Photo of the day (9.30.10)

It’s 5 o’clock, a near-universally accepted time for happy hour. Flickr user t3mujin snapped this beer ad-worthy pic in Madeira, off the coast of Portugal and notes that the snacks in the background are tremoços or Lupin beans.The legumes are typically pickled, eaten with or without the skin, and served with beers in a pub. Here in Istanbul, drink snacks may include a bowl of nuts, cherries or other bite-sized fruits, or sliced cucumbers and carrots in a salty solution. Around many outdoor bars, vendors sell small plates of almonds or walnuts on ice, with the ice helping to peel the skins off and removing the bitterness of the nut. All of them pair well with a cold beer in summer.

Eat any good drink snacks on your travels? Send your shots to Gadling’s Flickr group and we might use one for a future Photo of the Day.

Air Canada ordered to offer a no-nuts option for allergic flyers

The Canadian Transportation Authority has ruled that Air Canada needs to create a “nut-free” zone on all of its flights, to accommodate those passengers who are severely allergic to nuts. The order came after two passengers complained that the airline had failed to properly accommodate their allergies, which the CTA ruled should be treated as a disability.

According to Toronto’s National Post, the airline has “30 days to come up with a plan to create a ‘buffer zone'” to separate those who have nut allergies from the rest of the passengers, who may receive a snack with nuts in it.

I feel for people who have severe nut allergies, really I do. The constant worry that something you eat may contain nuts, the fear that someone may eat a nut near you and cause you to have a bad reaction, the pain of not being able to enjoy all the delicious nuts out there in the world. I mean, have you ever had a macadamia nut? Those things are pure heaven.

Should passengers be denied the right to eat something delicious because there is a chance that another person on the plane might be allergic to it? It’s tempting to say no, but really, when you think about it, is offering a peanut-based snack so important that it is worth risking someone’s life? Some allergies really are that severe and there are plenty of other snack options out there that don’t involve nuts. I actually have to side with one of the complaining passengers on this one – it just makes more sense to get ride of nut-based snacks altogether.

[via USA Today]

Gadling product review – You Bars customizable nutrition bars and trail mix

Today’s quick product review is going to introduce you to You Bars. You Bars is a line of completely customizable nutrition bars, trail mix and protein shakes.

Portable snacks have passed through Gadling before – back in March, Annie reviewed Jerky for us, so it only makes sense that we keep that trend going with other travel friendly snacks.

For the review, I ordered a box of “Gadling Trail Mix”, and a box of “Gadling Bars”. The You Bars web site is of course where you’ll start the order process.

For the Gadling Trail Mix, I ordered the following ingredients:

Almonds, Macadamia nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, pistachios, organic coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sweetened blueberries, mini pretezls, oat bran, crystallized ginger, organic cacao nibs, sun drops chocolate candies, pineapples and cherries.

Needless to say that this is way, way more impressive than most store brand trail mix products.

For the Gadling nutrition bar, I ordered the following ingredients:

You Bar base (almond butter and organic dates), organic clover honey, whey protein, chocolate chips, almonds, blueberries, cherries, coconut, organic brown rice, cocoa nibs and a vitamin infusion (adds vitamin A and C)

So, how did the final product taste? Since I am the one that picked the ingredients, it would be silly to say anything other than “great”. And I am happy to report that the trail mix and bars do indeed taste fantastic.

The trail mix has all the items I selected perfectly balanced, and every single bag had all the ingredients I ordered, which is quite an impressive feat considering how many items I had picked.

The trail mix I ordered came in 45g bags, and I found each portion to be more than sufficient as a snack, or to keep me going till my next meal.

The trail mix contained more of the kind of ingredients I like, and probably not enough of the kind of stuff that is really good for me. Because of that, a full serving comes in at 233 calories. In addition to this, it also has 16g of fat and 20 of carbs. It provides very little in the way of vitamin A or C, but does serve you 40% of your RDV of iron. The recommended “enjoy by” date is 4 months from the production date.

The You Bar nutrition bar is equally impressive. Each bar is also 45g, and my “Gadling Bar” had a very dense consistency, making it the perfect snack for keeping me going. It was sweet, but not too sweet.

As with the trail mix, this bar was put together with some less than healthy ingredients, the serving contained 203 calories and 11g of fat. The bar also provided 8g of protein, with decent levels of calcium (24% RDV) and iron (18% RDV). The recommended “enjoy by” date is 2 months from the production date.

The order process is about as simple as it can get – you start at the top with the base ingredients, and make you way down through fruits, nuts, canides and other ingredients.

Each ingredient section shows how many items you can add, and allows you to tweak the portion of each section (more or less of each). As you build your product, a nutrition facts counter shows your progress in the right, allowing you to build your bar based off its nutrition, rather than how tasty it’ll be.

This nutrition information is printed on a label, along with all the ingredients, and is attached to every product you receive.

Once you are satisfied with your selection, you can place the order. Each bar, trail mix or protein shake you design is assigned a unique code, making reordering much easier.

The name you give your product is also printed on the bag (trail mix and protein shakes) or wrapper (nutrition bar).

Trail mix can be ordered in three sizes; small (33g), regular (45g) and large (55g). Each order ships in batches of 13 bags, and costs $24.57 for the small ($1.89 per bag), $25.87 for the regular ($1.99 per bag) and $28.47 for the large ($2.19 per bag).

The nutrition bars also come in three sizes; small (35g), medium (45g) and large (55g). Each order ships in batches of 13 bars, and costs $37.57 (for the small ($2.89 per bar), $38.87 for the medium ($2.99 per bar) and $41.47 for the large ($3.19 per bar).

Protein shakes also come in packs of 13 pouches, and ship in the same three sizes as the other products. The price of the shakes is the same as for the nutrition bars.

Shipping is $7.99 for the US, $19.99 for Canada and $39.99 for international destinations. Orders can be set to ship on a recurring basis, with new batches being sent bi-weekly, tri-weekly or monthly. Customers who take advantage of the recurring shipment program also receive free gifts with their order.

I’m very impressed with the product and the ordering process. There is something extremely cool about going online to build your own trail mix, nutrition bar and protein shake, and have your personal selection show up on your doorstep. Of course, if you screw up, and mix really lousy ingredients, you can only blame yourself for the end result.

Building your own personal product is perfect if you just want a really tasty snack for on the road, or if you need a specific selection of ingredients and nutrition from each snack. The price is on the high end of what I’d be willing to pay for on-the-road snacks, but it sure as hell beats paying $10 for a lousy snack box on your next flight. Best of all, you get to snack on something filled only with stuff you like.

You Bars can be ordered from