The first business I ever had was a tour company, while in college a friend and I started a tour company to take kids to unique spots around the city. That lead me into other business ventures over the years, though the art of touring has always been of interest to me. I was recently invited to take part in the “Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tour” offered by Michelle Ng of Vancouver Foodie Tours. I had no idea what to expect initially, however, I soon discovered how organized Michelle was and this was going to be an enjoyable experience and it was.
The “Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tour” is walking tour around a fairly close area with like-minded foodies. I recently spent my Saturday afternoon with a group of wonderful people that included tourists from San Francisco, along with locals from Port Moody, Richmond and Vancouver. We started off at Kirin Restaurant on Alberni Street, this was my first visit to this location so it was a treat even for me. Sitting at one of their large round tables, Michelle gave us all an intro into Dim Sum dining, then the Manager also talked about the restaurant which was quite interesting. At this restaurant we sipped on Jasmine Tea while tasting Steamed Prawn and Pork Dumplings along with Sticky Rice with Pork and Dried Scallop wrapped in Lotus Leaf.
Our next stop was to the Sutton Place Wine Merchant to taste the BC produced Domaine de Chaberton Bacchus wine along with some crackers and preserves, I think having this location as a stop on a tour is a great idea if you love wine, however if you don’t love wine then you may want to take in all the action of the Japadog cart in front.
On to stop #3, a visit to Top Chef Canada’s Chef Dale Mackay’s Ensemble Tap Restaurant to taste their BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich paired with a glass of Red Truck Ale. I have eaten at this restaurant a few times previously, however this was my first time having this delicious BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich. During the visit, Ensemble Tap, Manager – Christopher Cho gave us a very thorough background of the company and restaurant along with a tour of the kitchen.
The next stop was to visit Shuraku Sake Bar & Bistro, a Japanese Izakaya with a large selection of Sake. Here we tasted the Spicy Wild Salmon Tartar and Agedashi Tofu paired with local Artisan Sake Maker’s Osake Junmai Nama.
The final stop was to visit Bella Gelateria my favourite gelateria in the city, well its my favourite gelateria in North America, so I was quite happy for a return visit. Here we tasted the Salted Pecan Gelato, Salted Caramel Gelato and Meyer Lemon Sorbetto. At this point I reflected on some new dishes I had tasted and the touring experience which even in my own city was a wonderful experience.
I would highly recommend this tour or any tour that Michelle Ng offers as she is well versed in creating an educational and tasty experience around Vancouver.
Vancouver Foodie Tours offers all sorts of tours, you can find them online at http://foodietours.ca or on twitter @VanFoodieTours
By: Richard Wolak