When I was initially invited to the Vanfoodster Scavenger Food Hunt, it seemed like a slight departure from the usual Tasting Plates. I figured that it would be like some Amazing Race of food, more or less. Whipping Girl and Alvin ended up joining me on this adventure, yet, after an initial clue we had to decipher, it was pretty much just like any Tasting Plates where we would go to several destinations for little bites. Hey, we weren't complaining. Much like hungry hippos, it was another excuse to eat. Besides, it scattered everyone to different destinations which lightened the crowds.
We were lucky enough to be sent to the farthest location first (which meant it was less busy) being Seventeen 89 in the West End. We were served a mini-cone of Hemp Crusted Albacore Tuna. This was a very light and mildly acidic - an easy start of our eating for the afternoon. I'm not really sure if the description of the item was actually what we were served as it appeared to be more of a ceviche. Next, we scampered over to Whipping Girl's favourite - Soirette for a sampling of 2 of their Macarons. In the foreground, we had the Kumquat & Yuzu while in the background, Coconut and Guava. As per usual, their macarons were purposefully flavoured without being too sweet. Textures were on point with a crispy exterior and slightly chewy inside.
Continuing on with sweets, we made the short drive over to Bella Gelateria. We decided to go for a few flavours consisting of Amerena Cherry, Salted Caramel and Hazelnut. All were creamy and smooth with apparent flavours. They were sweet, but not incredibly so. We liked the usual salted caramel, but really didn't mind the hazelnut either as it was very nutty and aromatic. We then made the confusing walk all the way around the new conference centre to find out that De Dutch was right where the shortcut from Jack Poole Plaza was located. Well, we worked off some calories I suppose. There, we were given a choice of either a savoury Pannekoek with cheese and deBakon or one topped with bananas and strawberries. I went for the savoury and it was just like I remembered - a light thin crepe with crispy lean deBakon.
At this point, we headed over to Marquis Wines on Davie. Despite it being bustling with activity, we were able to snag a parking spot (like always, I think Alvin is a lucky charm of some sort). Inside, we were given a quick rundown of their featured Haywire Wines paired with fruit. Seeing how I had just sampled the same wines recently, it was a bit anti-climactic, but then again, I did enjoy their "Bub". Heading back into Yaletown (we did registration at Xoxolat), I parked in the first open spot and made the short walk over to Milestone's. Keeping in spirit with the "scavenger hunt", we were actually asked some skill-testing questions about their menu. I totally ignored that and went straight for the Mini-Breakfast Tostada Bites. Since these were sitting around for a bit, they were cold and the tortilla was a little soft. I bet actual dish would be much better.
Over at The Parlour, they were serving up a really impressive spread of their freshly-made Pizzas. I really couldn't remember all the different varieties, but for the ones I did try, the dough was nicely seasoned and chewy with a good char on crust. The 2 slices in the picture consisted of Roasted Chicken (with Roasted Garlic, Sundried Tomato, Basil, Chili Flake and Mozza) and The Big Prawn (with Pesto, Sun Dried Tomato, Tomato Sauce, Mozza, Parmesan and Lemon). Both were pretty good with big flavours. I liked the prawns as they were cooked just right with a nice snap. Off to something natural and refreshing, we made a stop at Chasers Fresh Juice & Deli where we used their machine to make some fresh Orange Juice. With only oranges in the mix, the juice was naturally sweet and went down easy.
Coming around full-circle, we returned to Xoxolat to sample some of their wares. Everything about the place screamed out high-end chocolate. Indeed it was including the fabulous Sour Cherry & Chilis. I loved the smooth bitter chocolate enhanced by the tart cherries and the background heat from the chilis. Overall, I really didn't get the "scavenger hunt" part of the deal, but that didn't detract from the event. We did like premium spots such as Bella Gelateria, Soirette and Xoxolat, but not really all that impressed with chains such as De Dutch and Milestone's (not because they weren't good, but there was nothing new and interesting).
- A few premium stops
- Diverse selection
- All located in Downtown
- Not really a scavenger hunt
- Some less-exciting stops