Taste of Yaletown picks: dining festival has more flexibility, free lunchtime trolley

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The annual Taste of Yaletown starts this Wednesday (October 16) and runs until October 27, with a change in format this year.

Thirty restaurants are participating, with most offering meals at $25, $35, and $45; however, they aren’t limited to three-course set menus. There’s more flexibility, with any combination of items or courses under the same price points.

For example, at El Azteca, the $25 lunch includes an appetizer, main, and a tequila cocktail. (If you don’t tell the boss, we won’t either.)

At Urban Fare, $25 gets you an eight-ounce dry angus rib-eye with a baked potato and veggies, plus a glass of Blasted Church Cabernet Merlot or a bottle of Parallel 49 Gypsy Tears beer.

The promotion is putting a new emphasis on lunch deals, with a free trolley service to and from the downtown core that promises to get office workers through lunch in an hour. Some restaurants are veering not only from set menus but from set price points. For example, the Parlour is offering a sandwich with salad or soup and a soft drink for $10. DD Mau is promoting a braised short rib bánh mi for $12, with a beverage like Vietnamese iced coffee for an extra $2.

Set menus that look promising include:

$25

Society - This meal could include a warming ham hock and split pea soup to start, lobster pappardelle as an entree, and triple-decker s'mores for dessert.

George Lounge Start with a soy-glazed Humboldt squid and gai lan appetizer (or beef carpaccio for something more traditional), move to duck confit with cassoulet, and finish with a vanilla bean panna cotta.

Provence Marinaside - The lunch menu includes choices like a tomato and bocconcini salad to start, bouillabaisse as a main, and double-chocolate Kahlua cake for dessert. The dinner menu offers more choice at $45, including a starter of grilled artichokes.

$35

Good Wolfe Kitchen & Bar - Choices include a steelhead pastrami to start, braised beef cheek with risotto as a main, and lemon cake with rosemary sugar and lavender to finish. Georgia Straight wine columnist Jurgen Gothe recommends checking out the wall o wine.

La Pentola della Quercia - The dinner menu has different choices at $45, but both it and the $35 lunch menu span four courses. The family-style lunch includes parmesan soufflé and seafood "saor" antipasti, squash and prosciutto pasta, osso buco, and lemon cream.

The lunchtime trolley runs on Thursdays and Fridays during the promotion (October 17, 18, 24, and 25). Here's the trolley schedule. For both the lunch and dinner promotion, find all the menus here

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