Feast or Famine (aka ‘How to Eat Like a Royal on Pennies a Day’)

With the rise of gluten-free food from barely socially acceptable fare to a must have, much sought after quality – I went on the prowl for the best places in Vancouver for managing the munchies and getting a grip on the growlies!

As any savvy urbanite knows the first place to visit is the almighty yelp.ca to get a feel for what Vancouverites – from omnivores to hardcore vegans – find the most pleasing for their palettes. Then and only then the taste test tour can begin!

Three establishments stood out among those easily accessible by the beloved BC Transit:

METRO LIVING ZINE NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: Panne Rizo Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153073774083012&type=3&l=e835f90e44

1. Panne Rizo in Kitsilano is a 100% gluten-free bakery specializing in, well, everything. From delicate pastries to wraps to chicken pot pies. I am always a sucker for the smell of baking cinnamon buns and anything with ganache so after ‘dessert first’ binge of vegan chocolate cupcakes, my gluten-free pal grabbed a mac and cheese and a hot container of tomato bisque for indulging during the Homeland premiere. His face was pure bliss! Highly recommended.

METRO LIVING ZINE NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: http://www.glutenfreeepicurean.ca/bars.htm

2. The Gluten Free Epicurean in Mount Pleasant is next up and I decided to do dessert first again with the vegan pumpkin cheesecake and a crazy flavoured blueberry lemon cinnamon bun. Loved the pie!  Vegan cheesecake is an acquired taste, I will admit, but at GFE it was smooth with no weird ‘too much silky tofu’ aftertaste. The bastardization of the cinnamon bun was out there but my pal said that the flavour was so fresh and tart tasting – a six pack is on his for next week.

METRO LIVING ZINE NEWS IMAGE CREDIT: The Parker Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153073774083012&type=3&l=e835f90e44)

3. The Parker in Strathcona rounds out our recommendations. Once again my gluten-free pal joined me at this sustainable vegetarian restaurant that sources locally and in season. I admire that greatly. After a few cocktails we decided that having the much hyped 5 course Degustation menu would be too much so we opted for a couple of dishes to go. I took the ‘Sweet Potato‘ (quinoa tabouleh, carmelized endive and tomatillo puree) for a hot main and my pal snagged a ‘Heart of Palm‘ (perilla wrapped okra, puffed rice, avocado and vindaloo) for his and a couple ‘Coconut Puddings‘ (pomegranate tapioca, candied walnuts and thai basil) to finish with. All the dishes traveled well and were re-plated and enjoyed with Joel McHale and The Soup. My Sweet Potato dish was hot, hearty and filling. The spicing was spot on and the root veggies were firm and the tomatillo puree was a perfect sauce. My pal has a thing for spicy food and his Heart of Palm had various textures and flavours but not enough spice for his palette but that is not a negative point. Nothing is ever hot enough for him! The Coconut Pudding was light enough to not overfill my belly but soothing enough for his tongue after the Heart of Palm (plus a half a bottle of jalapeno hot sauce)!

Vancouver has always been a great city to eat in and with new trends and talents, my friends and I will have a great deal of pleasure grazing from one end to the other! Join me as I cover home cooking, take-out and eat-in for those enjoying or wishing to live a plantbased lifestyle.