I joined the UBC Food Society and went to my first event today. Essentially, it's a club where you get to eat and meet people. I really don't know how you can find anything better than that.
We went on a food crawl called Gems of Gastown and tasted samples from 3 different restaurants.
Our first stop was a Carolina BBQ-style restaurant called Peckinpah. Think rock music, deep-fried everything and meat. Lots of meat. I felt like I was walking into a Western bar. Most of the people in my group said this place was their favorite, and I can see why. I'm not a huge fan of tons of meat, but I still thought it was pretty decent. Their beef brisket was tender and juicy and the smoked ribs weren't perfect, but still wonderful. I wanted more, but I had to stop myself because I knew there were two more restaurants coming up after. Their tomato-based barbecue sauce was also incredible. I put it on everything.
Salt Tasting Room was probably my favorite. I was a little scared at first because it's located on a sketchy little street called Blood Alley, but I ended up loving the concept of it. You pick and choose from their lists of meats, cheeses and condiments or if you can't decide, they have daily plates (which is what we had since all our food was pre-ordered for the day), and you get a bunch of small appetizers. I liked how creative it can get, like pairing salami and dried cherries together (the sweet-spicy mix was surprisingly really good!), and come up with flavors you never knew existed. The portions are incredibly tiny though, so it's literally just "tasting" and not dining. Since we only paid $5 for each restaurant because it was a club event, I was fine with that, but I don't think I would ever pay regular price for such a small amount of food.
Ambience-wise, I liked Nicli Antica Pizzeria the best. The staff were super friendly, most of them repping their Movember 'staches (even the oven they cooked pizza in a had a gigantic mustache pasted on), and it felt really cozy. I heard mixed reviews about this place - some people love it, some people hate it. Honestly, I can't remember what kind of pizzas we got, because there were 4 of them, and I swear our waiter was listing out the ingredients in Italian, but it was kinda fun because each piece was a surprise. Their pizzas were really saucy, with lots of garlic, fresh spices and strong flavors. Overall, I liked it. It reminded me of Europe.
Next time: Fine dining at Seasons in the Park!