Vancouver Foodster Iced Summer Drink Challenge Is On.

Vancouver Foodster has the perfect way to beat the heat this summer with the Iced Summer Drink Challenge. Running from July 5th to 28th, Vancouver Foodster has challenged cafes and restaurants around Metro Vancouver to create their best iced drink for the summer.

There’s plenty of variety so get out and try any or all of the unique Iced Summer Drinks entries prepared by the participating cafes.

The restaurants have entered their favourite chilled beverage, either from their existing menu or come up with a unique recipe for their Vancouver Foodster Best Iced Summer Drink Challenge cup. The chef’s entries range from simple to fancy, their refreshing beverage creation can made of coffee, tea, soda, lemonade, frappe, shake or kombucha based drink, using unique and innovative ingredients.

As with all of Vancouver Foodster’s food challenges, a panel of media judges (including myself, @pigoutyvr and @shelleyhayashi) will taste and crown the Judges’ Choice Best Summer Drink.  The public is also invited to try any or all of the entries, then vote for their fave to claim the title of People’s Choice Iced Summer Drink creation at vancouverfoodster.com/ice-summer-drink-challenge. On social media, tag your iced tea drinks with #IcedSummerDrinkChallengeYVR and see what other’s are enjoying along the Best Iced Tea Challenge.

The participating cafes in Vancouver Foodster Best Iced Summer Drink Challenge are;

VANCOUVER: 

Firecrust Neapolitan Pizzeria, 808 Davie Street

Paragon Tea Room, 2207 Cambie Street

RICHMOND

Origo Club, 110-6888 River Road

LANGLEY

Ban Cook Dee, 20563 Douglas Crescent

Food by Fanta @ BCD Academy, #107, 20542 Fraser Hwy


Firecrust Neapolitan Pizzeria, #40, 20160 Langley Bypass

For more details and how to vote for your fave Iced Summer Drink Challenge entry visit vancouverfoodster.com/ice-summer-drink-challenge

Vancouver Foodster 2nd Annual Holiday Market December 5th

The Vancouver Foodster 2nd Annual Holiday Market is coming to neighbourhoods near you on December 5, 2018.  Building on last year’s Holiday Market, Vancouver Foodster market locations bring tastes, gifts and more to different corners of Vancouver.

At the Market locations – Main Street Honey Shoppe, Be Fresh Market & Cafe, Espressotec, and Silk Road Tea – multiple vendors, introduce participants to their products, goods and services.  Find out from producers, crafters, and vendors first hand what goes into their products or flavours.  The Vancouver Foodster Holiday Market is a perfect night for your holiday gift shopping, learning about what’s new on the shelves, shops and online, and mingling with your friends while meeting new ones.

Guests will register at Main Street Honey Shoppe to collect their Holiday Market Passport.  Then, they’ll set off to explore the market locations.

Espressotec, 1015 Clark Drive, will feature local food, baristas, coffee-roasters and coffees, along with general gift items including; Bean Around The World, East Van Roasters, Nutmeg Mylk, and Porchlight Press Cards.

Be Fresh Market & Cafe, 2951 W Broadway, will feature multiple vendors showcasing local foods and beverages.

Silk Road Tea, 2066 West 4th Avenue, presents their imported & custom blended organic, premium loose teas, as well as their organic skincare, haircare & bodycare products.

Tickets for Vancouver Foodster 2nd Annual Holiday Market are on sale on Eventbrite now:

Ultra Early-Bird: $29 per person until November 8, 2018
Early-Bird Tickets: $35 per person November 9 – November 28, 2018
Regular: $50 per person after November 28, 2018 until December 5, 2018
Note: Eventbrite fee and GST is extra on all tickets purchased online.
Ticket price includes food and beverages tasting at each of the participating markets throughout the evening.

 

 

 

Tasting Plates Chinatown – Recap

Wednesday night, Tasting Plates took patrons on an adventure to find the new tastes of Vancouver’s Chinatown.
While Chinatown is one of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, it is also home to some of the newest up and coming food locations.  Vancouver Foodster and some of the new locales presented a taste of what makes them an alternative to the traditional neighbourhood Chinese restaurants.

First up, the check in location at Klaus’s Kaffee Haus, the Austrian breakfast & lunch spot, where Tasting Platers collected their tour maps and kick started their evening with tasting cup of Lavazza Coffee.

Just down Pender Street, Umaluma presented a trio of flavours on their Tasting Plate.  The stylish dairy-free gelato parlour impressed with a scoop of rich and creamy Pumpkin Pie Gelato with Coconut Whipped Cream, topped with Roasted Hazelnuts, and a scoop of crisp and clean Raspberry Sorbetto, topped with a freeze dried Raspberry, silver specked Chocolate and Manuka Honey Foam.  In a tasting cup, Umaluma poured a “Shot in the Dark” drinking chocolate with tangy Buckthorn powder.

Around the block on Main Street, the most recent location of Straight Outta Brooklyn Pizzeria was a bustling spot as they cut slices of their NYC style pizza.  Choosing from their pies;
Original – Margherita,
Classic – Pepperoni,
White – Mozzarella, Fior di Latte, Ricotta Grana Padano, Garlic and Oregano
Spice – Capicollo, Spicy Salami
“The Olive and Caper” a new vegan option.

Across Main, Dalina , the grocery, kitchen, coffee house hosted a selection of their vendor partners who dished up some of the locally made offerings sold at Dalina.
Lisa Lou’s Chocolate Bar is a neighbour of Dalina and the pair collaborate on a rich and sweet hot chocolate.
Jules + Kent Food Group, the local producer booked up a rich dish of pasta with their Caramelized Garlic Pasta Sauce.
Naked Snacks, another local company offered up cups of their healthy and wholesome snack mixes; Wholesome Yogi and Hearty Tamari.
Better With Ice Cream, 100% honest ice cream, traceable from farm to spoon, offered a mini-cone of Caramel flavour.

The simple Tasting Plates Chinatown tour offered a great introduction to the  new tastes complementing the Chinatown neighbourhood. Keep your eyes open for the next Tasting Plates – Yaletown Brunch on October 28th and other flavourful Vancouver Foodster events coming this fall.

Tasting Plates North Vancouver – Recap

This week, the North Shore was invaded by a gaggle of hungry explorers taking part in Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates North Vancouver.  As with all Tasting Plates, the patrons got to experience a sampling of what the neighbourhood has to offer.  Restaurants, cafes, and their chefs put their best foot forward with their Tasting Plates and Cups.

Starting off at Bean Around The World at Lonsdale Quay Market, Tasting Platers collected their Tasting Plates cards and map, and sat down for a tasting cup of drip or espresso based coffees.  Armed with our Americano we set out on a flavorful journey around North Van.

 

 

 

The tasting plate that two-week old Lift Breakfast Bakery, 101 Lonsdale Avenue served was a perfect teaser of the sweet and savoury tastes we’ll find at Lift. Breakfast for dinner is always a favourite.

House Smoked Trout Eggs Benedict, served on a Potato Rosti with rich Hollandaise Sauce
Mini Kouign Amann, a Breton Pastry, crispy and sweet outside with a soft buttery flake inside.
Lightly Dressed Greens cleansed the palate between bites.

Exploration of the neighbourhood meets exploration of the world’s flavours at Maru Korean Bistro, 125 2nd St E, a plate as pretty as it was flavourful.
Saeng-Gool :- Oyster with Yuzu Foam and Tabasco-Gochujang Caviar (Jelly Pearls),
Kim-Bugak :- Crisp Nori Puff, with XO Aioli, Salmon Roe, Lime Caviar
Yook-Hoe :- Korean Beef Tartare, Sea Lettuce Powder Dusted Crostini, Asian Pear, Sesame Oil Dust and Garlic Chip.

 

Just down the street The Juicery Co 254 1st St E cleansed us with a tasting cups of The Greenest (Kale, Collards, Watercress, Cucumber, Cilantro, Dandelion, Lemon, Ginger) and Honey & Vanilla Almond Milk.  For something substantial but light a small cup of Acai Bowl creamy and smooth, with a crunchy topping of The Juicery Co‘s signature housemade granola

Who doesn’t love some chocolate, Coconama Chocolate Shop and Factory 2568 1st St E, has plenty. Artisan handmade Japanese-style truffles, were rich and creamy, with a wide variety of flavours.
COCOBARs are blended, flavoured chocolate bars, the Salted Caramel was a treat!
COCO LABO are single source, small batch, high quality chocolate. Unlike some high percentage cocoa dark chocolates, these were smooth and not grainy feeling.

 

Even though it’s only been open 7 weeks, Welcome Parlour Ice Cream, 277 8th St E, has a century of history behind it.  Housed in a building owned by the original owner of Welcome Parlor, a 1910 ice cream, candy and smoke shop on Lonsdale Ave, this renewed version is serving a selection of nostalgic and modern candy treats alongside their rich and creamy natural churned ice cream blends (plus a couple of non-dairy coconut milk based creams)
A quartet of flavours filled my Welcome Parlour Tasting Box:
Homemade Apple Pie – a real house baked apple pie crushed and blended into ice cream
Rocky Road – like s’mores on ice
Vanilla Vanilla – a creamy butter coloured, vanilla bean classic
Non-Dairy Chocolate Coconut – I can’t believe it’s not dairy

 

Last but not least, Hearthstone Brewery and Restaurant 1015 Marine Drive, combines the brewery with their recently opened Forno to bring mediterranean flavours to the imbibers.
Panzanella Salad, a nicely dressed blend of Bread, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Onion, Fiore de Latte and Herb Vinaigrette
From the choice of beers I selected a clear and refreshing Rizzla Rice Lager

If this flavour adventure sounded tasty to you, join in on Vancouver Foodster’s next Tasting Plates Burnaby Heights on May 17th.

West Village Cafe creates a community

Tucked into a shopping complex in Surrey, the recently opened West Village Cafe is an urban oasis in a suburban sea of chain store conformity. Even as you enter the bright, contemporary, cafe you are aware that you’re in for something good.

Arriving on a Sunday morning, West Village Cafe was bustling and alive with groups of friends and families socializing, studying and sipping a great smoothie, or coffee while digging into their brunch or lunch dishes.  Owners Paul and Jas, and their staff greet guests with friendly and fast service, creating a comfortable, welcoming room. Even though almost everything is housemade the small kitchen turns out food in a rapid pace, comparable to the fast food restaurant.  Paul, Jas and Chef Tim Cuff have created a menu which offers a diverse selection of Breakfast/Brunch, Salads, Soups, Sandwiches, and their speciality Rice Bowls, along with Grab-n-Go baked goods and drinks.  Ingredients have been carefully selected from local sources and the freshness is reflected in the taste.

My meal of the Turmeric, Cous Cous & Grapefruit Salad, with one of best classic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches was comforting and fresh. The AntiOxidant Smoothie and Chocolate & Peanut Butter Energy Seed Bar were a tasty, healthy combo to take on the road back to Vancouver.   West Village Cafe may be out in Surrey, (we wish it there was one near our Yaletown neighbourhood) it’s definitely now on our list of places to visit on a day out and a place to meet with friends in the area. 

West Village Cafe is located at #160 – 5620 152nd Street, Surrey BC
Visit westvillagecafe.ca to check out the menu and more information then make a visit in person.

Dine Out Vancouver Festival – Yaletown Brunch Crawl 2017

Another weekend of Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2017 means another pair of Brunch Crawls presented by Vancouver Foodster.

This weekend, East Village and Yaletown neighbourhoods were explored. We participated in the Yaletown Brunch Crawl to take a look around our home ‘hood.

Hoping the rain would hold off, we started off the morning at Rocanini Coffee near BC Place.  The coffee house offered a Rum Latter to kickstart Brunch Crawl; espresso, steamed milk and rum flavouring. I opted to have mine without espresso, as a steamed milk with rum.  A rich, soothing sip to warm the soul.

 

 

I’ve walked past Living Produce Aisle, on Hamilton Street, many times and Brunch Crawl took us to visit the unique green grocers. The Urban Cultivator outlet grows fresh microgreens for many local restaurants and merchants. In addition they serve the greens themselves for their housemade smoothies and salads, like the Green Dream and Peanut Butter Cup Smoothies and MicroGreen Salad cup they served for Brunch Crawlers.

Next, while not exactly typical for Brunch, House Special offered a plate of Vietnamese dishes. The trio were more traditional flavours than House Special normally presents but were a perfect lunar New Year offering. Congee Noir; black and white rice porridge topped with housemade Chinese donut, boudin noir sausage and house made XO sauce.  Vietnamese Festival Cake; sticky rice roulade with pork, 5-spice sausage, mung bean, cucumber, pickled cabbage & celery. Steamed Glass Dumpling; banana leaf wrapped tapioca dumpling, filled with ground pork, salted shrimp, pork crackling and red chili with nouc cham dipping sauce.

Ganache Patisserie, plated a sweet ending to the food offered for Brunch Crawl Yaletown.  The French Patisserie presented a quintet of their favourite pastries; a flaky classic croissant, croissant aux bleuet-mures (blueberry enveloped in croissant dough), Goyave Citron Mandarine (citrus cake topped with fruit), Madeline and Macaron.

 

To wrap up the morning Brunch Crawl, a hot cuppa tea at Teaja hit the spot.  Offering a tasting of Double Cream Earl Grey sweetened with honey and coconut milk or Vanilla Rouge, a flavoured Rooibos tea. My Earl Grey nicely closed this weekend’s Brunch Crawls.

There’s still one more weekend of Vancouver Foodster Brunch Crawls before Dine Out Vancouver Festival comes to a close; Robson Street/West End on Saturday and Commercial Drive on Sunday.

Dine Out Vancouver Festival – Gastown Brunch Crawl 2017

This year’s Dine Out Vancouver Festival is underway, for the last few years neighbourhood Brunch Crawls, presented with Vancouver Foodster, have been a very popular series of events.

This past weekend, Gastown Brunch Crawl got the season off and walking with a exploration of the neighbourhoods diversity.

The early start made, registration at Milano Coffee Roaters Gastown very welcome for many as they got their jumpstart with a single shot Cortado, brewed with Milano’s award-winning Suave Ricco blend.  For a second coffee injection, the Winter Zest is a citrus infused milk chocolate latte, the 2017 winner for the Vancouver Foodster Coffee Drink Challenge.

A block away from Milano, La Mezcaleria’s busy Gastown location offer two plates. A palate cleansing and refreshing opening act, a glass of Mini Tulum; orange juice, papaya, Horchata served alongside a orange and jicama salad.
The Second plate was trio of,  Tostada of Cochinita Pibil; crisp tortilla with pibil stewed pulled pork, pickled red onions, Molette Benny; a poached egg on baguette with refried black beans, pico de gallo, queso fresco and avocado salsa, Housemade Guacamole; with a white corn chip.

Darby’s Gastown was our next stop for a Breakfast Wrap that would be good served any time of day. The flour tortilla was stuffed with pico de gallo, scrambled egg, cheddar cheese, avocado served with mixed greens.

As we continued our exploration of Gastown, Zero Zero Pizzeria was the next stop for another trio of tastes from their oven. Focaccia Mattina was a crisp and chewy focaccia bread breakfast sandwich filled with egg frittata, mozzarella, bacon, tomato and basil.  Two slices of crispy crust; the Pizza Vegetale is topped with mozzarella, tomatoes, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and brocolli while con Chorizo is a tomato sauce base with mozzarella, roasted red peppers, chorizo and onions.

Lastly, Gastown Brunch Crawl wrapped with some sweet flavours, education and entertainment at Wishing Treats Caramel Studio.  The Wishing Treats team demonstrated their techniques and handmade their hard candies right in front of us. Astonishing to see the inside shapes, designs and letters formed right inside the hard candy sticks. Emojis, letters, fruit patterns and more, Wishing Treats will also make custom corporate candies too.

Gastown Brunch Crawl gave a good sampling of what the neighbourhood had to offer. On Sunday Brunch Crawl visited Kitsilano, and will be followed by visits to East Village, & Yaletown next weekend, then Robson/West End and Commercial Drive wrap up the Dine Out Brunch Crawls.