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Tasting Plates Summer route/stamp card

I’ve attended past Tasting Plates Vancouver events put on by Vancouver Foodster (aka Richard Wolak); as each neighbourhood gets covered, there’s always something new to discover in our city’s abundant food scene.

Tasting Plates East Van-6

Wednesday night was no exception as myself and several foodie friends congregated on Commercial Drive to take in seven of the neighbourhood’s restaurants and cafés. The starting point was Prado Café at 1938 Commercial, where we were offered either a specialized coffee or tea, and a cookie “with no name”, oozing with rich chocolate. One of the centerpieces in the café is the Mirage espresso machine right on the counter.

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Once underway, other stops included Pasture to Plate, a shop offering grass-fed meats produced by biodynamic farming methods, La Mezcaleria, a popular Mexican eatery, Siddhartha’s Indian Kitchen (one of my hands-down new Indian dining faves), and a couple of discoveries for me.

Five Elements Café is a Vietnamese and Thai family-owned restaurant that’s been in the biz for over 15 years, located at 1046 Commercial Drive. We were greeted with a menu offering choices such as green papaya and tofu salad, coconut curry, shrimp on sugar cane, and a few meal-sized soups. I chose the Phở Saté Peanut Sauce with vegetables, and while a tad spicy for my palate, the soup soon grew on me.

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It was hard to choose between this one and the Hủ Tíu Nam Vang (Phnom Penh Mixed Seafood & Pork on Rice Noodle Soup), but the peanut sauce mixed with the herbs and cooked veggies was a fantastic combination. Prior to trying the soup at Five Elements, I’d only ever enjoyed peanut sauce with saté chicken skewers.

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Via Tevere Pizza was the only stop on the Tasting Plates tour not on The Drive, but two blocks up at 1190 Victoria, at the corner of William Street. This Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana-certified restaurant sliced up two kinds of pizzas for our event: a classic Margherita (with San Marzano tomato, fior di latte and basil) as well as a Capricciosa (containing Proscuitto cotto, salami, artichoke, mushroom and Niçoise oil).

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Notice my photo of two slices of Margherita. I’m not a huge salami and mushroom fan, so preferred to dive into the soft fior di latte taste combined with the pungent basil. This experience was heightened by having a group of friends beside me, seated outdoors on a heated, covered patio, while the pitter-patter of a June Vancouver rain carried on its tune.

Rick of Daddy Blogger, Jazmin, Karl of My Wine Pal, Kelly of Marionate Overnight
[Rick of Daddy Blogger, Jazmin, Karl of My Wine Pal, Kelly of Marionate Overnight]

I’ll be back to enjoy more of this beautiful pizza.

While not a first-time for me, another Drive gem experience is a cup of creamy gelato at Gelateria Dolce Amore. Right in the heart of the Drive (at 1588), this spot gets a huge lineup in summer. I’ve seen it happen. Be patient when you visit; their gelato creations are well worth the wait!

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For the Tasting Plates experience, we were served a special combination of two flavours: strawberry and hazelnut. Together they are sensational with a creamy, soft strawberry and a rich hazelnut flavour.

Tasting Plates Vancouver is a self-paced food tour that allows food lovers the chance to experience the evening in any order of dining they choose. Whether randomly running into a friend and making that the next stop, or setting up a route from one end of the printed map/tasting card stops to the other, it’s all about how you decide to enjoy the plates, bowls, cups and slurps.

Vancouver Foodster’s next Tasting Plates adventure will bring together several North Vancouver restaurants including The District, El Matador, Pier 7, Fishworks, Anatoli Souvlaki and Gusto di Quattro. Tickets are now on sale. Check the website for updates as the event date approaches.

2 Comments

  • Comment by Kelly Marion — June 21, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

    Hey you! Love how you included the photo of us in it 😉 And thanks for mentioning my blog rather than the Vancouver Observer. You’re the best!

  • Comment by arianec — June 21, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

    Thanks for stopping in! Was a great night out and glad you like the photo, albeit it an iPhone grainy night scene 🙂 See ya soon!

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