Gastown and Chinatown Tasting Plates
The Gastown and Chinatown Tasting Plates was a perfect combination of sweet and savoury items from crispy Thai Gold Bags from Wara Thai Eatery to fragrant Lentil Stew at Moltaqa, Coconut Whipped Soft Serve Ice Cream decadence from The Praguery, moist Vegan Brownies at Buttermere Patisserie Café and silky Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake from Trees Organic.
Wara Thai Eatery
509 Main Street, Vancouver
Like most Asian eateries offering modestly priced food, Wara Thai Eatery is unpretentious with basic tables and chairs but there’s nothing pretentious about their food. It’s what I call Thai comfort food as the Spaghetti Bites were similar to spaghetti and meatballs except that the beef was deconstructed and the main flavour was basil leaves and oyster sauce instead of tomato sauce.
The Thai Gold Bags are simply deep fried won tons but to give these to friends means you are wishing money or gold to be sent their way. These were crispy on the outside with a delicious filling of chicken and water chestnuts. But as they are deep fried I suspect that if you are going to give 60 of them to your friends that you are also wishing them to get fat which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because standing next to them, you’ll always look skinnier.
The Thai Salad Cups has peanut sauce which I usually love, but I found myself wishing that it had a little bit more heat and didn’t like the combo of peanut sauce and sweet chilli sauce together. I thought of this as a giant won ton as it has a spring roll wrapper with diced chicken and veggies.
What amazed me though were the price of alcohol. A beer was only $4.99 while a bottle of Jackson- Triggs was $29. Price for food wasn’t too bad with appts averaging $8 while entrees ranged from $12 to $22. But what I also noticed on the menu were items such as Vegan Spring Rolls and Skinny Wings that are low carb – a smart marketing move as these two items are usually found in most Asian restaurants.
Other menu items of interest are the Larb Wings which have Thai spice with lime juice and Thai herbs and the Pineapple Fried Rice which has egg, pineapple, raisin, cranberry, onion and tumeric. Hmm throw in some turkey and you have a no fuss, no muss turkey dinner.
Buttermere Patisserie Café
636 Main Street, Vancouver
Cuisine: Dessert cafe
There’s a rumour that if you eat something that weights less than an ounce, then it will usually less than 100 calories (to be followed by five miles of vigorous running). At Buttermere Patisserie Cafe, I could have jumped for joy as our Tasting Plate was very tasty indeed and contained the assortment of goods pictured above which I took home (except for the Strawberry Mini Roll as there was too much dairy in that item for me as I have a lactose intolerance).
I’ll start my review from the items I liked the most to the least. Vegans, rejoice because the Vegan Brownie was moist and had such a lovely decadent chocolate flavour that even the non-vegans had no complaint. But unlike typical brownies, this item had more of a light cake texture, not that I’m complaining. If you love the flavour of Earl Grey Tea and milk chocolate, well, the Earl Grey Chocolate Bar was a mixture of milk chocolate with a nice infusion of Earl Grey Tea flavour, but not too much to overpower the chocolate. I only had a small bite of the Korean Citrus Cheesecake Tart but I could definite a definite cheesecake flavour with citrus, but the texture itself was more like a mousse than cheesecake. But nevertheless it was still a tasty treat. Last but not least, the Galette Bretonne Cookies which I didn’t like as I felt that it needed some spice or chocolate as it really didn’t have much of a flavour to me. The only thing I could see is that it would be great for dipping in team or coffee as it had a hard texture and not a chewy texture.
Besides what is offered in the display case, you can order cakes online from Buttermere Pattisserie that you can pick up at Torafuku (restaurant on Main Street). And they have some interesting cakes such as Sesame with Charcoal Sesame Sponge and Sesame Ganache, Vietnamese Coffee Cake with Coffee Sponge and Lychee Rose Raspberry Cake with Raspberry Panna Cotta and Lychee Rose Sponge.
The Praguery Gastown
221 Abbott Street, Vancouver
I’ve seen The Praguery food truck at various festivals where there was always a long lineup of people waiting to order their decadent soft serve ice cream creations, but I had no idea that they actually have a vegan coconut whip that you can have with any of their fillings/toppings. I once again put the theory that anything that weights less than 1 oz has less than 100 calories to the test. How? Because if my pants don’t split at the seams, it must be true (good thing I wore the ones with the elastic waistband). So I chose the filling called Marie which was light but tasted so decadent with the tart raspberry and Nutella. I loved the coconut cone which has way more flavour than the regular boring ones you get at other ice cream shops. Of course, it’s probable has more calories but at this point, do you really care? I mean, who goes to an ice cream shop to lose weight? I think I’ll be coming back to try the one with mango filling or the one with lemon curd. And hold your horses, there’s a Black Forest filling with chocolate chips, dark cherry compote.
But besides soft serve ice cream, there was also one savory selection such as the Pulled Pork which house-made garlic mayo and saukraut pictured above which my friend took home. This is only available at the Gastown location.
51 W Hastings Street, Vancouver
I’ve been dying to dine at Moltaqa Restaurant as a few of my friends highly recommend this place. And the verdict is that the food at Moltaqa Restaurant does live up to its hype. Our tasting plate were four dishes with four distinctly different flavours. I didn’t have a favourite as I liked each one for different reasons. All the tasting plates here were Moroccan renditions of dishes that everyone is familiar with, but with the added spices, it just adds that extra dimension of flavour and brings the taste to a different level. I should mention that all the dishes were vegan as none contained dairy, proving once again that vegan food doesn’t have to be boring.
Moltaqa Restaurant is also open for lunch and serves Lamb Mergez Shaksbouska and eggs and lamb or chicken tagine and more. There’s one interesting dish on the menu I’ve love to try and it’s Beef Sirloin with honey and prunes, which sounds like an interesting combination of sweet and savoury.
Trees Cheesecake + Organic Coffee
321 Water St, Vancouver
Is Trees Organic Cheesecake as good as it looks? Yes and I’m sad to admit that it’s as good as the ones I used to made . I’ve only made 500 in my life. It’s not too hard and not soft but has a silky texture and the Pumpkin Cheesecake Spice has a definite pumpkin flavour accompanied by the typical nutmeg and cinnamon spices. And those of you who follow me on my social media platforms are probably wondering why I know that Trees Organic cheesecake tastes great considering the fact that I’m lactose intolerant. Well on another Tasting Plate event, I had a teeny bite, just enough to know that I’m not the queen of cheesecakes and that another place makes them just as good as me. One of my friends who used to be the pastry chef at one of the Umberto restaurants told me my cheesecake was the best he ever tasted, so that’s why I claim that title and now gladly hand it over to Trees Organic.
But besides wonderful luscious cheesecake, Trees Organic is also a great place to go for lunch as they have soups, sandwiches, smoothies and salads and at their Granville location, Thursday is live mic night while Friday nights have lie music from 8-10pm…