The East Village is an unexplored area of Vancouver for me. As part of Hastings Sunrise it includes the streets from Commercial to Renfrew, and Powell to just South of Hastings. It boasts a myriad of shops, from cheap produce markets to mainstream coffee shops, as well as a slew of independent businesses that bring in a diverse clientele of through-traffic and locals.
I finally ventured into the East Village to explore what it had to offer during the latest Tasting Plates. Running behind schedule, and because I tend to dilly dally, I wasn’t able to make it to all of the stops, and missed Sweet Tooth Cafe and Steam Tea House. Sweet Tooth was dishing up Doichaang coffee, cinnamon rolls and Tom Yum soup, while Steam was serving up a variety of tea including crowd favourites, the Winter Walnut and Earl Grey Lavender.
During my tour, I ran into organizer, Richard Wolak (Vancouver Foodster), who appropriately coined the tour “Kelly’s Liquor Tour”, due to my lengthy stays at Parallel 49 and Odd Society. It was “hump day”, can you blame a girl for wanting to imbibe a little?
Before I dipped into the booze though, I fuelled up at Platform 7 with a cortado. Many years ago I was barista, and so I’m somewhat of an adventurous coffee snob, but I’ve surprisingly never come across this little treat of a beverage. Basically, it’s a shot of espresso topped off with warm milk. As such, it is the miniature, caffeinated beverage for those who don’t like a strong espresso flavour (i.e. latte drinkers), because the milk to coffee ratio is between 1:1 and 1:2. The key factor in making this beverage (or any other coffee) taste exceptional is the espresso beans that are used, but the frothing of the milk is also important. Platform 7 has this covered as they have seemingly passionate baristas and they use beans from Stumptown Coffee. Not local, but delicious.
PLATFORM 7 COFFEE (featuring Stumptown Hair Bender Espresso Beans)
Choice of Espresso, Americano or Cortado as well as three types of gluten-free goodies: Gluten Free Epicurean’s Double Chocolate Salted Espresso Cookie and Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie, and Italian Bakery’s Italian Cookie (biscotti).
The restaurant’s name “salteña” derives from the Bolivian baked empanada. Naturally, this is a large part of their business and they regularly serve beef, chicken and vegetarian options. While we were there they were serving cocktail-size versions of the beef and vegetarian options, filled with vegetables, potatoes and raisins. Due to the small nature of the pot-pies. they burst upon while biting into them causing a messy, but sort of exciting, dining experience.
The Salteñas were easily my favourite of the three items served, as I found the batch of Bolivian Andes Quinoa Salad that I ate slightly overcooked and pretty bland. The Alfajor, which is a cookie sandwich filled with dulce de leche and crusted with coconut, was a unique treat and a nice way to complete the “meal”.
KESSEL & MARCH
Kessel & March provided a beautiful array of treats during Tasting Plates that included: Parsnip Soup; Sardines on Toast with salad cream, radish and a celery salad; and Beets and Apples with bitter greens and goats cheese.
“It’s too pretty to eat,” was a common sentiment heard throughout the evening. And it tasted delicious as well, with my favourite being the creamy and rich parsnip soup.
ODD SOCIETY SPIRITS
I have been meaning to go to Odd Society since they opened in November so was elated to finally pop in there for a visit. Taking a seat at the bar, I made myself at home chatting with General Manager, Myriam Karp, and Production Manager and Distiller, Joshua Beach, as I sipped on their super smooth East Van Vodka and their delicious Creme de Cassis. The latter retails at $22 at the distillery and it seemed as though many guests took one home with them.
WINDSOR MEAT CO
Meat!! I was psyched to head to Windsor Meats for the sole reason that I am a major carnivore. The lineup and lingering crowd was evidence of the fact that I was not the only one. The friendly employees doled out far more food then I would’ve expected, even including a selection of cheese, crackers and olives donated by some of their suppliers. Their shop boasts a variety of local, free-range products including the three items that we tried that evening.
1) Heritage Pork WHOLE Hog Roast. A unique pork experience from our premium pork supplier North Thompson Heritage Ranch in Barriere B.C. You will receive a portion of 10hr slow charcoal roasted Heritage Pork carved directly off the hog.
2) Irish Stout Chicken Sausage w/ Caramelized Onion. Made from LOCAL FREE RANGE chicken, served with Kosliks Triple Crunch mustard.
3) Asado NY Striploin kabob. Our house Argentinean Asado marinaded PEI (Free Range) NY Striploin Beef hot off the BBQ.
PARALLEL 49 BREWERY
Oh Parallel 49, how I love thee. Their playful labels, laissez-faire attitude in the busy, tasting room and creative brewing make for a great pit stop in the East Village neighbourhood. Only $3.50 for a paddle? Yes, please…I’ll have four. These guys brew a wide range of beers that cater to every palate, including some pretty unique seasonal ones.
My favourites (perfect for a paddle): Old Boy, Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale, Ugly Sweater, Salty Scot.
Missed this Tasting Plates? Check out the next one on Wednesday, December 11th in Burnaby Heights.