In reference to my media preview of the 2015 Dine Out Festival, I mentioned that the event has adapted to changing trends since its inception in 2002. Back then, diners were relegated to menus that were almost afterthoughts. Now, we are not only treated to better options and more restaurants, there are several associated events that have offered up even more choice than before. From food tours to Mijune's 6-Course Discourse, there is a little of something for everyone. On that note, I was invited to try one of these in the form of the Kitsilano Brunch Crawl presented by Vanfoodster and Tourism Vancouver.
Whipping Girl ended up joining me on this food adventure because brunch is her middle name (Whipping Brunch Girl? Sounds alright...). So, we started at Novo Pizzeria with the Novo Breakfast Pizza with fontina, fior di latte, Aleppo pepper, red onions, smoked pancetta, sous vide quail egg, Iberian salumi and chives. Let me keep this short - the pizza was really good. With a thin crispy crust (all the way through) and just enough toppings for impact (including the not-too-big yolk), this had a mildly spicy savoury thing going on. The side salad of arugula, blood orange, frisee, oil-cured olives, candied almonds, parmigiano reggiano and grapefruit vinaigrette was refreshing, sweet and purposefully acidic. I found the Sicilian Canoli remarkably better than the last time I had it since the riccotta filling was significantly smoother.
Onto our next stop, we headed over to Linh Cafe where we were presented with a large plate consisting of 2 Spring Rolls (with shrimp, pork, wood-ear mushrooms and glass noodles) and Spicy Baguette Sticks (with liver pate, fried shallots and house made-sriracha). As with my last visit to Linh, the baguette sticks were money. Hidden within the petite crusty and slightly chewy baguettes was a nice combination of smooth pate combined with the aromatics of the shallots and the swift kick of the sriracha. The well-fried spring rolls, although greasy, were crispy and somewhat dark golden brown. Inside, the ample pork filling was juicy and moist with a considerable amount of green onion. As if this wasn't enough, we were treated to Peanut Macarons at the end. Unfortunately, these were a complete fail as these had the texture akin to a fudge brownie. Good if it was a brownie, but not for a macaron. It did taste good though with a lightly sweet aromatic flavour.
Taking a stroll a few steps away, we visited Darby's Public House for a plate that included Eggs Benny with Dijon IPA ham, poached egg and house-make Hollandaise, Hangover Hash with breakfast sausage, bacon, mushroom, potato and onion, and Mini Huevos Rancheros with 2 corn tortillas, cheddar, edam, beans, corn, tomato, house-made jalapeno ginger sauce and poached egg. Both eggs were expertly soft-poached with runny yolks. The Hollandaise was rather light with enough acidity. We found the hash to be pretty typical while the mini Huevos Rancheros suffered from really hard tortillas which made it difficult to eat. After this, we conveniently crossed the street over to Momento Coffee for a hot beverage and some treats. The Panama La Esmeralda Geisha itself was smooth, a touch fruity with a light finish of tartness. Supplied by La Baguette, the Croissant and Pain au Chocolate were buttery with a light crispy exterior. The Yogurt concoction consisting of oatmeal, chia seeds, cocoa powder and chocolate chips was surprisingly creamy and thick. It wasn't particularly sweet where it took on the flavours of the tangy yogurt.
Already stuffed and having packed the spring rolls to go, we couldn't pass up a visit to Rain or Shine Ice Cream. We had one each of the London Fog and Blueberry Balsamic, both with waffle pieces underneath. The first thing that hit us was literally the flavours as they danced on our palates with full force (but not in a overwhelming way). Purposeful and almost aromatic the Earl Grey was apparent in the London Fog, while the vanilla wasn't relegated to the background. I particularly liked the blueberry as it was only sweet enough with appealing hits of balsamic which only helped bring out the blueberry flavours. This was in addition to the firm creaminess of the ice cream itself. I would say this is better than Earnest. Lastly, we ended things at Krokodile Pear where we sampled 2 items including the English Bay (orange, cucumber, grapefruit, lemon & mint) and The Rockies (almond, Brazil nuts, raw vanilla, maple syrup, Himalayan rock salt and chia gel. Refreshing, lightly sweet with a bright cucumber essence, the English Bay had impact without being too bold. A touch gritty, the Rockies was very mild with a raw nutty flavour. This was a light end to our brunch crawl which consisted of more than enough food and a decent variety.