Last Thursday, a group of jubilant foodies partook in the West End Dishcrawl. We walked up and down Robson St. and visited four very different restaurants. Although I’m a bit of an awkward turtle when it comes to social events, everyone was super duper friendly and talkative. Although, as the night progressed, it seemed like the food bloggers coalesced into one photo-snapping unit :P It was totally awesome hanging and dining with Foodology, Janice from VanFoodies, the Food Queen and Tien from 604foodtography!
We kicked it off at Ap Gu Jung! The upper floor was reserved for our group of ~25.
Like any other Korean restaurant, we got some side dishes. I’m always torn when deciding which one’s my favourite. It’s either the kim chi or seaweed.
Holy, this plate was massive – and everyone gets their own! It was composed of:
- Seafood Pancake – slightly crispy on the outside, mushy on the inside. One of my favourite pancakes :)
- Kimchi Pancake – couldn’t really pick up much kim chi flavour.
- Chicken Skewers – really disappointing. Room temp chicken and peppers skewered on a stick with BBQ sauce, which the Food Queen thought was Bold’s BBQ Sauce. Since it’s not even grilled, it was utterly bland.
- Pork on Fire – definitely my favourite component of the dish. Not too spicy; it’s quite sweet actually.
- Traditional BBQ Beef – little bit dry, but it was okay flavour-wise.
We originally had two other dishes lined up, but since we all thought that the first one was already so substantial, the others were cancelled. I believe they were supposed to be a beef soup and some beef short ribs.
Since I’ve already written a post about Ap Gu Jung before, you can click here to check out other dishes.
When I think about ramen, my mind doesn’t automatically jump to “food court.” At least it didn’t until Dishcrawl.
Takayama Ramen makes its own noodles in-house. Their Hida Ramen broth is gently simmered over three days, which allows for some serious flavour development without MSG!
The Hida Chuka Ramen (Soy Sauce) is simply topped with bamboo shoots and chashu (stewed pork). Its broth is chicken-based, not the usual pork bone!
Holyyy, it was so delicious! The broth was incredibly light and clean. As well, the noodles had a delightful chew. Despite its lack of melt-in-your-mouth-ness, the chashu was still pretty good.
We had to split the bowls of ramen, so I was left craving more…
The second ramen was an original creation by the owner: White Sesame Ramen. In spite of its name, the ramen was more peanut-y with sesame accents. Unfortunately, I found it to be bland on a whole.
Also, some of the other bloggers noted that it was overly creamy and that they usually like to slurp up the broth along with the noodles. They couldn’t do that with this one :(
Similar to the previous ramen, the Sweet & Spicy Ramen was another original. Similar to the previous ramen, I didn’t like this one that much.
The broth was certainly more flavourful than the sesame’s, but there was an overpowering ginger taste.
Next up, Forage! It’s a farm-to-table style restaurant; head chef Chris Whittaker even grows some of the ingredients in his backyard!
Our first dish was Nettle Gnocchi & Brown Butter. I know what you’re thinking… what’s brown butter? It’s literally butter that has been browned: the milk solids in butter specifically. Thus, it has a nuttier flavour.
I’ve never eaten gnocchi before, but this experience was similar to eating mashed potatoes. While that doesn’t sound quite spectacular, the brown butter made it so.
I loved how all the dishes were served in cast iron pans and on wooden planks. It’s very rustic and fitting for this dish of Foraged (OHHHHH that’s why the restaurant is called “Forage”) & cultivated mushrooms and Okanagan goat cheese w/ grilled caraway rye.
Best tasting mushrooms, hands down. Plump, juicy and earthy. Foodology obviously agrees since she polished off the pan :P
Finally, the Flatbread w/ pancetta, morel mushrooms, onion béchamel and Jersey blue cheese. Right off the bat, I’m going to say that I do not like blue cheese. The flatbread was still okay, but I wouldn’t normally order it due to the cheese’s powerful pungency.
Also, it could’ve used more mushrooms; I actually piled on some from the previous dish. In fact, it could’ve used more of everything else besides the cheese.
Our last stop: Capstone Tea & Fondue! I’ve reviewed this place too before, so click here to check it out!
The fondue is made with 56% semi-sweet Belgian dark chocolate.
We each got our own bowls of fruit, banana bread, cheesecake, cookies and ice cream truffles.
Let’s just say that they convinced me to start eating pineapples again and the ice cream truffles are ADDICTIVE.
Interestingly enough, Capstone was thinking of introducing macarons, which I’m still not sure how to pronounce (macaRON or macaROON?). Don’t judge me, but this was my first time eating a macaron! It didn’t have any particular flavour – just sweet. Texturally, it was chewy like nougat when it’s supposed to be airy.
The bits of caramel served as awesome toppings!
Oh ho ho, look at that smooth chocolate coating something-that-I-can’t-remember-but-I-don’t-care-as-long-as-it’s-delicious.
That’s a wrap for West End Dishcrawl! Evidently, there were some hits and misses. It was definitely a fun experience, especially when I got to meet some new people. Props to Jennifer Chin, who organized it all and kept us on schedule. If you do decide to try out Dishcrawl, be sure to look out for discount codes since the $60 price tag can be quite hefty.