7 nights in Whistler

I thought 7 nights in Whistler would be too much. Is there enough going on in the spring to occupy someone for over a week? It’s right in between ski season and bike season, the Gondola is shut down for maintainance and I was bringing a 3 year old. Well, it wasn’t too long, in fact I didn’t want to come home. Whistler isn’t just a tourist destination, it’s a community and I feel like I become a part of that community a little more every time I visit.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the things I saw and did over the last 7 nights (In Pictures).

The view from my deck at Legends in Creekside
The view from my deck at Legends in Creekside
A Triumph TR6 from the British car show in the Village
Triumph TR6 from the British car show in the Village
The 2010 Olympic cauldron.
The 2010 Olympic cauldron.
Part of the 1.5km trail in Nairn Falls Provincial Park, 20 minutes north of Whistler
Part of the 1.5km trail in Nairn Falls Provincial Park, 20 minutes north of Whistler
One of the interactive art installations called "Sightlines" in Whistler Village
One of the interactive art installations called “Sightlines” in Whistler Village
Looking down towards Creekside
Looking down towards Creekside
The Crystal, a Whistler Village landmark
The Crystal, a Whistler Village landmark
The Creekside gondola
The Creekside gondola
Blackcomb mountain
Blackcomb mountain
Totem pole in Whistler Village
Totem pole in Whistler Village
My daughter throwing a passive aggressive body check at the playground
My daughter throwing a passive aggressive body check at the playground
The reason it's called "Creekside"
The reason it’s called “Creekside”
2010 Olympic rings
2010 Olympic rings
Another piece at "Sightlines"
Another piece at “Sightlines”
Paralympic logo in the village
Paralympic logo in the village
Very large art installation at the entrance to World Cup Plaza in Creekside
Very large art installation at the entrance to World Cup Plaza in Creekside
The upper falls at Nairn Falls Provincial Park
The upper falls at Nairn Falls Provincial Park
The lower or "main" falls at Nairn Falls Provincial Park
The lower or “main” falls at Nairn Falls Provincial Park

One day I’ll figure out a way to live in Whistler full time.

Twitter – @WFLBC

Instagram – Instagram.com/wflbc

Facebook – WFLBC

Scott.

Advertisements

Quick bite – Mag’s 99 Fried Chicken and Mexican Cantina

 

It's pretty hard to miss this place, it's brighter than the sun
It’s pretty hard to miss this place, it’s brighter than the sun

Ever wonder what would happen if someone took over a KFC/Taco Bell and started making the same kind of food but actually used good ingredients and cared about what they were serving? Just off Highway 99 as you roll into Squamish there’s a VERY bright yellow building that used to house the aforementioned fast food giants. It closed about a year ago but has been resurrected as Mag’s 99, a fried chicken and Mexican joint using fresh, never frozen chicken and house made GOOD stuff with no preservatives whenever possible.

Nice view of The Chief
Nice view of The Chief

I was in the mood for fried chicken, the Mexican dishes will have to wait for another visit, so I ordered the 3 piece “snack pack”. It takes up to 10 minutes to get your order but it’s piping hot and fresh when you get it and you get a plate of tortilla chips and chunky house made salsa while you wait.

Tasty house made salsa
Tasty house made salsa

The chicken is everything that fried chicken should be, the flavours are very reminiscent of KFC or Churches but the quality of the chicken is far above any fast food joint. I had a thigh, a full wing and a breast in my combo with fries and a drink for under $10. The batter is delicious and you don’t get the greasy fried chicken hangover that usually accompanies fast food fried chicken.

3 piece snack pack
3 piece snack pack

Verdict. Mag’s 99 is good, classic fried chicken made by people who care. Go check it out if you’re in Squamish.

Scott.

Brewhouse at Whistler – Family friendly and great beer? It’s true

You guys know that I’m a regular at Big Ridge Brewing Company in Surrey. They have amazing beer, great food and have been very supportive of my charitable efforts over the past year or so. Their sister restaurant in Whistler, the Brewhouse, is everything that I love about Big Ridge surrounded by one of my all time favourite places, Whistler Village.

Located just a few steps from the Olympic Plaza the Brewhouse offers craft beer brewed on site, a kids menu with lots to chose from, a pretty imaginative cocktail list, great food and very friendly staff (possibly too friendly…lol, that’s a story for another day). I’ve been to the Brewhouse many many times but this is the first time I’ve written anything about it. I went 3 times over the last week, once with my daughter, once by myself and once with my daughter and a hot date. The third visit was awkward, not for me though, for…reasons.

5 Rings IPA
5 Rings IPA

I had their award winning 5 Rings IPA, voted best IPA in BC in 2012 and it is definitely worthy of the hype. Well hopped with a solid malt backbone, this beer captures the true essence of a west coast style IPA.

One can not survive on water, hops and barley alone so I decided to order the Ale braised Angus beef cottage pie. Now to me cottage pie and shepherd’s pie are the same thing. Ya ya there’s a “definition” of what each one is traditionally made with but I really don’t care, they’re both ok with me. This particular cottage pie had Angus beef braised in house brewed Grizzly Brown Ale, button mushrooms, carrots and onions topped with mashed potatoes. It’s then baked in a cast iron pan and served with greens.

Cottage Pie
Cottage Pie

Overall this pie was outstanding. Rich, flavourful, well seasoned and piping hot. I would absolutely order this dish again except for one small issue. $19.99 is an awful lot to pay for humble peasant food. Sure you can dress it up with “Angus Beef” but at the end of the day cottage pie is simple fair based on food that the poor used to have to eat out of necessity. I understand that most things in Whistler are a little pricier than things in the Lower Mainland but come one, this should be $13-14.99 tops.

Will it stop me from going back? Not a chance. Like I said, most things in Whistler are more expensive than they are here, if something’s good then I’ll probably order it again. The beer is outstanding and the staff, like I said, are VERY friendly 😉

Twitter – @BREWHOUSEatWHIS

Facebook – The Brewhouse Whistler

Interwebz – themarkjamesgroup.com/brewhouse

Scott.

 

Fatherly Advice

whistler3Dad’s, listen up. You have no idea how important you are to your kids. All too often fathers play a secondary role in parenting. I see it everyday and I have been guilty of it at times over the past 3 years. It’s easy to let moms do what they do and raise our kids but let me tell you how amazing it feels to step up and get more involved.

Hayley and me
Hayley and me

I just spent 4 days with my daughter, Hayley, in Whistler. Just the 2 of us exploring the village, playing at the playground, just being together. I love my kid, she is a special little girl who makes me laugh and her smile could light up the darkest night. That being said I’ve never been alone with her for that long. Not by choice mind you, her mom is a fantastic mom and is always there for her. We needed this though, it brought us closer together and really showed me how much I mean to her and how much she means to me.

Daddy taught her how to hip check bigger kids
Daddy taught her how to hip check bigger kids

So here’s the point, dads… get more involved. I know some great dads but I also know some dads who coast along letting mom do all the work. Not good enough. You never know where life is headed so take the time to show your kids how much they mean to you. Do things that make them smile. Make them proud of you. Love them with all of your heart.

whistler2

Scott.

Vancouver and Victoria circa 1935 – A short film from MGM

This eight and a half minute glance into our past is amazing. Thanks so much to Don Elliott (@RealDonElliott) for sharing it on Twitter.

I hope you enjoy it as much as  do. The Empress, the Provincial Legislature and the Marine Building are all fantastic landmarks to compare to our time. The world has changed a lot in 78 years but it’s nice to see some familiar places.

Enjoy!

Scott.

Target has come to BC! Does it live up to the hype?

Target has arrived
Target has arrived

After buying up a bunch of Zellers stores a few years ago American retail giant Target has opened it’s first few stores here in BC. I woke up a little earlier than normal on this fine Saturday in May to pack up my little girl and head out to see if Candian Target was the same as American Target. My last visit to a Target store south of the border was about 2 years ago but I remember being pleasantly surprised by the brands they carried and blown away by their selection and great prices compared to Walmart among others. I equated Target to being a slightly nicer, slightly more expensive Walmart with way cooler stuff.

Shiny and new
Shiny and new

Flash forward to today. Hayley and I pulled into the parking lot at Willowbrook Mall in Langley where one of the new Target stores had just opened up 3 days ago. The lot was very full as I’m sure lots of folks were just as curious about Target as I was. The Willowbrook store is a lot smaller than the Coquitlam Centre store but is still a decent size. I found the aisles quite cramped especially if there were two shopping carts passing one another. The carts are oddly wide at the back end making them difficult to maneuver in tight aisles.

Hayley in her luxuriously wide shopping cart
Hayley in her luxuriously wide shopping cart

The selection at this particular store seemed quite lacking. There wasn’t the “cool stuff” I remember from the Target in Bellingham. The selection is absolutely abysmal if you happen to be a guy. The menswear section is tiny. It seems like a complete afterthought. To be honest I had a hard time finding it at all… The electronics section was well laid out and had a nice Apple display up front with the usual wall of flat screens at the back. The housewares section is fairly large and the selection is pretty good. The one area of the store I thought was above average was the Kitchen department. Large selection of knives, utensils, place settings, small appliances etc.

Craft beer glass set $24.99 - the same price as Sears
Craft beer glass set $24.99 – the same price as Sears

The prices seemed about average, I bought some Tide laundry detergent “pods” – $18.59 for a 62 pack ($19.97 for a 72 pack or $16.97 for a 57 pack at Walmart). A Chef’s Choice knife sharpener set me back $9.99 (the same price at www.cabelas.ca ). I also picked up some super sexy Fruit of the Loom boxer briefs, a 4 packs for $16.99 ($17.94 at Old Navy, I couldn’t find another retailer that listed the price online). I bought Hayley a toy because she behaved herself – a Daisy and Pluto figure pack for $9.99 (the same price as Toys r Us)

I expected more. Target is still a slightly nicer, slightly more expensive (not by much) version of Walmart but the selection is lacking.

Scott.

Mr. Brownstone – Comfort Food 101

Main street is a great place for food lovers to wander around and discover new culinary gems in our fair city. Particularly between 5th Ave and King Edward Ave. There are great places to eat on every block and it seems there’s somewhere new opening up all the time. My latest Main street find is Mr. Brownstone located on the east side of Main at 13th Ave right beside Parallel 49 Coffee. Mr. Brownstone serves up modern takes on comfort food classics, great craft beers and BC wines on tap and offers live music featuring some great local artists. I was invited to try a few items from their menu, find a comfy chair because I ate a lot…

Fried Brussel Sprouts
Fried Brussel Sprouts

First up are some delicious fried brussel sprouts with parmesan cheese, shallots and lemon. It’s pretty widely known around Vancouver that the Glowbal Group does some of the best brussel sprouts in town but these ones are easily on par with theirs and they’re priced very well. Just $7 for a good portion where Glowbal’s come in at $6.75 for a much smaller portion.

Wonton Nachos
Wonton Nachos

Next up was a really cool twist on a classic pub dish, nachos. Mr. Brownstone’s are made with crispy fried wontons in place of tortilla chips. They’re topped with tomatoes, green olives, jalapenos and a nice mix of rich cheeses. The wontons are amazing in place of boring old chips. They have a great crunch and a lighter feel and stay crisp for longer. They come with tomatillo salsa and wasabi sour cream on the side. The wasabi sour cream is awesome, just enough wasabi to impart a slight heat and flavour that balances perfectly with the creamy, cool sour cream. Great dish.

Lobster Mac and Cheese
Lobster Mac and Cheese

The third dish I sampled was their lobster mac and cheese. I always cringe when I see lobster mac and cheese on a menu because it’s usually made with a product called “Lobster Delight” which is made from Surimi (ground fish, usually pollock) and is artificially flavoured like lobster. This dish has NO FAKE LOBSTER!! Huge chunks of real lobster are abundant and border on excessive, which is a good thing when you’re talking about lobster. Simple flavours, butter, garlic, cheese and lobster all work in perfect harmony here. Rich, decadent and addictive. Your friends will want to try this, tell them to order their own. Did I mention it’s just $18? A total steal for this much lobster and this big of a portion.

Duck Confit Potato Skins
Duck Confit Potato Skins

Next up they brought out some duck confit potato skins. Oh man, you guys see what’s happening here right? This place is doing comfort food right. These potato skins were so good. A good amount of duck confit with applewood smoked bacon, smoked provolone cheese, 40 Creek BBQ sauce, scallions and chipotle sour cream on russet potatoes. Another comfort food classic done up for the big city. Amazing.

The Brownstone Burger
The Brownstone Burger

You guys know where the best burger in town is. I’ve shouted it from the mountain tops for a few years now, it’s at Uli’s in White Rock. The burger at Mr. Brownstone is almost as good but it’s so different than Uli’s it’s a little unfair to compare the 2. This behemoth features a fresh ground chuck patty cooked medium (perfect), Montreal style smoked brisket, a fried egg, sauteed mushrooms, an onion ring, smoked provolone and caramelized onions on a fresh toasted bun with L/T/M (you can figure that out, right?) and some hamburger relish type sauce. Standing about 10 inches high and held together with a steak knife this burger is a towering monster of deliciousness. The price? Just $15.

Pear and Stilton Flatbread
Pear and Stilton Flatbread

If you’re keeping track this is course number six, a delightfully rich and sweet dish that is a meal all on its own. Tangy Stilton cheese, pear slices, crispy prosciutto ( I think, my note taking got a little fuzzy at this point) on fresh baked flatbread. Simply delicious.

Maple Bacon Caramel Chicken Wings
Maple Bacon Caramel Chicken Wings

Ok you guys, this is the one most of you asked about when I posted this picture on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook, The maple bacon caramel chicken wings. They sound crazy, like the kind of crazy that would get you locked up for life in some shady parts of the world. In the middle ages you would’ve be branded a witch for even suggesting that this dish sounded tasty. Guess what, these wings are crazy, CRAZY good. If these guys used this recipe on chicken for chicken and waffles they’d easily be the best in the city. Think of these wings as dessert, made of meat. Everything you love about “Maple Bacon” flavoured things kicked up with caramel and tossed lovingly with deep fried wings. You simply have to try these.

WFLBC approved
WFLBC approved

So there you have it, Great food and nothing over $20. Solid craft beer on tap from Phillips, Odin, Alameda and others. BC wine on tap including one of my favourites, Blasted Church Hatfield’s Fuse. I’ll be back soon, I need those wings in my life.

Scott

Legal mumbo jumbo – My food was provided by Mr. Brownstone for review purposes.