Sunday, March 23, 2014

Aroma Espresso Bar (Yonge and St. Clair)

Cafe: Aroma Espresso Bar
Address: 1407 Yonge St.
Phone: 416-353-4555
Store Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30 AM - 9 PM, Sat-Sun 8:30 AM - 9 PM

Study Appropriate?: Yes
Wi-Fi?: Yes
Stamp Cards?: No



View full menu here:


Drink of Choice: Samples of three dark roasts!

Note: This is an event post rather than a full review.

I had the pleasure of being invited to an exclusive tasting event for Aroma Espresso Bar at Yonge and St. Clair this past Friday. Having tried Aroma at their first Toronto location on Bloor, I was already a fan. I love their drinks because they melt the chocolate and let it seeps at the bottom of the cup. Not to mention they always give out a free piece of chocolate for every drink you order!

At this event, Aroma was letting people sample three dark roasts, one of which will be officially launched sometime in the future for their menu. All three have different blends using beans from six different countries! In the process, I learned how to properly taste coffee (it's just like wine!). If you read my reviews frequently, you'd probably notice that I don't talk about the drinks that often. I am not very particular when it comes to coffee and I definitely don't drink dark roast either. However, I was glad I had the opportunity to at the event! I definitely learned that I could not stand bland tasting dark roast. It would need a kick in taste and aftertaste for me to enjoy it (without adding cream and sugar)!

Afterwards, Aroma gave out sandwiches, salads and pastries. I have to say, their vegan sandwiches tasted delicious! I never had food and pastries from Aroma until now. Definitely loved their quinoa salads and brownies too! I think I will order some food the next time I decide to stop by one of their locations.

Thank you Aroma Espresso Bar for the media invite! :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

i deal coffee (Yonge)

Cafe: i deal coffee
Address: 3336 Yonge St.
Phone: 416-364-7700
Store Hours: Mon-Fri 7 AM - 7 PM, Sat-Sun 8 AM - 7 PM

Study Appropriate?: Yes
Wi-Fi?: Yes
Stamp Cards?: No



Drinks - Soy/Almond/Lactose-Free?: Yes to all, all free of charge
- In house roasting using Dark City Coffee beans
- Features a different single origin beans every week
- Offers Cafe Solar beans

Food - Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free?: Yes to all
- Baked goods from Desmond & Beatrice
- Offers gelato in the summer


Drink of Choice: Mocha, $4

This is the third location of i deal coffee that I have been to thus far and is currently my favourite one. Compared to the ones in Kensington and Ossington, the environment of this i deal coffee is much more chic and sophisticated. The furniture actually matches! And there is a cozy fireplace to boot. Everything to do with their coffee operation is still consistent with the other locations. The prices to buy the coffee beans are the same, $16/pound and $17/pound for decaf. They still charge an extra 25 cents if you wish to take your coffee on-the-go. The newest thing they are offering is coffee beans from Cafe Solar. These are fair-trade coffee beans produced with solar energy and harvested by local women in Latin America.

Originally, the store used to be a gelato shop. i deal coffee decided to keep the original gelato freezer and equipment to make gelato. There is no gelato available in the winter but it would be for summer. I really like this concept because it gives customers more options to try something else rather than just coffee.

Gift cards are available for purchase if you would like to get an i deal coffee fan a little something! Minimum $5 on the gift card.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

[Product Review] Square Snacks

Company: Square Snacks


Product: Square Snacks
Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free?: Vegetarian, dairy-free, whey-free, soy-free, peanuts-free, wheat-free, nut-free and corn-free

I got the pleasure of reviewing Square Snacks, a line of healthy on-the-go energy snacks created by a Torontonian nutritionist. These snacks meant to be that quick bite to eat before having your next meal. Square Snacks emphasizes on giving you all the nutrients your body needs and being the simple energy bar. They are created with basic ingredients that are fresh and wholesome. So far, they have two lines: 3 pm Snacks and Marvellous for Mom Snacks (which will be discontinued soon and all flavours will be integrated into 3 pm Snacks). 3 pm Snacks have three flavours: Fruit and Nut Boost, Hazelnut Cherry, and Cocoa Cravings. In their Marvellous for Mom Snacks, there's only one flavour which is Chocolate Coconut. I had the chance to review all except for their Hazelnut Cherry. All the snacks are 25 g with 100-110 calories each!

Square Snacks are currently available in many independent cafes, such as Black Canary Espresso Bar, Rise Espresso, Jimmy's Coffee, and Si Espresso Bar. They are also available on campus at Ryerson University, Humber College, St. Michael's College at University of Toronto and George Brown. They are being sold for $1.50 per square. Some grocery stores, such as Whole Foods and The Big Carrot on Danforth, carry them as well. Square Snacks are aiming to be available in private gyms soon. A couple of the products have been featured in Munch Better, a subscription healthy snack box that gets delivered to your door every month.

To test out the Square Snacks, I did what they were intended for by taking them on-the-go. The first one I had was the Fruit and Nut Boost, which I took with me to the Justin Timberlake concert mid-February. The first thing I noticed about the snack and could describe it in one word is: raw. As mentioned earlier, the squares are made only with basic ingredients so you could tell from just eating it. It was fruity and chewy but I didn't taste a lot of nuts as much as I expected.

The next one I tried was Cocoa Cravings. I was craving for food despite having a hearty dim sum meal earlier. So I wanted to see if Cocoa Cravings was going to ease my hunger. Unfortunately, I was hungry again after anyway! This square is definitely for people who love cocoa.

The last bar I had was during a meeting was the Chocolate Coconut. The coconut taste was not as strong, which I was glad for because I'm not always a fan of coconut. I thought this bar was the most similar to most energy bars out there in terms of taste.

The squares are definitely not for people with huge appetites. Despite having a bar to satisfy my hunger on all three accounts, I got hungry again pretty quickly. I do know though that I usually require something substantial before I stop craving. So I'd need at least three of these bars if I wanted to stop being hungry for a short period of time! However, I know that there are people out there that would only need one square and they are good to go!

Thank you Square Snacks for the samples provided for this review! :)