More often than not, there is rarely any love for neighbourhoods out of the usual areas (such as Downtown, Kits, Main Street and Commercial Drive) in terms of food events and tours. Hence, it is refreshing to see Vanfoodster doing a Tasting Plates in the East Village along Hastings Street. Once again, we lucked out with the weather as it was not raining nor very cold (for a November). Joining me for this event was Adrian & Jeremy, Sean, Darina, Amy and Alvin.
We started off at Platform 7 Coffee where we were treated to a choice of Espresso, Americano or Cortado. Darina had an Espresso (made with Stumptown Hair Blender Espresso Beans) and although I didn't try it, I've had Stumptown products before and I personally think they're a step above Starbucks. The available treats included Double Chocolate Salted Espresso Cookie, Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie and an Italian Cookies. These were all pretty good especially the chocolate espresso since it was flavourful in many ways and not overly sweet. It was aromatic and with the salt, it came alive.
We moved onto Steam Tea House next, which was covertly hidden in Donald's Market. An interesting place for sure due to its location right at the exit which made for an interesting hangout spot. We sampled 3 teas including Organic Yunshancha, Organic Hathikuli Assam and Winter Walnut. I personally liked the latter because there was discernible aromatic flavours. Onto our next stop, Sweet Tooth Cafe, we were presented with Doichaang Coffee, Cinnamon Roll, Banana Coconut Bread and Tom Yum Soup. Yes, that was one eclectic mix of items. Nothing particularly stood out (but was decent) and we thought the Tom Yum was a bit too tart.
Heading over to Windsor Meat Co., we were treated to a sandwich made with roasted Heritage Pork carved directly from a whole hog roast. Suffice to say, this was fatty, moist and plenty flavourful. On the side, there was Irish Stout Chicken Sausage and Asado NY Striploin Kabob. Across the street, we made our way to Saltenas which specializes in Bolivian fare. We were presented with a plate that included a Beef or Veggie Saltena, Quinoa Salad and an Alfajor. I chose the beef saltena consisting of beef, veggies, potato and raisins. Somewhat similar to an empanada, this was satisfying, although I found the shell slightly overdone. Moreover, the quinoa was somewhat mushy.
Then we made the fairly long walk (I actually drove...) to Odd Society Spirits where they make small batch craft spirits such as the first drink we tried - East Van Vodka. This was some strong stuff which went down nicely. Next we sampled the Creme de Cassis (which goes into a Kir Royale) which was sweet and very good. Right next door was our next stop being the newly opened Kessel & March. Their tasting plate of Parsnip Soup, Sardines on Toast and Beets & Apples on Endive highlight their focus on European fare. I found the soup to be mild while lightly Earthy and creamy. I really liked the toast as it displayed a myriad of flavours in addition to textures. This is one of the places that I plan to do a return visit.
Our last stop was at Parallel 49 Brewing Company. Despite the picture of the beer flight, we actually only selected one to sample. I went with the Hoparazzi which was refreshing and citrusy. If I didn't have to drive home, I would've had more! Despite the fact I had lots of fun (as these are great social events) with the people I was with, this particular tour ranks below other Tasting Plates. The fact of the matter - there was just not enough food. But if you like drinks and desserts, there was enough of that. However, to be fair, these events are highly dependent on the participants.
*Note - this was an invited dinner where all food was comped
- Socializing as per usual
- Interesting and fun
- Touring a neighbourhood usually forgotten
- Not enough savoury items
- Too many beverages