A couple of weeks ago, Vanfoodster hosted another Tasting Plates YVR event – this time in the Marpole area! This was awesome because it wasn’t too far from where shrimpo and I live, and it included my all-time favourite pho place.

We started off at Gigi Blin, a quaint market cafe named after a man who was renowned for producing the best watermelons. This was where we picked up our Tasting Plates ticket that had a map of the restaurants and a list of the meals.

The modern Gigi Blin doesn’t serve watermelons, instead it serves some great coffee. Shrimpo and I had a couple of Affogato’s: fresh espresso poured over ice cream. She had the vanilla while I had the hazelnut. Simple dessert, but a favourite nonetheless.

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We also had some danishes from Baguette & Co. I had the pistachio, which was not too sweet and had a pleasant chew to it. It paired well with the affogato. I can see myself ordering this one again even if I had just regular coffee… but everything’s better with ice cream.

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Gigi Blin also served some Housemade Soda. Not too sweet either, and quite refreshing.

Kids are amazing these days. Brother and sister, Skylar and Chloe, created their own company: Kids Can Cook Gourmet. They were even featured on CBC’s Dragon’s Den for their line of pasta sauces: Pasta Sauce That Rocks!

They currently have three flavours: Marinara, Creamy Tomato and Tomato and Basil. I tried the marinara and thought it was really good :) And its ingredient list was simple, packed with real ingredients and no preservatives. Their pasta sauces can be found in grocery stores like Whole Foods, Save on Foods, and more.

Next was my favourite pho place, Cafe Mai Mai! We had a beef pho in a MSG-free bone broth. And of course, I added their house-made chili sauce. Check out my other review on Cafe Mai Mai.

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I’ve never had their Pork & Vegetable Spring Rolls, but that’s what I love about Tasting Plates – I get to try new things. And I’m glad I did at Cafe Mai Mai because their spring rolls were textbook well-done. Not greasy at all. Had a great, audible crunch.

Going up a block, we hit up The Yard that served more beer than I usually drink in a year. Three were from Granville island: Honey Lager, IPA, and Pale Ale. The last one was the Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks. I typically prefer milder flavours, so I liked the Honey Lager the best.

Our final stop was an interesting one: Bonjour Marketplace. Think of it as an all-organic Whole Foods. Wholer Foods? Anyway, they have a food bar that serves salads, light meals, smoothies and other drinks. Some sounded quite interesting, like the Quinoa & Basmati Smoothie or the Brown Barley Smoothie… talk about carb loading.

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Their tasting plate had multiple components: Hearty Carrot Soup, Garden’s Brown Rice Risotto, Enzyme Salad, and Multi-Nutrients Fermented Noodles. We also had a homemade Soy Milk (not pictured). To be honest, I was initially quite put off by the flavours of each item… they tasted kind of off. But as I ate on, I liked it more and more. It definitely tasted healthy, I must say. But that’s not a bad thing, because I can see myself eating these foods regularly.

And for those wondering what’s an “Enzyme Salad”… it’s a salad that has some enzyme concoction in the dressing. They claim that it helps with digestion, but I don’t buy into any of that stuff. Let’s just focus on the real food, and leave the fancy dancy stuff behind.

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We also had some Pine Oolong Tea and Honey Red Jade Tea from Golden Leaf Tea.

And that was the night! Thankfully, it was a gorgeous day so the walks between stops were pleasant. If you’d like to check out the next Tasting Plates, go to www.tastingplatesyvr.com

Disclaimer: our tickets were complementary, but all opinions are my own.

Gigi Blin Market Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Cafe Mai-Mai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato