By Leeann Froese As part of the 2016 Dine Out Vancouver Festival there are 'brunch crawls' taking place on the weekends. They are put on by Vancouver Foodster and are along the lines of a regular dine around series he does throughout the year called Tasting Plates.
There are two left this weekend: in Yaletown and on Main Street - and you can watch for future similar events even when Dine Out is over.
This was my first dine around event... where you have a small bite at each place you go to. These bites can be something that the restaurant usually features on their menu or is a mini or modified version of a regular menu item. The idea is to give you a peek at what the food at the place visited is like. It's a great way to be exposed to places you might not have visited before, or to have a snack at some of your favorites.
I'll explain what I got to taste and where we went to to follow, but first I thought I would give some helpful tips from what I learned - my top five ways to survive a dining crawl.
1. Dress for the Weather Because you are moving from one location to the next, and often on foot, you want to make sure that you are dressed appropriately. You want to make sure that if it's going to be sunny that you've got your sunglasses and a hat, or if it's raining make sure you're wearing something waterproof and that you have your umbrella with you just in case. It also pays off to wear layers because on the day that we did our crawl, it was sunny, windy, and also had a little bit of rain. It's not recommended that you wear high heels; comfortable shoes that you can walk in are definitely the way to go.
Oh, and wear stretchy pants... see #2:
2. Be Hungry Arrive with an appetite. With several stops to be made on a crawl, even if you are having a small bite at each, they do add up and you do get full. While some stops want to offer you seconds or give you a large plate of food to taste, I recommend that you pace yourself.
3. Be OK With Carbs Bread, waffles, crackers, etc. are great vessels to carry or hold other ingredients and flavours. Be prepared for there to be some sort of carb at each stop; if not part of the main taste, then at least to hold something else.
4. Keep An Open Mind A favourite saying of mine is "you get what you get, and you don't get upset". This can't be more true for a dine around or crawl situation. While in some cases you get to see the menu in advance, sometimes there are last-minute substitutions and not every menu item is going to meet your particular dietary restrictions. Also you might be visiting a place for the first time and unfamiliar with their menu, so be ready to taste something new-to-you and take a risk on some ingredients you might not ever have before.
5. Don't Be in a Hurry With four hours to cover a neighborhood, it offers plenty of time and you don't need to worry that you won't get to fit in every stop. Taking time to talk to the people at each location and learn more about what they are doing is complimentary to them, and they appreciate it. Also you can gain a sense of the kind of regular business they do when you see what they have to offer. Some places will be busier than others, and you can be prepared to wait in a line, or potentially even wait for somewhere to sit. You can't let this frustrate you; you have to just take it in as part of the pace of the experience.
In short, for my first experience doing a brunch crawl I thought it was overall a good one. For a brunch crawl I would've liked to have an egg; I was surprised that no one served any kind of egg dish beyond quiche.
But what I did receive was yummy waffles, bagels, pancakes, and French toast. And I can't forget coffee; we had some great coffee! To follow is the detail of what each location offered, and I invite you to go out and try one of the spots yourself when they're open for regular business.
Here's the recap of my first crawl:
I was lucky enough to be the guest of Karl Kliparchuk - Karl is an educator who also hosts the popular website My Wine Pal.
Here's the order we did our stops in and what we had: