Last week, I joined Dishcrawl Vancouver for a food tour of Gastown, where we visited four restaurants. As opposed to knowing which restaurants we were to be visiting beforehand, Dishcrawl ticket holders find out where they're eating during the tour, with the meeting place and first location revealed 48 hours prior to the tour.
Each Dishcrawl tour is conducted in groups of approximately 25 people. It kind of felt like we were on a field trip with this group size! Chefs and owners also spoke about their dishes and restaurants during the tour, welcoming fellow foodies.
The first stop and meeting place of the tour was at Catch 122. I had previously been here for brunch, but never for dinner, so it was nice to sample some dinner dishes. Each guest was served a dish with three samples, including the chicken cordon bleu, portobello wild mushroom risotto & beef bourguignon. The chicken was wrapped in bacon, and despite it's somewhat bland appearance, it was quite flavourful and moist. I thought the beef bourguignon to be alright, but I enjoyed the risotto which was creamy with the mushrooms.
The next stop was Terracotta Modern Chinese on the edge of Gastown, where we sampled the vegetarian spring roll, crispy fried beans, and prawn wonton soup. The spring roll was chocked full of Taiwanese cabbage and not bad, albeit a bit greasy. I think the manager mentioned that the fried beans were supposed to be Szechuan style, but there wasn't anything Szechuan-y about it since it wasn't spicy at all. Instead, it was similar to a tempura style green bean, but with a heavier exterior. It was kind of cold, but that is understandable since they had to cook up so many. I enjoyed the prawn wonton, with it's thin wonton wrapper and generous portion of prawn, but the soup was a bit too salty.
The next stop was Brioche where we got to sample some of their many pastas, including the tortellini with Italian sausage, pesto penne, and fusili with wild porcini mushroom sauce. I think this was probably one of the most enjoyable legs of the tour -- maybe because it's been a long while since I had good pasta. All three of them were really good; however, I particularly liked the penne, which had only a pesto with it but it was really good, as well as the fusili with its creamy rich mushroom sauce.
For the last leg of the tour, we headed to Nuba, which is typically known for its crispy cauliflower, for some desserts. The favourite dessert of the night was the chocolate quinoa cake. I'm rarely a fan of gluten-free cakes, but this was moist and rich. Not much of the nutty quinoa taste to it either! The rosemary mascarpone mousse wasn't bad, but I found the pistachio mamoul a bit too dry and sweet for my taste. It kind of reminded me of a Shanghainese dried cake dessert that I tried in China.
Overall, it was a satisfying night as we dined through Gastown, and I was really quite full by the end of the tour. It was a nice way to sample twelve different dishes all at once without having to research and think about destinations (first world problems). Each ticket is $60 though, so that's essentially like $15 per restaurant. Not too bad, compared to other food tours available here, but I assume it would cater to certain niches of Vancourites. The pricing wouldn't be bad for tourists who are looking for an easy solution to try out a few places in one evening.
Catch 122 / Terracotta Modern Chinese / Brioche / Nuba