This was my 2nd Tasting Plates event by Vancouver Foodster, accompanied by 3 friends. Although we started a little late, the first stop for picking up tickets was a little far from all other stops, and it felt like a lot of walking during the evening, we enjoyed most of the plates on this fun food adventure.
Being the first stop of the evening, Morocco West set the bar pretty high. The four tasting bites: Hummus, Zaalouk, Chermoula Prawn, and Merguez Sausage Samosa, were all bursting with loads of beautiful Mediterranean flavours. Texture was great on hummus and zaalouk. Chermoula prawn was nice and succulent, with a marinade that was a little oily but very aromatic. Merguez sausage samosa was de-li-cious! Rich herbs and spices had a strong presence but were not overpowering. I would definitely come back here for a Beer-Tapa night with some buddies.
Overall, Pizza Fabrika gave pizza lovers what they ask for. The pies were well made and tasted good. But I was not too crazy about them, maybe because my expectation was a little high after waiting in a long line-up for more than 20 minutes. After such a long wait My first bite on the Bison Meatball Pizza was a little surprisingly familiar. I was expecting some flavour contrast after eating Moroccan food at Morocco West, but the meatball pizza seemed to have cumin in it. I also had a slice of Fromage, which was good but again not superb. However, I think I would come back to try their other pizzas.
Buckstop’s tasting plate turned out to be the most disappointing one of the evening for me overall. What they offered: Autumn Slaw, House Smoked Sausage, and Corn Bread, did not taste good no matter how I combined them or ate them individually. The slaw did not taste fresh and the dressing was rather bland. The corn bread was quite rubbery. The sausage had an odd texture and the spiciness was not pleasant. However they pleased some diners with their whisky drinks that were on special, and some of them actually got brisket instead of sausage. Other than being a local pub, they surely did not strike me as a foodie’s place.
I loved the dishes from SPAGHeTEI. If you are expecting traditional saucy spaghetti dishes, you would probably be disappointed. Here they just incorporate spaghetti noodles into popular Japanese dishes. If you are familiar with contemporary Japanese cuisine, you probably have tried Mentaiko Yakiudon (pan fried udon noodle with cured cod roe) or Beef Yakisoba (pan fried soba noodle). Here Mentaiko , and Barayaki were the counterparts of those 2 popular Japanese dishes with some tweaks. I was laughing when my French friend Justine told me that she found Mentaiko disgusting. Oh well such exotic taste isn’t really everybody’s cup of tea.
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Milestone at English Bay
I could tell Miliestone was trying hard to impress the event with their fine dining take on the tasting plate: Roasted Poblano Soup, Halibut served with a smoked tomato ragu, quinoa pilaf and finished with a serrano creme, and paired with a glass of Dreaming Tree chardonnay. It was towards the end of the evening so the fish was a little hard on the texture side, but it was a solid plate of food after all. I was impressed by the Poblano Soup. It was pretty spicy but was quite enjoyable, the roasted flavours had really shone. I could have totally enjoyed the food a little more if I weren’t so full after all the spaghetti and pizza from earlier.
Map and other reviews:
We did pretty well this evening although we ran out of time and missed 2 places (a coffee shop and a tea merchant) that served beverages and pastries. But we were too full for dessert anyway! 🙂