Saturday, June 16, 2018

Kanki Japanese House of Steaks & Sushi Restaurant Review - Durham, NC

3504 Mt. Moriah Road
Durham, NC  27707
(919) 401-6908


Exterior View


Interior View


Fire Show


Soup


Lunch Hibachi Steak - $13.95


This is a review for a hibachi Japanese restaurant called Kanki located in Durham, North Carolina. They have two other locations in Raleigh. Take exit 270 off I-40 West, turn right on to US-501 and then turn right at the first traffic light and you'll find it on your right. They are open Monday through Friday from 11:30 am until 2 pm, reopen at 4:30 pm and close at 9:30 pm except on Friday when they close an hour later. Sunday they are open from noon until 9:30 pm and Saturday they are close an hour later. Reservations are recommended during the lunch and dinner rush. We arrived around 2 pm on a Saturday, so it wasn't very busy at all. We were immediately seated at an empty hibachi table. 

We had to wait quite awhile for the waiter to arrive so we could order our drinks and we waited even longer for our chef to show up. There were only two other people at our table. Our soup didn't arrived until twenty minutes after we arrived. It was another twenty minutes before we had rice, zucchini and onions on our plates and a few more minutes more for the mushrooms & steak. The visit took about an hour. The soup was barely warm which was a disappointing start. It had fried onions, uncooked mushroom slices and green onion in chicken broth. It was tasty, but I prefer miso soup. You have the option of salad instead. The rice was a bit overcooked and included two eggs, the zucchini was a bit undercooked and the mushrooms would have tasted better if they had marinated them in butter which some hibachi chefs do. Hubby had the Steak & Shrimp and his shrimp were a bit overcooked, but they had a nice lemon flavor. The steak was cooked as I had requested, medium rare, but it wasn't of the highest of quality. It was tasty and mostly tender though and I guess the best one can expect for only $13.95. The dinner price is $22.95 for steak. They also offer shrimp, chicken, filet mignon and salmon. The chicken is also tasty, but it's the last to be plated since it takes the longest to cook, that's the reason the majority of the time I chose the steak instead. The chef wasn't that entertaining. He did a show with his spatula and fork at the beginning, lite the grill on fire in the middle and at the end did a show with his pepper and salt mills. I have seen much better shows at the Raleigh location. They use to offer an appetizer of two shrimp per person included in the price, but it's not offered anymore at least at lunch. Perhaps at dinnertime they offer it. 

We've been to this location many times and occasionally visit the Crabtree location. The location we've visited the most is the one on Old Wake Forest Road. All in all it was an enjoyable experience, just not as great as we have had in the past. It's a fun place to eat especially during lunch since the prices are much lower. It's plenty of food and most people take home leftovers even at lunch. What's your favorite hibachi restaurant in the Triangle?

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Kanki Japanese House of Steaks and Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Friday, June 15, 2018

GIVEAWAY - Blue Apron Meal Kit Worth up to $70




The winner must be over 18 years old, have never subscribed to Blue Apron, provide me with their name and email address to give to Blue Apron, provide Blue Apron their credit card number in case they want to continue with the service past the first box and live in the US (not in Hawaii & Alaska). Winner will be sent an email from Blue Apron & simply need to click on the link to redeem their free Blue Apron box online. To cancel future shipments: visit their website and go to account info, then chose "manage"  & then "cancel" or to skip future shipments select delivery schedule and chose "skip". Box is shipped via FedEx and arrives at your doorstep on your choice of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday. 

The photo above shows an example of one of six servings that Blue Apron provides in each box and one of the three meal kits. Each box contains three recipes with ingredients for two servings each. This giveaway is only for those that have never subscribed to Blue Apron before.  Please do not enter if you don't intend to redeem the free box! Note you will have to give Blue Apron your credit card number to redeem. It's easy to skip and cancel online, if you don't wish to remain a subscriber after your free box. It's a limited time offer, so you'll need to redeem in a timely manner. I have reviewed twenty-four Blue Apron deliveries, so be sure to check those out before you leave. Start with my 26th delivery. Then check out my Blue Apron Pinterest Board, click on the photo of the recipe that you fancy to see the matching blog post.  Also, check out my Home Chef reviews starting with my 59th delivery. In addition, check out my Hello Fresh reviews starting with my 18th delivery and my Sun Basket reviews starting with 27th delivery.

Bargain Alert: 

Hello Fresh - $40 off
Home Chef - $30 Off
Sun Basket - $35 Off

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Macy's Beauty Box Review - June 2018


Macy's June Beauty Subscription Box


This is a review of a monthly cosmetic subscription box from Macy's for $15 per month including shipping. The approximate retail value for the June box is $44.43 not including the $5 coupon and the cosmetic bag. For June, I received the following products:
  1. Sunday Riley - C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum, made in the USA, .17 oz., $14.45 retail value
  2. Marc Jacobs - Daisy Love Eau de Toilette Spray, made in France, .04 fl. oz., $1.97 retail value
  3. Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask, made in China, 1 oz., $9.81 retail value
  4. Coola - Sport Classic Sunscreen Fresh Mango Moisturizer SPF 50, made in the USA, .34 oz., $ 2.17 retail value
  5. Smashbox - Super Fan Mascara, made in Italy, .2 oz. approximate, $11.51 approximate retail value
  6. Vita Liberata - Body Blur Instant HD Skin Finish, made in the UK, .34 oz. $4.52 retail value
  7. $5 coupon for beauty products at Macy's
I love Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume, to me it smells similar to Chanel. Their new  Daisy Love scent is different. It's described as a warm floral with notes of crystallized cloudberries, daisy tree petals, cashmere musks and driftwood. It smells nice, but not one of my favorites. I really enjoy Peter Thomas Roth's masks. This one is very cooling, be sure to put it in the refrigerator to chill it even more prior to use. It goes on clear and it's no where near as sticky as most masks. It almost feels like a serum and it sinks into the skin quickly. It only takes a few seconds to dry and it leaves your skin feeling moisturized. Since it has aloe in it, it would be fabulous, if you had sunburn on your face. I'm disappointed and surprised it's made in China. It's also easy to wash off, which I really appreciate. I'm not a fan of Coola sunscreens. I prefer to use Bare Minerals powder foundation with SPF since my skin is so sensitive. I haven't tried the new Smashbox Super Fan Mascara yet since I have others waiting in line. I wish the cosmetic subscription boxes would slow down on the liners and mascaras and bring us some blushes and eye shadows instead. Vita Liberata is too dark for my very fair skin, I'll have to gift, sell or trade it. I love serums, since they are so easy to apply quickly. The Sunday Riley one is not clear like most serums, it's white. I don't like how it leaves a bit of stickiness, but it's very moisturizing. Perhaps, it's better for before bed rather than prior to makeup application. Wow, it's expensive coming in at $85 for only 1 ounce! 

This month isn't very exciting to me, I'll only be using four of the six samples. The cosmetic bag is nice and sturdy and waterproof, but I'm not crazy about the phrase "Friyay". It's better than their competition, Sephora, though. Did you get a box from them this month? If so, please comment below your thoughts on what they sent us. If you don't subscribe, why?

Check out my reviews of the previous Macy's Beauty Boxes:

May 2018 $43.95 retail value
April 2018 $43.24 retail value
December 2017 $63.14 retail value
November 2017 $38.21 retail value
October 2017 $55.97 retail value
September 2017 $31.84 retail value
August 2017 $35.36 retail value

Also, check out my Play! by Sephora Pinterest Board to compare it to Macy's Beauty Box and check out my Macy's Beauty Box Pinterest Board. In addition, check out my Subscription Box Pinterest Board to see what other boxes I've subscribed to over the years. 

Bargain Alert:

Mr. Rebates Cash Back from Macy's

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

18th Hello Fresh Meal Kit Review & $40 Coupon


Sausage Pasta Dinner & Shallot Zucchini Risotto Lunch


Ingredients


Lobster Ravioli & Shrimp with Tomatoes & Tarragon Cream Sauce


Ingredients


Mushroom Gravy Chicken over Couscous with Lemony Arugula


Ingredients


This is a review of our 18th delivery from a weekly food subscription box called Hello Fresh. This week we gave all three recipe four out of five stars. Calories ranged from 560 to 840 and preparation time ranged from five minutes to forty-five minutes. Actual preparation time ranged from five minutes to fifty-five minutes. This one costs $9.99 per serving for two people and shipping is free. You can chose 2, 3 or 4 recipes per week. The family plan is $8.74 per serving and you can chose two or three recipes per week for four people.

Sausage Pasta Dinner & Shallot Zucchini Risotto Lunch

We both gave this recipe four out of five stars. It was really delicious and I appreciated that they sent us Italian pasta and high quality sausage. This recipe is a new concept for them and they offer one of them each week. They offer two meals from one recipe and it costs only $7 for the second set of two servings! You cook everything for both meals at one time, so that it only takes five minutes to make the 2nd recipe for lunch the next day. You have the option of not cooking the ingredients that aren't shared in the lunch recipe until lunchtime. I'm not showing a picture for the 2nd recipe because we decided to have it for dinner instead and go low carb by skipping the rice. It looked just like the above photo, but without the pasta. It was plenty of food even without the rice. Pasta is in the dinner dish and rice is in the lunch dish. Most of the ingredients are the same with a few changes to make it a bit different. The sweet Italian chicken sausage was scrumptious! Hubby complained that it was chicken sausage, but changed his tune when he tasted how delicious it was. The fresh tarragon and parmesan cheese were lovely additions. The dinner recipe took fifty-five minutes to prepare and the recipe card states forty-five minutes. The dinner was a very generous portion with pasta leftovers. The lunch recipe had just as much sausage, they sent us eight links total. The 2nd package wouldn't fit on the cutting board for the photo, so it's not shown in the photo above. The risotto lunch has 800 calories and the pasta dinner has 840 calories. 

Lobster Ravioli & Shrimp

This is the 2nd time I've purchased this meal kit. Last time was back in September. I gave it five out of five stars when Hubby cooked it and I gave it four stars this time since I cooked it. Hubby is a better cook than I am. I probably didn't use as much butter as he did the first time. It comes in at only 600 calories yet it tastes like many more. Again, the use of fresh tarragon is wonderful. It's a very generous portion with lots of grape tomatoes left over. There were so many, I didn't use them all in the recipe. My preparation time was forty minutes, Hubby took thirty-three minutes and the recipe card states thirty-five minutes.   

Mushroom Gravy Chicken

We gave this recipe four out of five stars. Oh my, the mushroom gravy was scrumptious! I'm not usually a fan of that type of gravy, but purchased it for Hubby who does. I don't like this type of couscous, Israeli, so I ate very little of it. I prefer yellow couscous. With the addition of a salad, the couscous wasn't necessary, it was filling enough. Amazingly, the dressing made simply with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper was very tasty on the arugula. It took fifty minutes to prepare while the recipe card states forty minutes. It was a healthy portion with only 560 calories and leftover couscous. 

Hello Fresh has really stepped up their game lately and has been impressing us. Have you tried Hello Fresh yet? If not, you owe it to yourself to give it a try, so grab the coupon below, chose your recipes and wait for it to arrive at your doorstep. Your first box will only cost $19.94! Check out all the recipes we have made so far on my Hello Fresh Pinterest BoardSo what's your favorite food subscription box or recipe you have tried lately that you love? 

Bargain Alert: 

Hello Fresh - $40 off which makes your first box only $19.94 for 6 servings!
Home Chef - $30 Off which makes your first box only $29.70 for 6 servings!
Sun Basket - $40 Off

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Mason Jar Tavern - Fuquay Varina, NC


305 South Main Street
Fuquay Varina, NC  27526
(919) 762-5555


Exterior View


Interior Decor


Turkey Delicious Melt - $9.50


Make Your Own Burger - $10.00 + .50 Each Topping


This is a review of a restaurant called The Mason Jar located in downtown Fuquay Varina, North Carolina. They also have a location in Holly Springs. Free parking is available on the right side of the building, the city parking lot and on the street. They open every day at 11 am and close at 11 pm except Thursday through Saturday night when they close an hour later at midnight. Their health score is currently 96 which is pretty good. We visited on a Monday around 1 pm. We were immediately greeted by one employee and escorted to a booth by another employee. The dining section of the restaurant was packed and it was so loud you couldn't hear the music. The bar only had a couple of people.

It took what felt like forever for the waitress to show up and take our drink order, it took even longer for the drinks to show up. Shockingly, much later she returned to our table without the drinks and took our entree orders. Then someone else finally showed up with our drinks about ten minutes later. The not so friendly waitress did very little, she was no where to be found most of the time. We had to hunt her down to ask for a refill and she sent someone else to do it. Other employees delivered the drinks, delivered the food and delivered the refills. We had to hunt her down again to get our check and instead of doing so, she went off and tended to another customer and spilled his drink on the table! It took her a long time to come back and clean up the spill and then finally she delivered our check. It looked like the other wait staff was much more attentive since they were constantly passing our table.

On to the food, it took them thirty-five minutes to bring our food to the table! When we arrived I thought it was really busy for that time of day, but I realized it was because service was so slow no one was leaving! Everyone around us was receiving the same slow service. I ordered the Turkey Delicious Melt. It's described as "smoked turkey, golden delicious apples, white cheddar and honey mayo on sourdough". When it arrived I opened it to see what was inside and took a picture. Look at this shocking photo below which shows how little turkey, cheese and apple is on this sandwich and look how greasy the fries are:


They made the excuse that they are hand cut fries, but clearly they need to change the oil, it's been used too many times. Hand cut fries aren't normally dark brown! They look really disgusting! I was in complete shock at how little turkey, cheese and apple was on my sandwich. There is barely any cheese mind you this is suppose to look like a grilled cheese with cheese oozing out just as the menu photo looked. Note that the bread isn't even toasted, this was suppose to be cooked on a grill. My guess is they microwaved the turkey & cheese and slapped it on cold bread and then added cold apple. Also, the mayo is missing. This is the worst sandwich I have ever been served in my life. I placed all the turkey and apple on one half and ate that, so I was still hungry when I was done. I couldn't eat the fries, they were horrible. They were so greasy they would have caused me stomach pain. I immediately complained about the fries since I was in shock at how greasy they were. They brought out some more and they were exactly the same. Thankfully, the person that tended to our table the most, who I'm guessing was the manager since she didn't introduce herself, took this sandwich off our bill when she saw how little I ate. Hubby ordered the Make Your Own Burger with lettuce, bacon, onion, pickles and pepper jack cheese and skipped the bun since he's on a low carb diet. He was given the wrong cheese. His side was Bacon Brussel Sprouts which he thought were ok, but not served hot. The burger was very small, slightly warm and it wasn't cooked as he had requested. 

It was a very disappointing meal for both of us. I highly recommend you do not visit this restaurant. It's at the top of our worst restaurants list for sure. Definitely, don't visit this restaurant, if you have a limited time for lunch and have to get back to work within an hour! What's your favorite restaurant in the area?

Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews before you go. There are over one hundred of them listed on my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews Board. Save your friends from disappointment by sharing this restaurant review blog post with your friends via Twitter & Facebook:


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Monday, June 11, 2018

26th Blue Apron Meal Kit Review




Baked Wild Alaskan Pollock with Roasted Pepper Relish & Saffron Yogurt


Ingredients


Balsamic Glazed Chicken Thighs with Garlic Mashed Potatoes & Broccoli


Ingredients


Smoked Gouda Cheeseburger with Spicy Zucchini Slaw


Ingredients


This is a review of our 26th delivery from a weekly food subscription box called Blue Apron. This week we gave two recipes five out of five stars and one recipe four stars. Calories ranged from 570 to 780 and preparation time indicated on the recipe cards ranges from twenty-five to forty-five minutes. Actual preparation time ranged from forty-four minutes to fifty-three. This meal kit box with six servings and three recipes costs $59.94 including shipping. Occasionally, they offer discounts, if you order a specific week.

Baked Wild Alaskan Pollock

Hubby gave this recipe five out of five stars and I gave it three. I really appreciate that they send us wild caught fish. The pollock was yummy, but I wasn't a big fan of the topping though Hubby loved it. The roasted piquillo peppers gave me heartburn and I wasn't crazy about the addition of roasted almonds. I also didn't like the zucchini mixed with the yellow couscous. This recipe indicated up to thirty-five minutes preparation time. It took Hubby fifty-three minutes to prepare and it has only 570 calories. It was a healthy portion with leftover couscous. 

Balsamic Glazed Chicken Thighs

I gave this recipe four stars and Hubby gave it three out of five stars. I absolutely loved the glaze on top of the chicken and mashed potatoes. I don't normally like anything on top of my mashed potatoes. It was scrumptious! It's simply made with soy glaze, vinegar and water. I wasn't crazy about the broccoli, I prefer it steamed rather than baked. The Italian bel paese cheese, butter and garlic made for the yummiest mashed potatoes. It took Hubby forty-four minutes to prepare while the recipe card indicates up to forty-five minutes. It had 780 calories and it was a healthy portion with no leftovers.

Smoked Gouda Cheeseburger

Hubby gave this recipe five stars and I gave it three. I'm not a fan of smoked gouda cheese and the jalapeño was too spicy. I had to remove some pieces, it was that hot and I love jalapeño normally. I would have preferred tzatziki sauce on the zucchini over their suggested mixture of sour cream, vinegar, olive oil, garlic and jalapeño. The potato bun was tasty, fresh and soft. This one has 720 calories and it took fifty-two minutes to prepare. The recipe card states up to thirty-five minutes preparation time. It was a healthy portion with no leftovers.

It was a pretty good week of recipes. What's your favorite food subscription box? Don't forget to enter my current giveaway for a meal kit box from Blue Apron and check out my Pinterest Subscription Box Board and Pinterest Blue Apron Board.

Bargain Alert: 

Hello Fresh - $40 off
Home Chef - $30 Off
Sun Basket - $40 Off

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Sunday, June 10, 2018

Viva Chicken Peruvian Rotisserie Joint Grand Opening - Raleigh, NC

4361 Lassiter at North Hills Avenue
Suite 100
Raleigh, NC  27609
(984) 222-7104


Exterior View


Interior Decor


This is a preview of a new restaurant that opens in Raleigh on Wednesday, June 13th 2018 called Viva Chicken which is a Peruvian rotisserie joint. They have several locations in the Charlotte area that are extremely popular and have high ratings. They are open from 11 am to 9 pm everyday. Hubby travels for work and recently when he was in the Charlotte area he ate at one of them and raved about it to me. It sounded so delicious and healthy that I went on their Facebook page and asked if they would consider opening one in the Raleigh area. To my delight, I was informed they were building one in the North Hills Shopping Center. I was so excited! When I informed them that I'm a local food blogger, they generously invited me and a guest to join them for a meal prior to the grand opening. So Hubby & I visited today at 1 pm. What a treat!

Once you enter the restaurant, you'll need to decide what you want to order, then order and pay at the registers. After you order, find a place to sit, if you are eating in or wait for your carry out order. You can also order online, so that there is no wait for your carry out order. If dining in, they will bring your food to your table when it's ready. One of the wonderful things about this restaurant is that they use ovens from Peru and they cook the chicken over coals. The chicken is fresh, not frozen and hormone free. It's marinated in their Peruvian spice for twenty-four hours. They offer scrumptious yet healthy food such as rotisserie chicken, salads, sandwiches, wraps and kids' meals. They also offer dessert and have unique drinks and sauces that customers rave about. You can purchase 1/4, 1/2 or a whole chicken, the smaller sizes come with two sides and the whole chicken comes with three family sized sides. 1/4 chicken costs $8.95, 1/2 is $12.95 and the family size is $23.95. Your side choices are soltertio (Peruvian chopped salad), green beans, cilantro infused rice, sweet potato fries, french fries, quinoa, plantains, yuca, chicken soup, fresh fruit and a house salad. What a wonderful selection! They have six types of salad all of which you can add pulled chicken to for $2.45 extra and they range in price from $6.95 to $8.25. You may want to check out the menu online prior to your visit.

We had a wonderful experience there today! I grabbed a booth and Hubby went to the registers to order. While I was waiting a friendly, young lady offered to bring me sauces and asked which ones I would like. She brought back napkins, forks and knives and the three sauces.


Sauces: Aji Amarillo (mild), Huacatay (medium) & Rocoto (hot)

After ordering, Hubby brought my drink and our order number stand to the table. 


Herbal Limeade - $2.50

It took about ten minutes for our order to be delivered to the table. As show below, I ordered the Great Wrap with french fries which is described as "pulled rotisserie chicken, lettuce, tomato, red onion & rocoto mayo". It comes on a sun dried tomato wrap or a ciabatta roll. You have to option of adding avocado, provolone or jalapeño bacon for $.75 extra. It was absolutely scrumptious with the addition of the yellow sauce which was my favorite.


The Great Wrap + French Fries - $8.50

My second favorite sauce is the reddish brown sauce which I dipped my french fries in. I wasn't crazy about the green sauce. Hubby has the same favorites. The yellow sauce is called Aji Amarillo and it has a mild Peruvian pepper flavor. The green sauce is medium spicy and it's called Huacatay which offers black Peruvian mint, jalapeños and cilantro. The reddish brown sauce called Rocoto is hot and it's heat is caused by the hot Peruvian pepper. You must try all three and determine your favorites, they are so incredibly delicious! You need just a little bit to add so much more flavor to your already flavorful dish. The wrap was very tasty, I enjoyed it very much. The fries arrived very hot and they are my favorite because they are nice and moist in the middle with enough potato and have a batter like, crispy coating. I had enough in my basket for two people, you could definitely share or take some home for later.  I also ordered the Herbal Limeade drink which has basil, mint, lime and rosemary. It was incredible, I highly recommend you give it a try. It's highly addictive! I wish I could have taken home a gallon jug of it along with a jar of each of the sauces! Such unique flavors! At first sip, I tasted the basil, followed by the mint, then rosemary and finally lime. What a winning combination! Hubby ordered 1/2 Chicken with Green Beans and a House Salad. 


1/2 Chicken + Green Beans + House Salad - $12.95

His chicken arrived hot, very moist and the seasoning was awesome. The green beans were cooked perfectly and the salad was tasty also. The salad comes with a kale romaine mix, tomato, red onions and feta cheese. He chose their ranch dressing which is a bit different, they add their Aji Amarillo sauce to it for even more flavor. Everything was fresh and tasty. Staff came by our table several times while we were eating to offer more sauce, drink refills and napkins. All of them were very friendly, attentive and welcoming which made our experience very enjoyable. We really appreciated their hospitality and the food is top notch. They also have seating outside in the front of the building and on the left side. The left side seating area is located next to a large fountain, so it provides a lovely, peaceful water sound:


Outdoor Seating

I highly recommend you put this restaurant on your list to try very soon. It's going on our favorite restaurants list. After you give it a try, let me know what your favorite entree and sauce is! What's your favorite restaurant in Raleigh?

Be sure to check out my other restaurant reviews before you go. There are over one hundred of them listed on my Pinterest Restaurant Reviews Board. Please do me a favor and share this restaurant review blog post with your friends via Twitter & Facebook:

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Viva Chicken Peruvian Rotisserie Joint Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato