October Degustabox Review ’17

October Degustabox Review ’17

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Degustabox. All opinions are my own.

First off, Happy (belated) Halloween! I’ve made the decision to not dress up as anything—just drop by a department Halloween party, and then head home. I know, I am such a partier I have no control 😛

With November here, and Thanksgiving (and my first FALL marathon) coming up, it’s time again for another Degustabox review!

October Degustabox
October Degustabox

Unlike last month’s box, October’s offerings were much more appealing to me. It contained old favorites, and new brands I’ve been meaning to try!

I was ecstatic to see a bag of Hippeas chickpea puffs thrown in. I first spotted them at Starbucks, and then I happened to pass by their warehouse near downtown Santa Monica since it’s right along the Expo Line! I was beyond ecstatic to try the new and local vegan-friendly alternative to cheese puffs.

Hippeas -
Hippeas – Vegan White Cheddar

These were beyond crazy delicious. They had a firm texture, a nice crisp crunch, and each puff was coated with just the right amount of vegan cheese flavoring.

Since it was a box arriving in time for candy’s famous holiday, it made sense that a bag of Cow Tales made a comeback. It’s always been a childhood favorite of mine, but Degustabox has partnered with them before in the past. I also noticed the new colorful, cartoon-y packaging.

Cow Tales Minis
Cow Tales Minis

Then there were two cups of original SunButter…I was certainly awestruck. Fortunately, I can have peanuts and foods with peanut-based ingredients, but I think I still prefer sunflower butter over peanut butter. It has a much smoother consistency in my opinion, while still keeping peanut butter-like thickness.

I had one cup serve an unconventional purpose: as a dip for plain Boboli pizza crust, which was also a featured product in this month’s box. Honestly, it was a pretty good combo!

Sunflower butter and pizza crust
SunButter cup and Boboli Original Mini Pizza Crust

I had the other cup scooped into a cottage cheese chocolate proyo bowl, which is something along the lines of what I’m normally used to as an after-dinner snack.

Just like old times
Just like old times

The Bush’s White Chili Beans contained “chicken base” as one of their ingredients, so I had to pass on trying it. I don’t see why it did though…I’m sure the recipe would have been just as good—if not better—without the addition of a meat product.

Does it have to have chicken in it?
Does it have to have chicken in it?

I was however able to try the Bush’s Kidney Beans in a Mild Chili Sauce, after thorough examination of the ingredients for any meat source. I initially thought about adding it to one of my crockpot dinners, but then I thought why not try it on its own? I warmed it up for lunch in lab one day, and it was definitely nourishing through its well-mixed flavors of ripe tomatoes, chili peppers and cumin. It had enough fiber to keep me satiated as I worked the rest of the afternoon.

Suitable for a lunch break.
Suitable for a lunch break.

The Quadratini Raspberry-Yoghurt wafer cubes were an interesting snackable. I normally don’t prefer wafers over other types of cookies and biscuits, but these wafers were certainly an exception. Each cube has four layers of raspberry-yoghurt flavored cream, sandwiched between mini crunchy wafer squares.

Quadratini
Quadratini Raspberry-Yoghurt Wafer Cubes

They definitely had a yogurt-like aftertaste, but that did not detract from their delicious taste.

Unlike other wafers I've had!
Unlike other wafers I’ve had!

When I saw a small cup of overnight oats, I was reminded of my early blogging days when overnight oats and OIAJ (oats in a jar) were super trendy. Now that brand name companies got a hold of this one-time, food-bloggers-only secret, I wasn’t surprised to find this container from Dave’s Naturals in this month’s box.

Dave's Naturals Overnight Oats - Apple Nut
Dave’s Naturals Overnight Oats – Apple Nut

This flavor had dried apple cubes, chia seeds, and dried oats. All I added was enough almond milk to soak the oats in, and after letting it sit in the fridge overnight, I pulled it out and it made for THE best stuck-in-lab-analyzing-data-all-morning snack.

The Welch’s Fruit ‘n Yogurt snacks were light, poppable, and had a creamy yogurt coating that worked well with the chewy cherry flavor. These were able to keep a gummy-like texture due to pectin. No gelatin was seen in sight, which was a mark of approval in my book!

Welch's Fruit 'n Yogurt Snacks
Welch’s Fruit ‘n Yogurt Snacks

I didn’t get a chance to try the two Kernal Season’s Popcorn Seasoning bottles (White Cheddar and Kettle Corn), since I gifted them to my sister, who is a greater consumer of popcorn than I’ll ever be, haha!

Which of these October Degustabox products would you try?

Halloween Eats

Halloween Eats

I honestly think Halloween was truly the last day of summer this year. The temps reached close to mid-80s here in LA, and it wasn’t until Daylight Savings kicked in that things started to feel much cooler and hinting at winter days ahead…

Regardless, I continued to do what I needed to do (lab) and do what I wanted to do (EAT) because to me, it felt just like any other Saturday. For some reason, Pasadena was calling my name, and so I hopped on the Gold Line to make it to lunch.

 California Chutney in Old Pasadena
California Chutney in Old Pasadena

California Chutney seemed like the perfect place to stop on by for lunch. When I had learned about their naan tacos, I knew I had to see what that food-fusion concept was all about.

 California Chutney inside.
California Chutney inside.

The restaurant is in a large space, and it’s relatively easy to order. There were puffy little naans warming up on a large hot surface, and at the counter, the menu was explained to me by one of the servers. There were naan tacos, rice plates, salad plates, and plenty of delicious-sounding sides. I chose to get two naan tacos, and I was given extra condiment cups to sample some other chutneys from the chutney bar 🙂 .

 Chutney bar...
Chutney bar…

My two naan tacos came out fantastic—stuffed with chickpeas, paneer cheese cubes, kale, mango chutney, green onions, and tomato, I was more than ready to dig in!

 Two naan tacos with chickpeas, paneer and kale, green onions, and tomato. Need I say more?
Two naan tacos with chickpeas, paneer and kale, green onions, and tomato. Need I say more?

I didn’t eat it like a taco though. I attacked the fillings first, and ate the naan last, allowing it to absorb all the saucy flavors!

 Naan taco insides.
Naan taco insides.

After that satisfying lunch, I felt like putting all that food to walk and taking a stroll even though it was still a bajillion degrees outside. I ended up walking towards the town hall building, and noticed some unusual statues in the distance…

 Town hall building...but those heads?!
Town hall building…but those heads?!

Those heads certainly took me by surprise! I’ll have to get to the bottom of their significance some other time, since I wasn’t too curious that day to inquire about their presence further. Instead, I decided to head down south to Alhambra for dessert.

 CremeBee in Alhambra!
CremeBee in Alhambra!

A lot of my classmates from last year call Alhambra home, but I’m not sure if they have experienced the wonders of CremeBee yet…

 Soooo cute inside :3
Soooo cute inside :3

It’s like walking into a clear blue sky inside, and the temperature is set to a degree just as cool.

 Look at all those honey bears!
Look at all those honey bears!

CremeBee specializes in honey-infused frozen yogurt that can be topped with crazy cute toppings like wafer sticks, marshmallow clouds, Ferrero Rocher, and of course, cotton candy. I decided to get the Cloud 9, which comes with a head of blue cotton candy and marshmallow clouds, but I asked to have chocolate wafer sticks in place of the marshmallows (because of the gelatin).

 The Cloud 9 with Chocolate Wafer Sticks.
The Cloud 9 with Chocolate Wafer Sticks.

When my masterpiece was complete and ready to be devoured, I was handed a hand sanitizing wipe, which I thought was odd at first. I used it before pulling at the cotton candy though, and then realized it was for after I was done…when my fingers would be a sticky mess. What a total facepalm moment!

 So. much. honey.
So. much. honey.

I still enjoyed the frozen treat though. There was so much honey throughout!

 Spun Sugar <3
Spun Sugar <3

The best part of course was the cotton candy. It mixed quite well with the frozen yogurt, adding a fruity flavor to it. I couldn’t have cared less for the chocolate wafer sticks though, which try as they might just didn’t fit in with the light & airy vibe the yogurt, honey, and cotton candy all contributed to.

I ended up leaving East LA soon after, and stopped by Target before heading home. I ended up buying this new flavor to try later on that weekend from B&J’s, which includes BEER as an ingredient. There is no alcohol in it though, I triple checked!!

 Salted Caramel Brown-ie Ale Pint
Salted Caramel Brown-ie Ale Pint

When I got around to consuming it, I was less than enthused. It seemed to be not too far off from the flavor profile of the salted caramel core which was ok, but the beer flavor was slightly off-putting for me. Just another indication that I will never be a fan of alcoholic drinks I suppose!

 The ice cream doesn't contain alcohol, but the fact that I wasn't a fan of this flavor proves that beer and me will never get along. :P
The ice cream doesn’t contain alcohol, but the fact that I wasn’t a fan of this flavor proves that beer and me will never get along. 😛

So despite the lack of candy, I think I got my fill of sugar this Halloween! At least I did preface it all with some carb-o-licious “tacos”, and I’m gonna go ahead and count those bits of kale and tomato as part of my daily vegetable serving 😉

Did you eat anything spectacularly sweet this Halloween?

California Chutney Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fries & Friends

Fries & Friends

I originally didn’t plan to have much of an exciting Halloween weekend this year. While this year’s festivities didn’t include a Halloween-themed race or an excuse to buy a costume, I at least had the opportunity to meet two fabulous bloggers for a “Halloween Eve” dinner on Friday night.

My FriDAY included the usual things—lab from morning to evening, but leaving an hour before the dinner meet-up so that I would have enough time to get to Los Feliz by bus. Surprisingly, there wasn’t much traffic for a Friday night, and the bus wasn’t too crowded either!

 It wasn't quite Halloween, but it was starting to feel like Christmas with the lights out and all!!
It wasn’t quite Halloween, but it was starting to feel like Christmas with the lights out and all!!

It took me about 10 minutes to walk from the bus stop over to our restaurant destination, and once I arrived, I waited outside.

 Outside of Spitz in Los Feliz
Outside of Spitz in Los Feliz

To be honest, I was a bit nervous about meeting these two ladies, but when I finally met them, I realized I had nothing to be worried about. Britt and Gigi were all smiles, and after a quick set of easy-going intros, we all proceeded inside—straight towards the restrooms, haha.

 Menus outside
Menus outside

After freshening up, we gravitated towards the counter so we could order food. Gigi is an expert on all things Spitz, so she knew exactly what to get. Brittany ordered a vegan-friendly plate with one (adorable) falafel on the side, and I decided to chow down on the Street Cart Fries. I think the words “garlic aioli” are what caught my attention on that one 😉 !

 Can you guess what I got? Not sure if the arrow helps ;)
Can you guess what I got? Not sure if the arrow helps 😉

We found a table at the back of the restaurant, and quickly got into conversation. Our conversation naturally focused on food, running, blogging, and anticipation about B’s and G’s trip to Disneyland the next day, so there was no room for awkward silences 😛

 Street Cart Fries - fries topped with garlic aioli, feta, onion, green pepper, tomato, olives, and pepperoncinis
Street Cart Fries – fries topped with garlic aioli, feta, onion, green pepper, tomato, olives, and pepperoncinis

The only exception would be was when our food arrived. We were all so hungry, so it was understandable. Plus, food >>> spoken words, it’s a well-known fact.

 Close-up of fries. Yum yum!
Close-up of fries. Yum yum!

I ended up getting the happy hour portion, which was supposedly smaller than the regular portion. The cashier recommended that it would be enough food, and even though I found that to be true, I felt like I could have cleaned out the regular-sized basket. The fries were that good…probably because of the aioli and feta. I was also blown away by the roasted chickpeas Gigi ordered and kindly shared with the table.

Our meet-up was only ~ 1hr long, and my only regret was not being able to spend more time with these lovely ladies! After being dropped off at the closest Metro, we exchanged hugs and wished each other well. Hopefully there will be more chances in the future to get to know these two more 🙂 !

My first-ever bloggers meet-up was a success, and hopefully it won’t be my last 😀 !

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

Dune Kitchen

Dune Kitchen

Since Sunday was the last day of summer— the last day before the semester began again—I made it a priority to go out for a late lunch, even if it meant a boring, hour-long mid-day bus ride to Atwater Village in Glendale. When classes start, work multiplies by a bajillion, so I was anxious to squeeze in as much relaxation/carefree time within 24 hours…

I don’t count my lab work as real work (since working on a project has more structure and meaning than reading countless papers for class…), even on the weekends 😉

So after lab and the bus ride, I had to walk through a residential area to finally get onto Glendale Ave.

Interesting house architecture and colors in the distance...
Interesting house architecture and colors in the distance…

As I continued forth on the road, I passed by local boutiques, a dance studio, and finally found Dune Kitchen…the place I hoped would have something to appease the sudden Mediterranean food craving I developed in the days leading up to the weekend.

Glendale Ave.
Glendale Ave.

Dune Kitchen would have been so difficult to find if I had not seen a picture for its exterior prior to my visit. Inside, the gray, unassuming theme continued onwards. The only inside seating was bar-style, but there were tables outside right in front.

interior 2
Not much lighting even though it is bright outside!

I made my order for a hummus + falafel plate at the cash register, and as soon as I found a seat, my plate came out in all of its glory. Not a minute was wasted, and that’s just how I like it 😉

interior
The interior of kitchen!

There were some condiments and hot sauce at the counter, but unadulterated hummus is the way to go if you ask me.

4
Condiments at the counter.

It was hard not to take countless pictures from different angles of this beauty of a plate.

plate
Hummus and falafel plate = love

There were three spinach-flavored falafels, with sauce drizzled over them…

flf
Falafel love

…spicy cabbage and onions (<—the onions were my favorite!!)

cabbageonions
Cabbage with a BUNCH of spices.

The star of the plate at the center: hummus with chickpeas in sauce:

chickpeas
Hummus with chickpeas

And a fun assortment of diced pickles 🙂

insidefala
Pickles, falafel close-up, and sauce!!!

I even found a miniature flower in the middle of my greens!

flower
Flower in my food :3

The pita bread was soft, pliable, and just so perfect with the hummus, which honestly was hard to split among my three falafel and veggies in the plate! I made it all work in the end though…maybe too perfectly since by the time I demolished my plate, I realized how insane my hummus craving was. 😛

Click to add a blog post for Dune Kitchen on Zomato

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