With the return to events come one of the city’s best introduction to restaurants you might not otherwise think to visit.
Vancouver Foodster has been on the forefront of Vancouver’s food scene, sharing his love and knowledge of all things epicurean for over a decade now. And one of his more popular ways to do this is through his tasting plates. It is a self guided tour of sorts, where he has arranged small bites at his favourite restaurants, where ticket holders visit during a set date and time frame. Typically there is a theme, as in noodles or Mexican cuisine. And some are even done by geographical area. Today’s was little different. For the 10th year anniversary edition it was 5 fantastic restaurants, spread all over the city. And in reflection, this was probably the best Vancouver Foodster Tasting Plates that I have attended thus far.
To avoid congestion and over burdening the restaurant all at once, you are assigned a starting point and naturally progress from one stop to the next nearest. The goal is to try it all and pack what you can’t finish. Diners are also free to order more or anything else from each stop, out of their own pocket.
Our restaurant travel path was as follows. 4/5 of which I have never been to until today, and 5/5 of which I can now recommend.
We started of at The Peri Peri Shack. This is their first location, with a second coming to North Burnaby soon. They offer over the counter Portuguese style baked chicken, giving multinational Nando’s a run for their money. The Peri Peri shack feels leas commercialized and more home spun in their comfort cuisine approach.
They generously gave each ticketed diner the following in full.
Their peri peri chicken is marinated in their secret blend of spices, and flamed grilled in your choice of spice level. Chicken wings, legs, and thighs with plenty of saucy flavour. The wings were crispier and saucier. The leg and thigh more juicy and succulent. Served with crispy fries and golden brown onion rings.
And for those who prefer rice as a side, this is their chicken and rice, it is one of their more popular dishes. White meat chicken chunked and marinated in their signature blend for 24 hours. Then flamed grilled to perfection for service. Presented on a bed of basmati spiced rice, all topped with their white Shack sauce.
For additional sauces and to season to preference, diners are invited to mix and match Peri Peri Shack’s collection of in house made sauces. The citrus has a unique pop, the mango offers sweetness with a tang, the hot sauce kicks up the heat, and the white sauce is a like a creamy ranch-bbq hybrid.
And when we learned that they are now carrying Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes by the slice, we had to indulge. Flown in and ready to serve, this is their Reece peanut butter and chocolate flavoured cheesecake.
The Peri Peri Shack
724 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5V 3C1
We naturally could not linger or finish it all, with 4 more stops and only 4 hours to complete it all in, so we moved on.
Next was Shameless Buns, I have visited their Filipino fusion food truck prior to this, and have been meaning to visit their first brick and mortar location. So was happy to get to do so during this edition of Tasting Plates.
The decor is much like the vibe of their roaming jeepney: sunny and bright. The wall even has a photo of it papered up amongst Filipino citizens walking in Manila.
But my favourite feature was their spam wall. Shameless Buns is known for their creative recipes featuring this iconic brand of canned meat. So this wall speaks to their brand identify and to those who grew up with it, much like myself.
Here Tasting Plate goers were given a sample size of their pandesal bun burgers with a side of their sinigang fries and house made sauces. We went for the two meat options and passed on their vegetarian slider with pulled coconut jackfruit.
Pandesal is a Filipino style brioche bun and this one is stuffed with low and slow braised chicken adobo, atchara (pickled papaya slaw), a garlic calamansi aioli, tomato, green onion, and fried garlic. Shameless proudly calls this the “Not your Lola’s chicken adobo” and this slider tease definitely had you wanting to come back for the full version of this shredded chicken sandwich.
Similarly the Tapa Dat Dun mini slider wasn’t enough to get you a true blue account of the food. However, this is Tasting Plates, and the goal is to give you a taste and leave you wanting more. Prepared with Filipino marinated beef (beef tapa), a “cheeze” sauce, caramelized onions, sriracha mayo, chicharron, and green onion. This ate like a sloppy joe in texture and messiness, it just needed more soppy sauce.
5772 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5W 2Z5
Our next stop had us transitioning to dessert, with a stop to this Kitsilano Italian cafe.
Casereccio Foods Coffee/Pasta Bar
Here, we each got a cup of gelato featuring two of their new summer flavours. Thesour cherry and chocolate and stracciatella gelato. Out of the two, the cherry was definitely my favourite. The sharp tartness of the cherry and the rich bitterness of the dark chocolate was well balanced out by the sweetness of the creamy gelato base.
2480 Vine Street, Vancouver, BC
Our next stop doubled down on the dessert. The most memorable of the 5 thanks to their one of a kind, adorable sweets; despite the cafe’s name. They were generous with their dessert platter and beverage offering. Less so tasting, more so feasting. All together this was absolutely a great introduction to their cafe.
This is their Tom & Jerry Cheesecake and it is shaped like a triangle of Swiss cheese. It is a gluten-friendly lemon souffle cheesecake that is super eye catching and creative. More lemon than cheese, it left a refreshing taste in your mouth.
Much like the above, their Wicked Igloo too was one of a kind. Thus is another Wicked Cafe signature item: white chocolate mousse with peach coulis. The paper penguin cut-out is a sweet touch. Served portable, you remove the plastic dome and pour the tangy peach coulis over your lightly sweetened milky mousse, then dig in.
The Apple Cinnamon Bun was a leaner take on a cinnamon bun. It was more like apple bread with its juicy apples, sweet raisins, and maple cream cheese icing. In hindsight I would not refer to it as a cinnamon bun, as it does set you up for a decadent spiral of sweet syrupy cinnamon and sugar, where this version is no where as rich.
The S’mores Cookie is almost the size of your opened hand. Crispy edges and a gooey centre with chunks of marshmallow, chocolate chips and almonds. Once again it doesn’t eat as sweet as it sounds. All their desserts seem to be prepared with tea and coffee in mind. And therefore are lighter, as to not dilute beverages such as the one below,
Their Moon Latte is their signature blend of 5 different black teas, mixed with cream and brown sugar. A dessert beverage for a jolt of caffeine.
1399 West 7th Avenue Vancouver, BC V6H 1B8
Not our intention, but just by way of our travel path, our mostly packed up desserts would be followed by savoury entree. Our last and final stop was out of the way, but as final destination, it was a good one. Ending here allowed Tasting Plate ticket holders a chance to settle after running around all evening. Cold Tea Restaurant has a lovely dining space with a well stocked bar of creative cocktails. The ideal pausing point on this food fuelled tour.
Cold Tea Restaurant
At Cold Tea diners were able to choose from either of the two. With these plates, the restaurant was definitely showcasing their ability to offer refined Asian fusion flavours in a more lively restaurant/lounge-like setting.
Steamed Arctic Char with a nut-free ginger romesco, pea shoots, and scallion. The fish was gentle with tender white meat and a buttery sauce.
The Miso torched Eggplant was garnished with cilantro, scallion, and crispy rice paper. This ate punchy and flavourful. Coming in partners meant we got to try both, which was great as they paired so well with one another.
Cold Tea Restaurant
1193 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1M1
In closing, this was another great Vancouver Foodster Tasting Plate, made more monumental due to the occasion and the elevated plates offered by each restaurant. Once again, this is such a great way to get better acquainted with new restaurants or ones less visible mainstream. With this event you get to try enough to have you planning a return trip in the future. For more details about Tasting Plates, and for the next one, visit the link to follow: https://vancouverfoodster.com/tasting-plates/