2020 Noodle Mania
Like most women who are conscious of their weight, I avoid carbs. But when I’m sick or it’s pissing frigid rain, it’s a bowl of hot noodles I reach for. So I always come hungry every time I attend the Noodle Mania event because I know it’s going to a carblicious night and then I go home and throw my scales out the window.
Silk Road Tea
2066 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
What’s better than a cup of hot tea on a rainy day in Vancouver during the six to seven months we have to waddle in the wet stuff? Here at Silk Road Tea, which was our registration point, they cleverly allowed us inside before the registration time of 6 o’clock and while we were standing in line, served us hot steaming samples of Mulberry, Wellness Dextox Tea with dandelion and Wuyi Rock Oolong, all of which had their own distinct flavours and aromas. My favourite – Wuyi Rock Oolong as it brings up childhood memories of Sunday dim sum with its full bodied toasty flavour which was reminiscent of brown rice. I’ve had tea with dandelions before, and it doesn’t taste as odd as it sounds as dandelions have a sweet taste and are a great remedy if you’re having issues with your digestive system. The Mulberry Tea was my least favorite as I couldn’t detect any fruity notes.
But Silk Road Tea is the ultimate place for tea lovers as they have a wide selection of teas with some interesting choices such as Chocolate Panda Herbal Tea, Black Currant & Elderflower Black Tea and Mango Lemonade Black Tea. Teas start at the mere price of $4.99 or if you can’t decide, buy a tea sampler collection. Besides tea, Silk Road Tea also sells skin products, shampoos, massage oil and soaps made with natural and organic products which is great if you have sensitive skin that can’t handle chemicals.
1047 Davie St, Vancouver
Our first stop for Noodle Mania offering noodles was Italian Tomato. My friend and I have actually been to the Italian Tomato in Richmond before iPhones roamed the earth, but without the ability to snap and post a million photos on my social media platforms, I’m afraid that I barely remember the experience which probably means that it was good and I only seem to remember restaurants which I give 4 burnt stars.
Run, don’t walk here if you love Italian food because our tasting plates of Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce and Mushroom Ravioli will make you forget that nasty four letter word – D-I-E-T. I only had one little bite of the Mushroom Ravioli because of the cream in the sauce, but it was delicious as it was really rich and creamy and oozed with mushroom flavour. Next, I dove with much gusto into the Spaghetti Bolognese as I assumed it wasn’t cream based. Wrong, as the chef came over and told us that it was their signature dish as their version had cream in it. Well, that didn’t stop me from eating it as it wasn’t as creamy as the other dish and the little bit of cream in it just pushed this version of Bolognese Sauce to another level. You could definitely taste the meat in the sauce with all the fragrant Italian spices. Later that night, I didn’t have any effects from the dairy so I can safely assume that they only used a small amount of cream in the sauce.
When I looked at Italian Tomato’s menu, I liked the fact that you can make your own pasta dish as there’s a choice of 12 different pastas and 39 sauces. Plus if you have a small appetite, you can order a half size, although for a few dollars more, get the regular and just take what you can’t finish home in a doggy bag. As someone with a dairy allergy, they had great selections such as Matriciana sauce with sautéed pancetta, red onion in garlic tomato sauce and Mamma Mia, baby shrimp, baby clams, baby scallops, prawns in a garlic olive oil white wine clear sauce. Pair that with Wine Wednesdays when all wine is 50% off and I’d say it’s a perfect Wednesday date night option, whether you’re on a date with your significant other or just yourself.
1739 Robson Street, Vancouver
When we got to Noodle Arts, we discovered that this was a small space which probably explained why it was a little disorganized. We were supposed to be served two dishes but we were only served the Lanzhou Beef Noodle Soup. The next people next to us were also served the soup plus they also received Hot Pear Soup, which we didn’t receive. The second dish listed on our Tasting Plates menu was Cumin Noodles which we found out later from other people that the Cumin Noodles was a hit). The Lanzhou Beef Noodle Soup was hot and fragrant as it had pieces of chive and coriander, but we found it the soup a little too hard to split between the two of us as it seemed that there was just one long continuous noodle and me and my gal pal don’t like each other enough to do the Lady and the Tramp scenario. The broth was flavourful, but since it was red, I was expecting it to be spicy which it wasn’t. There was only about four thinly sliced pieces of beef in the soup which was a little disappointing as I’d prefer to have more. I’m assuming that when this little establishment isn’t part of a food event, that the food and service are probably better.
But in my research of what exactly Lanzhou noodles were, I discovered that Lanzhou noodles originated in Lanzhou, capital of Gansu Province in China about 200 years ago. They are handpulled noodles in rich beef broth and are the ultimate noodles in Chinese cuisine if you are a foodie. Interesting enough, here you can custom order your noodles by the width. But Noodle Arts doesn’t just serve noodles as there are fried rice menu items, meat and vegetables dishes and dumplings. Some dessert items which sound interest are the Hot Pear Soup with pear, dates and goji berry or Coconut Milk with Tapioca Pearls.
Robba Da Matti
1906 Haro Street, Vancouver
This is the second location of Robba Da Matti which is significantly larger than the Yaletown location and is really cozy as it’s a one long bench with pillows. But since it’s in the West End, you’d be best to park your car a few blocks away as there’s only resident parking on the streets. There’s also some road repairs going on, so it would be hard to outmaneuver your car without plunging into a sinkhole.
Our Tasting Plates of Pappardelle Rosche and Spaghetti with Southern Italian Pesto was tasty, but I don’t think it was as good as the food I’ve had at the original location. But I’m predicting that this location will probably be more popular as it’s definitely more cozy and I’m guessing that the outdoor patio will be a hit in the summer months.
730 West Broadway
THE MAUI, double ahi tuna, sesame marinated jackfruit, corn salsa, pesto pineapple, pickled red onions, mango jalapeño vinaigrette
It’s the last stop of Noodle Mania which didn’t have any noodles in the Tasting Plate, but I’m not complaining as I’m a poke fan. So what is poke? It’s a sashami salad that’s made to order and, depending on the poke establishment, you could get a base of rice, noodles, greens or even quinoa. At Pacific Poke, our Tasting Plate was a choice of one of the Chef Inspired Bowls. I selected The Maui which was a flavourful combination of sweet and savoury. I’ve had jack fruit before and I found it went well with the corn salsa. If you haven’t had jack fruit, it’s a fruit that actually tastes like pork. My only complaint was that I wished there was more topping,
What makes Pacific Poke different from other poke establishments (and I’ve been to quite a few) is that you can choose from a kale, rice or quinoa base. But like all poke bars, at Pacific Poke, you can customize your own poke bowl and choose from regular (2 proteins, 3 toppings) and large (3 proteins, 4 toppings). On Pacific Poke’s menu, some of the toppings that I haven’t seen offered at other poke establishments are Shoyu Ramen Egg, Red Beets & Basil and Fresh Wasabi Peas. There’s also a Spicy Gochu Chicken (chicken, kimchi cucumber, corn salsa, carrots, pickled red onion) that isn’t on the menu of other poke establishments which would be great for those people who aren’t into raw fish.
About Vancouver Foodster Events
Each month Richard Wolak aka Vancouver Foodster organizes one or two different Tasting Plates event focused on a specific neighbourhood or food theme. There are usually four or fives restaurants on the tour. This is a self-guided tour which you are given about four hours to visit each location. You begin at a common registration point where you receive your Tasting Plates ticket which will list the tasting plates at each establishment. The price of this ticket varies as the earlier you buy your ticket, the lower the price will be. You should subscribe to the Tasting Plates newsletter to learn about new Tasting Plates events. My ticket is complimentary as I promote this event and write reviews.
Tasting Plates Yaletown on March 4, 2020
Ultra Early-Bird Tickets on Sale here now
Vancouver Foodster Culinary Scavenger Hunt on April 4, 2020
Ultra Early-Bird Tickets on Sale here now