Gastown Grazing

One of Kale’s favourite foodie activities in Vancouver is hanging out in Gastown for a progressive dinner with friends.  They hop from restaurant to restaurant for different courses throughout the evening.  It can be called a dine-around or dinner crawl, depending on their mood; but the places are spontaneously selected and no two evenings are the same.  That’s the fun part!   For those of you less familiar with Vancouver, Gastown is a stylish, historic neighbourhood in the city centre and considered a hub for unique dining.  Since most of Kale’s gastronomic experience of Gastown is nocturnally-driven, she thought a progressive lunch would be a good Kake2Kale challenge.  And, to up the ante,  Kale wanted to find comfort dishes, with superfoods, that can be eaten in a bowl. At first, I was skeptical and thought we could only eat pasta and soup. But Kale convinced me to be open and surprised by what we might find. I’m glad she did, and without any plans, here is how we grazed our way through Gastown on a rainy January afternoon!

Flying Pig
The Truffled Cauliflower Gratin with 4 cheeses on the menu of the Flying Pig restaurant peeked our interest. Kale and I knew we HAD to have it.  As we were giving our order, the server suggested we order the brussel sprouts as well.  They were served in boats, which was bowl-like enough for us.  Wow, the brussel sprouts were outstanding. They were roasted with capers, which brought a brightness to the earthy flavor of the sprouts.  The cauliflower, however, was a little underwhelming as they were under cooked.  Please bear in mind I am not a restaurant reviewer, but I do know what I like.  The cheeses were yummy though – white cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan.  Cauliflower and brussel sprouts are both cruciferous vegetables which have indole-3-carbinol and promotes a healthy balance of good estrogen.  They also have anti-tumour properties and are high in fibre.  So we were off to a good start!

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Jules Bistro
For a romantic meal where you feel like you’ve been whisked away to an intimate, pretty, little jewel (pun intended) of a restaurant in France, Jules Bistro is the place for you.  More importantly, the food is delicious as well!  We ordered a bowl of mussels with a leek cream sauce, which turned out to be light and flavourful.  The sauce was sooo delicious, and I couldn’t stop dipping chunks of baguette into it.  We went in search of our next course after being fortified with protein, Omega 3’s as well as minerals – like calcium, zinc and iron – from the mussels.

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The Secret Location
I have passed this establishment many times and have always wanted to try it.  From the outside it looks like a chic-hip euro lounge/restaurant.  What caught our attention on the menu was the lobster corn risotto.  By this time, we were somewhat full.  But perhaps because of our Asian heritage, Kale and I are suckers for anything rice-related.  And, who doesn’t love lobster?  Kale also surmised that the portion wouldn’t be very large considering our surroundings.  She was correct.  There were generous chunks of lobster, but the rice wasn’t as creamy as we would’ve liked.  They didn’t use Arborio rice and it just looked like normal long grain rice.  Nonetheless, we enjoyed the flavours and the lobster, plus the elegant surrounds of the Secret Location.  Lobster is high in protein, potassium and magnesium.  It’s also has vitamins A, B’s, calcium, iron and zinc.  We thought we had no room for dessert until…

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Kale and I first came across Purebread at a farmer’s market.  Their stand always attracts lots of attention because of their beautiful and bountiful display of baked goods.  Everything looks homey, scrumptious and generously portioned.  So we were happy to stumble upon their new permanent bake shop in Gastown.  There, we chose the “Adults Only” cookie.  It was a dark chocolate cookie with rosemary and sea salt.  Oh Boy!  We were already full from our three courses, but we could not resist this intriguing combination.  It is aptly named as kids would not like it, but thankfully as grown ups, we loved it!  The rosemary gave it a really herby, fragrant note, and the sea salt heightened the chocolate flavour.  Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants, and magnesium.  The rosemary also has a host of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties as well.  It has been shown to increase blood flow to the head and brain, as well as improving concentration.  We could not resist this cookie and to live up to our challenge, we placed it in the bowl of our hands to eat.  What a perfect ending to our afternoon. Before we knew it, three and a half hours flew by as Kale and I nibbled, chatted, and snapped photos through Gastown.

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Instead of feeling limited and boxed in with the parameter that we gave ourselves, we found ourselves “bowled” over at what we were able to find and taste.  Thanks Kale for a great adventure!

Eat well, live great! {Kake}