Well after a couple of months hiatus, I’m back! I’m pleased to report that I’ve been successful in doing a new thing every week, but not so pleased to admit that I’ve been very slack about writing up experiences. Therefore I’ll be picking up where I left off, that is to say, week 14.
This week, I went on a city-wide Culinary Scavenger Hunt, organised by Vancouver Foodster, an online restaurant guide to Vancouver and the surrounding area.
I went with three colleagues from work, Frances, Jess, and Serena. The four of us participated in one of Vancouver Foodster’s earlier tasting events in January called Noodlemania, which had stretched our stomachs to their limits, and induced a carb coma the like of which I’ve never seen before. None of us could so much as look at a noodle for a good week afterwards, and vowed never to over indulge that much ever again. Still we were intrigued by the scavenger hunt aspect of this tasting session, so, being gluttons for punishment (or perhaps just gluttons), we decided to give it a go.
There were nine restaurants participating in the scavenger hunt, as follows;
- Bella Gelateria
- De Dutch
- Parlour Yaletown
- Milestones Yaletown
- Marquis Wines
- Soirette Macaron
- Chasers Juice
- Seventeen 89 Restaurant
We met at the registration point, Xoxolat (pronounced sho-sho-la), to pick up our Scavenger Hunt Tasting Map Cards.
Along with the map cards, we were given a set of objective for our scavenger hunt, and a clue to the first restaurant.
We made our way to the first restaurant, Seventeen89, which was by far the most upmarket of the restaurants featured. Each of us were seated in front of a portion of hemp crusted albacore tuna; a taste morsel of tuna sashimi, presented in a miniature waffle cone wedged upright in a shot glass packed with dried beans and peas. It was paired with a decent sized sample of locally brewed beer. Not being a beer drinker, particularly on an empty stomach, I left most of the drink untouched. The tuna however was delicious.
It turned out the restaurant also had a prize to give away in the form of a ticket to the Vancouver Film Festival. All we had to do was correctly guess the historical event that happened in 1789, the year that the restaurant was named after. Convinced that the answer had to be food related, I had a moment of stupid, and guessed that 1789 was the year the locally brewed beer was first made. Which, unless it was a recipe passed down by the First Nations, is somewhat unlikely. Frances eventually came up with the right answer; the year the French Revolution started. As someone who spent an embarrassing portion of her bookish early-adolescence secretly mooning over Sir Percy Blakeney (aka the Scarlet Pimpernel), I was a bit miffed with myself for not remembering this, but I’m glad it was one of our group that won it.
After collecting a signature from the head chef, and a photo of the group with a male and female server, we headed on to De Dutch Pannekoek House. The choice was between a sweet (banana, strawberry & whipped cream) or savoury crepe (bacon and edam). I opted for the bacon, which wasn’t bad by any means, but I’ve had better. We snaffled a few takeaway menus as per the instructions on our scavenger hunt list, and made our way to Bella Gelateria for some ice cream and a blue spoon.
Blue spoons acquired, we settled down with our ice cream to ponder our next move. Technically we were supposed to go to Marquis’ Wine Cellar next, but it made more sense logistically to go to Soirette Macaron first. We took a vote and decided to heck with the instructions, we wanted our macaroons. Because that’s just the kind of hard riding, authority-snubbing rebels we are.
We soon found that our preferred route was closed, due to filming. This is a fairly common occurrence in Vancouver, aka Hollywood North. So much so that one of the more interesting intradepartmental emails I’ve had to send was to warn colleagues not to be alarmed if they heard gun fire during certain hours the following Tuesday. Our building was not under attack, just being used as part of the scenery for an episode of Psych. Still, it was a less than glamorous nuisance when the macaroons were so close.
We eventually made it however, and, macaroons scoffed, we jumped on a bus to take us to the wine cellar. There we sampled three different wines with various fruits. I can’t remember whether these fruits were supposed to cleanse the palate, or prime it for the wine, but they all got a thumbs up from me!
Next was Milestones, and we were fast running out of time to complete the hunt, but before we were allowed to eat the food (mini breakfast tostada bites – which were basically nachos), we had to pass a quiz on the Milestones menu by the chef. Impatiently we flicked through the menu to memorise a couple of dishes, and must have answered the questions more or less satisfactorily, as we were rewarded with a nacho. I mean tostada.
After snapping a picture of the chef with a server, we dashed down to Parlour for our most filling sampler of the day; pizza! Lots of varieties worth. With an exhibition ale. Quite my favourite pit stop.
Racing against the clock, we bounced across the road to Chasers for some cashew milk and a greens blend juice. We grabbed a brochure of theirs as evidence of ‘something juicy’, and dashed back to Xoxolat to present our spoils;
It turned out that, although we weren’t early enough to win one of the top prizes, we did receive one free pass to the Vancouver Foodster’s next event, Burger Palooza. We gave this to Serena, as she was the one who first suggested taking part in the scavenger hunt and organised us all. Tummies full, but thankfully not uncomfortably so, we called it a day and headed home.
VERDICT: I will definitely go to another Vancouver Foodster event, as they’re a lot of fun and (if you get the early bird tickets) good value for money. In fact, since writing this entry, I’ve been to the Main Street Tasting Plates session. This particular tasting session was held on a single street, which I found preferable to running around Downtown in between courses. Then again, sampling lots of foods will always be a hit with me!