As part of the “research” for my newspaper article on Vancouver’s underground vegan dining scene, I attended a Plate Invaders supper last month. Tim Aretz and Alissa Raye are doing great things with their vegan dinner club in Mount Pleasant.
Plate Invaders is actually hosted in the same apartment that launched Mérida Anderson’s celebrated Vegan Secret Supper, which has just given rise to a cookbook. We even ate on Anderson’s old table.
Eight other people joined me for the first of the night’s two sittings. For most of us, it was our first time at Plate Invaders. In between bites, we chatted about our jobs, local restaurants, becoming vegan, and coconut bacon.
The first course was a colourful salad featuring three kinds of baked beets, citrus, baby kale, coffee oil, and fleur de sel. Beets have never tasted this good.
This was followed by a lovely sunchoke soup with root vegetables, cashew cream, hazelnut oil, and shiitake bacon. As the soup was served, Aretz told us the story of the sunchoke, which is also known as the Jerusalem artichoke. “They’re the only vegetable native to North America,” the chef said.
The night’s best dish was the heavenly main course: stacked turnip with mushroom and pecans, marinated sunburst squash, creamy red quinoa, and a spicy red pepper sauce.
Kishino Watari, who works with Aretz at Gorilla Food, provided the decadent dessert: rum raisin ice cream with candied nuts and choco crackers.
Plate Invaders donates 10 percent of proceeds to nonprofits that help animals. Last month’s dinner raised a few bucks for the Animal Voices show. Aretz and Raye both work on the program, which is broadcast every Friday at noon on Vancouver Co-operative Radio.