Whilst most of Vancouver (at least it seemed so from Twitter) appeared to be at the Diner En Blanc on Thursday night (check out these fabulous images from Maurice Li), I attended the Pop Up Soda Shoppe event instead. The almost half an hour line-up to get in the front doors confirmed that not everyone was the Diner En Blanc.
The Pop Up Soda Shoppe was essentially a gathering of some of the city’s dessert and sweet producers, such as Earnest Ice Cream, Cartems Donuterie, and Beta 5 Chocolatier, under one roof. That roof was at The Ridge, a cinema at Arbutus Ridge, that has a vintage theater-feel. Attendees were encouraged to don 50’s gear (think poodle skirts and suspenders) and the movie, “Grease”, played throughout the event.
Earnest Ice Cream
Earnest Ice Cream vanilla sundae – $5
Macarons from Che Baba.
Cartem’ Makers’ Bourbon Bacon doughnuts – $1.50 each.
Mmm, stack of mini Cartem’s doughnuts.
In concept the idea was a great one, but in execution, unfortunately I felt that it fell short of expectations. And, from the rumblings that I heard, I wasn’t the only one who was disappointed.
Reasons for my disappointment were, firstly, the event was intended to start at 7pm and end at 9pm, however, it took so long to move through the queue that we didn’t arrive inside until almost 7.30pm. Secondly, tickets to the event were $15 each. When I bought them I thought that small samplings from the different vendors would be included in the price (Beta 5 Chocolatiers was the only one I saw doing this) but as it got closer to the event I realized that, no, we would have to pay for the desserts in addition to the ticket price. I am a little perplexed as to why we charged $15 for this event. $5 would be more reasonable for what was essentially just an entrance fee into a dessert festival. Finally, one of the big selling points of the event was the alcoholic sodas and milkshakes, however, when we arrived they were selling these for $12 each…for a teeny glass. Needless to say, I didn’t buy one. Even if I had wanted to spend the extra money, the line-up was so long that I would have spent most of my time standing in line.
On the plus side, we did get to eat from some of Vancouver’s top dessert producers. Personally, I can’t get enough of Earnest Ice Cream, Cartems Donuterie, and Beta5 Chocolates, and Che Baba macarons were fantastic (I’d never heard of this place before). It was also great to see that a lot of the attendees did make an effort to get dressed up, myself included.
Overall, I’d love to see this event happen again but with a few changes. Either charge less for the entrance fee, or charge the same and have more samples available. $15 just to walk into a room with local vendors gathered was not worth it to me. The space was also oddly set out (some vendors were in the foyer but others were in the theater) so I think it would be more conducive to have all the vendors in the same area.