Last week was a really tough, slog-through-the-work kinda week. By the time I got to Friday, I was pooped, and I felt like I’d earned a treat.
So got dressed up and headed out to meet my friend Raj for lunch. Now, Raj is turning 35 this year, and she has a list of things she wants to get done before she does. One of them is “have lunch in Paris.” Now, we didn’t actually go to Paris, but we dressed up in our best French outfits and ate crepes, so it was pretty darn close.
Ze Bite is a food truck that has been operating on the streets of Vancouver for about two years. The owner, Mathieu Gicquel, also had a “before a I turn a milestone birthday” to-do list, and it included living abroad, owning a business, and learning to speak English. He knocked off all three with Ze Bite (although his English has a charming Parisian accent that influences the names of the dishes he makes, and if you want to practice your French, he’d be happy speak en francais with you).
Gicquel grew up in kitchens, namely his grandmother’s kitchen in France. Restaurants are in his family, both his sister and his uncle have them. Gicquel, however, became an engineer. But after moving to Canada at the age of 31, he decided he wanted to own his own business, and food seemed like a natural fit.
Ze Bite, which promises to be “a taste of France in one bite,” offers crepes and baguette sandwiches. There is also a soup (Mediterranean tomato) and a salad available. You’ll mostly find them in the 800-block of West Cordova.
Gicquel’s menu is heavily influenced by Morrocan spices, especially on Ze Moroccan. It’s chicken marinated with cumin and other moroccan spices, and served with mint, hummus, greens and grainy dijon. You can have it on your choice of a baguette (Gicquel sources his baguettes from Baguette and Co) or a gluten-free buckwheat crepe, which he makes right in front of you. Click here for a Gluten-free, Vegan Buckwheat Crepe recipe.
Other menu options include Ze Pig, a citrus and spice braised pork with crispy apples and spicy jalapeños, or Ze Francais, which rosemary ham, tomato sauce, dijon, and greens. I had the vegetarian option, Ze Provencal, with tender roasted eggplant, zucchini, and peppers, finished with greens, tomato sauce, dijon, and herbs du provence.
For dessert, there are many sweet crepe options, like Nutella, salted butter caramel, Raspberry Jam, or the classic sugar/butter combination.
Gicquel is also incredibly passionate about spreading his love for French food to the younger generation. He has a program where he brings the truck to high schools and teaches the kids how to make crepes.
Ze Bite is worth tracking down–it’s the taste of France, right here in downtown Vancouver. Find them onine at ZeBite.ca.