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Category: food and beverage

Dark Table

Dark Table

Last weekend we went to Dark Table for dinner. We had heard of Dark Table but this was our first time to try it out.

The Dark Table experience is like no other in Vancouver. Upon arrival, we were shown to the outdoor lounge (it’s cold in winter so dress warmly) and given menus. After making our selections we were introduced to our server, Dustin, who took us inside. There is absolutely no light in the dining room so we were led to our table single file, hands on shoulders. The servers are all blind or sight impaired so when you pass through the doors of Dark Table you are entering a world of darkness similar to theirs. With Dustin as our guide and helper we felt totally safe. This is huge for me as I hate walking in darkness. I remember the first time Susannah and I went camping and we walked down the camp road late at night to get to the bathrooms and I was completely freaked out by the surrounding blackness.

We were guided past several tables and then turned to the left to reach ours. Once seated, Dustin explained how the dinner service would work and then left us. It felt a bit weird sitting opposite each other in complete darkness. We could hear other people but had no idea how near or far away they were. Susannah and I slowly explored our surroundings with our hands to see how big the table was and what was on it.  Dustin returned and served the wine that we had ordered. I was quite worried about knocking my stemmed wine glass over but the tables are quite spacious with nothing superfluous on them so it was pretty easy to find a safe spot for my glass that I could locate again.

We had ordered the three-course (no-meat) dining experience. Our “surprise” starter arrived and placed in front of us. I soon learned how hard it is to pick up a mouthful of food from a bowl when you can’t see. I think my first three forkfuls came up empty. I’m a big “Hell’s Kitchen” fan and I love the “taste it, make it” sections where contestants have to identify elements of a dish then recreate it. I have a bit of a super-nose so I thought I’d be better at identifying what I was eating but it turned out to be more difficult than I expected. I could easily pick things like tomato, cucumber, eggplant, but then there was a grain that I struggled to identify. I thought it was couscous or quinoa but it turned out to be bulgar wheat.

Susannah and I ordered different main courses – I ordered the vegetarian surprise and Susannah ordered the prawn risotto. We were able to sample each other’s dishes by carefully pushing our plates toward the center of the table. Susannah’s risotto was nice and the prawns were perfectly cooked but my “surprise” dish was disappointing. It wasn’t so much a case of not being able to identify elements of the dish, but more that it didn’t really have much flavor. Still, it was fun to try to identify the components of each dish.

The dessert was lovely and we both got a good handle on what it was.

Overall I’d say the food was a bit underwhelming.  It’s true that some of the appeal of dining-out comes from the food’s presentation. By removing the ability to tease the palate visually, the experience relies on texture and flavour. The depth of flavour was missing from the menu at Dark Table so the food was a bit bland.

The experience though was something else. I’m not sure if “enjoyed” is the right word, perhaps “appreciated” is better. It was definitely worth going to challenge ourselves and to gain more of an understanding of others.  I would recommend it if you’ve never been before.

If you’ve been to Dark Table, let us know your experience in the comments below.

 

 

 

YVR Food Fest

YVR Food Fest

On Saturday we went to the YVR Food Fest at Olympic Village. Known for the past 4 years as the Vancouver Food Cart Fest, the event has rebranded and expanded to include more food vendors, parties, and food talks. Wandering around the venue and seeing what’s on offer in street food in Vancouver was an awesome way to spend the day.

The trucks were laid out in a large circle chuck wagon style which made it easy to wander around and check things out.

Hunger Management

The event was very family friendly with some good things to do.

Ping Pong at YVRFoodfest
Have a little ping pong play time
Water Spray fun
Mini spray parks for the kids
Who doesn't love ice cream?
Who doesn’t love ice cream?

There was also a pop-up marketplace selling everything from sunglasses and T-shirts to handmade crafts.

Sunglasses at pop up market

Pop up market

And there were DJs.

DJ playing at YVRFoodfest

Some of the vendors had small tasting plates available. Here is a mini taco salad (without the taco) that we tried from Vegan vendor Gypsy Trunk.

Sampler of vegan food

We sampled some dauphin potatoes from C’est Si Bon which were lovely, light and fluffy. Then we tried a tofu taco from Korean vendor Disco Cheetah. So good!

Tofu Taco at Disco Cheetah

At this point we decided to check out the liquid refreshments on offer. There were yummy juices…

Juice Vendor at YVRFoodfest

Oh look, a bar!

Pop up bar at YVRFoodfest

We sampled two different styles of Rosé, each with a distinctly different colour, flavour and body.

Rose
Church 13 on the left and Okanagan Crush Pad on the right

Then, more food. After much thought and debate we chose the spicy tempura prawn sandwich from Hunger Management. It was spicy, it was rich, it was HUGE.

Shrimp sandwich

After sharing that we decided we were pretty much done. We were going to try some Hurricane Potatoes but we were just too full for more food. They did look good though and we probably would have gone with a garlic parmesan flavour.

Hurricane Potato

On our final circuit of the Festival (walking off the food) we stopped to watch Slavic Rolls being made. Slavic Rolls are a traditional Eastern European dessert made from sweet yeasty dough. Here’s a short video of the charismatic vendor making them.

After being given a teaser taste of the home-made Bavarian cream we just had to try a roll. We chose the Bavarian cream with raspberry jam. Yum!

Eastern European Slavic Rolls

Done, done and done. We couldn’t fit in a single morsel more.

Stressed-Desserts

The food festival was really enjoyable. Many of our favourite food trucks were there including Tacofino, Nuba, and Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck, but for us the YVRFoodFest was a great opportunity to try new foods and find new favourites. We had a great day out and left feeling filled and chilled.

Firestone Walker craft beer launch in Vancouver

Firestone Walker craft beer launch in Vancouver

Last night we were invited to a VIP tasting of Firestone Walker Beer at Craft Beer Market in the Salt building in Olympic Village. If you are unfamiliar with Vancouver or with Olympic Village, this area began to be developed as the Vancouver Athlete’s Village the 2010 Olympic Games. Since then the area has exploded and is a condo city with restaurants, bars and great places to hang out. The historic Salt building was built in the 1930’s and was originally used as a refinery of salt shipped from San Diego. Now the building is owned by the City of Vancouver and since 2013 has been the home of Craft Beer Market and it’s array of 100+ tap beers.

Craft 2

Where exactly is the Craft Beer Market located? It’s at the corner of Salt St and Walter Hardwick Ave. There is a pair of giant sparrows pretty much pointing towards it so follow their beaks and you’ll know you’re in the right place.

big bird 2

Big Bird

Now on to the beer! We were treated to 4 of Firestone Walker’s beer on tap to celebrate their arrival in Canada. Our fav was the Union Jack West Coast IPA which is a lovely hoppity hopped brew, double dry hopped and with a nice citrus tang. Perfect for the West Coast palette.

Firestone Walker beer

Check out the Firestone Walker Beers if you get a chance. We enjoyed them and the whole Craft Market Experience. Many thanks to Horizon Beers for the invite!