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Lazy Lunchtime Adventures with Evol. Bowls and Flatbreads

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By now you guys know that I just can't resist a frozen-food case! I recently popped into Spec's (their olive bar -- Sweet Jesus, their olive bar) and I couldn't help myself. After a few minutes perusing the selection, I noticed a brand called "evol." That touted -- among other things -- "scratch made deliciousness" and "natural" (asterisk!) products.

I liked the look of the Grilled Chicken and Roasted Veggies Flatbread, and threw in a Chicken Enchilada bowl for good measure. These are precisely the kinds of foods I love to keep on hand for days when I just want to power through lunch at my desk, multitasking so I can end the day a bit early.

I started with the Chicken Enchilada bowl, which in addition to being "scratch made" and "natural" also promised to be gluten-free, with 22 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber. I went with the microwave instructions -- this is Fast Times, after all -- and zapped the bowl for four minutes. The front of the box describes the Chicken Enchilada bowl thusly:

"Tender braised white meat chicken, pinto beans, cilantro lime rice, cheddar cheese and roasted corn layered between authentic corn tortillas -- all topped with an insanely tasty green enchilada sauce."

Well, at least some of this is true.

I don't know why I'm always so hopeful and/or willing to believe that a "natural" line of frozen foods is going to be a huge improvement over the standard stuff, but I continue in that naive belief. And, as usual, I was pretty disappointed. There's nothing wrong with this chicken enchilada bowl, and in truth it is pretty good -- it's just not mind-blowingly amazing. The chicken was almost undetectable, so I can't really say if it was better or worse than any other chicken I tried; the seasoning was good -- spicy without being too salty; the portion size was spot-on, and I felt full but not stuffed; and the cheese was above average for frozen fare. But "insanely tasty green enchilada sauce"? No. That was not happening, and I ended up throwing on a little hot sauce from my own fridge.

The flatbread experience was similar, although I have to say I found the crust to be outstanding -- as "insanely tasty" as the packing promised, and also flaky and crispy; just sort of shockingly good for a frozen pizza. The toppings left something to be desired -- the chicken pieces varied wildly in size, so they didn't cook evenly, and a mix of mushrooms and eggplant that were indistinguishable from one another. As for the "caramelized onions, roasted garlic, and extra virgin olive oil" listed on the box, I can't say as they came through, either. I added Sriracha after a few bites, which was terrific with the tasty bread.

At about $5.50 apiece, these are definitely a smidge higher on the price point scale, though I suspect anyone who is looking for gluten-free, natural, scratch and other buzzwords is ready to pay that difference. But I'd skip right over these and pick Amy's or Kashi any day of the week.

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