My “Tasting Plates the East Van Edition” Selection #TastingPlatesYVR

Tasting Plates is always an interesting event.  You get to visit around 6 restaurants, tasting a sample from their restaurant.  This Tasting Plates was held on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver and included 7 restaurants.  Below are the restaurants with what they offered, along with my comments and pictures.  Thank you to Vancouver Foodster for putting on these events and inviting me. Enjoy!

VIA TEVERE PIZZERIA

Our Tasting Plate will include all of these 2 items:

One slice of each of these 2 pizzas

  1. Margherita Pizza (V)
  2. Capricciosa Pizza

This was my last stop on the Tasting Plates scrum.  While Via Tevere is a restaurant, they also have a mobile food truck.  For us, the truck was parked beside the restaurant, cooking us Neapolitan style pizzas.  The Margherita topped with San Marzano tomoato, fior di latte, and basil. The Capricciosa topped with Prosciutto cotto, salami, artichoke, mushroom, and Nicoise olive.  Nice crispy rim, the toppings not overly thick, making it easy to eat, and not dripping on your hands, or in your lap.  Nice fresh flavours, which went down too quickly.  Can I have another slice?

Via Tevere not the food truck

Via Tevere not the food truck

Via Tevere food truck

Via Tevere food truck

Margherita and Capricciosa pizza from Via Tevere

Margherita and Capricciosa pizza from Via Tevere

 FIVE ELEMENTS CAFÉ

Our Tasting Plate will include all of these items from one of these menus (your choice of Menu A, B or C):

Menu A:

  1. Crispy Spring Roll
  2. Green Papaya & Shrimp Salad
  3. Shrimp on Sugar Cane
  4. Creamy Pumpkin Coconut Soup

Menu B: Vegan option

  1. Crispy Spring Roll
  2. Green Papaya & Tofu Salad
  3. Coconut Curry
  4. Tom Yum Thai Hot & Sour Soup

Menu C

Choose 1 of the Noodle Soup

  • Phở- Rice noodles Soup -Choice of Chicken, Beef or Tofu & Vegetables
  • Phở  Saté Peanut Sauce: Rice Noodle Soup-Choice of  Chicken, Beef or Tofu & Vegetables
  • Hủ Tíu Nam Vang–Phnom Penh Mixed Seafood & Pork on Rice Noodle Soup
  • Bún Bò Huế -Spicy Lemongrass Beef & Pork Vermicelli Noodles Soup

I had the Menu B vegan option as the Green Papaya & Tofu Salad looked very interesting to try. I did enjoy the salad. Did you know that green papaya can be used as a vegetable?  If not, try a green papaya salad.  The Coconut curry was quite spicy, so if you are spice adverse, I’d suggest staying away from this dish.

Vegetarian option at Five Elements Cafe

Vegetarian option at Five Elements Cafe

PASTURE TO PLATE

Our Tasting Plate will include all of these 4 items:

  1. A variety of sausages on fork sticks with garlic aioli and mustards.
  2. Herb crusted beef Carpaccio with roasted garlic aioli or a parmesan truffle aioli on crostini.
  3. Mini Pizettas made with bite size rounds of puff pastry. Caramelized onions, bacon and plum slice.
  4. Mini Porchetta bites on focaccia with an orange and pinenut gremolata & basil/arugula pesto. (V)

I do enjoy charcuterie, so I was eagerly anticipating trying these from Pasture to Plate.  I did find out that they do farm biodynamically, which in my opinion, tries to enrich the soil, plants, and animals through non-synthetic chemical means, and works.  (I’ve written a few articles in the past reviewing biodynamic wines, and these wines always seem very alive to me.)  All the charcuterie was done very well and was very tasty, and I will come here again.

Pasture to Plate

Pasture to Plate

Charcuterie from Pasture to Plate

Charcuterie from Pasture to Plate

LA MEZCALERIA

Our Tasting Plate will include all 3 of these items:

  1. Ceviche
  2. Guacamole (V)
  3. Beans (V)

This restaurant was super busy, with both regular customers and the Tasting Plates customers vying for the chef’s attention. Once in we had a sampling plate with ceviche, guacamole and refried beans, and chips to dip.  The ceviche had bright flavours and was a good mix of fish and vegetables.  I also really liked the smoky flavour in the refried beans.  I will have to try this restaurant on a non-busy day.

Ceviche beans and guacamole from La Mezcaleria

Ceviche, beans and guacamole from La Mezcaleria

SIDDARTHAS INDIAN KITCHEN

Our Tasting Plate will include all of these items:

  1. Aloo Tikki (V)
  2. Chicken Goliya

These two dishes come as a small ball (chicken) or a patty (Aloo Tikki).  While both were very tasty, accompanied by a mint chutney, I liked the Aloo Tikki a bit more.  This patty is made with ground potatoes, so is nice and soft, lightly spiced inside, with a crunchy crust.  I have been told their Butter Chicken is a very good dish to try.

Aloo Tikki and Chicken Goliya

Aloo Tikki and Chicken Goliya

GELATERIA DOLCE AMORE

Our Tasting Bowl will feature a surprise selection of gelato flavours specially offered for this event (V)

The surprise flavours from Gelateria Dolce Amore was hazelnut and strawberry. The hazelnut flavour was my favourite, with the very pronounced, fresh, nutty flavour of the hazelnuts coming through the gelato.  It tasted like you were eating a handful of toasted hazelnuts.  This Gelateria is a family run business.  I spoke with one of the family members, who spoke so passionately about the quality of their ingredients and effort they put into making each gelato.  I did ask if they have lavender flavour, which is my overall favourite (or mixed with lemon is my ultimate favourite flavour), and they did, and I tried it, and was delighted.  Lavender may sound odd to some people, but get past the thought of it being floral, and try it.  It is very refreshing.  Just think of you sitting on a cafe in Nice, France, enjoying some gelato.

Admiring the gelato

Admiring the gelato

Talking about the hazelnut and strawberry gelato at Gelateria Dolce Amore

Talking about the hazelnut and strawberry gelato at Gelateria Dolce Amore

PRADO CAFE 

Our Tasting Cup will include one of the following beverages paired with the cookies.

  • Iced coffee
  • Iced tea
  • Macchiato

Mini cookies “with no name”.

Our first stop was Prado Cafe.  The cookie with no name, was fresh and hot from the oven, and looked to be made with granola/oak flakes, chocolate chips, and topped with a tiny marshmallow.  It was very tasty.  To sip with it, I had the macchiato, an espresso coffee, mixed with a small amount of milk.  A good jolt to start of my Tasting Plates adventure.

Cookie with no name from Prado Cafe

Cookie with no name from Prado Cafe

Waiting for my macchiato at Prado Cafe

Waiting for my macchiato at Prado Cafe

Truffles Cafe at VanDusen Gardens – New Food and Wine

As if the beautiful gardens are not enough, VanDusen now has an added incentive.  They are offering charcuterie and wine at their Truffles Cafe.  So talk a walk through the gardens, then stop in the cafe to enjoy a nibble and sip of wine.  Here is the latest announcement by VanDusen Botanical Gardens.

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Charcuterie Tray

Charcuterie Tray

( Vancouver , BC ) –  It seems as if tapas-style plates and charcuterie are the current darlings of Vancouver ’s food scene. They completely reflect the city’s casual approach to dining and to life in general. The trend has not gone un-noticed by Reto Ballat, Executive Chef for Truffles Café at VanDusen Botanical Garden . “In Europe , we have always eaten this way. It’s relaxed and civilized” says the Swiss–trained, former Relais et Chateaux chef. In response to Vancouver ’s increasing fondness for this style of eating, Truffles Café is pleased to introduce its Charcuterie Platter.

Value-priced at only $18, the Charcuterie Platter is ample enough for two people. It includes Prosciutto and Genoa Salami along with a rotating selection of cheeses. The current platter features Brie, Smoked Cheddar and Aged Parmesan accompanied by dried fruit, fresh grapes, candied pecans and artisan biscuits. Also on the Platter is Chef Reto’s house-made pear and vanilla confiture. The confiture will also change regularly to reflect seasonal ingredients. 

What’s charcuterie without wine? As Truffles is now licensed, they are pleased to offer a selection of BC wines, beer and cider.  Wine is priced at $8 per glass. However, if you want enjoy a glass of wine with the Charcuterie Platter for Two, the total price is only $28, a saving of $6.

“It’s how I, and my friends, like to eat” says Truffles Café Manager Scott Arnold. “I can imagine people sitting on our patio, looking out at the fantastic view of VanDusen, lingering over the Charcuterie Platter with Wine for a light lunch, or at the end of a hectic work day. You don’t even know you’re in the middle of a bustling city.” 

Doesn’t that sound wonderful?  Isn’t it how life is meant to be lived?  So live a little and enjoy a leisurely sip and nibble at VanDusen’s Truffles Café.

Charcuterie Platter for Two – $18, Charcuterie Platter with Wine (2 glasses) – $28

Where is VanDusen Botanical Garden?

Truffles Café is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (later in the summer) in the Visitor Centre at VanDusen Botanical Garden – between W.33rd Avenue and W.37th Avenue on Oak Street in Vancouver .

 

Check out VanDusen’s facebook page for daily updates on the Garden. For further information on Truffles Café, http://www.trufflesfinefoods.com/our-cafes

TASTE Resto-Lounge Opens Downtown – Food, Art, Music

Taste Resto Lounge chandelier and bar

Taste Resto Lounge chandelier and bar

Last week was the opening of TASTE Resto Lounge at 560 Seymour Street, in downtown Vancouver. It is next door to the nightclub, FIVESIXTY, so you may want to have a nibble here before dancing the night away.

On this evening we were served mini versions of the share plate menu items. Upon entering TASTE, you are struck by the red glass chandeliers, giving a Gothic or Bordello type atmosphere, depending on who you ask. At the back of the room is a long table, where you can sit with your friends, and make new friends, while you eat and drink, and view the featured artists’ paintings on the walls.

Sharing Plates Samples

Charcuterie at TASTE Resto Lounge

Charcuterie at TASTE Resto Lounge

We were given tastings of:

  • charcuterie, with a mix of sausages, prosciutto, capicollo, artisanal cheese, and sweet pickled beets
  • house smoked chicken liver pate with capicollo, pickled beets, pesto, onion marmalade on a crostini
  • bacon chutney with pear and brie stack and a chimmichurri sauce on a crostini
  • a salad of roma tomatoes, fresh Bocconcini with diced cucumber and white balsamic pesto

I think my favourite item was the chicken liver pate.  Lots of flavour, and paired nice with a glass of prosecco.  All of the ingredients, I was told, are local and organic by Executive Chef Renaldo Decembrini.

Wine and Other Drinks

The wine list has a range of wines from around the world, but BC wines were missing.  It would be nice to add in one white and one red in the list.  The food and wine list were designed to be complementary and they have some selections with food and wine pairings on a chalk board beside the long table in the back of TASTE.

On the white wine side, you can enjoy a glass of Marisco the Ned Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, full of herbal character, and have with a salad.  The Canti Prosecco as I mentioned to go with the chicken liver pate. Try the Fritz Riesling or the Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc with the charcuterie.

There are 2 Argentinean Malbecs to choose; Pascual Toso  and Dona Paula. I did have a sip of the Marques de la Mancha Tempranillo, very full bodied, lots of dark fruit and very smooth and silky. Definitely would pair nicely with the charcuterie or their house smoked beef tenderloin.

In addition, there are some BC/Canadian beers on tap.  They also invented some cocktails that are meant to pair with their share plates.  I did not have a chance to try these, but maybe on my next visit.

I wish TASTE Resto-Lounge the best of luck in their launch.

Charcuterie menu at TASTE

Charcuterie menu at TASTE

salad of roma tomatoes Bocconcini and cucumber

Salad of roma tomatoes, Bocconcini, and cucumber

TASTE chalk board recommendations

TASTE chalk board recommendations

Want to try Charcuterie and Wines at Bistro Pastis?

Do you like Charcuterie? In case you are not familiar with this word, Wikipedia defines it as “…the branch of cooking devoted to prepared meat products such as bacon, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, pâtés, and confit, primarily from pork“. Charcuterie is found in France, particularly in the Alsace region.  Some of my most memorable dinners in France have been in Alsace, sipping a nice white Alsatian wine with mixed charcuterie and vegetables (cabbage quite common).

You can live the Alsatian meal dream, like me, through Bistro Pastis here in Vancouver.  Here is a new meal menu from them that makes me hungry!  To the menu below, you may want to consider pairing these wines from Bistro Pastis’ wine list:

  • Chamdeville Brut Blanc de Blancs (sparkling)
  • Gentil Hugel 2007 (white)
  • Gewurztraminer Steiner Grand Cru Pfaffenheim 2004 (white)
  • Vouvray, Chenin Blanc, Chateau Gaudrelle 2007 (white)
  • Pinot Noir Latour 2007 (red)
  • Pinot Noir Blue Mountain Reserve 2006 (red)
  • Château Pesquié Quintessence 2006 (red)

Bonne appetit!

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Fall Flavour Fete

Bistro Pastis

From November 1 through 13th, please join us for the last menu in our Fall Flavour Fete series – this one features Charcuterie. The word ‘charcuterie’ originates from the French term ‘cuiseur de chair’ or ‘cooker of meat.’ In France, it has been considered a high culinary art for more than 600 years and involves meat products that have been preserved in some way – by curing, brining, drying, smoking, in a terrine etc. For the next two weeks, come by and savour these rich fall flavours in Chef Tobias Grignon’s interpretations of duck prosciutto, boudin blanc, rillettes, blood sausage, terrine and even bacon ice cream.

Reservations are always a good idea 604-731-5020 or on-line at www.bistropastis.com.

Charcuterie Menu

Smoked Duck Salad, House Made Duck Prosciutto, Poached Pear, Hazelnut Vinaigrette

– or –

Wild Boar Tourtière, Parsnip Purée, Pickled Chanterelles, Grainy Mustard Vinaigrette

– or –

Rillette Trio, Duck, Pork and Rabbit

*****

Choucroute Garnie, Smoked Pork Loin, Bacon, Hock and Sausage, Sauerkraut

– or –

Chicken Leg Stuffed with Blood Sausage, Pomme Purée, Celeriac and Apple Remoulade, Sage Jus

– or –

Scallop and Prawn Boudin Blanc, Smoked Bacon Chowder, Fine Herbs Salad

*****

Brioche French Toast, Caramalized Apple and Thyme Strusel Maple Bacon Ice Cream

– or –

Dark Chocolate Terrine, Quince Compote, Candied Bacon

$45.00

Bistro Pastis
2153 W 4th Ave. Vancouver, BC V6K 1N7 | Tel: (604) 731.5020 | Fax: (604) 731.5039
www.bistropastis.com

Blue Mountain Winery at Salt Tasting Room

On Monday evening I had the good fortune of being invited to a Blue Mountain Winery tasting at one of Vancouver’s hottest restaurants, Salt Tasting Room, in Gastown. Blue Mountain winery is located in Okanagan Falls and was established in 1991. It’s a family run business and it shows with the care they show with their wines. They are an Estate Winery which means all the grapes they use for their wines come from their vineyard (which they have 80 acres under vines, but only 60 acres producing grapes at the moment).

For those of you who have not been to Salt Tasting Room, they offer a range of cheeses and charcuterie and condiments to their guests. They have a wide range of wines to pair with these food, along with some beers.

This evening we were treated to three white and three red wines, paired with cheeses and charcuterie. The three white wines were the:
– Blue Mountain Brut (a sparkling wine made in the traditional champenoise style)
– Blue Mountain Pinot Blanc 2008
– Blue Mountain Pinot Gris 2007

The Brut is a blend of 47% Pinot Noir, 47% Chardonnay, and 6% Pinot Gris. Pale yellow in colour with a slight bubble around the edge of the glass. Light citrus, slightly sweet and a bit of lees on the nose. The bubble was quite fine, and had lemony, lees, and almond flavour. Quite nice. To this I enjoyed the Schinkenspeck sausage slices from Oyama the Savoury Moon cheese from BC and the Isle of Mull Cheddar from the UK.

The Pinot Blanc is whole cluster pressed and fermented in barrel (47%) and the remainder in tank. This wine had peach and lemon aroma (i was expecting apple, but i love suprises). There was a slight bit of effervesence, lemon and mineral flavours. Another enjoyable wine.

The final white, the Pinot Gris, is similarly fermented as the Pinot Blanc. The result is a wine with light aromas of stone fruit. A round mouthfeel with cherry and stone fruit flavours. Again something I was not expecting was the cherry flavour. Interesting.

For the red wines we were treated to the:
– Blue Mountain Gamay Noir 2008
– Blue Mountain Reserve Pinot Noir 2006

– Blue Mountain Reserve Pinot Noir 1997

The Gamay Noir was deep violet/purple in the glass. Very aromatic with dark cherry and cassis? aromas. On the palate it was peppery, black cherry and licorice with low tannins. It was nice with the Mike Vitow’s Corned Beef.

The Reserve Pinot Noir 2006, is a soft pinot noir. Light cherry and violet aromas and flavours. A bit astringent. It went nicely with the Avonlea Cheddar from PEI and the Piccantino and the Lamb Salamis from Oyama.

Our last wine of the night (and my favourite) was the Reserve Pinot Noir 1997. This wine had depth of character and was very defined in it’s flavours, like a laser beam. Deep red colour in the glass. A very interesting nose with cherries and mint. On the palate there was dark cherry, some spice and medium tannins. Long length. Excellent! I quite enjoyed this wine with the Saint Agur blue cheese from France. This is a creamy blue cheese, half way between a Stilton and a Cambazola.

If you have not been to Salt Tasting Room, it is located at 45 Blood Alley in Gastown. Enjoy.