Port Moody Tasting Plates – What To Try

Vancouver Foodster took us to a brand new part of the lower mainland for his latest Tasting Plates experience, Port Moody.  Located to the northeast of Burnaby, the restaurants and breweries wanted to show us what they have to offer.  There are several breweries in Port Moody, and during this event we sampled craft beers from two of them; Moody Ales and The Parkside Brewery.  There was also sweet and savoury at the Tasting Plates.  Enjoy the pictures that I took during the event, along with my brief commentary.

My Port Moody Tasting Plates Notes

Starting off with savoury, we visited Spacca Napoli Pizeria and Meat Craft Urban Butchery.  Spacca was very busy, and from discussions, seems to be busy all the time.  They offered us a meatball, frittelle (a fried fritter that had pieces of seaweed inside), Rigatoni Bolognese, and a slice of Neapolitan style pizza.  I really enjoyed the flavour of the tender meatball along with the tomato sauce.  The slice of pizza was also good, but could have been served hotter.

Spacca Napoli pizza, pasta, and meatballs

Spacca Napoli pizza, pasta, and meatballs

Meat Craft Urban Butchery offered us a choice of a mini-smokie in a bun topped with slaw, and a side of potato salad.  Although the specialize in meat, their slaw and potato salad were excellent.  One smokie was garlic flavoured, and the other two had beer from either Yellow Dog or Moody Ales.  I tried the Moody Ales flavoured smokie.  It was grilled lightly.  You could get the flavour of the ale without it being over-powering.  A place to visit to buy more smokies, kebabs or other meats for the future.

Meat Craft Urban Butchery with grilled sausages, slaw, and potato salad

Meat Craft Urban Butchery with grilled sausages, slaw, and potato salad

With some food in me, the next stops were to Moody Ales and The Parkside Brewery.  Both offered us 4 beers to taste.  My preference was for the darker, brown ales, while my friend preferred the lighter lagers.  Between the two breweries, and the others just down the street, there is something for everyone to enjoy.  I have also been told that on weekends you can find food trucks beside the breweries, so grab a bite and a brew!

Moody Ales Lager, Brown Ale, IPA, and Hopped Red Ale tasters

Moody Ales Lager, Brown Ale, IPA, and Hopped Red Ale tasters

The Parkside Brewery Pilsner, Pale Ale, IPA, and Murray Mild flight

The Parkside Brewery Pilsner, Pale Ale, IPA, and Murray Mild flight

After our fill of savoury food and beer, it was time for dessert.  First stop was Rocky Point Ice Cream, a well-loved establishment in Port Moody, and the new Gabi & Jules pie shop.  Rocky Point Ice Cream made 3 special treats for us:  a mini Sweet Georgia Brown sundae, a strawberry ice cream with basil and balsamic reduction in a chocolate cup, and a mini ginger-molasses and pumpkin spice ice cream sandwich.  All were very tasty.  I enjoyed the sundae and the chocolate cup the most.  The sandwich cookie was a little too hard, and would have been spectacular if it was a bit softer.  The basil and balsamic reduction showed flair and really worked with the strawberry ice cream.  I highly recommend this place for ice cream.

Rocky Point Ice Cream creations for Tasting Plates Port Moody

Rocky Point Ice Cream creations for Tasting Plates Port Moody

Gabi & Jules rounded out the evening with a slice of pie; mine being apple and blackberry.  Apple pie is in general my favourite type of pie.  The blackberries, scattered throughout, added a floral note to the pie.  It was not overly sweet, and the crust was very flaky.  Enjoyed this with a cup of decaf coffee.

Gabi & Jules apple blackberry pie and a decaf coffee

Gabi & Jules apple blackberry pie and a decaf coffee

Thanks to all the restaurants and breweries for letting us sample from them, and for Vancouver Foodster for branching out of the well-known foodie areas of Vancouver.

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

Nicli Antica – Artisan Pizza and Craft Beer Make a Perfect Pairing

Pizza and Beer

Pizza and Beer

Vancouver Craft Beer week is coming up starting May 31.  Have you considered attending any event?  The event website is at this link.

But if you can’t wait, because pizza is awesome to enjoy with friends and family, and a craft beer (or wine) is an excellent pairing, why not visit Nicli Antica Pizzeria?   Check out their press release below.

~~~

(Vancouver, BC) Beer and pizza – it’s become a classic Canadian combination. Whether it’s an after game celebration, before class quick bite, or dinner out with friends; beer and pizza is everyone’s ‘go to’ casual meal. It’s become so ubiquitous that most of us take it for granted. Not at Nicli Antica Pizzeria where they continue the century old tradition of creating Neapolitan-style pizzas the proper way – with love, by hand, using the only the best seasonal ingredients.

Coming up are three Craft Beer and Pizza Pairing Dinners that may just have you appreciating beer and pizza with a whole new respect. “We are very excited to be partnering with three of BC’s top artisan breweries,” says Nicli owner Bill McCaig. “Like a wine-pairing dinner, it’s a great way to showcase the flavour profiles in the beer and how they complement our pizzas. For these initial dinners we are so pleased to be working with Parallel 49 (May 13), Driftwood (May 20) and Howe Sound (May 27). They demonstrate the same care and attention to beer-making that we do with our pizzas. We think this may be a Vancouver first and if they’re well received, we’ll do more.”

The dinners start at 8:30 p.m. and each includes courses of four different pizzas plus dessert paired with beer from the featured brewery. A representative of the brewery will be in attendance to talk about the pairings and the beers. The very reasonable price of $45 per person, per dinner includes the meal, the pairings, tax and gratuity. Tickets must be purchased in advance and can be obtained on Event Brite.

Mark these on your calendar and join Nicli Antica Pizzeria for three special dinners pairing local craft beers and Nicli’s artisan pizza:
• Monday, May 13 – Parallel 49 Brewery
• Monday, May 20 – Driftwood Brewing
• Monday, May 27 – Howe Sound Brewing

Multi-award winning Nicli Antica Pizzeria is the first VPN (Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana) certified Neopolitan pizzeria in Vancouver. So far this year it has won Gold, ‘Best Pizzeria’ at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards, ‘Best Wine List’ at Vancouver International Wine Festival, ‘Best Pizza’ from the WestEnder’s Best of the City and ‘Best Pizza’ from the Georgia Straight’s Gold Plates.

Nicli Antica Pizzeria’s website for more details.

Highlights from Vancouver Foodsters Noodle Mania #NoodleManiaYVR

Shaktea Noodle Mania starting point

Shaktea Noodle Mania starting point

On Sunday @vanfoodster had his inaugural Noodle Mania event. It spread across 10 restaurants in Vancouver. It was quite fun as the food was varied.  There were noodle dishes from Thailand, Vietnam, and China, as well as North American favourites from way back, like mac & cheese.   The restaurants available for us to sample on this day were:

I spent 3 hrs eating and driving to these places, but I did not get to visit them all.  Sorry to Mac Shack, Yaletown l’Antipasto, and Urban Thai Bistro.  I did see good tweets about your restaurants.

Of the restaurants I did visit, my Ultimate Favourite was Chau Veggie Express! They offered 2 dishes for us to sample: Soft Tropical Rainstorm, and Sliding down the Sanddunes.  Nice names; sounds like names of songs from Zamfir, but the food was really tasty. The Soft Tropical Rainstorm was a warm noodle dish with a coconut cream sauce, shredded veggies, and crispy shallots.  I did like the creaminess of this dish along with the bright herb flavours and the crunch of the shallots.  Equally good was the Sliding Down the Sanddunes, a Tom Yum type soup.  Lemongrass & ginger, peanut spiced broth, assorted tofus, lotus root slices and greens.  The lemon grass made the broth and I did like to crunch into the lotus root.  I will be back to Chau Veggie Express.

Chau VeggiExpress

Chau VeggiExpress Soft Tropical Rainstorm and Sliding down the Sanddunes

Other dishes I particularly enjoyed:

  • Bob Likes Thai Food’s Kanom Jeen (Noodles with a fish curry sauce).  I had never had, or heard of, this Thai rice noodle dish before.  It is a combination of noodles, fish curry (finely ground), vegetables and spices.  I found a recipe online. There were so many different flavours and textures in this dish. It was really quite amazing.
  • Fets Bar & Grill’s Cajun Cream Chicken on Linguini. This is quite a spicy dish.  The cream sauce is quite light so you won’t feel like napping after eating it.  The spice doesn’t burn your mouth, like a Thai dish would.  The spice is black/white pepper at the back of your throat.  Grab a beer at the Bar to wash it down.  They also have a wide selection of whisky.  Mine was one aged in a Brandy cask.
Fets Bar and Grill Cajun Cream Chicken and Mac n Cheese

Fets Bar and Grill Cajun Cream Chicken and Mac n Cheese

Fets Bar and Grill whiskys

Fets Bar and Grill whiskys

Bob Likes Thai Food Kanom Jeen

Bob Likes Thai Food Kanom Jeen

Shaktea on Main Street was the starting point for this event.  Even though they did not have a noodle dish, we were offered to sample from 3 different teas.  I tried the cinnamon roobios tea.  I enjoyed it.  It had a long finish with cinnamon and vanilla.  Thanks again to @vanfoodster for hosting this event, and all the other events for the foodie community.