Kamloops Dishcrawl directs diners to downtown deliciousness
Mike Davies, Editor-in-Chief Ω
I’m sitting alone in a booth built for six in a darkened room that is murmuring in anticipation. I’ve just peeled my “Hello, my name is” nametag off its backing and applied it to my shirt.
“Can we sit here with you?” comes the inevitable voice.
“Of course,” I reply, thinking, “But you’ve picked the seat that will land you in the newspaper.”
I’m not speed dating.
I’m speed dining, along with 28 others including Sara Melanson and her partner Parker Smith, now seated across from me in the booth.
I tell Melanson and Smith I’m reviewing the event for “the university newspaper,” and that I hope they’ll be okay with being in the piece, to which Melanson immediately responds, “The Omega?”
Melanson said she attended TRU in 2001.
I called her on it, because “TRU” wasn’t a thing back then, but I was happy she remembered the paper from her time at the University College of the Cariboo nonetheless.
Smith also attended TRU (since it’s been known as such), graduating with his electrician’s ticket in 2005 and going on to receive his Red Seal from the program in 2011.
Tonight isn’t about alumni reminiscence, however.
Tonight is all about the food.We start the night in this booth at Papa Tees Pizza (705 Victoria Street), where Trevor, the owner, introduces us to his establishment before we all pass along a makeshift buffet of mainly gluten-free pizza options. We seem to barely have time to try them once we’re back at our seats before being prompted that we’re about to move on.
We’re only told the next restaurant would be “Asian,” and to stick with the group as we file out the door and up the block.
We weave our way up to Seymour Street and into Cornerstone Sushi and Korean BBQ (561 Seymour) to tables pre-set with individual settings of sushi (yam tempura rolls), a deep fried dish smothered in sauce (spicy Korean chicken) and some truly delicious translucent noodles.
Forks are nowhere to be seen, and I seem to be the only one looking for one, so I fumble away with the chopsticks (not too badly, I think) and manage to get it all down before we are, once again, prompted to prepare for departure.
The longest walk of the night sees us make it all the way down to the west end of the 300-block of Victoria Street and at Quilas Mexican Restaurant (330 Victoria).
Even with the front door open and the night breeze coming in, I have to excuse myself twice to go outside to cool down. It is the only stop on the tour that I think is a long enough visit. I speculate to Smith and Melanson that they likely make a killing on blended tequila drinks and Corona.
We’re served a platter (each) of fish tacos, Taco Al Pastor and a quesadilla.
A petite lady in a white ruffled shirt — the owner, in fact — meets us on the sidewalk outside, thanks us for coming and sees us off to our next, and final, destination across the street where we file in for coffee and raspberry flan at Swiss Pastries and Bakery Café (359 Victoria).
“We had so much fun,” Melanson says after trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to finish her flan when asked for her take on the event. “I hope we’ll see you at the next one.”
The next one might be sooner than expected because of the success of tonight’s event.
This was the first Kamloops Dishcrawl, which organizer Alina Lyapina tells me the group already has plans to prepare (and has pre-sold tickets this very night) a second iteration of the event at the end of October.
“We are planning on doing events once a month and then we’ll see how it goes, and maybe launch more projects,” she says, mentioning “taco crawls” and “dessert crawls” as two possibilities.
Follow Dishcrawl Kamloops on Twitter (@DishcrawlKAM) or look for them on Facebook for information on future and past events.
Tickets to the event were $60, but I agree with Smith when he said (at the third stop of the night), “I’ve certainly paid way more for way less food.”
All photos Mike Davies/The Omega