It was feeling like deju vu attending Richard Wolak‘s Tasting Plates Yaletown Brunch. Comparing to his Brunch Crawl in the same neighbourhood, a collaboration with Dineout Vancouver earlier this year, I found quite a few surprises for brunch options in Yaletown.
The first great find was Cha Le Tea Merchant Cafe and Shop. The tea merchant offers a collection of traditionally handcrafted tea, carefully selected and brewed using modern techniques. And they also incorporate their tea in their simple but refined dishes, and each dish is recommended eaten while pairing with the same tea.
Their tasting menu today was an ambitious 3-course menu featuring 3 teas and 3 different dishes on toast.
The first pairing featured their green tea, Dragonwell, and the dish was the Albacore Spinach Toast, made with Haidacore Albacore tuna on a sesame-spinach and Dragonwell salad. I quite like the poke style approach, the spread of avocado on the toast and a touch of the green tea flavour. Combing all the flavours, it was super fresh and elegant.
The 2nd pairing features the Matcha, paired with the Shrimp Avocado Toast. The topping of the toast was made of hand peeled shrimp, matcha avocado, and shredded nori. The combination yells the West Coast with the sweet baby shrimp and avocado.
The last course was my favourite. The toast was topped with Truffled Ricotta & Hazelnuts
and a sundried tangerine & pu’er honey. However, the pairing tea was the Iced Raspberry Creme. It was like eating Ferro Roches but not too sweet, the cream cheese, honey, and crunchy hazelnuts formed a magical combination on the palate.
The 2nd stop was at Ganache Patisserie, an artisanal pâtisserie featuring classic recipes and flavours. Their desserts and cakes here are carefully handcrafted with contemporary palettes and world ingredients
We tried the following pastries and cakes and overall it was a super delectable treat.
Pain au Chocolat – a pastry that’s similar to chocolate croissant, but the puff pastry was folded differently. It was light and fluffy!
Brioche sur Pommes Amandes – a brioche topped with applesauce and almonds. It reminded me of a danish with brioche instead of pastry.
Blanc Fraisier – the classic strawberry sponge cake. It was very soft and elegant.
Sable Breton – a classic French butter cookie.
And I had to order a cup of coffee to go with sweet treats. I really enjoy my Americano.
The next stop was Living Produce Aisle, where we were in for a dosage of natural green goodness Here they use Urban Cultivator appliances to grow a variety of greens, such as wheatgrass, micro broccoli, and micro arugula.
On the tasting menu, they offered the nutrient-packed Peanut Buttercup Smoothie and a Wheatgrass Shot. If some might find the grassy taste a little power, their solution of using fresh ginger and other ingredients really made the taste work. They also served us the Signature Salad, a luscious green cup loaded with pea shoots, microgreens, seeds, cranberries and a light vinaigrette.
The flats of greens as well as the Cultivators themselves are also for sale. Have I mentioned that I am a big fan of pea shoots and I put them in almost all my dishes? And the microgreen flats are much better deals than what you find at Whole Foods or Granville Island public market. ($5 for a 5?x5? flat)
The last stop of the tasting adventure, Patrons Tacos & Cantina offered a comforting brunch dish, which was another amazing highlight for the brunch crawl.
Patron has become one of my favorite Mexican joints in the city and their food has never disappointed me. Today they were offering the Red Chilaquiles, assembled with fried corn tortilla chips in red tomato sauce, melted cheese, sour cream, onion and cilantro, topped with a perfectly fried egg, and finally with a side of refried beans.
The flavour combination on the Chilaquiles was impressive, and the highlight was the taste of fresh tomato. I also enjoy the many textures of the dish.
The next event is in North Van. Do not miss out the ultra-early bird specials!