Wow, has it been 5 years already? Whatever opinion you have about multi-course meals served at different locations, Tasting Plates offers up a unique experience and allows for discovery of hidden gems. I recently attended the 5th Anniversary edition which was in Downtown Vancouver. Viv and I decided to postpone the wine-tasting at Marquis (our first stop) until the end.
Being seasoned Tasting Plates attendees, we knew better than to fight the crowds at the first stop or even the closest stop (Tartine), we had a game plan. As mentioned, we skipped the wine, so we could nab one of the few tables at Saj & Co.. There, we were served a Pumpkin and Squash Flower atop hummus salad and served in a crunchy bread bowl. We asked from spicy and the puree did have quite the kick. It was balanced off nicely by the sweet and tart salad as well as the robust bread bowl. We finished with a Vegan Brownie that had the sweetness of dates and the bitterness from the orange rind.
From there, we then headed back towards Marquis, but past it and across the street to Tartine Bread and Pies where we were served a generous plate consisting of 3 pie slices. These included Salted Caramel Apple, Blackberry Apple and Dutch Apple. My favourite of the bunch was the Dutch Apple because of the sweet crumble topping that was firm and crunchy. It was a nice contrast to the soft and mildly sweet apples. The salted caramel featured more tart apples that were tender. Firm and slightly crisp, the crust was somewhat flaky and featured salt crystals. Lastly, the blackberry apple was lightly tart and sweet.
Down towards the water, we made our way to Ten Ten Tapas. We were served a plate consisting of Octopus Conserva, Mushrooms on Toast and Salmon Mi Cuit. The plethora of tender octopus was appealing and did have a slight kick from the red chilis, however, we felt there needed to be more acidity to bring the dish alive. As for the mushrooms on toast, they were Earthy, but the flavours would've been more activated if served warm. We thought the sliced fennel underneath helped keep the toast crispy while added some crunch. Lastly, the Salmon was soft and delicate while flavoured by the dill and pickled onions.
Over at Patron Tacos & Cantina, we were also presented with a trio of items including the Sopecito (homemade thick corn tortilla topped with beans, shredded chicken, lettuce, feta, sour cream and pico de gallo), Flautita (deep-fried corn tortilla filled with barba-coa and topped with green tomatillo, sour cream and feta) and Enchilada filled with shredded beef and topped with red sauce, sour cream and feta. Our favourite was the enchilada as it exhibited the most flavour due to the sauce and robustness from the tender beef.
At Meinhardt, we dined on 5 items (only 3 shown in the picture) including the peppery and flavourful Mushroom Leek Soup. It was thick and creamy with a hint of truffle oil and topped with crispy and bright leeks. Also on the plate was a Prosciutto & Brie Sandwich with fig crostini, arugula and aioli. This was pretty straightforward, but tasty with the usual salty, creamy and peppery notes to go with the sweetness of the figs. I found the Roasted Cauliflower & Chickepea Salad with tahini, lemon, parsley and red onion to be robust and "meaty" despite being meatless. For this Tasting Plates, there was more than enough food and then some. Nice mix of different dishes and types of cuisine.
*All food was complimentary*