August 27th, 2010. Salt Tasting Room
So, it seems this summer I’ve organized a few eat-outs. Eat-Out #2 was to Salt Tasting Room! This time it was with a totally different group! Daniel, Joshua, Eleazar and I met up in Gastown. This was gonna be interesting….bringing boys out to fill up on “ham and cheese”..!!
Traffic in Vancouver nowadays is so unpredictable what with all the construction both on and off the highway so it was really no surprise that we all couldn’t possibly on time! The funny thing is that the people who started driving on time actually only arrived 5 minutes earlier than the ones who left their house much later! Eventually everyone made it into Blood Alley in Gastown and into the restaurant. As we opened the door we were greeted by the energetic clamour of people chatting away, plates and glasses and general merriment! I love how we all just sit at the long, wooden communal tables and rub elbows with each other. The brick walls and wooden benches and tables and raw light fixtures bring a warmth to the cellar-like space.
A porcelain pig stands guard over portions of the long tables that have a reservation. There are lots of different little piggies! Small, large, spotted, plain, colorful; you name it!
The boys were a little bit at a loss for how or what to order, so we all just went for the set platters: The Butcher’s Platter, Cheese Platter and BC Platter. Joshua was really taken by the menu (who said he wasn’t into media and graphics..lol!) and as we were leaving the restaurant he actually asked and procured a copy for himself as a souvenir!
Joshua started off with the Fennel Salad, which he proclaimed was extremely fennel-y! Meanwhile, Daniel and I had the Mixed Green Salad with Crumbled Blue Cheese and a Lustau PX Sherry Vinaigrette. Daniel and I also had the non-alcoholic flight to accompany our set meal: Blood Orange, Passion and Lime Fizz.
The BC Plate: Corned Beef (Mike Vitow/Cultus Lake via Brooklyn) with Guiness Mustard. Chorizo (The Cure/Kitsilano) with Picalilli Relish. Local Chevre (Salmon Arm) with Similkameen Honey. The honey was divine!! It was so well paired with the goat cheese. I also really enjoyed the relish and the mustard.
Cheese Plate: Humbolt Fog (California) with Quince Paste, Champfleury (Quebec) with Okanagan Cherries. Isle of Mull Cheddar (UK) with Castelvitrano Olives. I was a big fan of the Humbolt and Quince. Great contrasting flavors! Joshua took one taste of the Champfleury with the Okanagan Cherries and it was literally like he had a revelation! He made us all try it 😉
Butcher Plate: Saucisson Sec (Oyama/Granville Island) with Okanagan Peaches. Lomo (The Cure/Kitsilano) with Mediterranean Olives. Norwegian Lamb Salami (Oyama/Granville Island) with Cornichons. Have you ever had lamb salami? I have! Actually, lamb is not my favorite, and what with all the cheese in front of me I honestly did not get to try very much. The Okanaga Peaches & Sacucisson Sec, on the other hand: wonderful! Also, I totally loved the salty olives with the fatty Lomo. Yum!
They had to run across the street and gett he desserts from the Irish Heather since the pastry chef there provides the desserts. Daniel ordered this rich Chocolate Torte with Cherry Reduction. Very rich, sweet and filling!
Always one to try something different and sometimes strange I went for the Blue Cream Cheese Cake with Apricot Compote! Holy moly!!! This is one stunner of a dessert! The blue cheese is strong but some how the mild sweetness of the compote neutralizes it while the sweet crumble on top add some pizzazz. I do have to say, because even just one bite is so potent it was difficult to finish this all. It was definitely a really interesting dessert!
You know what? We actually got super full from our little plates! Really great pairings=flavor explosions in the mouth and tons of smiles!! The best part was the fun conversations and getting to know each other! I had so much fun, boys, can’t wait to do it again!!