Vancouver Foodster’s Dine Out Brunch Crawls – Get Your Tickets

What’s better than going to a Dine Out Vancouver restaurant for dinner?  How about going to 4-5 different restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops for brunch.  That is what Vancouver Foodster is offering those who are willing to get out of bed and enjoy a morning brunch.  For Dine Out Vancouver, the following brunches are being offered:

These brunch crawls are very similar to Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates events.  You will get a card at the registration desk for one of the crawls, and then you visit each restaurant/cafe/coffee shop and get a sample of their food and/or beverages they are offering for the event.  It is a great way to try different/new restaurants, plus walking between the restaurants, gives you some time to burn off what you ate.

As an example of what to expect, I have listed the Kitsilano Brunch Crawl participating restaurants for you.  Enjoy and see you at these events!

Kitsilano Brunch Crawl on January 22

Vancouver Foodster Dine Out Vancouver Yaletown Brunch Crawl

Vancouver Foodster Dine Out Vancouver Yaletown Brunch Crawl

Dine Out Van Fest does brunch! Presented by Vancouver Foodster, this expanded event from 2016 is sure to please anyone who loves brunch. Visit multiple restaurants throughout the Kitsilano neighbourhood as you taste all sorts of dishes in this brunch crawl.

Using your “passport” as your guide, you can enjoy a variety of dishes including juices, smoothies, coffees, and chai to eggs benny, pancakes, french toast, omelettes, pulled pork, hash browns, bacon, meats, desserts and so much more.

Time: 10am – 2pm

Participants include some of Kitsilano’s finest restaurants including:

Image result for silk road tea

Silk Road Tea

2066 West 4th Avenue

Twitter: @silkroadtea

Web: http://silkroadteastore.com/

Cuisine: Tea

Silk Road imports & blends organic, premium loose teas, & produces organic skincare, haircare & bodycare products. Experience bliss at our award winning spa.

 

Image result for be fresh market vancouver

Be Fresh Market Cafe

1900 West 1st Avenue

Web: http://www.befresh.ca/ 

Twitter:@befreshlocal

Cuisine: juice bar and cafe

At Be Fresh, we believe that food should be enjoyed and to fuel your body, which is why we only create meals with delicious and healthy ingredients.

 

Rain or Shine Ice Cream

1926 West 4th Avenue

Web: http://rainorshineicecream.com/

Twitter: @rainorshineYVR

Cuisine: Ice Cream

Homemade ice cream in Vancouver using local, natural and fresh ingredients!

Image result for kahve coffee vancouver

Kahve

1822 W 1st Ave, Vancouver

Web: http://www.kahvevancouver.com/

Twitter: @KahveVancouver

Cuisine: Coffee and cafe

KAHVE offers a very unique space, offering exquisite coffee experiences in town. The space also offers understated but timeless modern designs from Europe.

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co 

1876 West 1st Avenue, Vancouver

Web: http://www.rockymountainflatbread.ca

Twitter: @flatbreadco

Instagram: @rockymountainflatbread

Cuisine: Pizza and Pasta

They use lots of local & organic produce, free range organic meats & Ocean Wise seafood. Creating handcrafted flatbread pizzas, daily pastas, seasonal soups, salads & desserts “to live for” from their open kitchens & artisan ovens. And for all those pizza lovers who are wheat intolerant or have nut allergies – they create extremely tasty gluten free and nut free pizzas! Their daily salads, soups & cheesecakes are also gluten free and nut free!

Dine Out™ Van Fest does brunch!

Tourism Vancouver Dine Out Festival and Vancouver Foodster presents:  Dine Out™ Van Fest does brunch! Presented by Vancouver Foodster, these events are sure to please anyone who loves brunch. Visit 6+ restaurants in each of the neighbourhoods as you taste all sorts of dishes in this Brunch crawl using your “passport” as your guide. 

3-Crawl Ticket Pack:  Choose any 3 crawls for $115 provides the best value where people can choose any 3 of the 6 brunch crawls and save over $20 per ticket. For single tickets, Early Purchase Discount: Save $15 before December 31st, 2015. Regular price tickets are $60 after December 31, 2015.

Tickets are now on sale through Tickets Tonight 

January 16, 2016 — Gastown Dine Out Brunch Crawl

Participants include some of Gastown’s finest restaurants, including Bao Down, Capilano Tea and Soda Co., Prado Café, Small Flower, Zero Zero Pizzeria and more.

January 17, 2016 — Olympic Village Dine Out Brunch Crawl

Participants include some of Olympic Village’s finest restaurants, including Bao Down Gastropub, Milano Coffee, Solly’s Bagelry, Whole Foods and more.

January 23, 2016 — Downtown Vancouver Dine Out Brunch Crawl

Participants include some of Downtown Vancouver’s finest restaurants, including Marquis Wine Cellars, Meinhardt Fine Foods, Saj & Co., Truffles Fine Foods and more.

January 24, 2016 — North Van Dine Out Brunch Crawl

Participants include some of North Vancouver’s finest restaurants,including Cook Culture, Rosemary Rocksalt, Two Daughters Bakery, Bowen Island Pizza Co, Bean around the World and more.

January 30, 2016 — Yaletown Dine Out Brunch Crawl

Participants include some of Yaletown’s finest restaurants, including Bella Gelateria, Lime and Moon Pie Co., Small Victory Bakery + Coffee, Xoxolat, Zend Conscious Lounge and more.

January 31, 2016 — Main Street Dine Out Brunch Crawl

Participants include some of Main Street’s finest restaurants, including Radicle Juice, Rosemary Rocksalt, The Honey Shoppe and more.

* All brunch crawls run 10am-2pm.

General Admission: $60*
Early Purchase Discount: Save $15 before December 31st, 2015
3-Crawl Ticket Pack: Choose any 3 crawls for $115

Tickets now on sale through Tickets Tonight

Dine Out Vancouver Gastown Brunch Crawl Entices You

This is the second year that Dine Out Vancouver has offered brunch crawls through various neighbourhoods.  The crawls are organized by @vanfoodster, who offers similar Tasting Plates crawls through the rest of the year.  This weekend I was invited to attend the Gastown Brunch Crawl, which was a fantastic and very filling event!  The participating restaurants were:

  • Brioche Eatery Café
  • Milano Coffee
  • Salida 7
  • Jamaican Blue Cold Brew
  • Lily Mae’s Cafe
  • Rodney’s Oyster House
  • Pure Bread Bakery
  • Jules Bistro

A quick check through the Dine Out Vancouver listing I did not see these restaurants offering a separate dine out dinner or lunch menu, so the Brunch Crawls may be the only way to try out some of these places.  FYI, besides the Gastown Brunch Crawl, there is also Downtown, Kitsilano, Main Street, West End, and Commercial Drive.  Details on all the Brunch Crawls are here.

Below are a pictures I took during the Gastown Brunch Crawl with my astute comments.  Enjoy!

Velvet Cortado at Milano Coffee

Velvet Cortado at Milano Coffee

The Velvet Cortado is a small latte made at Milano’s Coffee, where they roast their own beans.  Very good.  We also had a lemon square from Lemon Square which had great bright lemon flavour, but was not overly sour. Good with coffee.

Jamaican Blue Cold Brew truck

Jamaican Blue Cold Brew truck

More coffee, this time from Jamaican Blue Cold Brew.  What makes this coffee different is that it is cold brewed, which I am told reduces acidity by 70%.  Good if you have acid reflux possibly plus would be better for your teeth.  Made with Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee beans.  If you want, they will warm up the coffee for you after cold brewing.

Pure Bread Bakery variety of pastries

Pure Bread Bakery variety of pastries

If excellent baked goods is your thing, and you just picked up a cup of coffee, then Pure Bread Bakery is a great place to visit.  Yes we were allowed to sample all the pastries, sweet and savoury, that you see.  All were very tasty. Recommended.

Brioche Eatery Café assorted Italian pastas eggplant and ribs

Brioche Eatery Café with assorted Italian pastas, eggplant, and ribs

Brioche Eatery Café had assorted Italian pastas (a lobster ravioli!), eggplant, and succulent ribs.  Just a taste of each, but all very good, and very filling.

Jules Bistro Cassoulet salmon mini quiches and chocolate terrine

Jules Bistro Cassoulet, cured salmon in crossant, mini quiches, and chocolate terrine

Jules Bistro brought some French flavours to our Brunch Crawl. Cassoulet (a cassarole made with beans, chicken, and sausage), house cured salmon, mini quiches and chocolate terrine.  Cassoulet is one of my favourite dishes.  Comfort food.  Enjoy with a glass of pinot noir.  All their food was very good, and the chocolate terrine and dark and decadent.

Salida 7 bacalo croquette veggie tortilla sardine on bean puree toast and fennel salad

Salida 7 Bacalo croquette, veggie tortilla, sardine on bean puree toast, and fennel salad

Salida 7, a Spanish restaurant offered, Bacalo (cod) croquette, veggie tortilla, sardine on bean puree toast, and fennel salad.  The Bacalo croquette and veggie tortilla were my favourites.

LilyMae’s pulled pork grits beet carrot juice and French toast

LilyMae’s pulled pork grits beet carrot juice and French toast

LilyMae’s Cafe had us trying their pulled pork & cheese grits, beet carrot juice, and French toast.  The juice tasted very healthy, and was enjoyable to sip for a breakfast or brunch.  The pulled pork & cheese grits was rich and filling, and the French toast was cooked to perfection.

Rodneys Oyster House crab cake eggs benedict

Rodneys Oyster House crab cake eggs benedict

My last stop was Rodney’s Oyster House to try their crab cake eggs benedict.  The egg was poached nicely and the creaminess of the yolk helped make the crab cake a bit moister.

If these pictures entice you, please visit them, and if the Brunch Crawl attracts you, why not join one during Dine Out?

Vancouver Dine Out Festival and Vancouver Foodster Presents 6 Crawls

If you are a fan of our Tasting Plates events you are going to want to hear about the 6 events that Vancouver Foodster is presenting during the upcoming Dine Out Festival that kicks off next month. The Dine Out Festival always offers diners a chance to try restaurants they may not have tried before which is often for dinner, this year Tourism Vancouver has added many more food related events to get people out exploring and tasting even more. Earlier this year I produced two of the biggest Dine Out Van brunch crawls that Vancouver has ever seen, in 2015 I will be producing 6 Dine Out Brunch Crawls showcasing multiple restaurants in 6 different Vancouver neighborhoods.

These are the 6 events on sale at Dine Out Festival

Gastown Brunch Crawl
Date: Saturday January 17
Time: 10am – 2pm
Price: $40 Regular / $60 Club Amuse Bouche VIP

Visit 7+ restaurants through-out the Gastown area as you taste all sorts of dishes in this Brunch crawl. Enjoy the variety of dishes which may include juices, smoothies and coffees, to eggs bennys, pancakes, french toast, omelettes, pulled pork, hash browns, bacon, seafood, desserts and so much more.

Venues: Participants include some of Gastown’s finest restaurants including: Brioche Eatery Café, The Blarney Stone, Milano Coffee, Salida 7, Jamaican Blue Cold Brew and more to be announced soon.

Club Amuse Bouche VIP tickets include a VIP Gift Bag and Priority Check-in at 9:45am

Starting off at Milano Coffee at 36 Powell Street
Community Partner: Gastown BIA

Kitsilano Brunch Crawl
Date: Sunday January 18
Time: 10am – 2pm
Price: $40 Regular / $60 Club Amuse Bouche VIP

Visit 7+ restaurants through-out Kitsilano as you taste all sorts of dishes in this Brunch crawl. Enjoy the variety of dishes which may include juices, smoothies and coffees, to eggs benny’s, pancakes, french toast, omelettes, pulled pork, hash browns, bacon, brunch pizza, desserts and so much more.

Venues: Participants include some of Kitsilano’s finest restaurants including: Krokodile Pear, Novo Pizzeria, Darby’s Public House, Momento Coffee House, Rain or Shine Ice Cream and more to be announced soon.

Club Amuse Bouche VIP tickets include a VIP Gift Bag and Priority Check-in at 9:45am

Starting off at Novo Pizzeria at 2118 Burrard Street
Community Partner: Shop West 4th BIA

Main Street Brunch Crawl
Date: Saturday January 24
Time: 10am – 2pm
Price: $40 Regular / $60 Club Amuse Bouche VIP

Visit 7+ restaurants through-out Mount Pleasant and area as you taste all sorts of dishes in this Brunch crawl. Enjoy the variety of dishes which may include juices, smoothies, coffees, and chai to eggs benny’s, pancakes, french toast, omelettes, pulled pork, hash browns, bacon, meats, desserts and so much more.

Venues: Participants include some of Main Street’s finest restaurants including: Rosemary Rocksalt, Miura Waffles, Radicle Juice, Nirvana, East End Chai and more to be announced soon.

Club Amuse Bouche VIP tickets include a VIP Gift Bag and Priority Check-in at 9:45am

Starting off at Best Western Plus Uptown at 205 Kingsway
Community Partner: Mount Pleasant BIA


Downtown Vancouver Brunch Crawl
Date: Sunday January 25
Time: 10am – 2pm
Price: $40 Regular / $60 Club Amuse Bouche VIP

Visit 7+ restaurants through-out downtown as you taste all sorts of dishes in this Brunch crawl. Enjoy the variety of dishes which may include juices, smoothies and coffees, to eggs benny’s, pancakes, french toast, omelettes, pulled pork, hash browns, bacon, baked goods, desserts and so much more.

Venues: Participants include some of downtown Vancouver’s finest restaurants including: Frankie’s Italian Kitchen, Kingston Taphouse & Grille, The Copper Chimney, Small Victory Bread & Coffee, Bella Gelateria Yaletown, and more to be announced soon.

Club Amuse Bouche VIP tickets include a VIP Gift Bag and Priority Check-in at 9:45am

Starting off at the Kingston Taphouse & Grille at 755 Richards Street
Community Partner: Downtown Vancouver BIA

West End Brunch Crawl
Date: Saturday January 31
Time: 10am – 2pm
Price: $40 Regular / $60 Club Amuse Bouche VIP

A repeat event for 2015. Visit 7+ restaurants through-out the West End as you taste all sorts of dishes in this Brunch crawl. Enjoy the variety of dishes which may include juices, smoothies and coffees, to eggs benny’s, pancakes, french toast, omelettes, pulled pork, hash browns, bacon, seafood, desserts, mimosas and so much more.

Venues: Participants include some of the Westend’s finest restaurants including: Papparoti, Morocco West, Just juice, Marquis Wine Cellars, De Dutch Pannekoek House and more to be announced soon.

Club Amuse Bouche VIP tickets include a VIP Gift Bag and Priority Check-in at 9:45am

Starting off at Marquis Wine Cellars at 1034 Davie Street
Community Partner: West End BIA

Commercial Drive Brunch Crawl
Date: Sunday February 1
Time: 10am – 2pm
Price: $40 Regular / $60 Club Amuse Bouche VIP

Visit 7+ restaurants through-out Commercial Drive and area as you taste all sorts of dishes in this Brunch crawl. Enjoy the variety of dishes which may include juices, smoothies coffees and beer, to eggs benny’s, pancakes, french toast, omelettes, hash browns, brunch pizza, desserts, and so much more.

Venues: Participants include some of East Van’s finest restaurants including: Famoso Pizzeria, Federico’s Supper Club, Bakery Sate, Stateside Craft and more to be announced soon.

Club Amuse Bouche VIP tickets include a VIP Gift Bag and Priority Check-in at 9:45am

Starting off at Famoso Pizzeria at 1380 Commercial Drive
Community Partner: The Drive BIA

Select Finalists Announced for 25th Annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards

Vancouver MagazineVancouver, B.C.; April 15th, 2014 – Vancouver Magazine announced today select finalists for its upcoming 25th Annual Restaurant Awards.  Finalists were named in the magazine’s new Best of Neighbourhood award categories including: Best Downtown, Best Yaletown, Best West End, Best Gastown & Chinatown, Best West Side, Best East Side, and Best Richmond.

These categories join Best North Shore in highlighting establishments for diners for whom location is at least as important as reputation, type of cuisine, ambiance, and price. See attached fact sheet for finalist restaurants.

“For the past 25 years, Vancouver Magazine has been cataloguing the city’s finest rooms and creating a definitive compendium of all that is delicious, masterful, and of the moment,” said John Burns, Vancouver Magazine Editor-in-Chief. “The addition of Best of Neighbourhood awards reflects our judges’ view that for many people, location matters a great deal when deciding where to dine.”

Finalists in the remaining 42 categories won’t be revealed until the gala, to be held at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre Hotel on April 22nd. More than 700 of B.C.’s top chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, and food critics will gather to recognize the city’s best. Vancouverites can follow the event live on Twitter and Instagram using #VanMagAwards.

Vancouver Magazine’s May issue includes a 42-page feature on all the award categories. The issue will be on newsstands on April 28th and digital subscriptions will be available at vanmag.com.

Finalists for New Best of Neighbourhood Categories

Best Yaletown

  • Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar,
  • Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca,
  • The Flying Pig,
  • Homer St. Café and Bar,
  • La Pentola della Quercia

Best West End

  • Forage,
  • Hokkaido Ramen Santouka,
  • Kingyo,
  • Nook,
  • Tavola

Best Downtown

  • Cactus Club Coal Harbour,
  • Hawksworth,
  • The Mexican, Antojitos y Cantina;
  • Tableau Bar Bistro,
  • Yew Seafood & Bar

Best Gastown & Chinatown

  • Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie,
  • Campagnolo,
  • Phnom Penh,
  • Pidgin,
  • The Union

Best West Side

  • Maenam,
  • La Quercia,
  • Vijs,
  • West,
  • Zest

Best East Side

  • Campagnolo Roma,
  • Chicha,
  • Les Faux Bourgeois,
  • The Red Wagon,
  • Via Tevere

Best Richmond

  • Dinesty Chinese,
  • Gudrun,
  • Hoi Tong Seafood,
  • Spicy Vegetarian Cuisine,
  • Top Shanghai Cuisine

Best North Shore

  • Blue Eyed Marys,
  • Canyon,
  • Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle,
  • Gusto di Quattro,
  • La Régalade

 

 

Nicli Antica

Nicli Pizzeria and Unibroue Team Up for Delicious Detente

Margherita pizza at Nicli Antica

Margherita pizza at Nicli Antica

Do you like pizza? Do you like beer?  If you are Canadian, it should be built into your DNA.  Here is a great dinner upcoming at Nicli Pizzeria in Gastown on Sept 10, paired with beer from Quebec’s Unibroue brewery.  You probably have tried one of Unibroue’s beers in the past, such as Fin du Monde.

Here are the details.

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On September 10th, Nicli Antica Pizzeria is teaming up with Quebec’s iconic Unibroue to present an evening of ‘beer and pizza’ like no other. Hailed as Vancouver’s ‘Best Pizzeria’ (Vancouver Magazine AwardsWestEnderGeorgia Straight), Nicli continues the century-old tradition of creating Neapolitan pizzas the proper way – by hand and using only the best seasonal ingredients. An early leader in the craft-beer movement, Unibroue has gained Canada-wide recognition for its ‘on the lees’ Belgian-style of beer.

Nicli’s Chef Dave Tozer has created a five-course dinner that is sure to incite praise – be it in Italian (‘splendido,’ ‘fantastico’), French (‘magifique,’ ‘formidable’) or ‘Foodie (‘yum’). The menu features four pizzas plus dessert – each course carefully paired with one of Unibroue’s distinctive brews. The dinner is value-priced at $45 – a good bargain in any language

Blanche de Chambly

Blanche de Chambly

First course starts gently with an EVOO-based pizza of Pecorino Romano, goat cheese, heirloom tomatoes and arugula napped with a balsamic reduction. This has been paired with Unibroue’sBlanche de Chambly, a delicate wheat beer that will subtly complement the pizza’s garden-fresh flavour.

Second course pizza features caramelized onions, fresh thyme, fennel sausage with PEI smoked cheddar. This has been paired with Ephémère Apple with its delicate balance of sweet and tart undertones and Granny Smith profile.

Unibroue’s golden ale, Fin du Monde, is the brew of choice to complement Chef Tozer’s pizza highlighting late-summer ingredients – roasted local corn, zucchini and organic grass-fed strip loin with grana padano and fiore de latte finished with an arugula and gorgonzola fondue drizzle. Just the description of this pizza should make your mouth water.

The final pizza of the dinner features the robust flavours of sopressata combined with roasted chilies, tomato sauce, pecorino romano, oregano and fresh basil finished with chili-infused EVOO.  It is paired with an equally robust beer, Unibroue’s multi-award-winning Maudite – a flavourful amber-red ale with an assertive crisp finish.

Stone fruit cobbler accompanied by vanilla bean gelato ends the evening on a sweet finish. Beer with dessert? ‘Mais oui’ say the French contingent and the Italians concur ‘naturalmente,’ as Ephémère Cherry, with its refreshing taste reminiscent of a dry rosé with cherry undertones, provides the perfect flavour counterpoint to the cobbler’s fruit.

Where to get Tickets

The dinner starts at 8:30 p.m. Unibroue’s Kelsey Atkinson will be in attendance to talk about the pairings and the beers. The very reasonable price of $45 per person includes the meal, the pairings, tax and gratuity. Tickets must be purchased in advance and can be obtained on Eventbrite.

Multi-award winning Nicli Antica Pizzeria is the first VPN (Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana) certified Neapolitan pizzeria in Vancouver. To date in 2013, it has won Gold, ‘Best Pizzeria’ at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards,  ‘Best Wine List’ atVancouver International Wine Festival, ‘Best Pizza’ from theWestEnder’s Best of the City and ‘Best Pizza’ from the Georgia Straight’s Gold Plates.

Celebrate Valentines Day at Vicino Pastaria and Deli

Have you thought about what to do for Valentine’s Day?  Taking your significant other out for dinner should be on the top of the list (unless you prefer to cook a dinner), but where to go?  One place may be Vicino Pastaria and Deli in Gastown.  They sent me this information which I am passing along to you.  Pick a nice Chianti and you will be set for a wonderful dinner.  Enjoy!

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Vicino Pastaria Room Overview

Vicino Pastaria Room Overview

(Vancouver) – It’s an accepted fact that Italians are amongst sexiest and most romantic people on the planet – they can even claim St. Valentine (San Valentino) as one of their own. Italians are also great cooks who appreciate flavourful food, simply prepared from the freshest, most exquisite ingredients. On the Sagra of San Valentino, chic couples, from Milano to Roma, Venezia to Genova, stroll cobblestone streets arm in arm, in search of small neighbourhood restaurants in which to celebrate the day with a seductive dinner.

You don’t have to go as far as the Via Veneto to celebrate Valentine’s Day Italian-style. In Vancouver’s own little corner of old world charm, Gastown (recently named one of the top four hippest hoods in the world), sitsVicino (‘neighbour’ in Italian), an unpretentious restaurant that is very serious about serving beautiful food at reasonable prices. In honour of San Valentino, Executive Chef Chris Picek has created a special five-courseMenu Compreso that pays homage to the arte and amore of eating and living well. It is only available on Thursday, February 14.

Seduction begins with the first spoonful of the Stuzzichino (starter) of leek and roasted garlic soup with crispy duck skin. Next up is the Antipasti (‘before pasta’) course of baked ricotta with caramelized endive, blood orange and fennel pollen dressing. Italians don’t eat pasta on its own as we do, pasta is just one of many courses in a meal and this dinner is no exception. The Pasta course is orzo served with sautéed with Yellowfoot Chanterelles. For the Primi there is a choice betweenRoasted Pork Chop with pepperonata and red wine butter or Ling Cod, with crushed potato, olive tapenade and leek sauce.  Now, if you really want to dine like an Italian, this is the point at which you insert an optional cheese (Formaggi) course. However, if that seems like too much, then linger over Dolci – a rich chocolate spice cake.  Raise a glass or two of vino (Vicino is now licensed), to San Valentino, and end with an espresso.

Then stroll arm and arm over Gastown’s cobblestone streets and imagine you’re in the Brera. What happens after that is up to you.

Menu Compreso: $55 for five courses.
Optional Formaggi:  $10

Where We Are

68 East Cordova Street
Vancouver, BC
V6A 1K2
604-336-0042 / www.vicino.ca

Gastown Food and Culture Tour – Be a Tourist in Your Own City

Gassy Jack our tour guide

People I think tended to get a bit jaded about where they live.  One way around it I found is to pretend you are a tourist and do touristy things.  It is amazing how you find out about new restaurants, or visit sites that you may have gone to so many years ago.  This was my mindset when I was invited to attend the “Gastown food & culture tour” by Taste Vancouver Food Tours earlier this week.  The tour costs $39, but I attended for free.

It was a lovely sunny day.  Besides me there was our tour guide, “Gassy Jack”, as well as a couple and a family from Ontario for this experience. We started at the Starbucks in front of the Pan Pacific Hotel downtown, visiting 9 restaurants/cafes, and 1 clothing store.  Between these stops Gassy Jack would tell us information about a particular old building, and it’s significance to Gastown, or some historical fact about Gastown.  It kept the walk interesting.

Which Places Did We Visit?

Our stops in order were:

  1. Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar
  2. Steamworks
  3. Rogers Chocolates
  4. Canadian Maple Delights
  5. Brioche Urban Baking and Catering
  6. Trees Organic Coffee and Roasting House
  7. Water St. Cafe
  8. John Fluevog
  9. Peckinpah BBQ
  10. Gastown Tea Company

Lobster Mac n Cheese from Rogue

The tour kicked off with a fruit drink and slice of muffin at the Starbucks, followed by Gassy Jack introducing us to a brief history of Gastown.  First official stop was the Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar where we enjoyed a serving of Atlantic Lobster in a Four Cheese Mac n Cheese.  Very tasty.  There was actual pieces of lobster in the dish.

Onward we trekked to Steamworks, a place that I visited many times. Down the winding staircase we descended, and sat next to the large copper tanks where the beer micro-brewing takes place.  Our beer was a ginger beer, made with real ginger root.  It was a light pale ale in colour and the ginger was not overpowering.  There were 2 children in tow, and they had soft drinks, so don’t worry if you are bringing your children along.

Rogers Chocolates was next, were we tasted a chocolate covered caramel topped with sea salt.  A bit chewy.  It would have been nice to have something to wash it down with.

Canadian Maple Delights is another sweet stop along the way.  Maple syrup tea, two types of maple syrup, maple syrup covered popcorn, and some maple flavoured ice creams were all available to sample.  I did like the tea and the popcorn.  The children I think in particular liked the ice cream.

3 Cheese Tortellini in Sicilian Salsiccia Sauce from Brioche

Brioche Urban Baking and Catering was one of my favourite stops.  While I thought we would be enjoying some baked goods, I was surprised that besides some home baked bread, drizzled with olive oil, we were also served Sicilian pasta, in particular Three Cheese Tortellini in a Sicilian Salsiccia Sauce.  The sauce was light and bright.  I would go here again to try a full plate of this pasta.

My next surprise was Trees Organic Coffee and Roasting House.  With this name, I was expecting to have some sort of coffee drink.  Instead we were treated to a slice of lemon cheesecake.  Their cheesecakes have been voted as #1 in Vancouver.  It was quite dense and had a genuine lemon flavour.  Another place that I would visit again.

Water St. Cafe was our classiest spot on the tour.  I like this restaurant.  Try it out during Dine Out Vancouver.  We were led to the upstairs seating in the restaurant.  I had never been upstairs and did not know there was private seating.  We were treated to a crab cake with kernel corn.  I liked it, but it was very small.  It would have been nice to have a bit more.  While we waited for our crab cake we were told a few stories about the Cafe.  One was that the Cafe is haunted.  I won’t tell you the whole story.  You have to attend the tour.  The other tidbit was that the Twilight cast had a post movie production party there.  So maybe I was sitting in the same chair as Bella or Jacob!

John Fluevog was our clothing store stop.  J.F. is a designer shoe store, started here in Vancouver.  Wear the shoes that Lady Gaga and Madonna wear!

Pulled pork with Carolina vinegar sauce from Peckinpah

Peckinpah BBQ was my other favourite spot on this tour.  They serve Carolina style BBQ.  What’s the difference with other BBQ?  It’s it sauce.  Instead of a thick tomato based sauce, the Carolina style sauce is vinegar based with chilies added. This sauce was served with pulled pork.  I like to judge a BBQ spot on their pulled pork.  I enjoyed it.  The vinegar sauce was not too spicy.  But I need to come back to try a bigger serving of their pulled pork.

Our last stop was the Gastown Tea Company, where we were served tea! and a chocolate cookie.   The tea was called Green Mystique and was served on ice.  They have a wide range of teas that are in sample cans that you can open and sniff before deciding what type of tea you would like to enjoy.  There are white, green, and black teas.  There was one that I really liked the aroma called A Night in Paris.  I would have liked to try this tea.

There is a wrap up afterward at the Gassy Jack statue.  Overall the 2 hours passed by very fast, I learned a bit about Gastown, and a few new restaurants to try. Enjoy!

Wines of Stoneboat Vineyards Featured at Salt Tasting Room Event – Get Your Tickets

Stoneboat Vineyards Pinotage

Have you heard of Okanagan’s Stoneboat Vineyards? They have been farming in the Okanagan for many years, but a few years ago they decided to open a winery.  I was lucky to taste their first wines when they opened their tasting room.  What peaked my interest the most is that they produced a wine made from the Pinotage grape.  This is quite a rare grape in the Okanagan.  It comes from South Africa, where it was created in 1925 by crossing Pinot Noir with Cinsault grapes. Pinotage can be a full bodied red wine with spicy, black and red berry flavours followed with a hint of banana. Pinotage may also have a bouquet of soft strawberry fruits. Pinotage can be a full bodied red wine with spicy, black and red berry flavours followed with a hint of banana. Pinotage may also have a bouquet of soft strawberry fruits.  Pinotage is a versatile wine, which can be paired with bbq’d meats, East Indian curries, and spicy Asian food.  I enjoyed Stoneboat’s Pinotage then, and I still look for it.

You can hopefully try this wine, along with the other wines that Stoneboat Vineyards produces  when you attend Salt Tasting Room in Gastown, on Tuesday June 26.  Below is the information that I received about this event. Enjoy!

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For Immediate Release

Stoneboat Vineyards logo

June 12, 2012 (Vancouver, BC) – On Tuesday, June 26 2012, new releases from Stoneboat Vineyards will be in the spotlight at the Salt Tasting Room.  The wines will be paired with gourmet delights such as artisanal cheeses and local charcuterie.  Tim and Jay Martiniuk, two members of the family that owns and operates Stoneboat Vineyards, will attend the event and share their insights into the new vintages.

Brothers Tim and Jay exemplify the hands-on approach of the Martiniuk family, which has been a pioneer in BC’s winemaking industry since the 1980s.  Jay is an experienced winemaker who served as cellarmaster at Osoyoos Larose and now designs and orchestrates the winemaking programs at Stoneboat. He recently completed a degree in Food Sciences at UBC, where he studied wine chemistry & fermentations at the Wine Research Centre. Jay’s twin brother Tim is known the resident jack-of-all-trades at the family winery, overseeing marketing and wine shop operations.

The June event is part of Salt’s “Salt Cellar Series” of tasting events, and promises to show the new Stoneboat Vineyards wines to their best advantage, paired with a variety of savoury tidbits.  To purchase tickets please visit www.salttastingroom.com.

Stoneboat Vineyards at the Salt Tasting Room, 7:00PM
$40 exclusive of tax and gratuities

 Salt Tasting Room
45 Blood Alley, Gastown, Vancouver
P – 604-633-1912

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About Stoneboat Vineyards:  Stoneboat Vineyards is an artisan winery in Oliver, BC, owned and operated by two generations of the Martiniuk family. For nearly 30 years we have farmed on the South Okanagan’s Lower Black Sage Bench, where our vines thrive atop hundreds of feet of calcareous stones. The bench’s uniquely rocky soils, warm days, and cool nights create perfect conditions for growing Pinot varietals of honest character and complexity. Our winemaking approach is inspired by our farming philosophy, valuing integrity, minimal intervention, and hard work to create wines that are true to their origins in our vineyards.

www.stoneboatvineyards.com

www.salttastingroom.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.