A Taste of Yaletown

by Ed Lau on October 8, 2008

Taste of Yaletown, Tequila Kitchen, Shrimp

Vancouver is truly one of the finest culinary cities in the world with world class restaurants featuring all sorts of different food and run by some of the best chefs in the business. Tonight, Stephen Fung, Leo Chiang, John Chow (with wife Sarah) and I went to the opening night of A Taste of Yaletown, held at the Tequila Kitchen, a cozy, intimate spot right in the middle of the most popular parts of the city. Having never been to this particular restaurant and by the way Stephen described the event, I expected it to be a lot like the Big Night in Vancouver that we went to earlier this year. I was pleasantly surprised to see a smaller but friendly crowd (and quite a few media folks) in a more relaxed environment that was probably more our vibe than the old money of the Vancouver Club (not that I didn’t enjoy that event too, though).

Taste of Yaletown, Feenie's, Cactus Club, Peking Duck clubhouse, margarita

Taste of Yaletown

Top chefs such as Rob Feenie were in attendance so we were quite excited about the food.

Taste of Yaletown, Feenie's, Cactus Club, Rob Feenie

The 4th Annual Taste of Yaletown will begin on the 14th and run til the 26th with 22 restaurants in the area offering three-course menus at $25, $35 or $45. This is a great way to sample some of the fantastic restaurants in Yaletown at a very reasonable price.

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As soon as I walked in the door, I was handed one of these.

Taste of Yaletown, lobster, shot glass

I don’t quite remember what the waitress called it but it was something like…liquid…lobster…something something. It was a crispy piece of lobster in a shot glass with a sort of creamy, sweet sauce that tasted a lot like a malt beverage. I commented that it tasted like someone put a fish stick in Ovaltine. Not something I would order.

Taste of Yaletown, burgers

However, it only got better from there. The mini-burgers were moist and delicious.

Taste of Yaletown, Pinky's Steakhouse

As you can see, there’s quite a spread. The far end had a selection of calamari and satays while that is a quiche and a pecan pie in the middle and a variety of meats, cheeses and grilled veggies on that platter with the bread. I believe these dishes were from Pinky’s Steakhouse (since there were Pinky’s business cards in the vicinity).

Taste of Yaletown, ravioli

This ravioli contains butternut squash and truffle oil. The truffle oil is amazing but I found the dish a bit sweet overall.

Taste of Yaletown, Tequila Kitchen, shrimp

Here’s two different takes on shrimp from Tequila Kitchen. The red is pan-seared with chipotle and the other is a tequila cream sauce. I enjoyed the tequila take more but both were quite good. Some found the chipotle too spicy, though.

Taste of Yaletown, Rob Feenie, Feenie's, Cactus Club, Peking Duck Clubhouse, margarita

By far our favorite entree was the Peking Duck Clubhouse from Cactus Club. This is one of Chef Feenie’s creations that he brought over from his previous restaurant. I actually ate this a long time ago when John, Sarah and I went to Feenie’s for lunch. Still fantastic. The duck is great with the sweetness of the hoisin sauce and the raisin bread.

Taste of Yaletown, Tequila Kitchen, margarita, bartender, shakers

The fruity pink drink above is one of two margaritas offered by Tequila Kitchen for the evening. The pink one is a hibiscus rose margarita made from hibiscus flower juice and rose water. It was excessively sweet, in my opinion but perfect for John…who eats sugar straight from packets probably.

Taste of Yaletown, Tequila Kitchen, margarita

The green ones were more traditional margaritas and tasted more of tequila and less of all the sugar in the world.

Taste of Yaletown, Tequila Kitchen, shrimp

There were a few other dishes around. In fact, I swear that I missed one…a soup, I think, that was served in small espresso cups. I’ll have to get the details later. However, we were all getting quite full and were ready for dessert, such as the pecan pie from Pinky’s.

Taste of Yaletown, Cactus Club, Rob Feenie

However, we could see Chef Feenie hard at work on something back in the kitchen.

Taste of Yaletown, Cactus Club, Rob Feenie, peanut butter crunch, chocolate mouse, caramel, dessert

Turns out…it was one of the best desserts I’ve had in awhile! And I don’t even really like too many desserts. This is a peanut butter crunch bar topped with chocolate mousse and caramel. The mousse is incredible…so full of chocolate. Rich but not in the least bit heavy. The peanut butter crunch bar crumbles in your mouth and all of it put together is awesome. It’s like if I were to put Christmas in my mouth. Not too sweet…rather perfect.

Taste of Yaletown, Cactus Club, Rob Feenie, peanut butter crunch, chocolate mouse, caramel, dessert

Of course, we weren’t going to stop at just one…

What a great way to kick off A Taste of Yaletown! Of course, if you want to get in on the culinary action, you can make reservations online to make sure you get a table. I’m certain they’ll be going quick. If you are intending to go, be sure to bring your American Express because if you charge your meal to your Amex, they’ll donate 5% to the Canadian Association of Food Banks.

For all you Vancouverites, which restaurants do you think you’ll be going to?

in Food and Fine Dining,Photography

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric Tan October 9, 2008 at 11:39 am

Awesome Pictures man… That chocolate mousse dessert looks great!

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Michael Kwan October 9, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Why am I stuck in Deadmonton? I’m in Vancouver for Stephen’s failed Zune Launch, but I’m out of town for this.

Reply

Stephen October 9, 2008 at 2:48 pm

@Michael Kwan:
This was also Stephen’s WIN Taste of Yaletown Party. Just sayin… ;)

Don’t you have mooseburgers in Deadmonton? You can get in touch with your inner Palin :lol:

Reply

Mike Huang October 10, 2008 at 12:34 am

Very impressive photos, Ed. The food looks simply amazing!!

-Mike

Reply

Armen Shirvanian October 17, 2008 at 8:45 pm

The treats and the various foods at this event look quite exquisite, and I am sure they were all consumed by the attendees. It is hard to turn down material that has that many colors or looks that flavorful.

Reply

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