On September 10th, a food loving crowd got together for Tasting Plates held in the West End from 6-9:30pm. After picking up our maps at Marquis Wine Cellars and sampling a blend of refreshing Chardonnay Viognier and a robust Cab Sauvignon we ventured out to visit the next 7 destinations. What’s fantastic about the Tasting Plates events is that restaurants are usually held in vicinity of one another within a designated area. Most foodies will travel by foot but you can leisurely go from spot to spot by bike, moped, roller skates, or a a skateboarding
Our first stop was at Morocco West on on Jervis street just below Robson street. Within minutes of being seated we were provided with a full plate of Hummus, Zaalouk (Moroccan Eggplant-Tomato Spread), Chermoula Prawn and a Murguez Sausage Samosa. Charmoula is a Moroccan spice blend which gives any type of seafood a nice kick to it. It is typically made of onion, coriander, parsley, garlic, cumin, paprika and turmeric.
Although we certainly weren’t quite ready for anything savoury just yet, the next closest spot on was PappaRoti café on Robson where we had a delicious coffee bun and some Honeyberry Organic Ice tea. Served warm, these buns had a slightly crusty outer layer but softer, croissant-like interior and semi- salted buttery filling. Simply on its own is a heavenly indulgence but we had it with 2 side toppings: Labeneh Cream Cheese and Kaya (Coconut jam). Being a huge fan of anything made out of coconut, the jam was the perfect addition to my newly discovered baked treat. If you haven’t come across these buns you can find out the full bio here.
Next up was Pizza Fabrika, just a block down on Robson, where we sampled some tasty vegetarian pizza made with goat cheese, roasted red peppers, artichokes, spinach and olives. Thinking we would be full already from the last 3 stops, we didn’t end our food journey just yet and proceeded to SpagHetei to try some authentic japanese-style spaghetti. I never thought of putting anything other than veggies or the classic tomato/alfredo/pesto sauce on my spaghetti before so I was amazed at how flavourful everything tasted. We had 2 different kinds of spaghetti: Mentaiko (marinated roe of pollock and cod) and Barayaki (Pan fried beef and onions with Barayaki Sauce (Teriyaki-like Sauce. This unique pasta dish called for a perfect companion of white wine, like a crisp Italian Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio!
Being half-way through our list of restaurants, we stopped and walked down to Denman and Haro street to Buckstop Denman, the neighbourhood’s newest Barbecue and Small Plates restaurant. With plenty of beer on tap to choose from and a lively vibe, this place was a a great hangout spot to be at on a Wednesday night! The tasting plate was made up of house-made smoked sausage and autumn slaw.
Down the street along the water we made a stop to Milestones on Denman where we warmed up with a Roasted Poblano Soup followed by Halibut served with a smoked tomato ragu, quinoa pilaff and a serrano creme. This dish paired so well with a complementary tasting of Dreaming Tree Chardonnay.
Our last and final stop was for some cold brewed teas and sweets served at The West End General Store Popup. Tucked on a quiet spot along Nicola street just off Barcalay street, the exterior decorative lights were inviting and equally magical. Here we sampled cold brewed Oollo teas, Livia Sweets oolong tea infused macarons, as well as Living Lotus matcha coconut cashew bars (vegan & gluten-free). To close off the night, we devoured a spoon of Ernest Ice Cream.
If you haven’t checked out any of the Tasting Plates, make sure to keep an eye out for upcoming ones by visiting the Tasting Plates website or get your tickets for Sept 23 West Van, Oct 7 West 4th Kits & Oct 15 Yaletown here http://ow.ly/BBPJC