Taste Vancouver Gastown Food Tour


Gastown is one of Vancouver's oldest neighbourhoods full of history and charm. As a local, I should be very familiar with it but I was not. I've only been to Gastown a couple of times and have never bothered to look up the history of it. Taste Vancouver Food Tour had a 2 for 1 Groupon for the tour so I jumped on it as soon as I heard about it. This was the first time I had attended a food tour and I was excited. I always love being a tourist in my own city and so does everyone else! Most of the attendees on our outing were locals. This tour covers 9 stops in Gastown, 8 food places and 1 shoe stop.

We started off the tour at the Starbucks at Canada Place where we met our tour guide. Banana loaf and Cool Lime Refresher were waiting for us while we waited for others to arrive. We weren't giving an audio headset despite what the tour description said so sometimes it was hard to hear our guide. I suggest staying at the front of the group.

Our tour guide was non other than Gassy Jack himself complete with accent. Awesome.

When everyone arrived, Gassy Jack took us on a walk to Gastown.

We stopped by the Province building where he told us some history about Gastown and how this building relates to it via the freeway that was never built in Vancouver. Thank goodness!

On we went to Waterfront station. More interesting history told here about the train station and Starbucks.

Have you ever looked up and seen the artwork and clocks up near the ceiling? I have never noticed them until this tour.

Our first official stop of the food tour was Rogue Kitchen & Wetbar which used to be the ladies waiting area for the train. Yes. The whole restaurant!

We sat down and were served a sample of Lobster Mac n' Cheese. Yummy, but very rich. I don't think I could take more than this portion size.

Next we hopped next door to Steamworks Brewing Company.

We headed down to the basement where Steamworks brews their beer.

In these large vats which are powered by steam!

Oatmeal stout beer was the beer of the day. It's a very dark beer but tastes ok.

I spotted a cool table made out of a door as we left.

Going further into Gastown, we were hitting up the desserts already. Rogers' Chocolates & Ice Cream was our next stop followed by Maple Delights.

We got to try a Sea Salt Caramel chocolate while Gassy Jack told us the history about Rogers' Chocolates and how he didn't start out making chocolate exclusively.

At Maple Delights we were ushered to the Tasting Station where we sampled a variety of maple syrup products.

Regular maple syrup,

cranberry maple syrup,

maple butter,

and maple tea.

The maple syrups were very sweet. I liked the cranberry one more which was a little tart in taste. I would have liked the maple tea first because after all the sweetness I couldn't really taste it. Though after a few sips, I decided I like this tea!

More interesting tidbits of Gastown architecture. The building on the left has the same style windows as San Francisco and the ceiling on the right may be only tin ceiling in all of Vancouver. It was saved from some place. I forget where.

Our fifth stop was Brioche Urban Baking & catering.

We get good Italian cooked meals here.

I love the decor. It's very rustic and homely.

We were served a very decent portion of 3 Cheese Tortellini with some bread. This was the dish that filled us up for the tour.

After that we went on to dessert at Trees Organic, a place what was voted to have the best cheesecake in town!

We were given a choice between two cheesecakes, Lime or Mango Splash. Mango Splash was the featured cheesecake so I decided to try that. I wish we were allowed to have both samples. The portion is pretty small.

We headed down the street to the famous Gastown Steam Clock and I became a statistic at the most photographed attraction in Vancouver.

After listening to the steam clock chime the Westminster Quarters, we crossed the street to Water St. Cafe where we sat upstair in the private dining room while listening to the morbid history of the hotel and how it might be haunted. It is the only original building left from the fire that burnt down Gastown.

To cheer us up, we were given a quarter of a the cafe's West Coast Crab Cake to try which was on the menu since the restaurant opened.

From there we went to a stop that didn't really fit into a food tour, which was the John Fluevog shoe store. We just stopped by long enough to hear a bit of history about this building, which isn't a building at all but an area between buildings. We were told we could come back to shop after the tour with the 10% off coupon we got for being on the tour.

Peckinpah was our 2nd last stop, serving authentic Carolina style BBQ and we sampled some of their pulled pork with two sauces.

Peckinpah smokes their meats in-house.

I preferred the BBQ sauce which despite what the label says wasn't spicy at all. The other sauce I have no idea what it's suppose to taste like because I couldn't taste anything at all.

The last stop was in an alleyway where the jails and stables used to be. First we were given a history of Blood Alley where blood from the butcher shops coated the cobble stones and muggings and murders were a common thing. How nice.

After promising never to walk alone at night in Blood Alley, we went into Après-midi Premium Teahouse which is being renamed to Gastown Tea Company. It is housed in what use to be the stables for the police horses.

Smells really nice inside with all the different teas available for purchase.

We were given a quarter of a oatmeal coconut cookie

and a small cup of lemon maple tea. (or was it just maple tea again?)

Sadly our tour ended at the Gassy Jack Statue where we parted ways with our guide.

I really enjoyed the tour and at $19.50 (with Groupon) it was well worth it. It was a nice to spend the afternoon learning about the history of Gastown. Sometimes I felt like it was a promotional food tour though. I was more interested in the history. Our guide was very entertaining and the food was good despite the small portions.

Gastown Food Tour is $39 regular price and you can book on the Taste Vancouver Food Tour website here.

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