Vancouver Foodster announces the Pasta Challenge

Fall is here and you may start thinking of hearty, filling dishes, and glasses of red wine.  Why not try out some pasta dishes from Vancouver Foodster’s Pasta Challenge?  Details are below.

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Vancouver, BC – Welcome to the Vancouver Foodster Pasta Challenge. Restaurants from all over the city were invited to enter their pasta dishes into this challenge, some of the restaurants have created a special pasta creation just for this challenge and others have entered their top choice off their existing menu. Each restaurant will be featuring their pasta creation on their menu from October 4-28, 2018.

Here are a few of the unique creations:
Sopra Sotto Pizzeria

Chitarrine e Tartufo

Price: $22

Created by: Chef Enrico Fratoni

Description: A tower of fresh “spaghetti alla chitarra” made in house, served in a delicious truffle sauce with a variety of mushrooms and topped with parmigiano.

Ingredients:  Fresh Pasta, Truffle Sauce, Variety of mushrooms, and Parmigiano cheese

Offered: Every day during lunch and dinner

Sopra Sotto Pizzeria

1510 Commercial Drive, Vancouver

Phone: (604) 251-7586

Web: http://www.soprasottovancouver.com/

Instagram @soprasotto.vancouver
Orto Artisan Pasta

Orto Ricotta Gnocchi

Price: $25

Created by:

Description: Home made ricotta gnocchi, Haida gwaii chanterelles, proscuitto chips

Offered: Lunch and Dinner

Orto Artisan Pasta

1600 Mackay Rd, North Vancouver

Phone: (604) 929-0203

Web: http://ortoartisanpasta.com/

Instagram @ortoartisanpasta

 

The Italians Kitchen and Bar

Spaghetti Mare e Monti

Price:  $27.00

Created by: Chef Matteo Vincenzi

Description: Mare (Sea) e Monti(Mountains) a dish that combines flavours and elements from the sea and the mountains. Fresh mussels and clams, mushrooms, truffle pate served with handmade fresh pasta. Inspired by Italian culinary tradition.

Ingredients: Mussels, clams, mushrooms, truffle pate, cherry tomatoes, garlic, white wine, red chilli pepper, parsley.

Offered: Dinner daily Tuesday – Sunday

The Italians Kitchen and Bar

1220 Bute Street, Vancouver

Phone: (604) 559-5034

Web: n/a

Instagram @theitalians_vancouver

 

The media judges are:

Areta Wong

Blogger of Foodgressing

Twitter: @foodgressing

Instagram: @foodgressing

 

Tara Lee

Writer for Inside Vancouver and other publications.

Twitter: @VanGlutton

Instagram @vanglutton 

 

David Grange

Blogger for BCFoodieBlogger

Twitter: @BCfoodieblogger

Instagram: @BCfoodieblogger

Here is the full list of Pasta Creations in this years challenge
http://vancouverfoodster.com/2018/10/04/vancouver-foodster-pasta-challenge-3/

We will announce the winning restaurants and their Pasta creations on October 29, 2018.

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Try Tofu Shirataki Noodles for Your Next Meal

It is estimated that approximately 1 in 6 people have some level of gluten sensitivity. Gluten is the substance in wheat flour that gives bread it’s elasticity.  Celiacs are people who cannot tolerate gluten at all, but for the gluten sensitive people, we can eat food, like a sandwich, but the gluten can cause us to get heartburn or patchy red skin, or other ailments.  While not life threatening, it feels better when you do not have to worry about eating a meal and wondering if there is a gluten-based product.

Pasta or noodle dishes are popular with most people, but most noodles are based on wheat.  There are some noodles made from rice or bean thread, but I recently became aware of a new product for me called “Tofu Shirataki” by House Foods.  Tofu Shirataki is a pasta alternative made by blending the flour of the Konnyaku – a member of the Asian yam family (also known as Konjac) with tofu.  I visited my local Choices Market and picked up a package of the Tofu Shirataki spaghetti style noodles to try in a Chinese stir fry.  I received a coupon for these noodles.  Beside the spaghetti shape, there is also fettuccine, angel hair and macaroni shaped noodles too.

The package of noodles come in a sealed package that is filled with water.  Opening the noodles, the instructions are to rinse them in water, then to boil them 2-3 minutes as use just like pasta, or if you are going to use them in a stir fry, to rinse them, then add them to the stir fry.  The 226 gram package I think is enough for 1 hungry person, or two people with regular sized appetites to share for their meal.

Tofu Shirataki spaghetti

Tofu Shirataki spaghetti

To my stir fry I added chopped vegetables, and condiments of sesame oil, ground ginger, vinegar, soy sauce and black bean sauce.  I placed the noodles on top of the cooking vegetables and let things simmer for a few minutes.  The noodles are not fragile so it was easy to stir them into the vegetables and not worry that they would fall apart.

Into my bowl, I sampled some of these now seasoned noodles and was very pleasantly surprised.  The noodles did not stick together like you can get from wheat-based noodles.  When I bit into the noodle, there was some firmness, similar to al dente pasta.  I really enjoyed the texture of the noodles.  There was also no sour taste that you can get from tofu on it’s own.  I doubt most people could tell that they were not eating a wheat-based noodle.

Tofu Shirataki spaghetti in stir fry

Tofu Shirataki spaghetti in stir fry

I feel comfortable recommending these noodles to anybody to try.  I will buy these as well myself in the future for my meals.  Enjoy!

 

Noodle Mania Vancouver – Get Your Tickets

Paccheri pasta and spicy Italian fennel sausage

Paccheri pasta and spicy Italian fennel sausage

Noodle dishes are popular around the world.  There are many variations on the sauce (e.g. hot, sour, spicy,tomato-based), the type of noodle (e.g. wheat or rice), and the protein with it (e.g. fish, meat, tofu).  With all these variables there are probably several thousands of variations, and proabably a few that you prefer. Vancouver Foodster’s “Noodle Mania Vancouver” will give you a chance to try noodles from many cultures.  Try some that are new to you.  Maybe they will be your new favourite.  The Noodle Mania Vancouver is on January 13, 2013 from 3-8pm.  Pre-Sale pricing special offer of $20 each ticket is now thru December 4th. Here is the press release.

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Updated Restaurant List and Pricing

Shaktea Tea Lounge (Tea)
Urban Thai Bistro (Thai)
Chau Veggie Express (Vietnamese)
Bob Likes Thai Food (Thai)
Hai Phong (Vietnamese)
Soho Tea Room (Hong Kong & Taiwanese)
Yaletown L’Antipasto (Italian)
Fet’s Bar & Grill (American)
Novo Pizzeria and Wine Bar (Italian)
The Mac Shack (American)

Ramen with Fraser Valley pork shoulder from Harvest

Ramen with Fraser Valley pork shoulder from Harvest

Advance Tickets: $35 per person (eventbrite fee extra). $100 for 4 pak of tickets or $135 for 6 pak of tickets (get a group of your friends/family together and save by purchasing a 4 pak or a 6 pak (eventbrite fee extra). Tickets $45 per person (eventbrite fee extra) after January 10th.

Ticket price includes tasting bowls or plates at each of the participating restaurants throughout the evening. A donation of $3 from each ticket purchased will go to support Project Limelight Society.

Purchase Tickets Here
http://noodlemania.eventbrite.ca/

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Vancouver, BC – Prepare to experience some of the newest and tastiest offerings on Sunday, January 13 from 3 to 8 p.m. as Vancouver Foodster, Vancouver’s essential online food and drink guide, presents “Noodle Mania Vancouver”.

Tantalize your taste buds at several restaurants throughout Vancouver! This tasting extravaganza goes from 3pm until 8pm and is presented by Vancouver Foodster. Guests will taste all types of noodles from chow mein to spaghetti to ramen, udon, pad thai and more. Touring many ethnic eateries and tasting noodle dishes from American, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Malaysian, Singaporean, Thai, Vietnamese, and more.

Each restaurant will be serving up Tasting Bowls or Plates for guests to enjoy and they will have a chance to visit many different types of restaurants throughout the event, meet some new food loving friends, meet the chefs, and learn about each of the participating restaurants.

The event is a roving tour that brings guests to the participating restaurant throughout the event and they will by moped, bike, driving, transit, walking, roller skates, skateboarding or carpooling to the various participating restaurants.

Chau Veggie Express at 5052 Victoria Drive specializes in Asian veggie noodle dishes and they will be participating along with Urban Thai Bistro at 1119 Hamilton Street who specializes in Thai noodle dishes! These are just a couple in the line-up of participating restaurants that will be revealed soon.

Registration: tba-this is where you will show us your printed or digital tickets and will pick up your Noodle Mania Cards.

Pre-Sale pricing special offer of $20 each ticket is now thru December 4th.

Advance Tickets: $30 per person (eventbrite fee extra). $100 for 4 pak of tickets or $120 for 6 pak of tickets (get a group of your friends/family together and save by purchasing a 4 pak or a 6 pak (eventbrite fee extra). Tickets $40 per person (eventbrite fee extra) after January 10th.

Note: ALL Tickets must be purchased in advance online. All ticket sales are final. No exchanges or refunds; however they are transferrable with printed proof of ticket.  Event produced by CMI Chat Media Inc

Tickets are available for purchase online only at http://noodlemania.eventbrite.ca/

“When I first started Vancouver Foodster over 3-1/2 years ago, it was because I had a great passion for food and wanted to share it with the public,” explains Richard Wolak, Editor and Publisher of Vancouver Foodster. ‘Noodle Mania Vancouver’ is a chance for people to try something different, all types, shapes and flavours of noodles from ethnic eateries in Vancouver!” Richard Wolak

My Tasting Plates Vancouver Kitsilano Edition Favorites

Tasting Plates Kitsilano

This past week was the third Vancouver Foodster Tasting Plates event this year. This event was the “Kitsilano Edition“. If you have never attended one, for Tasting Plates you visit 10 different restaurants/food trucks/other food establishments, sampling some of their tasty treats.

This evening we had 10 vendors to visit:

Some of My Favourite Bites

Chocolate Arts pumpkin praline chocolate

Chocolate Arts Cafe – This one is all about chocolates and sweets. I was very impressed with the quality from C.A.C. They had a:

  • House made cookie enrobed in 70% chocolate with corn flavoured house made ice cream
  • Candied almonds
  • A Peanut mallow bite
  • A seasonal chocolate

Have you ever tried corn ice cream, or how about cheese flavoured ice cream?  If you have been to South America or to South East Asia, you probably tried one of these, but here it is much harder to come across.  I enjoyed the corn flavoured ice cream.  The corn flavour was not overpowering, but you still knew it was corn.  It was nice with the chocolate covered cookie.  The seasonal chocolate was organic pumpkin and praline.  The pumpkin flavour was again subtle and went very well with the 70% dark chocolate coating.  I would recommend going to the C.A.C. and indulging your sweet tooth. Bring out some BC ice wine or late harvest to complete the decadence.

Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. – They offered 1 slice of your choice from the following pizzas:

  • Bradner Farm Pizza:  Certified organic free range rosemary chicken from Bradner Farm with red onions, house made pesto & oven roasted red bell peppers.
  • Farmers Market Pizza: Topped with a combination of four to five seasonal local or preserved veggies, three herb nut free pesti & Capriny goat’s cheese.
  • Naturally Meaty: Spicy certified organic beef, sulphate free Italian sausage, ripe tomatoes, green peppers, red onions, asiago cheese & fresh herbs.

I tried the Naturally Meaty pizza.  The organic beef was spicy, just like I like it, but a little light on the beef and sausage.  No soggy crust.  The restaurant was open for regular patrons and it was packaged.  It is a very family friendly restaurant, with many tables full of young children.

The Bibo pizza and pasta

The Bibo – The Bibo offered both a pizza selection and a pasta selection.  The items were:

  • Pizzas selection: Margherita, Diavola, Prosciutto, Funghi, and Marinara.
  • Pasta selection: Rigatoni alla Norma, Lasagne al Pesto and Tagliatelle al Ragù.

I went for a slice of the Diavola pizza and the Lasagne al Pesto.  The lasagne was vegetarian and was so tasty with the wonderful basil flavour from the pesto.  I think I liked it more than the pizza and I would definitely try it again.  The Diavola pizza is made with spicy salami.  It was spicy but if you are not spice lover, I think you would still find it at an acceptable heat level.  Not too greasy, and a nice crispy crust. Go traditional and enjoy this with a glass of Tuscan Sangiovese (Chianti) or maybe try a BC Gamay Noir?

Atithi Indian Cuisine – The owners of Atithi really were very nice to us and tried to accommodate people’s tastes.  A friend I was with was given a dal in lieu of one of the dishes she did not sample.  The items to taste were:

  • Lotus roots with shrimp
  • Bengali mustard fish
  • Taro roots with local potato (vegan and veggie)

If you like spice, then this place is for you, but one of the dishes, the Bengali mustard fish, was not spicy; just full of flavour.  I really enjoyed it.  It was made from cod fish.  The taro roots with local potato was a dry dish, no sauce, and again was tasty for me.  The lotus root dish had sauce and would have challenged a few people on the spice level. An off-dry riesling would help quell the fire.

Petes Meats 3 sausages and sauerkraut

Pete’s Meat – Offered to us three distinct sausages with a small side of sauerkraut.  May have been my favourite dish of the night.  The sausages:

  • Lamb Merguez: medium spice with a complex flavor profile north African in origin
  • Sweet Italian: low spice, sweet and savoury our version of this classic
  • Chicken, chipotle, cilantro & lime: (Mexi/Cali, medium spice)

The sausages were all distinctive in taste.  I think my favourite was the Lamb Merguez, but they were all very good.  The sausages were not dry, but had the right mix of meat and fat for me. Maybe try this with a South African Pinotage?

That’s all for now from me.  Did you attend Tasting Plates?  If so, what were your favourites?  Leave a comment.

Thanks again to Richard aka @vanfoodster for hosting this event.

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!

Wine for Father’s Day, June 19, 2011?

Father’s Day is coming up fast.  Do you know which wine you will be pouring for your dad?  For some of you, you already know what your dad likes, e.g. He only likes Australian Shiraz, so picking a bottle should not be too difficult.

For others, your dad does not have a favorite wine.  So how would you choose a wine?  One of the easiest ways to pick a wine is to pair the wine with the food you will be having with your father.  If you are going to have a BBQ beef or lamb, you may want to select a full bodied red or an oaked chardonnay.

Grilled salmon or chicken can pair with a light bodied red or a white wine.

A pasta with cream sauce would pair nicely with a red or white wine that has higher acidity to cut through the creaminess.

A pasta with tomato-based sauce classically pairs with a Sangiovese-based wine from Tuscany, Italy.

If you father is a vegetarian, consider the type of sauce that the food is cooked with.  Is it creamy, made from tomato?  This flavour will help you choose the appropriate wine.  You could use one of the pasta selections that I described.

Some MyWinePal Wine Suggestions:

D’Angelo Sette Coppa 2005, BC. This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petite Verdot, and Malbec. It is primarily Cabernet Franc and Merlot, with lesser amounts of the other grape varieties. Light garnet in the glass. Tarry, cassis and black cherry aromas. Cassis, cherry, chocolate and vanilla on the palate with some spiciness. Medium length with firm tannins kicking in on the finish. Try with BBQ beef or lamb.

Casa Montes Bodegas & Vinedos, Alzamora Gran Reserva Malbec 2006, Argentina. This wine is opaque purple in the glass. Dusty with black petter aromas. Full body with ripe black fruit and lots of spice. A BBQ wine for beef or lamb.

Township 7 Chardonnay 2008, BC is 100% barrel fermented and aged in French and American oak, giving it more body and some creaminess. Vanilla and apple aromas. With flavours of citrus oak and apples. Nice round mouthfeel with a slight bit of spiciness and a coconut finish. Try this with any BBQ meats or fish.

Another Chardonnay would be the Hope Family Wines, Liberty School Chardonnay 2007. This Chardonnay, from the Paso Robles area of California, has 5% Viognier in the mix. It is medium lemon in the glass. Pineapple, vanilla, and creamy nose. Medium body, with peach, apricot and honey flavours.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Chardonnay 2008 , Washington was very elegant.  This wine was medium golden in the glass. Vanilla, oak, lemon and apple aromas.  It was medium body with toasty, lemon and light spice on the palate.  Light acidity to complement the roundness of the wine.  Spice and lemon on the finish.  Would go nicely with some salmon.

Casas del Bosque Pinot Noir Gran Reserva 2008, Chile. This wine spent 9 months in french oak. They like to use 2-3 year French oak barrels as much as possible for all their barrel aged wines so the oak is there, but not in your face. This one had a wide range of aromas. Strawberry, oak, red cherry, dill and mushroom at first, but then some vanilla on the nose. The wine was quite fruity. Lots of red cherry, but also some dill and vanilla. Quite smooth, medium length, and a dry finish. Try with BBQ salmon or chicken.

Renzo Masi Chianti Rufina “Basciano” 2007 DOCG, Italy. This wine is primarily Sangiovese but has 5% Colorino. Red delicious apple and cherry aromas and flavours.  Also vanilla and cherry on the palate.  Medium tannins with a dry finish. Try with a tomato-based pasta sauce.

Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2005, Italy. Chianti for those that do not know is made with the Sangiovese grape. This wine was dark garnet in colour.  Oak, cassis, and cherry nose. Full bodied with smooth mouthfeel.  Medium acidity and tannins with ripe black cherry flavour. Try with a tomato-based pasta sauce.

Man O’War Vineyards Waiheke Island Sauvignon Blanc 2009, New Zealand. This wine was very light lemon in colour.  Herbal and jalapeno pepper aromas. High acidity with more jalapeno and herbal flavours.  Light body, but long length.  Very nice. Try with a cream-based pasta sauce.

La Frenz Andrew Vineyard Riesling 2009, BC, is light lemon in colour. Flowery and apple aromas. Good acidity with a bit of residual sugar. Red apple and citrus flavours. Elegant. Try with a cream-based pasta sauce.

Note if you can’t find these particular wines, find a similar wine, such as a replacement for the Alzamora Gran Reserva Malbec could be the Bodegas Salentein Primum Malbec. If you feel unsure, ask someone who works in your wine shop.  They should be knowledgeable about the wines they carry.

Enjoy Fathers Day with your Dad.