Taste of Yaletown - I Find Food and an Iron Chef Finds Happiness
There are many great eateries that have popped up in the last couple years, especially in the trendy Yaletown Area of Vancouver's downtown core. It's home to some of the coolest eateries including more infamous ones like the greasy spoon known as The Elbow Room. Yaletown is also home to a wide range of food and dining atmospheres, from the Jazz Lounge atmosphere of Capones to the upscale wine bar of Brix. You can also find seafood in the company of Rodney's Oyster House to the ethnic tastes available at Simply Thai. There's definitely something for everyone in Yaletown.
Last night, I was invited down to the Taste of Yaletown Media Party in Vancouver. It's sort of like a Big Night in Vancouver, only it's more of a Big Night in Yaletown and celebrates the best that Yaletown has to offer in food and beverage. This event kicks off the actual Taste of Yaletown event which runs from October 14th to 26th and offers foodies the opportunity to sample over twenty of the areas best restaurants at special prices ranging from $25 to $45. If you're an American Express Card Holder, and you pay for your meal with American Express, they'll donate 5% to the Canadian Association of Food Banks so you can eat well while feeding others. Not a bad deal.
This evening's event took place at one of Yaletown's newer eateries, Tequila Kitchen. The restaurant specializes in "Botanas" which is a sort of Mexian Tapas. Of course, the Tequila Kitchen gets its name from a wide selection of 100% Agave Tequila including a selection of Mexican Beers and select wines. It's right beside the restaurant Section 3 which was also in attendance, showing off some of their own tasty creations.
Since I have to roll with an entourage (and no one else got an invite), I smuggled in members of the Dot Com Crew which consisted of John Chow (and Sarah), Ed Lau, and Leo Chiang.
On the floor of the event was Rob Feenie, formerly of Lumiere. A little while ago, the former Iron Chef had some sort of falling out with his co-owners and Rob lost the restaurant that beared his name (Feenies) and his pride and joy, Lumiere. However, it looks like that rocky stretch turned out to be a blessing in disguise as Rob looked refreshed, happy, and most importantly, passionate about his food and very eager to talk about it. It seems that the folks at Cactus Club have really taken care of him and he's back with a vengeance.
With a comfortably sized crowd, the Dot Com Crew was able to sample the great spread multiple times. From the Butternut squash ravioli with truffle oil and pine nuts to the Peking duck breast clubhouse, everything was done to exacting standards for taste and presentation.
Although the food was overall awesome, we did have a miss with this particular dish featuring a lobster cigarello submerged in a sauce that tasted like Ovaltine. It wasn't exactly a hit, but it wasn't horrible. However, based on the level that everything else was at on the EPIC spread, it definitely fell short of overall expecations.
Of course when dessert came, Ed Lau was at the head of the line. He literally inhaled this dessert which is made from a peanut butter crunch bar topped with a chocolate mousse and then a layer of caramel on top. All it needed was ice cream and it would have been heaven in Yaletown. The architect of this dish was Rob Feenie of Cactus Club and along with the Peking Duck Clubhouse, you can definitely taste that he's got his Mojo back.
All this wonderful food was topped off by an open bar that served wine and other tasty alcoholic concoctions. Here, John Chow demonstrates what a bad wine taster he is by boiling his wine with a candle. Seriously, who heats up their wine to drink it? I'm sure that once the Someliers get a hold of this picture, they will refuse to serve him wine. First he kills pandas, then he disrespects lobsters, now he boils wine. Pure evil.
With a reasonable sized crowd and a great spread of continuous food and drink, the Taste of Yaletown Kick Off Party was a huge success. For more information on how you can get a Taste of Yaletown, check out their official website and make a reservation today. A special thanks goes to Sara and Nicole from Sara Pereira Marketing and Promotions for putting on such a great event and for letting me roll with the rest of the crew.