Monday, October 26, 2015

Dining: Smell that Sweet Aroma...

Lately, I’ve been working from home more and I’ve found heading to my local coffee shop has been one of the best ways to get a change of pace and a little extra dose of inspiration. It was literally the most perfect timing when a brand new Aroma Espresso Bar popped up within walking distance from my home.

Grilled Chicken Breast Sandwich with Arugula

I’ve been a fan of Aroma since I first walked into their Shops on Don Mills location a few years ago. I love the area, I love the ambience and the lighting. But mostly I love the way the café feels. It’s warm, bright and cozy and I’ve often chosen that location for work lunches or to meet with a girlfriend for coffee.

Aroma Espresso Bar, Unionville location


The café was founded in Jerusalem and features a healthy Mediterranean-inspired menu with made to order salads and sandwiches as well as a variety of hot and cold beverages. The first Canadian location opened in the Annex but there are now over 30 locations in and around the GTA with more on the way.

Now that Aroma Espresso Bar is my new neighbour, I love taking my laptop and hanging out from my mid-morning matcha almond milk latte until well after lunchtime. The perks? Amazing service and delicious food, but it doesn’t end there.

The real reason I often visit Aroma for a quick pick me up or a longer work session is because no matter who I’m meeting, the café is super comfortable and the menu always has something that intrigues everyone. They have portion sizes to suit the hungriest and the lightest eaters too.

From delicious pastries (I love the coconut orange cake and have heard great things about the date pastry) to savoury soups (I love the Butternut Squash and Red Lentil) and fresh salads, 
there is literally something for everyone.

Coconut Orange Cake 
If you’ve been following along with the Lifestyle File, you’ll know I often like to change up my diet and workout plan to make sure I am hitting my goals and focusing on wellness.

Recently, I started a new diet plan that consists of mainly protein and vegetables with small portions of healthy carbs added in on workout days. You can read about my nutrition plan here. While on this plan, I often prepped my meals in large batches but on really busy days I was pressed for time and had to eat out. 

At these times, I was especially grateful to be in such close proximity to an Aroma Espresso Bar.

Here’s why:
Sweet Potato Lentil Salad with Goat Cheese, Lemon Dressing
Aroma prides itself on using fresh ingredients and lots of whole, healthy foods. Think- kale, lentils, lean proteins, premium veggies like roasted eggplant and portobello mushrooms, and super-grains like quinoa and freekeh. As such, I could easily find options on their menu already which worked with my super clean diet. Additionally, the dressings and sauces are served on the side so you can add as much or as little as you want. But with healthy options like balsamic, lemon/olive oil and tahini you likely won’t be passing on the dressing. 

Chocolate Almond Croissant
At Aroma, fresh produce is delivered each morning and bread/pastries are baked on site all day using natural ingredients. Salads and Sandwiches are made to order every time. That means, there is no one mixing salads ahead of time or re-heating an egg for your breakfast sandwich. Instead, Aroma chefs will make your omelette just the way you like it, right before you eat it.

Date Pastry
Breakfast is served all day, which means you can take advantage of their super healthy “Power Breakfast Combo” (two eggs, mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, olives, feta cheese, cream cheese and avocado with any kind of bread and a hot drink) at pretty much anytime.

But here’s the very best thing… Did I say that already? Aroma is very aware of the many dietary restrictions that people may have. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are readily available and with the focus on customization, Aroma staff is very understanding when you want to change or substitute something in your order. 

In fact grilled tofu can be substituted for any meat or cheese free of charge. If like me, you are avoiding tofu too, they will help you figure out something that works for you. (Recently, I substituted eggs for a combo of chickpeas and sweet potato with absolutely no problem. Talk about accommodating.)

After reading all this I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re on your way to the nearest Aroma Espresso Bar right now.
NEW: all-natural Chicken or Veg Broth is a seasonal fave


If so, here are some of my #aromafaves:
Warm Chickpea Salad, Chopped Salad, Organic Kale and Portobello salad and the Sweet Potato and Lentil Salad

*Bonus: you can add proteins like smoked salmon, albacore tuna, steak, sliced turkey or tofu if you like

Drinks: London Fog, Cappucinos, Matcha Green Tea Lattes, Kale and Mango 100% real fruit        Smoothie

*Bonus: all the teas at Aroma are locally sourced and organic from the Toronto-based company, Pluck

Natural Vegetable or Chicken Broth, Vegan Red Lentil Soup, Vegetarian Forest Mushroom soup and Vegetarian Butternut Squash Soup

And if you are on your way to an Aroma location…I might just see you there. 

As we approach office party season, it’s worth it to note that Aroma brings its fresh approach to your door with catering for parties, small family dinners and larger corporate events. You can find out more here: Aroma

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