Coconut Festival 2015 was held at the David Pecaut Square about 2 weeks ago. The one day event was in its 2nd year, and highlighted one of the greatest fruits in the world, the coconut. According to the official website, the event's goal was to bring "the community together to learn about the many health benefits of coconuts as well as its diverse culinary uses." (source: http://coconutfestival.ca/about/). The event featured several guests, and food vendors who promoted health and wellness through their various uses of coconuts. There were a total of 70 vendors, including 18 food booth, 4 chefs, plus specialty vendors, and speakers at this year's Coconut Festival 2015.


BeaverTails are a Canadian-based chain of pastry stands operated by BeaverTails Canada Inc. The chain's fried dough pastries are individually hand stretched to resemble a beaver’s tail topped with butter, and other toppings.


Coco-Roons are a brand of cookies from a USA-based company, Wonderfully Raw. They are a great alternative if you are craving for a healthier version of macaroons. The products are certified gluten-free, contain low glycemic, and non-GMO. The product itself incorporates almond flour, organic maple syrup, and dried unsweetened coconut to create a ball-sized snack. Coco-Roons are available in many flavors such as brownie, apple pie, almond strawberry, orange dreamsicle, etc ... If you're interested in buying the products, they can be purchased at the following retailers in Toronto; Pusateri's Fine Foods, and Bulk Barn.


Next up was Grinning Face, a non-dairy gelato shop in Cabbagetown, who was one of the vendors at the festival. They specialize in house-made, dairy free, coconut milk–based gelato that are not only dairy-free, but gluten-free, and contained no nuts. I was given a sample of one of their gelato products, and I chose the "The Mighty Coconut". The gelato comes in single serving cups at $4.50 each flavor. The gelato is made with coconut milk, natural flavors and coconut palm sugar, and is a healthier alternative to sugary ice-cream and gelato.


Cocovie Naturals is a Toronto-based company founded by Anne Josef (who also founded Coconut Festival 2015), and the company specializes in coconut products. One of their products that they showcased at the Coconut Festival 2015 was their Decadent Coconut Spreads (3 for $25), which came in a variety of flavors such as classic coconut, pineapple, mango, vanilla, guava, and ginger. I had a sample of the spread, and really liked the natural sweetness of coconut, and the overall richness of the spread. Thank you to Cocovie Naturals for letting me try a jar of their classic coconut; as it tasted wonderfully with bread.


Tito Rons' a Filipino Caribbean street food vendor that have been available at various local festivals and farmers' markets this summer. One of their most popular products are their Coconut Bae Lumpia ($5) - deep-fried coconut-caramel cheesecake. A tasty treat when it's freshly out of the fryer.


I wasn't able to stay too long, as it was also my grandmother's birthday, and I had to return back uptown. However, Coconut Festival 2015 was a fun event, and I look forward to attending it next year as well.

Grinning Face Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Coconut Festival 2015

by on Tuesday, September 08, 2015
Coconut Festival 2015 was held at the David Pecaut Square about 2 weeks ago. The one day event was in its 2nd year, and highlighted one of...
Nadège Patisserie is a pastry shop located right across from Bellwoods Park. The overall sleek interior design was bright, and captures the overall look and ambiance of a Parisian café. Walking into Nadège Patisserie, you will greeted with the plethora of sweet treats, and drinks. There are a total of three locations in Toronto, and their Queen St W location are responsible for all the on-site baking for all locations. 



I opted for a box of 12 macarons ($28.25), and got one of each flavor that day. Taxes are inclusive, if you purchase 8+ macarons. The flavours that I got (top to bottom - each row) are mojito, matcha green tea, pistachio, salted caramel, cherry chocolate, cappuccino, chocolate, vanilla, cassis, blackberry chocolate, cotton candy, and rose.


The macarons from Nadège Patisserie made it safely home without cracking due to the plastic covering. I highly commended this box than the longer one, as there are no protective plastic in that one, which increases the risk of cracking. Back to the macarons, the shells remained intact, and were smooth with no cracks. Lastly, the overall flavor of the macarons were well-balanced, and they had a slight chew to them, which I enjoyed. Overall, I found that Nadège Patisserie offers more classic flavors compared to their competitors like Butter Avenue and Delysèes.


Address: 780 Queen Street W, Toronto, ON, M6J 1G2

Nadège Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nadège Patisserie

by on Monday, September 07, 2015
Nadège Patisserie is a pastry shop located right across from Bellwoods Park. The overall sleek interior design was bright, and captures the...
 Basil Box is the newest addition to the food court at Square One Mall in Mississauga. They are an Asian fast-casual restaurant serving the exotic flavors of Thailand and Vietnam with a build-a-box concept. What I liked most about Basil Box was that they offer a healthier alternative to the array of fast-food options in the food court. Customers are able to customize their meal to their liking, and they also offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. I was invited to drop by Basil Box on their opening day to try their food for lunch, and I happily obliged as I was in the area for a meeting. 

I met Peter Chiu, the owner of Basil Box, that day as he was on hand getting consumer feedback. I also learned that Basil Box will be expanding, as they will be opening up a flagship full-service restaurant sometime by the end of the year. The upcoming flagship will be located in the Ryerson Learning Centre, which I am excited about as it's centrally located downtown.



Now onto Basil Box's build-a-box concept, which gives customers the ability to customize their box to their liking. They are able to choose their main base, 2 veggies, a protein (which determines the price), a sauce, and then topped it off with a topping. The instructions and available options are clearly displayed on the wall, so it was quite a helpful guide.


For my box, I chose short grain brown rice, lemongrass corn, roasted green beans, chili lime shrimp, sweet chili lime, and crushed peanuts. The portion that we got on opening day was comparably less than what people are getting today when they order from Basil Box. The reason for the change now was because Peter took the constructive criticisms from bloggers, and other customers on opening week into consideration, and increased the portion. I think it's great that he's dedicated to the product, and open to suggestions from customers.

I was pleasantly pleased that the food was really good, especially compared to the standards of what one would expect from a food court. The shrimp was nicely marinated, and I liked the slight kick from the
sweet chili lime sauce. The mango ginger ale soda - our ultra-refreshing Mango Ginger Ale Soda is carefully crafted with pure cane sugar. It’s GMO free, and best of all, it’s delicious, was a very refreshing sweet drink. Unfortunately, I am rarely up in Square One, so I can't really eat this again anytime soon. However, I am excited for their downtown launch sometime this winter, as I will definitely be a regular. Basil Box is definitely one of the more healthier options available in the food court, and is tasty too.


Address: 100 City Centre Drive, Mississauga, ON L5B 2C9 (Square One - Food Central)

Social Media:



Basil Box Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Basil Box

by on Friday, September 04, 2015
 Basil Box is the newest addition to the food court at Square One Mall in Mississauga. They are an Asian fast-casual restaurant serving the...
 Read my post on [#bestofRitual] Meals Under $10 for more cheap eats using the app.

St. Lawrence Market @ Ichiban Sushi (58 Wellington St E, Toronto, ON)

Ichiban Sushi is a sushi chain that first opened up in 1983 on Bloor Street in Toronto. Today, they have over 31 locations throughout Toronto. The location that I went to was located on the quiet strip of Wellington St E. It's not the most frequent area after work hours, so it was slightly quiet when I went on a Saturday.

Looking through the menu, I realized that the bento boxes here were relatively higher priced compared to other sushi establishments. However, I opted for their sushi pizza ($9.95) - salmon, which was under $10. The sushi pizza is basically crispy sushi rice base-top with salmon, green onion, white onion, tobiko with sesame seed and special sauce. The sushi is cut into six pieces, and its crispy rice patty is topped with slices of salmon. What I liked most about the one from Ichiban Sushi is that it was full of toppings, and the chef took the time to make it aesthetically pleasing. The sushi pizza was pretty good in size, and made a great quick lunch for me.

Ichiban Sushi

by on Tuesday, September 01, 2015
 Read my post on [#bestofRitual] Meals Under $10 for more cheap eats using the app. St. Lawrence Market @ Ichiban Sushi ( 58 Wellington...
I received a complimentary gift voucher for Murgatroid from Zomato, and made my way to Cabbagetown on Parliament a couple of weeks ago. Murgatroid is a casual bistro offering locally-sourced breakfasts, brunches, and lunches. The restaurant specializes in making all of their dishes from scratch, and all their ingredients are locally sourced in Toronto. Their chicken for example are locally sourced from St Andrew Poultry in Kensington Market, and their bread are from Blackbird Baking Co. For those who have stricter dietary restrictions, Murgatroid's menu also offers vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.



 

Looking through their menu, what caught my eye was their Murgatroid Sandwich ($9.30) - roast chicken, crispy chicken skin, Ontario gouda-style goat cheese, sprouts, mayo, fermented pepper relish. Overall, I thought that the sandwich was quite good in size, and there was a generous portion of roast chicken. In particular, I really liked the addition of the crispy chicken skin slices, as it adds a nice texture to the overall sandwich. The only downside was that it came with a side of only five pieces of canoe potatoes, which wasn't a lot to me. Murgatroid was a good place for a quick lunch if you're in the Cabbagetown area. They also sell frozen take-home dinners for reasonable prices for those who don't have the time to cook dinner.

 



Click to add a blog post for Murgatroid on Zomato

Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was subsidized by Zomato. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Murgatroid (Now Closed)

by on Tuesday, September 01, 2015
I received a complimentary gift voucher for Murgatroid from Zomato, and made my way to Cabbagetown on Parliament a couple of weeks ago. Mu...