Sherman's Food Adventures: Operation: Full Kettle

Operation: Full Kettle

Prior to Christmas, I had the honour of attending Operation: Full Kettle for the benefit of the Salvation Army Community and Family Services, which assists low-income families.  This fundraiser was held at District 319 (which was similar to the Foodie Feast) where participating restaurants served up tasty bites accented by DJ Mikxter and a variety of prize giveaways.  Since I was provided with 2 complimentary tickets, I had to find somebody to put up with my incessant picture-taking.  I looked to Miss Y as my eating assistant for the night.  Since there was no choice in food, she could not order something obscure (such as quiche at a Burger joint).  I went ahead and picked her up to ensure our on-time arrival.  Yes, the 1-hour wait at the Hotel Vancouver, with scones and tea, was still fresh in my mind... 

The first item we tried was from Cach√© Bistro & Lounge.  It was a Mini-Lamb Shank Burger which resembled their pulled pork slider from the Taste of Yaletown event.  Sadly, this was not as good due to the cold bun.  The lamb itself was okay though as it was moist and tender (and plenty gamy as well).  I must point out that with any "cocktail party" type event, the food is never prepared the way it should be.  Therefore, we need to cut them some slack.  Next door was Sala Thai with 3 offerings consisting of a Papaya Salad, Pad Thai and Thai Iced Tea.  Again, probably due to being premade and sitting in a container for who knows how long, the salad did not have any flavour at all.  I'm pretty sure the dressing was at the bottom of the container.  There was some crunch though and a touch of spice from the chilis.  Similarly, the Pad Thai was in a chaffing tray and therefore, had a softer texture.  With that being said, this Pad Thai was a stripped-down version with not much in the way of ingredients. Hence, it was pretty bland and lacked texture.  However, the Thai Iced Tea was very good.  It had a nice consistency and was quite sweet, in a good way though.

Moving across to the other side, we stopped by Suika where they were serving Negitoro Tartare and Tomato Kimchi.  We really enjoyed these 2 offerings as they both had flavour.  The Tomato Kimchi was a veritable flavour explosion with a nice acidity and spice level.  The tomato itself had a fresh texture despite the marinade.  The Negitoro Tatare was probably my favourite bite of the event.  Served on crostinis, this is somewhat similar to the versions found at Kibo and Hapa Izakaya.  They weren't shy with the sesame oil as there was an obvious aroma and taste.  Adjacent to Suika was Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen with their Potato Salad and Lentil Rice with Curry.  Although pleasant in texture and taste, the flavours were pretty mild.  I'm sure they were trying to accommodate the varied tastes of the clientele at the event though.  Also, with the food sitting in a chaffing tray, it was expected that the food wasn't exactly hot.  Again, they should be cut some slack.  After all, it was all for charity!

Up to the stairs and we were met with 2 offerings from The Reef.  The Bajan Grilled Prawns with Pineapple Chutney looked promising and in fact, they were pretty good.  The prawns had a nice snap and were accented by the sweet pineapple with a touch of spice.  Probably by virtue of serving the Jerk Chicken Salad in wonton cups as a means to not use plates and utensils, it was a little strange to eat.  The flavours of the salad were okay, especially with a dollop of mango salsa, but the texture of the wonton cups didn't really go with the salad.  Something crunchier would've been better.  And the award for being the most ambitious had to go to Our Place Cafe with a whopping 4 items.  I got to sample both the Thai Coconut Chicken as well as the Lemon Miso Pork.  I found both to be rather dry while the flavours were mild (however, at least for the chicken, it was not supposed to be strong).  Miss Y had the honours of trying out their Signature Burger.  She found the patty to be meaty, yet also quite dry.  I went back later and sampled their Country Chowder and I found to be decent as it had a nice balance of flavours.

Finally, we headed over for some dessert from Almondine. We had the Mint Chocolate Bouchons first and although we found the exterior to be a bit dry, the flavours were nice.  The plate of Shortbread cookies were festive and predictably buttery.  Upon leaving, we were given some ready-made sauces courtesy of the Thai House, which was a little awkward to carry around (without bags).  But in the end, everything was done for a good cause.

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