When I used to live in the West End, I spent a lot of time on the Drive, buying cheap produce, eating pizza at Lombardo’s, ordering St Honore cakes for birthdays at Fratelli’s Bakery and drinking wine at the Latin Quarter while listening to flamenco guitar. So every time I’m invited to the Commercial Drive Tasting Plates It’s a trip down memory lane.
Bruschetta al Peso di Piselli e Menta – Grilled bread, crushed fresh peas tossed with mint, virgin olive oil, ricotta salata garnish (Fantini Trebbiano D’Abruzzo),
Fico con Ricotta Fresca – Housemade ricotta with organic honey, roasted fig, balsamic reduction (Agneti Nero D’Avola),
Arancino – Arborio rice ball, Pecorino Romano, truffle oil (Masi levarie Soave Classico Superiore);
Involtino di Prosciutto e Burrata – fresh burratta wrapped in Parma Proscuitto, basil, fried capers (Masi Rosa Di Masi)
FEDERICO’S SUPPER CLUB
1728 Commercial Drive
First up – I’ve spent quite a few birthdays at Federico’s Supper Club celebrating in style as Federico’s has great live entertainment and a prix fixe menu priced at only $45 or $55. But be forewarned, the food is served in big delicious Italian Momma portions. But best of all, there’s live entertainment ranging from classical guitar of Sandro Camerin, jazz from Corey Weeds and Federico Fuoco himself takes the stage on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and belts out lively tunes guaranteed to make your feet tap the way out to the dance floor.
For our Tasting Plates, we had the four lovely morsels pictured above and we opted to purchase the paired wine tasting for the mere price of… are you ready – $5!!! All the lovely morsels were delicious as I expected as I’ve never had a bad meal at Federico’s and with the paired wine, so perfect. I would have stayed the whole night here had I not been invited as media and had to visit every venue as there was live jazz by Les is more and I would have bought two more pairings lol.
Incidentally, there’s a great pasta special which is pasta plus a Glass of Wine for only $15 on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 530pm – 7pm.
1795 Commercial Drive
Cuisine: Italian Bakery
If you are what you eat then I’d be pure sweetness as baked goods are one of the few things that I pay full price for. And yes I’ve had my fair share of their St. Honore cakes with Vermouth since they opened in 1997.
Our Tasting Plates was literally one of everything. Having eaten quite a few of the pastries with dairy back in the day when I was just a little lactose intolerant, I avoided the items with dairy as I already know that their pastry is always fresh, flaky and crispy. And should I add that the cream fillings are so delectable. My faves – all of them!!! Fratelli Bakery also holds an annual gingerbread house draw during the holidays, there’s also a New Westminster location and You can custom order pastries/cakes that aren’t listed on their website.
1938 Commercial Drive
Cuisine: Café & dessert
Owner Sammy Piccolo of Prado Café has been in the top-three for Canada at the World Barista Championships four times as he is serious about offering the best coffee beans to his customers and therefore offers a constant rotation of specialty locally roasted 49th Parallel beans. Our tasting taste consisted of Mango Italian Soda and Jackie’s birthday cake. As it was a hot day the Italian soda hit the spot. The cake though was not as moist as I like it, but after eating pastry from Fratelli Bakery, it was a hard act to follow.
Strange Fellows Brewing
1345 Clark Drive
Cuisine: Craft Brewery
A brewing company where madness meets method, at Strange Fellows Brewing, Iain Hill the Particularist and Wanderer Aaron Jonckheere make strange brews with even stranger descriptions on their website such as Funky Town and Crafty Monk.
Our Tasting Cup consisted of a West Coast Light Ale which I actually quite liked as it was a hot summer night and it was very refreshing and not so hoppy. The lager which I can’t for the life of me remember the name, I gave away as I find that being a wine drinker I don’t like the more intense lagers. Tasting room tours are available, just ask.
Via Tevere Pizzeria
1190 Victoria Drive / Food truck: Corner of Burrard/Pender
I’m not really a fan of Neapolitan style pizza so I didn’t appreciate this as much as my friends did at this event, but I could tell the crispness and taste of the pizza dough is on par with other establishments such as Nicli’s Pizzeria and Novo Pizzeria. Should I add that it was oh so conveniently located outside Strange Fellows who allowed us to take our food inside and paired so well with than a tall refreshing glass of brew.
If you don’t work downtown where the food truck is parked at Burrard and Pender – rejoice as Via Tevere has a brick and mortar location at 1190 Victoria Dr but doesn’t take reservations and the House wine Cantina Tollo, is only $6 a glass and $32 for bottle and that’s all night.
1458 Commercial Drive
Cuisine: Juice Bar
Juice bars are popping faster than rabbits in Richmond but at Bonvita, there are also vitamins, supplements & naturopathic healthcare services. And as a person who drinks the occasional pop, I’ve visited more than a few juice bars in my time. Pure unsweetened goodness are the three words I would use to describe our tasting plate of:
1) The Root Down juice – Orange, Beet, Carrot, Ginger, 2) Green Revival juice – cucumber kale celery cilantro dandelion apple and turmeric and 3) Bonvita Classic smoothie – Banana, Cacao, Date, Almond milk which is a tasty alternative for those of us who have dairy sensitivities who like chocolate milkshakes.
From fantastic pastries at Fratellini Bakery, healthy fresh juices at Bonvita to the lovely wine pairing and great live entertainment at Federico’s, the Commercial Drive Tasting Plates will forever be my favorite Tasting Plates … At least until the next one! Click here to find out about the next Tasting Plates event: http://tastingplatesyvr.com/