Unboxing & Recap: Miss Fresh #7

Two months has gone by since I’ve ordered a Miss Fresh box! Wow!

We are working on cooking meals more and totally enjoying it. There’s also the factor of having meals that appealed to us. This box really worked for that. Let’s take a look!

Kung Pao Shrimps
with Calrose Rice

Miss Fresh

Kung Pao Shrimps

Kung Pao Shrimps was good. I’m not exactly sure about using Calrose Rice. Its okay, not my favorite. However, it is a simple and balanced meal even if it lacked a bit of spice. There is quite a bit of preparation for this one with a lot of cooking. Anything with a lot of chopping usually takes more time for myself just because I’m incredibly clumsy so take much more time to do it.

Chicken Marbella
served with couscous and spinach

Miss Fresh

Chicken Marbella 

Chicken Marbella is an interesting recipe. I mean this in the best way. While I’m not a huge fan of the couscous and I cooked the spinach which was supposed to be a salad, the highlight is the chicken itself being paired with dried prunes and green olives. I’m not exactly a fan of olives but this combination worked together really well. It takes a little longer, and was listed as more than 30 minutes to make and that is because the chicken needs to go into the oven for thirty minutes or something. I can’t remember as I don’t have the recipe in front of me.

Ginger Turkey Meatballs
on a bed of Sesame Noodles

Miss Fresh

Ginger Turkey Meatballs 

I love sesame noodles. The sauce they make here is very delicious. The meatballs have turmeric and curry spices so it has a spicy taste to it, along with some veggies, this ginger turkey meatballs is really good and quite easy to make. It has sparked a desire to stock up on sesame noodles. Beware for smelling like curry and onions though. I cooked this one morning and I had to change afterwards.

Zucchini and Corn Quesadillas
with Pesto

Miss Fresh

Zucchini and Corn Quesadillas 

The meal in the box that only my husband could eat, however was quite the blast to make except its crazy with all the chopping. Its chopping up jalapeno and green peppers and then there is an ear of corn to strip off the kernels. Aside from the chopping, its easy to put together and a vegetarian meal solution. Even with that, my husband enjoyed it.

Overall…Ginger Turkey Meatballs and Chicken Marbella are the stars of this box. I loved those two recipes a lot. I’m hoping to see more sesame noodles added into the meals eventually. There’s not much to say because everything was fresh and the box was delivered safely and securely as usual.

Chesterfield’s Gastro Diner (Ottawa, Canada)

Lots of eating posts lately, eh? Expect a few more! Actually this one is rather timely!

While I normally would be sitting at home on the last weekend of NaNoWriMo doing word sprints and just in small, writing till my wrists hurt and ending this thing, I’ve been oddly relaxed about the whole thing. I’ll talk about it further in the recap post whether I finish it or not. However, I ended up having a little brunch date with a friend! It was a fantastic day where I drove two hours in the morning to get to her place, had a little time to hang out before heading out to breakfast at this little joint she took me to called Chesterfield’s Gastro Diner.

Chesterfield’s Gastro Diner

Chesterfield’s Gastro Diner is definitely a little cozy joint. There aren’t a whole lot of seating and it was bustling with line-ups at the front door. We ended up waiting for maybe about fifteen to twenty minutes before getting a seat, which is pretty good. The kitchen is open in the middle and you can see the chefs and staff walking around doing their stuff. The seating is pretty original with odd pieces of one thing or another to sit on. Some look like rather rustic yet elegant pieces but with some antique-ish feeling to them. The waitress we had was friendly and the service was pretty fast.

Tea

Chesterfield's Gastro Diner

They had a pretty nice selection of tea choices. I took the green tea. It isn’t any fancy brand but it was a good tasting one. What I’d like to show here is the cute little tea cups and the tea pot that they used. It has a pretty older style to it.

Breakfast/Brunch Meals

Chesterfield Gastro Diner

Traditional: Two Eggs (over easy) with bacon and a side of roasted beets

Chesterfield's Gastro Diner

Classic Benny’s with a side of roasted beets and pita chips

I took the traditional eggs since I wasn’t too hungry and can’t be too full to head back on the road later on. Mine actually also comes with toast and homemade jam. I have to say that the jam is pretty good. The flavor was raspberry. My friend took the classic benedict which came with two sides. She told me about how this was super delicious even before she ordered it. Unfortunately, hollandaise sauce, I believe, has milk so its a big nono for me. (I’ll have to research that later on.)

Overall, a pretty nice little breakfast joint. I’d recommend a visit. The menu is pretty extensive unexpectedly and I’d probably eventually come back to give something else a try. However, maybe earlier hours going would be better than when we went at busy breakfast/brunch time on the weekend. Still, we had a nice chat and it was a delicious meal and the portions were great.

Vancouver & Kelowna: Vancouver Aquarium & Lynn Canyon Park

We’re finally here! The recap of the final day of vacation over on the Canadian West Coast. For this one, we took up our courage and headed to the Vancouver city central towards Stanley Park to go to Vancouver Aquarium and get an indoor activity before heading out to Lynn Canyon Park & Suspension Bridge. We talked with some of the locals there (my mom’s friends) and they told us that Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is almost as pretty as Capilano Suspension Bridge which charges more and is higher. This is a great choice for it being free and having just a lower canyon but still really  nice to walk through.

Vancouver Aquarium

As you can see, Vancouver Aquarium has all sorts of stuff, its not just fishes and rays and giant turtles and sharks. It also has monkeys and birds, etc. It is a pretty cool experience. Something else I like is that they don’t do a lot of shows with the animals. Only the dolphins are in these shows. The porpoises and belugas up top are actually in a training session which is like the trainer talks about these animals and how they came here and their story while giving them a little workout explaining why certain moves helps them to make sure they are healthy. In other cases, they also talk about the wildlife preservation centre that people can call if they ever believe that a marine animal is in danger and needs their assistance so that they can get them healthy and send them back to the wild. While I haven’t seen the documentary on Blackfish, I like the fact that it may be because of things like that documentary which make aquariums more aware about their transparency on how they are treating the animals with them.

Regardless of that, I like going to aquariums quite a bit and Vancouver Aquarium isn’t exceptionally different but they have their forte and is a rather educational process. They have a few different species of animals. My favorite is always the jellyfish tank and also seeing the porpoises and also going to the touch tank and getting to touch rays.

Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park

Lynn Canyon Park

As I mentioned above, we indeed skipped the really well known Capilano suspension bridge. I have been there before when I was around eight years old. However, in my mind, Lynn Canyon Park was really beautiful. It was a rainy day but everything was absolutely lovely just with the rainforest and the tall trees towering over us. It was a great place to go. And a nice way to round up our vacation with a nice light hike around. It didn’t  take too long but was good enough to give us time and energy to head back to the hotel and pack up for our trip home the next day.

Overall, the Vancouver and Kelowna trip was a lot of fun. We had some fantastic scenery and we had an enjoyable time seeing all the relatives. We got to hike and eat some great food and even fangirl over Storybrooke. There are still a ton of activities we didn’t get to do because of time and hopefully we will return again eventually.

This vacation’s post is done now but as we speak I just got back to work this week after a week off for a lovely staycation where did also went out to do some hiking so that will follow for what seems like Vacation Tuesdays here. 😉 We do have some day trips planned before winter hits so hopefully this segment will go on for at least another few weeks.

Vancouver & Kelowna: Hiking in Whistler & Squamish!

How fast does vacation go by, right? We’re looking back at Day 6 of vacation over at Kelowna and Vancouver this year. It is funny because I am on a staycation as this post goes up and just taking it easy. Still, looking back  at this vacation still makes my heart flutter with joy. We went to some amazing places especially Kelowna having some incredible scenery. Day 6 of vacation that we are recapping today is also one of our most emotional and awesome days of the trip. We headed out to Whistler and Squamish but not before forgetting my coat at the breakfast place we went to and realizing an hour or so into the trip. Luckily, we were heading to Whistler village so at least there would be a possibly of finding something to wear if it got chilly and man, did it get chilly!

Whistler Village

After the shopping priority and picking up a North Face Sweater and Eddie Bauer cap to fight the rain and cold, we walked a little more around Whistler Village.

Whister Village

Whistler Village

Whistler Village reminded us heavily of Mont Tremblant village near Montreal.

Lost Lake Park

With that done, we headed off for a hike. Actually Lost Lake Park was more of a walking trail with a little bit of hills here and there. A part of the path was blocked off to preserve wildlife, aka toad migration. So we took a detour, got a little turned around, the rain got heavier and then we finally figured it all out and went back to our car for the next spot.

Lost Lake Park

Lost Lake Park

Sea to Sky Gondola, Squamish

Next stop is heading back towards Vancouver where we pass through Squamish and took the Sea to Sky Gondola. Note to all of you is that my husband is REALLY not comfortable with heights. I am also and gondolas make a little nervous especially at the steepness of this one at the beginning portion so we both picked up all our courage to do this and let us just say that it was extremely worth it even with some heavy rain and fog. Plus, we somewhat got stranded there as they investigated a potential issue which turned out all good thankfully. I like these companies being safe so it didn’t bother me too much when they told us they had to stop it for a while.

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola

Sea to Sky Gondola is so worth it. I didn’t really put a lot of the trail but it is really fun to walk through it and the plants and trees are cool. Plus, there are a few lookout points. We encountered a lot of fog as you saw that came in really thick and dispersed later on but it was still fantastic scenery. I totally recommend it. Its a little pricey but really worth it.

That’s it for Day 6 of vacation!
Check back next week for the last day of vacation in Vancouver! 🙂 

Vinyard Terrace Restaurant (Kelowna, Canada)

We talked about lunch in the last vacation post. It was a classy lunch at the Cedar Creek Winery Estate. The restaurant is called Vineyard Terrace Restaurant (or some spots say Terrace Restaurant).

Cedar Creek Winery Estate is absolutely gorgeous. You can see the pictures on the day recap HERE. To sit on their outdoor terrace to look out at the vineyard with a little bit of breeze and eat a delicious meal was really a fantastic experience. Especially with great company.

Let’s check out the food! 🙂

Wines

Cedar Creek Winery Estate

We only had 3oz-6oz glasses, not the entire three bottles.

Appetizers

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Wise Earth Carrot Salad

20160829_115039

Can’t find this one’s name but I think something to do with heirloom tomatoes or something….

I’m not sure if you’ve ever had those nantes carrots variety but we love it at our place. We recently started eating the multicolor ones and they are so good. This one with a little bit of spices to aid the taste but not overpower the actual carrots’ natural deliciousness was awesome!

Main Dish

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Wild Moon Organic Pork

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Seared B.C. Albacore Tuna

Dessert

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Maple Apple Tart

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Callebaut Chocolate Mousse

Cedar Creek Estate Winery

Okanagan Fruit

Okay, I’m guessing you all can figure out that I got the Okanagan Fruit. I always complain about how the alternative for lactose-intolerance is either sorbet or fruits. I’ve never honestly enjoyed a fruit cup more than this one. Okanagan fruits are so good. The peaches and berries. This fruit cup was with sabayon which they described as a sweet hollandaise sauce. I only learned then that hollandaise sauce is just egg whites, same as sabayon, which is why I could have it and it is a really good balance.

Overall, this was a great restaurant experience. We all enjoyed the mains as well. The dessert was delicious as well as the appetizers. The wine was quite good as well. I had the 2014 Riesling. My cousin has the 2015 Senator’s White. My husband, my mom and my aunt shared a bottle of 2014 Gewurztraminer. I guess I should have mentioned it up with the wines.

Have you ever eaten at a winery restaurant? If so, where?

Basil & Mint Restaurant and Bar (Kelowna, Canada)

After four hours of driving with a few stops and admiring some spectacular scenery along the way, we checked into the Airbnb place. I didn’t post any pictures for privacy purposes. I’m not sure how much people want to share. However, hit me up about the place I stayed at for Airbnb if you ever want because it was a lovely little place that fit all five of us perfectly despite it just being a basement. Regardless, we got in and my cousin searched up what restaurants looked appealing and found this one: Basil & Mint Restaurant and Bar. I believe she said one of the reviews said that it is a “hidden gem”. And you know, its all about hidden gems, right?

Off we went to Basil & Mint which was a mere 5 minutes drive out! Funnily, in complete coincidence, we also met other family members visiting that were going to the same restaurant. We sat separately but close enough to mingle. Now for the food!!

Basil & Mint Restaurant and Bar
3799 Lakeshore Rd
Kelowna, British Columbia
V1W 3G9

I can’t find the Table d’Hote menus on the website to review but I took a look at the main menu to get the actual names. The Table d’Hote is actually a pretty good deal at $35 which includes appetizer, main course and dessert. We all took it.

Appetizers

Basil & Mint

Beet Salad

Basil & Mint

Asparagus Soup

Basil & Mint

Caesar Salad

I ordered the Caesar Salad or the soup and gave it to my mom because I can’t have it. My aunt ordered the beet salad and I believe that she enjoyed it. However, a point to the restaurant if they do read this, if you have something like the soup above, your waiters should know to tell the customer that the dash of cream can be not added and they can have it. If you have no other alternatives, that is a fair one to have. Its just to respect the person like myself who has a very widely known lactose intolerance and doesn’t quite enjoy eating salad either. I’m used to it and doesn’t bother me much but its nice to feel respected by the restaurant that is serving you when they actually care about this. Especially when I made the point to ask them about the potatoes and told them about the food allergy.

Main Courses

Basil & Mint

Braised Beef (I think)

Basil & Mint

Roasted Chicken

Basil & Mint

Risotto

Basil & Mint

Seasonal Vegetables

Its funny how the vegetables are the most clear. A huge thanks to my cousin who turned on the light on her camera to create the light we needed to take a good picture. The vegetables are delicious. I’m personally a fan of these organic carrots. I buy them quite a bit actually and they are great even without a ton of fancy spices or whatnot. I took the beef dish and struggle to remember whether it was the boneless beef ribs or the braised beef. The meals are a decent portion. All the food tasted good.

Dessert

Basil & Mint

Spiced Apple Cider Sorbet

Basil & Mint

Creme Brulee

A compliment to the restaurant for having that lactose free choice of a rather unique flavor of sorbet. The best way to describe the spiced apple cider sorbet is frozen apple pie. Its a little too sweet but I’m a fan of apple pie so I liked it. My husband took the Creme Brulee and I remember him liking it too.

Although, at that point, he was about to pass out on the dinner table since we had a long day and with the time zone differences, our day was extended three hours more.

Enough of this sidetracking all the time, Basil & Mint is pretty good. It has pretty good food and a nice decor although for say families, maybe a little dim. I don’t see them targeting the family business more like a hang out with friends for a few drinks type of place. With that said, they have an outside terrace which we didn’t sit in but that is a plus. There are some cool stuff like they have a wooden stove, so the pizza must taste pretty good. However, none of us took it because not enough mouths to finish it. The service is a little underwhelming. They weren’t quite there all the time and I believe the service where they didn’t tend to my food allergies didn’t give such a better impression. They weren’t rude by any lengths and that is good. Just little things, like my other family’s table didn’t have the Table d’Hote menu for some reason and they only knew about it because we told them that we were having it. Organization and communication things going on there.

Regardless, it was a decent experience. The point of a restaurant is a whole experience but a huge portion is having good food and Basil & Mint might not be a hidden gem, although I didn’t eat at enough Kelown restaurants to offer an opinion on that, but it does have some good food.

Toronto: Ripley’s Aquarium

Following last week’s Toronto Comicon recap, on Sunday, we headed over to Ripley’s Aquarium before heading home.

Ripley’s Aquarium is in centre of downtown Toronto around the CN Tower and Union Station and that tourist area.  Its hard to imagine that an aquarium of that size would actually be there and honestly, I had no idea what to expect. These are the following areas they had: CANADIAN WATERS, RAINBOW REEF, DANGEROUS LAGOON, DISCOVERY CENTRE, PLANET JELLIES, RAY BAY.

There’s no point in separating the pictures or going into more detail than needed.  Some of the pictures didn’t turn out as good as I expected and honestly, aquarium photo shots is way above my photography skills so I promise to work on that.  These are the better shots from both the DSLR and my phone. Under the gallery, I’ll also have a little video of the Rainbow Reef and the beginning of the Dangerous Lagoon before we reached the sharks unfortunately.

Ripley’s Aquarium is pretty amazing and impressive.  We were able to catch the Ray Bay Dive Show which had the feeding and it was really fun to watch.  The shark tunnel/Dangerous Lagoon was definitely the highlight where there was a slow moving walkway that we got to stand on while it pulled you through the glass tunnel surrounded by a lot of fishes and then all sorts of sharks and rays.  It was breathtaking and something to experience because no picture could capture the beauty of it all.  It was also super nice for kids because there was parts where they could crawl into ships that had glass peeking into the shark tunnel and one that had the tunnel with sharks swimming above.  Then the difference here is that we could touch horseshoe crabs in the Discovery Centre area and then touch two different types of ray at the end of the route.

It was a ton of fun and I’m definitely going back again.

Do you like to go to aquariums? Any cool ones that you’ve visited?