Tasting Plates South Granville 2018
Back in the day when I used to be in training for the Olympic sport of shopping, I used to frequent South Granville quite often as Turnabout Luxury Resale was my starting destination. Unfortunately, the only winner of this Olympic sport was the credit card companies, although I was quite svelte as I would always blow my entire food allowance for the month on clothes. While a few of the establishments on Tasting Plates South Granville are less than two years old, some of my favorite shopping places were featured on this tasting journey such as Jak’s Liquor Store and Meinhardt’s Fine Foods. The following is my review of Tasting Plates South Granville.
2658 Granville Street, Vancouver
Cuisine: Liquor store and tastings
Candy is dandy, but liqueur is quicker. Registration for Tasting Plates South Granville was at Jak’s Liquor which set the tone for me and my Asian giggle twin as I own the hashtag “#LolYouHadMeAtFirstSip”. The employee pouring at the wine tasting here had this “Why Me? And who let these crazy Asians in to torment me?” look at his face. Never been thrown out of a liquor store, yet, but it’s on my bucket list. I’ve been to Jak’s before, as I make boozy jellies and Jak’s has a great selection such as the Kripnik Spice Honey Liqueur which I bought here which tastes like a spiked up Chai tea. I like to drink this when I meditate as I receive visions of me lounging in a chaise lounge at a beautiful ocean side resort with half-naked cabana boys feeding me grapes. Problem is that it doesn’t really put me in a meditative state, but let’s say my heart goes kaboom kaboom kaboom… let’s go back to my room room room.
Is it possible to like all the wines at a wine tasting? I’ve heard it was an urban legend but in this case, I did. But my Asian giggle twin aka Fay Yamamoto-Jensen (aka @Armadillob who owns and sells fabulous designer sales at discount prices at Armadillo Boutique) loved the Gigglewater Prosecco. It was light, not too sweet and had tiny bubbles, which apparently went straight to our heads (you could hear us giggling away all the way from the back of the store). The rest of the tasting is as follows:
2010 Page Preface Cabernet Red Mountain – After discovering the silky tannins of Malbec wine, I hardly ever drink Cabs as I find the tannins of Cabs now too harsh. But this Cab seduced me with its silky tannins and juicy Cassis and ripe plum notes with slight earthiness to keep it interesting unlike my last boyfriend who was easy on the eye but whose bedroom skills or lack thereof led me to install a flat screen TV in the ceiling. The price of this bottle of wine is listed as $44 on the Page Cellars website, so this won’t be something I’ll be drinking daily but buying for special occasions such as the day I manage to capture that elusive male that actually leaves the toilet seat down..
Mirabeau Classic Provence Rose 2017 – A truly lovely drinkable rose whose aromas of strawberry and red currant and raspberry flavours envelop you in a long French kiss and refreshes with its well-balanced acidity. Which reminds me of my last French lover – ooh la la, I think my cheeks are turning red no?
Oliver Leflaive Bourgogne 2015 Chardonnay – Let it be known that I’m in love with stainless steel, at least when it comes where Chardonnay grapes are matured as I can’t help but spit out oaked wine immediately even if there is no spit bucket available, which could explain why I’ve been personally escorted out from wine tasting events. This wine, though, being rather dry wine has plenty of tropical fruit on the fruit such as melon and key lime. It’s a medium bodied wine with well-balanced acidity.
Hatch B. Yanco 2017 (Pinot Blanc and touch of Gewurztraminer) – This is a lovely off dry wine with plenty of ripe apples and touch of lime. It’s rather light on the palate and not to be taken seriously but apparently, skipping and singing the song, “The Sound of Music” while sipping this seems to bring out its floral notes.
Gigglewater Prosecco – If ever there was a true girly wine, this would be it as there is an aroma of peaches with apricot and pears on the palate while the tiny bubbles playfully tickle your tongue making you want to sing koo koo kachoo. And if you can name that song, come on over as I buy this by the gallon to drink while I’m watching my chick flicks. Tonight’s feature film: Pretty Woman, a great film where every sleazy girl dreams of being swept off her feet by Mr. Sugar Daddy that Doesn’t Mind if You’ve Slept with A Million Guys and Have Every STD ever Medically Documented.
What I didn’t know about Jak’s though was that they have this wonderful policy that if you don’t like your product that you can return it. There were many times I wanted to try a new liqueur, but the thought of spending $20 and then finding out I didn’t like what I bought, has always been a big deterrent to trying new liqueurs. I’m assuming that whatever you don’t like would be used in at a tasting or perhaps as an employee incentive instead of salary raises. Oooh where can I apply? There’s 14 locations of Jak’s, although only one in Vancouver, at the South Granville location, and all are open daily from 9 am-11 pm and I’m assuming that’s also on Christmas Day when so many of us want to eat, drink and be merry the whole Xmas holiday. You can sign up to their newsletter to find out about tasting events or just go to their website where all the tasting events and monthly specials are listed.
The Rise Eatery
3121 Granville St, Vancouver
Cuisine: contemporary mix of Asian fusion cuisine
Lo Hay Salad: smoked salmon, julienne of cucumber, daikon, carrot, pickled ginger, onion, tomato, and taro potato, pea shoots, crisp rice vermicelli, toasted sesame, peanuts, apricot & beet vinaigrette
Dynamic Duo: rice battered brussel sprout and cauliflower bites, gochujang buffalo sauce, blue cheese crumble
Chicken Seoul Good: Korean fried chicken, wild mushroom cream, truffle oil, grated parmesan
With a restaurant that contains the word “Eatery”, I expected a more casual cafe type of establishment, but instead the word “cozy” and rustically elegant comes to mind. We got here early and had the opportunity to sit on the patio in the way way way back (someone must have been reading my tweets!). Our tasting plates were exactly that – tasty, tasty, tasty. I loved the julienned vegetables in the Lo Hay Salad and the apricot and beet vinaigrette was such as lovely fusion of sweet flavours that really brought out all the ingredients. I’ve had lots of battered cauliflower in restaurants but the Dynamic Duo was really outstanding as the cauliflower still retained its firmness but had a lovely crunch on the edges. It was spicy but not overly so as most buffalo sauces usually make me look like a dog panting in heat! Although I’m not supposed to have dairy, I couldn’t resist trying the Chicken Seoul as it wasn’t a big piece and if you love mushroom soup, cheese and fried chicken, then you will love this.
The Rise Eatery prides themselves on offering cuisine that is a fusion of different cultures as Asian fusion seems to be the latest food craze and it’s evident that they do this right. If you look at their menu, there are interesting options such as Routine which are Ramen fries with poutine, miso gravy and pickled ginger. The Diamond and Pearls fritters of cheddar, corn and tapioca fritters with spicy mango ketchup also sound delicious paired with the Seoul of Caesar which is made of vodka, Walters mix, sriracha, sesame, kimchi carrot and togarashi. The brunch item of Shoots N Blossoms with roasted cauliflower, brussel sprouts, has brown, poached eggs with piri piri hollandaise has me salivating. And there’s also happy hour from 3-5 pm where you can have Lord of the Fries (lemon truffle fries) for $3, sweet basil drumsticks for $7, 14 oz sleeve draft beer for $4 and Joie or Dirty Laundry wine for $8/$9.
3007 Granville Street, Vancouver
Cuisine: desserts and cafe
Mango Bingsoo and Matcha Green Tea Bingsoo paired with Sprouted Grain Cookies
More than just coffee and sandwiches, Phoscao Cafe may be small, but offers big quantity coffee and eats. Their menu is quite extensive ranging from Cinnamon Buns, Samosas to Sandwiches, Croissants, Panninis, Wraps and a whole line of delicious desserts such as Lemon Cranberry Biscotti, Carrot Cake and German Chocolate Cake. There’s even vegan cookies made with spelt, oak flakes, sunflower seeds and more. And if you live downtown, you can have Skip the Dishes deliver to your home. If you live outside downtown, you can order it to be picked up as the food would be great for a summer picnic.
Our Tasting Plates of Mango Bingsoo and Matcha Green Tea Bingsoo seemed to be so perfect to have after our Asian fusion Tasting Plates at Rise Eatery. What is a Bingsoo? It’s a Korean version of a semifreddo but made with milk so it’s lighter. Here they say its made with snowflakes which it is as they freeze the milk until it flakes and then add a whole lot of deliciousness to it. It has more taste to it than a snow cone but with fruit and matcha tea and not artificial fruity syrups. I wonder if they would consider making a vegan version with coconut milk and coconut whipped cream as those of us with dairy allergies would be flocking here. The Sprouted Grain Cookies of chocolate and seed which we choose were very tasty and chock full of good ingredients such as oat flakes, coconut sugar and sunflower oil. So tasty, yet so healthy for you – sssh don’t tell!.
2997 Granville St, Vancouver
Cuisine: Coffee Bar
Although Le Creuset has many stores in Canada where you can shop for their products, this is the first one that will offer great coffee from 49th Parallel Coffee and decadent desserts from Thierry. If you’re someone who loves to cook and/or bake, then you are probably more willing to spend money on quality products that last a long time and Le Creuset has been in business since 1925 and is quite well-known for their high quality cookware. Apparently, not only is there a lifetime warranty on most Le Creuset cookware, but you can return your cookware within 45 days and get your money back. Also, if you are buying heavy cookware, there is free delivery over $80. This is also a great place to buy gifts for your chef friends, as there are many items under $50 such as French cookbooks, cappuccino sets, salt shakers, etc.
When we arrived at La Creuset, we were given a list of coffees to choose from for our Tasting Plates. So I chose an Americano which was made from Parallel 49 coffee beans. I was disappointed that we didn’t receive Thierry pastry to wash this down with and was surprised that no one came over to give us a spiel about Le Creuset cookware. I expected them to do a cooking demo of sorts but I’m thinking that the only motive for them to be a part of the Tasting Plates South Granville was simply to let foodies know that they have a storefront from which you can buy their quality cookware instead of ordering online.
Meinhardt Fine Foods
3002 Granville Street, Vancouver
White Wine Steel Head Trout, Beet Risotto, Spicy Tiger Prawns, Mini Cod Cake, Argula with Spicy Aioli, Meringue Tart
As a single person who loves to cook, but can’t stand eating the same dish three or four days in a row, I’ve not only bought prepared foods from Meinhardt’s but also vegan cheeses, specialty chocolates and desserts. It’s also a great place to go pick up food for picnic or a party (if you throw out the container, you can impress your friends with not only your culinary skills but your ability to lie through your teeth). You literally don’t have to go anyway else to shop as there is everything from fruit, meat, prepared foods, tea, coffee, bread and more. I love that there is a downtown location at Pacific Centre as it’s so handy for those of us who work downtown.
As with all the food I’ve ever had at Meinhardt’s, I wasn’t disappointed with our food here for Tasting Plates South Granville. Like a typical Asian girl who never finishes everything on her plate because I’m tired of watching my waistline do its magic act and disappear, I had to put all my food into my tupperware to enjoy later when I wasn’t full. But the moment I got home, I didn’t even take my shoes off when I popped the Meringue Tart in my mouth. Light and tart with dreamy meringue. Still buzzing an hour later from my cocktail from Fiore, I heard the Spicy Tiger Prawns calling to me from the fridge “Eat me now, damn it”. Oh yum, tender and spicy with light batter, I could have eaten 40 of these in my state of alcohol delirium – I hope they have these in their downtown location. Both the Cod Cake and Steel Head Trout were delicious and not overcooked, although I do prefer my fish to be just over rare but at events, you usually have fish cooked well. The only miss for me was the Beet Risotto which was a little too sweet for my palate as I prefer the usual savoury version.
1485 W 12th Ave, Vancouver
Beet & Ricotta filled Ravoli with herb buerre Blanc and roasted beets
Ask for Luigi has always been on the top 10 of my Bucket List of Vancouver restaurants and now, as Chef Alexandrea Fladhamer, the chef at Fiore on South Granville, used to work at Ask for Luigi. I’d like to say that the Tasting Plate of the Beet and Ricotta Ravoli was my favorite tasting plate for Tasting Plates South Granville, but I’d be lying as I couldn’t eat it due to my dairy allergy. But it was all my friends’ favorite who have eaten at Ask for Luigi as they said it was as good as the food there. But before I could cry you a river, the manager Jakub arrived with a cocktail which had lemon, elderberry and other luscious flavours, making it a sweet and sour winning combination (which is also the way I describe myself). I plan to make my way back here to try the brunch as you can add a fried or poached egg to a pasta item for just $2.50. .
But what makes Fiori Restaurant unique is that their pizza crust is made from sourdough, most of their wines are Italian and if you love Negroni cocktails, there are 10 negroni cocktails offered. And if you don’t like what’s offered on the cocktail list, the bartender can whip you up a cocktail based on your taste palette. Ask for Luigi used to be on the top of my foodie bucket list but now it’s ask for Fiori.
About Tasting Plates
Each month Richard Wolak organizes one or two different Tasting Plates event focused on a specific neighbourhood or food theme. There are usually four plus 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 better the price is. You should subscribe to the Tasting Plates newsletter to learn about new Tasting Plates events. My ticket is complimentary as I market this event and write reviews and I tweet and instagram the events to death.