A Tasty Evening at Tasting Plates Vancouver

Tasting Plates Vancouver

Last night was the Tasting Plates event in downtown Vancouver.  It was a perfect night, no rain, no wind.  So walking to the restaurants/carts would be a pleasure.  If you hadn’t heard about Tasting Plates it was a walk about event where you visit up to 10 food vendors, and they give you a selection of appetizers and/or drinks to try from them.  For this evening the participating vendors were:

  • Juice Truck
  • Cosca Restaurant
  • Cupcakes Denman
  • Bonchaz Bakery Cafe
  • Footo Delights
  • Notturno Paninoteca
  • WE. Coffee Inc.
  • Soho Road
  • W2 Media Cafe
  • Leonadis Chocolate

My Highlight Tastings

I started out at 5:30pm, walking, drinking, and tasting till 8:30pm.  In that time I was able to visit Notturno Paninoteca, Bonchaz, Juice Truck, Leonadis Chocolate, Soho Road and Footo Delights.  What were my highlight tastings?

Notturno Paninoteca

Notturno tasting plate

Located at 280 Carrall Street, this place had my favourite food overall.   A narrow restaurant with a nice bar. Just opened in November last year and recently getting their liquor license.  They served 3 appetizers, and I paired them with a nice glass of Prosecco.  The appetizers, all winners were:

  • Tartufo di Capra – black truffle goat cheese, greens, tomato pearls
  • Crudo – albacore tuna crudo, cucumber, tomato, chili aoli, balsamic pearls
  • Fico – blue cheese aoli, fig, black olive, walnuts

My favorite of the 3 was the Tuna Crudo.  It had high acidity with fresh flavours and some spiciness in the background.  The Fico with blue cheese aoli was also quite nice.  You had a combination of sweetness, the blue cheese sharpness and the crustiness of the bread.

Soho Road

Soho Road Beef Seekh Naan Kebab

My next favorite place was Soho Road, a food truck located at the corner of Smithe and Howe streets.  Again 3 appetizers, some nice hot chai for a cold night.  The appetizers were:

  • Butter Chicken Naan Kebab – Tandoori chicken smothered in our famous butter chicken sauce and topped off with a salad of cucumber, tomato, red onion and cilantro all on a freshly baked Naan.
  • Beef Seekh Naan Kebab – Ground spicy Beef kebab with chaat masala,  and drizzled with a tamarind chutney. Topped off  with a salad of cucumber, tomato, red onion and cilantro all on a freshly baked Naan.
  • Mixed Vegetable Subji – Carrots, Peas, Potatoes and onions cooked with cumin, coriander and other traditional spices, topped with a light mayonnaise and a salad of cucumber, tomato, red onion and cilantro served on a freshly baked Naan.

Of these, there was unanimous agreement amongst the foodies there that the Beef Seekh Naan Kebab.  Again bursting with flavour from the spiced beef and the salad, especially the cilantro.  Some Riesling or maybe a Pinotage would have been a nice accompaniment. My next favorite was the Mixed Vegetable Subji.  Lots of nice textures in your mouth.

Leonadis Chocolate

Leonadis Liege Waffles and macaron

Leonadis won my third place vote, in particular for their Liege waffle.  Their tasting plate consisted of:

  • Piece of Leonidas chocolate
  • Liege Waffle
  • Espresso Con Panna
  • Shot of our regular Hot Chocolate (52.3%)
  • Shot of our Frozen Noisette

This is a Belgian inspired coffee/waffle/chocolate shop.  I had never had a Liege Waffle before, but loved it.  The waffle had a cake-like texture, not doughy like waffles are here.  It also tasted like there could have been some apple mixed in with the waffle as I picked up an apple flavour. To this I think the Hot Chocolate paired nicely.  On the way out we had our choice of one of several hand made Belgian chocolates.  If you want to find out more about Liege Waffles, here is a recipe I found online.

If you want to find out more about all the vendors you can follow them on Twitter.  Their Twitter handles are @CoscaRestaurant @WECoffeeInc  @CupcakesDenman @FootoDelights @NotturnoGastown @juicetruck @W2MediaCafe @LeonidasChocola  @bonchaz @sohoroad

Thank you very much for Richard Wolak aka @vanfoodster for arranging this fun event. Enjoy!

Tuna Brochettes BBQ and Wine Pairing

Tuna brochettes image courtesy of Discover Beaujolais

I saw this recipe on the News by Beaujolais newsletter and thought it sounded like it is worth trying instead of sticking with chicken, pork, or beef on the BBQ. This recipe comes compliments of The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. Discover Beaujolais recommends to pair it with a 2009 Beaujolais Blanc below. I’ll give a few of my picks too.

Tuna Brochettes

Ingredients (serves four):

  • 1-1/2 pounds fresh tuna, cut into 2″ chunks
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 2″ pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges

Marinade

  • 1/4 cup fruity olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preparation:

Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a large bowl until smooth. Add the tuna, fennel, and red onion, and turn in the marinade. Cover loosely, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Prepare hot coals for grilling.
On four large metal skewers, thread the tuna chunks alternately with pieces of fennel and onion.
Oil the grill, and cook over medium heat about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Tuna must be grilled quickly, since it will dry out badly if overcooked – so watch it carefully. Serve immediately.

Discover Beaujolais suggests trying the 2009 Château de Pizay Beaujolais Blanc, a crisp white Beaujolais using 100% Chardonnay grapes. With summer, I’d like to also suggest a rose or a riesling.  A few of my recommendations are:

  • Olivares Jumilla Rose 2010, Spain. Bright cherry colour. Light cherry nose.  Light body with ripe red cherries and strawberry flavours. Medium acid and low tannins. Very refreshing. Highly recommended.
  • Le Vieux Pin Vaïla Pinot Noir Rosé 2010, BC. Light pinkish salmon colour. Raspberries and strawberry fruit on the nose with a bit of raspberry leaf as well.  Off dry with light body and medium acidity.  Quite nice strawberry flavour with some almonds on the finish.  The grapes for this wine come from one of the organic Kalala vineyards in West Kelowna.
  • 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.
  • Kim Crawford Small Parcel “The Mistress” Waipara Riesling 2006, New Zealand.  I was really impressed by this wine and their Small Parcel Pinot Noir.  These are special single vineyard wines.  The Riesling was pale lemony green.  Petrol, and lemon on the nose.  High acidity, almost bone dry, with petrol and lemon flavours.

Enjoy!

EBO – A Great Dine Out Vancouver Experience

Today was my first Dine Out Vancouver event for the season. I heard many good things from foodies around Vancouver, such as @vanfoodster on Twitter. So I made sure that EBO Restaurant in Burnaby, near BCIT, would be on my list of restaurants to try. I was not disappointed.

Together with my spouse, I was able to try 2 different appetizers, main courses, and desserts. What we had:

  • Roasted Baja Scallops with Vanilla Scented Cauliflower Puree, Serrano Ham, Capers & Sultana Raisins (appetizer)
  • Beetroot and Goat Cheese with Marinated Baby Beets, Molten Marcella Goat Cheese, Organic Lettuce, Textures of Apples, Pine Nut Granola (appetizer)
  • Tuna, Rare Rice-Crusted Albacore Tuna Steak, Avocado Purée, Asparagus with Serrano Ham, Chili Gastrique (main)
  • Braised Beef Rib “galbijim” with Crushed Potatoes, Braised Carrots (main)
  • Warm Apple Crumble with Granny Smith Apples, Raisins Coconut Streusel and Vanilla Ice Cream (dessert)
  • Baked Marble Cheesecake with Berry Compote (dessert)

Our wines for the appetizers and main courses:

  • Sumac Ridge Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc
  • See Ya Later Ranch “Unleashed” Riesling
  • Sumac Ridge Cellar Selection Cabernet Merlot

The best pairing in my opinion was the Sumac Ridge Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc with the Roasted Baja Scallops.  The Sauvignon Blanc had citrusy aromas and flavours, but also some wonderful stone fruit aromas/flavours.  It was a light bodied wine with good acidity bursting with flavour. The scallops were lightly grilled and came with crunchy thin asparagus spears and squid ink sauce.  The sweetness and grilled flavour of the scallops together with the crunchy asparagus and the sauvignon blanc enhanced each other.  Really impressive.

My other favorite of the night was the Braised Beef Rib “galbijim” with the Sumac Ridge Cellar Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot blend.  The wine was medium bodied, and quite flowery.  The Braised Beef rib was falling off the bone tender and full of flavour on its own. The wine was lower in tannins and the flowery aromas/flavours made the beef rib even more flavourful.  It’s flavour did not compete for attention with the beef.  Nice.

Dessert was a toss up.  I have a soft spot for warm apple crumble (and pie), and for cheesecake.  I’m sure you would like either one.  Neither was too large or heavy.

Give EBO Restaurant a try during Dine Out Vancouver, or after!  Enjoy.