Exploring New Subscription Boxes

Once you get past Chinese & Mexican the number of international restaurants is pretty slim in the immediate area. As I love my global goodies I decided to have some delivered to scratch that itch. I’ve done Universal Yums in the past which brought snacks from other countries to my door so this time I opted for Try Treats and Eat2Explore. The one I’m going to talk about now is Eat2Explore. Something different this time is trying out a video unboxing. We’ll see how this goes.

I’m clearly not ready to convert this to a video blog but it was something different. So was this whole experience. This box would be really great if you had kids and wanted to get them introduced to foods from other cultures and learning about other places. The two info cards are quick hits of information about the country, food & origins, social studies, math & art. Plus a QR code to take you to more online information. Kind of cool.

The next thing about this box is that it’s about making the dishes rather than dropping a ready made meal on your doorstep. If you enjoy cooking then this could be for you. I also appreciated the fact that each recipe was provided with both with a good version and a vegetarian option (I know my carnivore is showing). I do think it’s a nice touch for those who swing that way. The recipes are fairly straight forward and ingredients included in the box are highlighted in the finished dishes. The included shopping list is quite a nice touch too. That also explained the kitchen gadget I thought was a spoon holder was actually a lid prop to keep the lid open a crack so you can avoid boil overs.

The meals were all tasty and I wound up using them as meal prep for the week to save time and have a tasty homemade meal several more times. The first one I made was jerk chicken thighs with Caribbean rice and coleslaw.

The spicy peppers were evident in the jerk paste but not overly hot. The sweetness of the pineapple I think helped tamp it down. The coconut milk powder I said in the video was for the coconut shrimp was really for this rice recipe. I loved this rice. I did go off book and use some brown jasmine rice rather than white but that in no way detracted from my enjoyment. The slaw was a little juicy but had a nice flavor that went well with the rest of the meal. I looked forward to the left overs. Next up was the curry chicken stew.

Another relatively simple dish that had a ton of great flavor and the left overs were better than the first meal after cooking. I used chick breast in this one and stuck to my brown rice over the white. This was a fairly sweet curry stew and very aromatic. It was also very filling with both rice and potatoes in addition to the chicken. If you’re trying to cut carbs this is not the meal you are looking for. I like curry a lot so this was probably my favorite of the 3 recipes overall. Having said that the next one was an excellent contender.

It doesn’t look like much with only 4 jumbo shrimp but wow these were nice and the meal was sufficient to fill me up. I’ve had coconut shrimp before and they were ok. These were better than any I’ve had before. It wasn’t anything super special other than they had bigger flakes of coconut and they were baked rather than fried. The sauce was like a homemade yum yum sauce and the riced cauliflower with mixed vegetables was not bad at all. I did use the left over egg from the dredging of the shrimp in the cauliflower and vegetables like a stir fry. The shrimp was the single biggest surprise for me and was simple enough I’ll give them another go. They also reheated well in the oven.

I signed up for a few months so we’ll see what it brings. This one certainly was worthwhile.

To the Islands Mon


Today was such a bright and beautiful day it felt like a great day to hit the islands even if the temperature wasn’t quite tropical.  With that in mind Jamaica became the country and Caribbean Hut restaurant the representative for the food.  There are two locations in the Charlotte area and the closest to me is off Woodlawn and I mean off.  Google maps pinned it but couldn’t quite figure out how to get there.  It ran me past the location, indicated I should do a U-turn and then just gave up.  The pin was an island on the screen Google couldn’t navigate to.

Fortunately for me the JROTC training kicked in and I was able to figure out the map and successfully arrive in the parking lot.  The Caribbean Hut shares the lot with some interesting company, including a restaurant named Chubz, and the Gentlemen’s Club that I don’t believe is a habitat for gentlemen but I could be mistaken.  In any case I reached the destination and it looked promising.

I walked in and was greeted by the sounds of Mr. Bob Marley, whose likeness also graced one wall.  The staff and several of the restaurant patrons had accents than pegged them as being from the Caribbean if not from Jamaica.  As I’ve said more than once it’s a good sign to me when people from the culture eat at the restaurant.

The menu wasn’t huge but did have a nice variety of items including some combos that came in small and large.  I went with the small oxtail and curry goat combo that also came with rice and beans, vegetables and plantains.


I have never had oxtail at all or goat this way, which is of course why I got them.  I liked them both but preferred the curry goat overall.  The goat was cooked in a mild green curry that had a nice flavor and the meat was cooked tender and had a rich taste.  If you are a health nut and you’ve never had oxtail keep it that way.  The oxtail was about fifty percent meat with the other fifty percent being just about equal measures of fat, gristle and bone.  I know some of you are saying “Yum” and meaning it while others probably fought back a gag reflex but let me assure you it was actually quite good.  The meat was very tender and flavorful and the brown gravy was just a bit sweet and tasted like it had some of the same spices used in jerk seasoning in it as well.  The rice and beans had just a few beans in it but did have other seasoning that went well with both the curry and oxtail.  The vegetables consisted mostly of steamed cabbage with a can of veg-all thrown in.  The cabbage was cooked thoroughly and not overdone so it was nice.  The plantains were cooked with a slight glaze on the outside and soft on the inside while staying firm enough you could push food on to your fork with them.

They had a selection of other Jamaican foods and drinks including meat patties, island sodas and Red Stripe beer.  I can definitely see giving the Caribbean Hut another shot to try some of the other menu items.

They don’t have a website but here’s a link to their Facebook page:

Caribbean Hut Facebook

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