When I have friends in town, the first thing I want to do is – take them on a mini culinary adventure in Vancouver!
There is no better way to experience what this city has to offer, than by walking each neighbourhood. And one of my favourite neighbourhoods is Gastown – pretty much every cuisine type is available and the entertainment factor is pretty good too.
Recently, a foodie friend of mine and myself took a new friend out and about on the town, tasting our way through the night.
We started at Black + Blue Rooftop Patio on Alberni Street. Downstairs is the restaurant and “be seen” bar, but upstairs is a heated patio with tables and lounge couches – making it feel like you are at a bar in South Beach or LA (on a mini scale of course). We enjoyed a glass of wine (mine was a deliciously aromatic white Bordeaux) and cocktail respectively, along with the Mini Sliders appetizers. Choosing our own topping to go along with this mini-hamburger (think Blue cheese or Cheddar with sautéed onions) – they were a delicious little bite!
Next up – Gastown! It took us approximately 20 minutes to walk, otherwise one could take a taxi.
First stop and a must for anyone, was a place called Salt Tasting Room. Expect wines, sherry, port, a few beers, charcuterie & cheeses. It’s front door is in the back alley (blood alley) under the Salt Shaker banner – that’s what makes it so unique. Why is it called blood alley? Well, it’s rumoured to have been either a. a butcher area b. an execution area as it was near the first jail – but it’s not known for sure.
What’s fun about Salt is not only the atmosphere, but the huge list of international wines they carry, along with the tasting plates. You can choose a glass of wine or a flight of your choice or have the server make the choice (I call this wildcard!). And you can do the same thing with the charcuterie and cheese plates.
Next – our last stop of the evening. Notturno. A hole in the wall on a busy block in Gastown. It’s a little Italian bar and eatery serving fun and creative cocktails, Italian wines and Italian bites made for sharing. We started with a bottle of lovely wine – Monte Del Fra from just outside of Venice, Italy. Medium body, red fruits, some spice and earthiness and easily paired with any foods. We shared 3 dishes: Marinated baby octopus; Smoked cod pancake with smoked salmon roe and red pepper sauce; Braised cannelli beans with garlic greens and prosciutto. All a great value for the size of the dishes and the wonderful flavours.
So the next time you can’t decide on where to go for dinner, how about a mini culinary adventure around the city!
Black + Blue Steakhouse
Alberni Street @ Burrard
Salt Tasting Room
Back Alley off Water Street between Abbott & Carrall Streets
Carrall Street at Cordova