Looking for a delicious way to spend a couple hours this weekend? EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival easily provides the city’s largest buffet in a sense — endless samples offered from local restaurants, vendors, producers, growers and importers. Previously held in the Vancouver Convention Centre, EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival moved to the recently renovated BC Place Stadium in a venue change. With the sun peeking through the new retractable roof — which was closed of course — foodies perused a massive selection of tasty treats from sweet-and-tangy imported Balsamic vinegar to hefty chunks of local salmon and more.
As usual, a selection of the Vancouver’s many restaurants set up booths to offer smaller portions of their menu items. Line-ups easily formed at a number of the booths for people waiting to dish out tickets for a taste. While the prices for a page of tickets ($10 for 20 tickets or $5 for 10) had remained the same, some booths were asking for seven to eight tickets for a single item — up from perhaps four or five tickets in past years.
I’m a sucker for anything with basil or a really good pesto – one booth, run by Le Grand, had a selection of different pesto on toasted flatbread that I had trouble putting down. One of the exhibitors saw that I had my camera around my neck and asked if I could take their picture for their Facebook page, which I happily agreed to. McDonalds had staked out a spot just inside of the entrance to the event and offered small cups of their fruit smoothies with a coupon for a dollar off a full sized one at their restaurants. I’m hooked on the Blueberry Pomegranate smoothie – quite flavourful with a hint of yogourt. I’m not much of a fan of tofu, but a booth run by a group from Japan was handing out a cube of white stuff dashed with a green hot sauce. There was a nice bit of heat to it and was actually quite tasty. One of the girls behind the table noticed I was wearing a Naruto shirt and we connected for a few minutes over the manga. Awesome!
I have to give credit for the booth handing out the salmon served with a very sweet, but savoury maple glaze. I kept going back for more free samples, and they even had a plate available for a couple of tickets. Another booth lined their table with trays of pickled green beans – some in a tiny paper cup filled with a Caesar mix – for a refreshingly crunchy snack.
A number of local restaurants returned to the Bite of Vancouver section – including the Gramercy Grill and Doña Cata Mexican Restaurant and Taqueria. I’m not going to say no to sliders or a nice carnitas-filled taco. Plus, there was pie from the aptly named Her Majesty’s Pie Company – though the portions seemed to tiny for something so scrumptious, such as the delectable apple-strawberry pie.
It’s always best to attend the EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival on a slightly empty stomach and to arrive as early as possible. BC Place filled up quickly but having a large open overhead space seemed to make things slightly less cramped. Be prepared to spend a couple of hours using your eyes, nose and mouth of course.
EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival runs until 9:00 pm PDT tonight and from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm PDT on Sunday. Ticket prices are $2.00 off if purchased online.
TagsBC Place Stadium, cuisine, Dining, EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival, food, photos, Vancouver
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