Tasting Plates Chinatown – Recap

A damp night didn’t dampen enthusiasm of the restauranteurs and patrons for Vancouver Foodster‘s Tasting Plates Chinatown on Wednesday evening.  The five eateries, scattered around the neighbourhood, exemplified the diversity in Chinatown as new and old make the National Historic Site their own. From traditional Chinese, to European flavours, to modern Asian fusion, and 35 years face off against 4 months of history.

TP_Chinatown_img_0525Checking in at Floata, the traditional Dim Sum & Seafood restaurant, closed off part of their large space for the Tasting Plate diners. While their Tasting Plate of Chow Mein, Egg Roll and Sesame Ball didn’t show off their kitchen to its best,  I’ve been to Floata for Dim Sum before and know they’re capable of bringing good flavours to the plate.

TP_Chinatown_img_0537The next Tasting Plate brought totally different flavours to the palate, Klaus’s Kaffe Haus.  The Coffee and Strudel cafe offered hearty, fair that was perfect for the night’s weather.  A quartet of tastes graced their plate; rich Vienna Gulasch Soup, Chinese Strudel (Pork, Bamboo Shoots, Water Chestnut, Mushroom), Asparagus & Mushroom Vegetarian Strudel and a sweet Apple Strudel.  All four items were full of flavour and filling, enticing us to want to return for a full-size strudel soon.

TP_Chinatown_img_0543Next we wandered over to the longest established Treasure Green Tea Company, on E Georgia since 1981. The welcoming tea shop is pristinely merchandised, like a museum, filled with tea, gifts, accessories and other tea-infused items.  The tea hosts prepared and served a trio of Tasting Cups of premium black tea; the 2016 seasonal blend Symphony of Light, sweet floral Romantic Peony and the tart Citrus Melody.  As an accompaniment baguette was dipped in Treasure Green Tea’s Camellia Tea Oil, infused with Dragon Ball jasmine green tea reduction.

TP_Chinatown_img_0566On Main Street we next found the Le Tigre Food Truck, outside of their restaurant, Torofuku.  The truck dished up a plate of zesty fried chicken. Even though it’s called “Don’t Order This Chicken” you really should, order it! The crispy but tender friend chicken was complimented by  7 Spice Mayo, and mixed herb Thai Chilli.

 

TP_Chinatown_img_0583Across the street was the most recently opened participant, Lise Lou’s Chocolate Bar, is a bar that I could regularly be found propping up! The small chocolate, confectionary and ice cream parlour offered a cross-section of their handmade wares.  Marc Ice Cream, inspired by their Marc Chocolate Bar – bourbon caramel, marcona almonds, Ruth Bar – strawberry raspberry jelly with crunchy peanut praline, then we got to choose a flavour of Salted Caramel and one of their nearly two dozen signature Truffles

All five restaurants showed their flavours and that the neighbourhood continues to evolve and develop.

If this sounds like a taste excursion, join Vancouver Foodster’s next events, Noodle Mania and during Dine Out Vancouver Festival, Brunch Crawls.

Vancouver Foodster Taco Crawl – recap

A sunny autumn evening was a perfect occasion for Vancouver Foodster’s first Taco Crawl.  The selected Vancouver restaurants created their take on their best taco bringing a balance of flavours and styles for the Taco Crawl patrons.

TacoCrawl_img_8927Meeting at Kalai’s Dosa Hut on Fraser Street we collected our Taco Crawl cards and menus.  Then we sat down for Dosa Hut’s unique variation on the taco, taking one of their signature dosas, and wrapping it around a nicely spiced tomato chicken (or vegetarian) filling.  Watching some of the other dishes and massive dosas coming from Chef Kalai’s kitchen made us put Dosa Hut on the list for a return visit.

TacoCrawl_img_8949Over in Cambie Village, we had a traditional pair of tacos from the always reliable Los Tortas Gourmet Mexican Sandwiches.  Soft tortillas enveloped rich, barbecued pulled pork or Mexican Zucchini, tomato and cheese.

TacoCrawl_img_8943Across the street, Tmix Tea & Dessert served up another unique ‘taco’. Tmix brought together hot and cold for a sweet taco. Wrapping one of their hot-from-the-griddle bubble waffles around ice cream.  From the list of a dozen plus flavours we settled on frozen brulée banana and red velvet cheesecake. The warmth of the waffle softened the frozen flavours enough to make it a soft ice cream sandwich or more like a burrito.

TacoCrawl_img_8955Downtown La Catrina Tacos, said to be Vancouver’s Best Mexican Tacos, presented another pair of traditional style tacos.  Hot tortillas piled high with filling; Papas Mexicanas – Mexican potatoes drizzled with cream and Res En Cascabel -zesty braised beef cooked in cascabel chili sauce. Add hot sauce, pickled onions, hot peppers to taste and make the tacos your own.

TacoCrawl_img_8963Getting into Patron Tacos & Cantina just before the Canucks and Whitecaps let out, let us wrap up Taco Crawl with another pairing with another unique ingredient.  Cochinita is tender, braised pork butt with achiote paste and onion. On the other side Nopales, the tender new leaves from a prickly pear cactus, were cooked with corn salsa and topped with cheese. Served with refried beans to add to the filling or eat on its own.

While we may think we can never get enough tacos, the Taco Crawl certainly satisfied us with great tastes for the evening.

If you missed out on this great tasting Vancouver Foodster event, get your tickets now for Tasting Plates Yaletown on October 19th.

Tasting Plates Port Moody – recap

Last night, a hungry hoard descended upon Gabi & Jules bakery in Port Moody to kick off  Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates Port Moody.  The Butcher, the Baker and the Ice Cream Maker were all on the cards for the evening.

TPPortMoody_2016-09-21-18-46-23Tasting Platers picked up their Tasting Plates cards and menus then set out on a flavourful exploration of the suburb starting with the surprisingly quaint Gabi & Jules’ bakery, located in an industrial looking building the pretty interior was matched by their homestyle pies and pasties.  For my tasting pie plate, I choose Raspberry Rhubarb pie with a “Jules” Peach Tea Latte.  The pie really had a nice balance between the sweet and tart fruit in a nicely baked crumbly crust.

TPPortMoody_2016-09-21-19-15-28A trip to Port Moody needs to include a trip to Brewer’s Row.  First up was the three month old Parkside Brewery for a flight of 4 of their craft brews – Dawn Pilsner, Dusk Pale Ale, Murray Mild and Beauregarde Blueberry Wit, all made nice sips while sitting in the garden patio.

TPPortMoody_2016-09-21-19-18-59Down the row, Moody Ales also offered a foursome flight of their Vienna Lager, Hardy Brown Ale, Affable IPA and BC Fresh-Hopped Red Ale. Bumping into a local friend and his Jenga playing family, enforcing the family-friendly reputation of the local breweries.

TPPortMoody_2016-09-21-20-39-18What goes better with beer than pizza? Spacca Napoli Pizzeria fired up their stone oven to serve a Tasting Plate of their rustic Italian fare. The Port Moody hot spot was bustling even without the Tasting Platers and we could see why from the quartet they serviced. Pizza from the wood-fired brick oven, dense meatballs, rigatoni bolognese and Frittelle (similar to a fried doughnut).

TPPortMoody_2016-09-21-20-19-28Next door, Meat Craft Urban Butchery had the barbecue going to cook up a choice of their smokies. Served atop a fresh, light Apple slaw and a zesty potato salad, it was a great ‘tailgate’  plate for the last evening of summer. I must admit the baskets of pepperoni and salami on the counter got the best of me, I had to take a selection home with me.

TPPortMoody_2016-09-21-20-03-29The renowned Rocky Point Ice Cream showed why they’re gaining a reputation for great ice cream treats.  A trio of mini desserts; strawberry ice cream with basil and balsamic reduction in a chocolate cup, a Sweet Georgia Brown sundae and a ginger-molasses and pumpkin spice ice cream sandwhich made a welcome way to wrap up Tasting Plates Port Moody.

TPPortMoody_2016-09-21-20-49-46If these sounded tasty to you, consider taking part in Vancouver Foodster’s next taste adventure; Taco Crawl on September 28th and Tasting Plates Yaletown on Oct 19th.

 

 

 

@VanFoodster 2nd Sundae Challenge

vf_sundae_web-01-01Just in time for (what should be) the peak of summer, Vancouver Foodster presents 2nd Vancouver Foodster Sundae Challenge! Restaurants from all over the city have been challenged to dream up their best Sundae creation for this challenge. Many of the entries have been specially devised just for the Sundae Challenge using Ice Cream, Gelato, Sorbet and Frozen Yoghurt. It is our privilege to be the taste testers for the sundae delights, as with all Vancouver Foodster Challenges the public gets to taste and vote for their favourite creation. 

Each restaurant will be featuring their Sundae creation on their menu from August 4-28, 2016.

Go out and try any or all, then vote at http://vancouverfoodster.com/sundae-challenge/

If the thought of trying out a collection of creamy frozen creations gets your mouth watering, here’s the locations participating in the 2nd Sundae Challenges; 

Vancouver:

Bella Gelateria Yaletown, 1089 Marinaside Crescent

Mister, 1141 Mainland Street

On Yogurt, 95 Smithe Street

 Tangram Creamery, 2729 Arbutus Street 

Tmix Tea & Dessert, 3432 Cambie Street

Port Moody: 

Rocky Point Ice Cream, 2800 Murray Street 

Richmond

Hugo’s Churros, 7899 Templeton Station Rd 

Burnaby

EBO Restaurant, 4331 Dominion Street

Nuvola Gelato e Dolci, 4712 Hastings Street

Get out an taste the Sundae Challenge creations until August 28th, and vote everyday.  People’s Choice award will be announced on August 29th, along with the Judge’s Choice

This Challenges, media judges are:

Areta Wong, Blogger for Foodgressing
Twitter: @foodgressing

Bethany Ho, Blogger for Bites of Vancouver
Twitter: @bitesofvancity

Nammie Cheng, Blogger for Lammie Loves
Twitter: @LammieLoves

Friday Find: Mister Artisan Ice Cream

At first glance, Mister Artisan Ice Cream shop is a rather minimal storefront but step inside and experience a unique take on ice cream.

TMister_2016-06-19, 18 12 31he simple menu presently features 5 flavours; Avocado, Creme Brulee, Dark Chocolate (vegan option available), Double Oreo and Lemon Frozen Yogurt.  The creation and presentation of your serving of ice cream is really where Mister sets itself apart.
Mister ice cream is made from scratch, with natural ingredients sourced from local farmers.  The fresh, raw ingredients are flash frozen while you wait, using liquid nitrogen, then like magic your ice cream emerges from the mist.  By using liquid nitrogen the ice cream rapidly freezes at ultra low temperatures resulting in smaller ice crystals and less air than in traditional ice cream.  The result is a noticeably dense, rich and creamy ice cream that doesn’t need stabilizers or fillers, just pure, fresh, frozen ingredients. The flavours of ice cream will rotate based on ingredients and season.

Double Oreo
Double Oreo

From the flavours that I’ve tried so far, you can definitely taste the difference in the product from other styles and types of frozen treats.  Creme Brulee has a crunchy caramel top, when cracked through reveals the custard flavoured ice creme. Dark Chocolate is a rich, flavourful blend for chocolate lovers, Double Oreo has a chocolate flavour with the crunch of oreo cookies. All three are definitely on the repeat order list. Avocado is a unique creamy ice cream with avocado chunks mixed in and lemon frozen yogurt need more than just a taster spoon issue a verdict but I look forward to trying more this summer!

Mister_2016-06-19, 18 05 45Mister Artisan Ice Cream is located at 1141 Mainland Street, near Yaletown-Roundhouse Station. Open daily noon – 10pm
Check them out on Instagram see more

Brunch Crawl Yaletown – recap

As we wrapped up the 2016 Dine Out Vancouver Festival this weekend, we had a chance for one more Brunch Crawl, this time in Yaletown.

This Saturday’s Brunch Crawl, organized by Vancouver Foodster, was a great opportunity to explore some new places in the neighbourhood.  Starting with registration at Xoxolat we had a welcoming treat of a shot of spicy hot chocolate to drink alongside some samples of other savoury chocolate combinations, blended with cheddar, feta and truffles.

After a chocolatey start we headed to Bella Gelateria for a selection of vegetarian and meat bites; Napoletano Pizza with Egg, Pancetta, Italian Sausage and Basil or Egg, Spinach and Roasted Potatoes. Also on the plate, a mini-brioche with either Smoked Salmon or Mushrooms. The food was paired with the perfect brunch accompaniment, a unique Mimosa of Prosecco with Creamsicle sorbetto.

Our next savoury brunch spot was the fairly new ZEND Conscious Lounge. The all vegan, gluten-free cafe started us off with a refreshing house-made virgin Caesar before serving a trio from the kitchen. Buckwheat Pancake with Spiced Pear and Coconut Whip, Roasted Vegetable Cashew Quiche and a new to the menu Matcha Crepe with Seared Fruit and White Chocolate Sauce.

Down the street, we found the 3 month old Lime and Moon Pie Co. The lovely little location plated a pair of pies; zesty, gluten-free Meyer Lemon and a Chocolate Walnut which went nicely with a hot coffee or cup of tea.

A couple doors down, Nice Vice Cream opened their doors especially for Brunch Crawl, they won’t be opening to the public for a few more weeks.  The plant-based ‘ice cream’ shop sampled a few of their flavours that you wouldn’t know were dairy-free. We look forward to visiting when they open the doors.

Wrapping up Yaletown Brunch Crawl was Small Victory Bakery for a box of pastries; a savoury Bacon Cheese Scone, mini Pain au Chocolat, and Apollini filled with Chantilly Cream served with a Cappuccino or Hot Chocolate.

Sunday was a final Brunch Crawl adventure through Main Street for the final day of Dine Out 2016.

The next Vancouver Foodster tasting exploration is Pizza Palooza coming February 17th.

Friday Find : Bing Soo

With the hot temperatures we all look for unique ways to cool down, ice cream parlours and gelaterias are lined up out the door, patios are filled with cool brew drinkers, and caffeine junkies turn to frappuccinos for their daily fix.

Patbingsu
Patbingsu

Billy has introduced me to my new, cool 2015 summer sensation – Bing Soo or Bingsu, simply Korean Shaved Ice. But this is far from your run of the mill slushy or snowcone, sure it starts with similar crushed or shaved ice chips but there is so much more to this dessert.

Strawberry Bingsoo
Strawberry Bingsu

The original, Patbingsu (translated: red beans with ice) is usually crushed ice, condensed milk, red beans and crushed cereal or nuts. Really bingsu can be any combination of crushed ice, with sweet toppings, often a scoop of ice cream, fruit, syrup and cereal.  Locally we’ve seen it at Dae Ji Cutlet House and H Mart on Robson, options include a traditional Patbingsu, with red beans, and a fruit version; strawberry or fruit cocktail toppings.

Look up #bingsoo on Instagram and you’ll see just how creative some establishments are at creating toppings for their bingsoo desserts.

This summer, then the heat is on, look for bing soo in a restaurant near you, it’ll be sure to cool you down!