If we look back to a mere 5 years ago, a food tour in Vancouver was a rarity. Fast forward to the present and there are many to choose from. Therefore, it would take something different to set one food tour apart from the other. Enter Off the Eaten Track's "foodtography" walking tour that combines the usual multi-establishment visits with a photography lesson. When I got an invite to see for myself, it didn't take me much time to decide because it was right up my alley.
We met up at Cadeaux Bakery where after a brief intro, we dove into some picture-taking with advice from Suzanne Rushton (of Vancouver Photowalks). Since we had a diverse array of cameras, she did her best to accommodate the different needs of each participant. We finally finished the mad picture-taking to sample 2 items including the Lemon Meringue and Praline Ganache Tartlets. I liked the firm buttery shells as well as the fillings. The lemon curd was mild in both tart and sweetness while the hazelnut & dark chocolate ganache was rich and sweet.
Next, we strolled to the Railtown Cafe where we were served a plate of food consisting of Pulled Pork, Fall Salad and a Turkey and Lentil Soup. The unsauced pulled pork was a touch dry, but the accompanying aioli added both the necessary flavour and moisture. Despite my avoidance of leafy greens, I enjoyed the Fall Salad consisting of baby kale, crispy squash, honey crisp apple, toasted farro and pumpkin seed dressing. The crunch from the squash combined with the pumpkin seed dressing added texture and a unique flavour to the salad. As for the soup, it was too small of a sample to get a clear picture (sorry for the pun). Hence, all I can say about it is that it was pretty mild.
Taking a short stroll up the block, we ended up at the Vancouver Urban Winery where they feature wine-on-tap. With their airtight system, the wine is not compromised while the savings from being in a keg rather than bottling is passed onto the customer. In the near future, they will be adding a full-service restaurant on site. Back to the wine, we were presented with samples of both the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. I particularly enjoyed the chardonnay as it was crisp with light fruit notes. As for the pinot, it was mild-tasting with some cherry notes.
Our last stop was at a place that we walked by on our way to Railtown Cafe. With only a neon skull as signage, Cuchillo would be easily passed by many. We were treated to several items including the wonderful Chipotle y Sea Salt Dusted Fry Bread. These were pillowy soft and lightly crisp with a notable spice and definitely not lacking in seasoning. Next was the Jicama y Asian Pear Ensalada dressed with Tajin seasoning. The crunchy sweet pears, cucumbers and crisp jicama were amped by the spice. These were good. We also enjoyed a serving of the corn chips with 3 dips including Guacamole, Tapenade Manzanilla and Huitlacoche Salsa. Another solid offering with fresh and vibrant guacamole and a pair of dips I've never had before. The tapenade was unmistakable with its salty olive hit while the huitlacoche (corn smut, which is fungus) was Earthy and flavourful.
Lastly, we had the Lois Lake Steelhead Trout ceviche with cucumber, choyote, jalapeno y lychee ensalada and dressed with basil, coriander and mint. I liked how the trout was buttery soft while retaining its integrity. The crunchy textures with a combination of sweet and tart elements really complimented the fish. This was a nice finish to an informative tour about food, some of the history of Railtown and of course, photography.
*Note - this was an invited dinner where all food was comped
- Food & photography together, makes sense doesn't it?
- A bit more background about the area and vendors than most other food tours
- Decent lineup of establishments
- A little lacking in substance (food-wise) to make it a meal, more like a snack
- The level of photography lesson is highly dependent on the participants