet so you don’t really think twice about it. I still prefer my dried mangoes.”

Duy-Icon

“After my first bite it just felt like any other dehydrated fruit snack. A few minutes later and I inadvertently chowed through half the bag while reading through the day’s news. The dried out apple rings are just at the right sweetness without any of the sourness you get from a fresh apple. Although I still love my regular apples, these would be a great messy-free snack to keep on the side.”

Le Cafe Michi Review

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1802 Pharmacy Avenue

(416) 490-9688

Cuisine: Japanese/Dessert

Type: Cafe/Restaurant

Price: Pricey

Rating

Food: 9/10

Atmosphere: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Le Cafe Michi on Urbanspoon

This restaurant is a little further then where I usually venture. Scarborough is on the East end of the GTA but if you live close by, I highly recommend checking out the restaurants around you. If you’re into Asian food, it’s where a lot of Chinese and possibly Japanese immigrants first settle in Canada so the food you’ll taste is very authentic.

Unlike other Japanese restaurants that you’ll find, this one isn’t run by Chinese or Koreans. Every person that works there is indeed, Japanese.

There are a lot of set lunches and dinners that include miso soup, salad and cake at great prices too. I’ve gotten the sets twice and always left feeling just full; not lacking or extremely full.

Miso Soup

The Miso Soup comes in an adorable porcelain cup. It’s not too watery or thick and has a nice consistency. Miso soup generally has a very generic taste no matter where you go but this one is a little different where the flavour is bolder.

Green Salad

I love how their Salad isn’t made from iceberg lettuce. They use romaine lettuce and put just enough dressing so that it’s not overly wet or dry.

Cafe Michi Hot Pot Udon

I had the Cafe Michi Hot Pot Udon and loved every bite. The udon noodles didn’t break apart as I slurped them up and the broth wasn’t too salty and flavoured everything quite nicely. Thinking back on it now, I wouldn’t mind a bowl right now…

Tamago Don

The Tamago Don is a delicious bowl of spinach, onions, mushrooms and eggs simmered together over rice. One of the reasons I like sushi rice over jasmine is because it’s shorter and has more of a sticky, wet consistency. This also depends on the way you cook it but it sticks together easier so picking it up with the chopsticks isn’t a challenge. I love how the egg is cooked but still liquid so it mixes with the rice. I can’t eat plain rice by itself so I love any kind of “sauce”.

Beef Curry Rice Large

The Beef Curry Rice Large is a great dish to try if you’ve never had Japanese curry. It’s thicker than Indian curry and doesn’t always have to be spicy. Japanese curry is also a little sweeter and uses less spices. This dish comes in two sizes so if you generally eat less, opt for the small.

Lemon Chiffon

This part is what I was waiting for, dessert. Passing by the cake display case, I wanted to try them all but that just means I’ll have to go back more often :)!

For my first visit, I got the Lemon Chiffon Cake and it was so moist and light!   I loved how the cream wasn’t heavy so it didn’t make me guilty eating it. Did I mention how moist it is?

Green Tea Cake

The Green Tea Cake was just as fluffy and the red bean paste was a nice touch. If you want something a little different, green tea is a nice option but with it being so main stream now, is it really that unique?

Tofu Cheesecake

This might look like just another slice of cheesecake but look closer. You’ll notice that the colour is much lighter. It’s actually their Tofu Cheesecake and it might not sound appetizing but actually is quite delicious.

Chestnut Mousse Cake

I love chocolate but when I want something lighter, I go for something like the Chestnut Mousse Cake. It has a similar taste with an added nutty flavour. It’s the main ingredient in Nutella after all.

Earl Grey Cake

This Earl Grey Cake is their best seller. Although I’m not a fan of earl grey, I can see the appeal in this cake. It’s for those that don’t like anything too sweet and would be perfect with coffee or tea.

I’ll be back here for sure and won’t stop until I try everything on the menu!

My Favourite Foods

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Hi everyone! It’s been awhile since I wrote a post to all of you. I thought I’d share some of my favourite foods with you. In return, let me know what some of yours are :).

Favourite Cuisine: Korean, Italian, Japanese

Favourite Dish: Seafood Paella, Korean Rice Cakes (Ddukbokki)

Favourite Bubble Tea Drink: Milk Tea with Grass Jelly

Favourite Cocktail: Peach Bellini, Sex on the Beach

Favourite Chocolate Bar: Crunch (you know, the one with all the rice crispy bits?)

Favourite Ice Cream: Cookies and Cream

Favourite Vegetable: Mushrooms! (on my burgers, pizza, omelettes…)

Favourite Fruit: Mango, Durian and Jackfruit

Favourite Cake: Strawberry Shortcake

Favourite Pastry: Eclairs (whipped cream…yum)

Favourite Dessert: Ice Cream (it always manages to cheer me up!)

Favourite Chip: Ketchup and Sour Cream & Onion

Favourite Gum: Cinnamon

Favourite Icing: Cream Cheese Frosting

Favourite Eggs: Scrambled

Favourite Greens: Spinach, Broccoli

Favourite Sashimi: Butter Fish

Favourite Seafood: Squid (fried, battered, barbecued, boiled…)

Mildred’s Temple Kitchen Review

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85 Hanna Avenue

(416) 588-5695

www.templekitchen.com

Cuisine:Brunch/Canadian

Type: Trendy Restaurant

Pricing: Average

Rating

Food: 6/10

Service: 7/10

Atmosphere: 7/10

Mildred's Temple Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Brunch can be seen as a late breakfast or a early lunch but whichever way you look at it, it’s a great way to spend quality time with who you’re with; whether it’s a significant other or close friends. Mildred’s is a very popular spot so you may have to wait awhile but they try to accommodate everyone.

Green Kombucha Lime The Green Kombucha Lime is a detox, cleansing tea and is great if you don’t want to feel so bloated or heavy after. The teapot isn’t big so it’ll fill a little more than two cups but if you can catch your server, they can always refill the pot with hot water. The taste is very mild and light so if you’re not a big tea drinker, you don’t have to worry about it being strong.

Scones I love hot Scones, especially with some jam and butter. The outside is hard and crunchy but if you split it open, it’s soft and fluffy. Even though a scone might be flavoured or have fruit, it’s still a little plain which is what the spreads are for.

Pancakes I love Pancakes, especially when they’re thick and fluffy like these but the only problem is, I can never really finish it. I find it too heavy so when I get to the last one, I’m always struggling. But don’t avoid the pancakes because of my reasoning alone! I’m sure there’s someone nearby who would be more than welcome to give a helping hand :).

Burger The Burger is a breakfast steak on top of a thick baguette slice topped with two sunny side up eggs. It may look a little small but this can leave you quite full.

Vida's Choice Vida’s Choice is a croissant sandwich with smoked salmon, two poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. This one sounded the most promising and while the croissant was crispy and the eggs were still runny, it left you wanting more.

Tart - carmalized onions, spinach, cheese Their brunch Tart is filled with caramelized onions, spinach and cheese; a great combination indeed! I always hated how one serving of quiche was this slice and that was all you got. But when we’re only supposed to have two eggs a day and a whole quiche is almost 10 times that amount, it makes sense. It comes out hot and melts in your mouth.

I was really excited about having brunch here and while I loved the atmosphere, the food didn’t live to my expectations.

NatureBox Canada – June 2014 Review

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2014-06-17 19.40.31 One of me and Duy’s common interests is our love of healthy snacks. We were discussing snacks one day and both happened to mention NatureBox. So you can imagine our excitement when they announced that they were doing a beta for Canada!

NatureBox is a company located in the US and they deliver non-GMO, nutritionist approved snacks right to your door. Everything is organic and there are no artificial sweeteners, food colouring or flavours. You get five full-sized resealable snack bags that ideally should last you a whole month. Because it’s in beta, you aren’t able to choose your snacks or create a profile yet but the full Canadian site is set to launch in Fall 2014.

Personally, I feel that what you put into your body is very important and is directly linked with your health and how you feel as a whole. Think about it, if you put junk into your body, it’s not going to run at it’s best. But if you give it food that’s good for you, you’ll be at the top of your game! But no one is perfect and let’s face it, we all cave sometimes.

You can find the following in the first, ever Canadian NatureBox:

  • Cheddar and Onion Sunflower Kernels
  • Vanilla Macaroon Granola
  • Sea Salt Pop Pops
  • Peanut Butter Nom Noms
  • Big Island Pineapple

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Cheddar and Onion Sunflower Kernels

This seedy snack has all the comforting flavors of aged cheddar cheese and savory onions.

Manley-Icon

“I wasn’t expecting too much from this one because I’ve never really been a huge fan of sunflower seeds. I only ate them when they were available but I would never go out and get them myself. Looking at the seeds, it didn’t look like they were really flavoured but put a handful in your mouth and it hits you right away. It is a different taste so you’ll either like it or you won’t. I thought it went nicely together but make sure you have a glass of water nearby.”

Duy-Icon

“I initially thought that this would be one of the highlights, but I did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped. Although one of the stronger flavours from the selections, I think the cheese just didn’t complement the kernels to my liking. Cheese tends to be a hit or miss for me when it comes to snacking. If cheese is your friend, then this snack is packed with lots of flavour. Do note that it is a bit messy to eat as finger food, but great sprinkled on a meal or salad. P.S. I threw them into a spinach salad, they were GREAT.”

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Vanilla Macaroon Granola

Serve this vanilla coconut-kissed granola as a crunchy accent to your morning cereal.

Manley-Icon

“I wasn’t expecting too much from this one because I’ve never really been a huge fan of sunflower seeds. I only ate them when they were available but I would never go out and get them myself. Looking at the seeds, it didn’t look like they were really flavoured but put a handful in your mouth and it hits you right away. It is a different taste so you’ll either like it or you won’t. I thought it went nicely together but make sure you have a glass of water nearby.”

Duy-Icon

“I enjoyed these but they didn’t not pop out nor were they unique; granola in general have become very mainstream in recent years. I’ve eaten quite a large selection of granola based cereals, and this tastes exactly like every other one that you can find in your local grocery store. Good but not new.”

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Sea Salt Pop Pops

This whimsical take on popcorn is half-popped with full flavor and a dash of sea salt.

Manley-Icon

“I want to go to the closest supermarket and pick up a gigantic bag of these! It isn’t exactly popcorn or kernels but somewhere in between. They are lightly salted and so addicting, I had a handful before stopping myself from eating the whole bag; a mistake Duy made :p.”

Duy-Icon

“I will confess, I did end up finishing this in one sitting. I will describe it as salty popcorn, but with a crunch in each bite. They’re very easy to snack on and not as dry as popcorn.”

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Peanut Butter Nom Noms

Rolled oats, peanuts and a touch of dark chocolate come together for the perfect soft-baked sweetness.

Manley-Icon

“These were my least favourite from this month’s pick, contrary to Duy. I love oatmeal cookies and peanut butter separately but not together in this form. It was semi-sweet because of the dark chocolate but the texture is what threw me off. There was too much going on and it felt like I was eating cold, crumbly oatmeal.”

Duy-Icon

“These were a surprise, I chose to open these last because they simply looked like another take on oatmeal cookies, boy was I wrong. They’re extremely soft and flavourful, I fully approve the ‘nom noms’ suffix to its name. I sometimes get turned off by the usually heavy sweetness in any cookie based snacks, but this one hits the sweet spot, quite literally.”

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Big Island Pineapple

Going away on a weekend trip? Toss these dried fruits into your beach bag for a travel-friendly treat.

Manley-Icon

“I’m a huge fan of dried fruit (my favourite being dried mangoes). I’ve had dried pineapples before so it isn’t anything new. Pineapples pack a lot of flavour so you can expect it to retain most of it in its dried form. Another bonus, it doesn’t leave your tongue feeling numb.”

Duy-Icon

“I live with four Asian women, this snack disappeared right away. Rather off-topic, but my mother started reminiscing and telling everyone a story. Apparently during the Vietnam war, American soldiers would pass dried pineapples out to kids. I sure wish a snack could invoke such emotions and memories for me, alas I live a far different and more sheltered life than my mother once did. Oh right the snack. It tastes as you would expect it, like pineapple slices without the juices. Sweet and delicious.”

NatureBox Monthly Subscription + Meet Duy H

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I think everyone deep down experiences a great deal of joy when they come home to a package on their doorstep. Especially when you do some online shopping and can’t wait to try on that cute dress you bought last week!

This is why I love the concept of monthly subscription boxes because you never know what you’re going to get but each one has a theme.

I recently subscribed to NatureBox because they finally decided to ship to Canada! Yay! It just so happens that my good friend Duy also subscribed so to make things a little more interesting, we’ll both be reviewing the boxes every month. That way, you’ll get two different opinions. But in the meantime, here’s a little about Duy H (on the left):

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Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m the type of guy that tries his best to put a smile on people’s faces. I enjoy starting conversations with absolute strangers, the world needs more happiness, always be positive, optimistic, and tolerant :D (I’m also supposedly a big troll) (Editor’s Note: He most certainly is!)

Why NatureBox?
If you’ve known me long enough, you’ll know that I advocate heath and steer clear of junk food (At least I try to heheh). When choosing a subscription snaking service, I foremost looked for something as natural and organic as possible; NatureBox instantly made the top of the list. Boy was I excited when they finally decided to expand their business to Canada!

Snack from the pantry you’re looking forward to most.
For the current Canadian beta of NatureBox, we’re getting a preset selection of snacks. Of those they’ve listed, I think I most look forward to the ‘Sea Salt Pop Pops’. It just sounds really savoury to me, I have a feeling I may finish the bag in one go. I’ll report back on that.

Weirdest snack you’ve ever tried but surprisingly loved.
Weird or exotic? All manners of dried and salted/seasoned fish and seafood snacks; although your breath tends to stink up a room afterwards haha. I have yet to try any insect based snacks or foods though.

What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
Rye bread topped with hummus.

Why?
As much as I want it to be a dazzling tale, I have just returned from a ten hour work day and was in need of urgent sustenance :).