2013 was a good year for my taste buds, maybe not so much for my pant size. Here’s some of my favourite meals from 2013!
Let’s see what 2014 puts on my plate!
2013 was a good year for my taste buds, maybe not so much for my pant size. Here’s some of my favourite meals from 2013!
Let’s see what 2014 puts on my plate!
For the third year in a row I was graciously invited up to Whistler by the guys at Alta Bistro to judge their cocktail competition, a part of Whistler’s Cornucopia Festival. Drinking and judging people you say? I’ll do it! This year the event took the main stage at the Whistler Convention Centre and grew from 8 competitors in 2012 to 10 this year.
The competitors came from Whistler and Greater Vancouver and are some of the top drink slingers around. The event was sponsored by Flor De Cana 5 year old Rum which was the feature ingredient in each drink. Everyone had 5 minutes to prepare their bar and 5 minutes to create their original cocktails to be served to the 4 eager judges. There was $2000 up for grabs to whoever crafted the best cocktail and I’m happy to say there wasn’t a bad drink out of the 10 that I sampled.
The top three were, from 3rd to 1st, Tia from The Mix in Whistler, Keenan from The Keefer Bar in Vancouver, and your champion for the second year in a row… Scot Curry from Alta Bistro with his Five Alarm Fizz. You might be sceptical of the host bartender winning 2 years running but Scot has had an amazing 2013 winning awards all over Whistler and Canada. Well done Scot!
After the competition the judges and competitors were treated to a “bartenders dinner” at Alta Bistro. 3 courses of simple, local and amazing food. The first course was a beautiful charcuterie board with assorted meats, pickles, and grainy mustard.
Our main course was braised beef shank with roasted potatoes, kale and chipolinni onions. The beautiful simplicity of this kind of food is everything that I love about Alta Bistro. The beef is local and was braised to a rich, melt in your mouth perfection. This dish is me on a plate, I can’t say enough good things about it.
The 3rd course was dessert, but not the usual sweet kind. A simple cheese board with green apple slices and crusty bread. I was way to deep into Alta’s single malt Scotch selection at this point to recall exactly what cheeses we had but 2 of them were soft, stinky and delicious and the other was harder and less funky. I’m pretty sure it was a raw cow’s milk cheese, so good.
From there some of the bartenders/judges and I headed out into the village for a bit of an after party. It’ll probably make it into my biography one day…
Thanks to Ed, Eric and the team at Alta for feeding me drinks and food all day. I’m already looking forward to 2014.
Karma stuff. My judging skills were provided free of charge and my meal at Alta was on the house. I paid for all of my ten hundred drinks after the competition as well as my hotel.
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).
One day I’ll figure out a way to live in Whistler full time.
Twitter – @WFLBC
Instagram – Instagram.com/wflbc
Facebook – WFLBC
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.
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.
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
It’s almost here! This Thursday (Feb 21st) marks the 3rd edition of our Surrey Beer Club meet/tweetups at Big Ridge Brewing Co. in Surrey! Join us a 5pm for great beer, good times and a good cause!
We’ll have 2 casks, one from Tariq at Big Ridge and one from Derrick at Whistler Brewhouse. Tariq’s cask is his Sullivan Porter dry hopped with Brambling Cross. Derrick’s cask is his Alta Lake Ale dry hopped with Sorachi Ace. You can also try Tariq’s latest seasonal which is a single hopped Vienna style lager, I haven’t had it yet but I hear it’s outstanding!
We’ll be holding a 50/50 draw and a raffle with some cool prizes like an hour long photo session from Contra Studios, some gift cards, some Big Ridge swag and a beer basket put together by yours truly! All proceeds are going to Variety the Children’s Charity. If you can’t make it and would like to donate you can do so HERE. You’ll get a tax receipt and if you mention Hayley Graham (my daughter) in your donation we’ll get a notification!
Thanks for all your support and I look forward to seeing you Thursday night!
I just had to share this video with all my fellow Star Wars nerds. Think Snowboarding/Skiing on Hoth. Amazing! Thanks to @WhistlerFoodie on Twitter for sharing!
Let’s start by saying there will be no skiing in this guide, no snowboarding either This is a guide for those who love Whistler for everything it has to offer that doesn’t require strapping things to your feet and trying to avoid doing a Sonny Bono impression. This is for people who like good food and drinks with great people in an awesome setting.
If you’re like me you’ll most likely want to head up early to avoid traffic. Leaving early means you arrive in Whistler for early check in at your hotel which frees you up for lunch! Staying in the Village is recommended, the Upper Village is ok too but for me Creekside is too far away from the action. Hotel choices are very personal but you can’t go wrong with the high end chains in Whistler. The Four Seasons, the Pan Pacific, the Westin and the Fairmont are all REALLY nice but very expensive. Keep in mind it’s just one night and ask if there’s a corporate discount attached to the company you work for. I do it everywhere and it saves lots of $$’s. There are some more affordable hotels in the Village, the Aava, the Pinnacle, the Delta ect. They’re all very adequate and the corporate discount usually works as well.
So, you’re all checked in, you’re enjoying the snow covered mountain views and you start to think about lunch. Whistler is all about walking around which is great. Leave your car parked until tomorrow and hit the Village on foot! First stop, The Whistler Brewhouse! The Brewhouse is a Mark James Group restaurant so anyone from Vancouver who’s familiar with Yaletown Brewing Co, Big Ridge Brewing Co or The Flying Beaver will feel right at home here. The menu is casual and the restaurant side accommodates families and has a kids menu. Try their award winning 5 Rings IPA! The Brewhouse is located right next to the Whistler Olympic Plaza in the Village.
Assuming you don’t end up spending hours at the Brewhouse you’ll probably have time for a nice walk around the village. There are lots of cool little shops all over Whistler but one of the most unique and my personal favourite is Rocks and Gems Canada. Filled with fossils, gemstones and all kinds of custom jewellery there’s something for everyone. I’m trying to figure out how to convince Lyndsey that I need a $10,000 fossilized Cave Bear skull.
Dinner time in Whistler always brings me to one place. Whether I’m there for a day, a week or a month Alta Bistro is always my first choice. Located under the Pinnacle Hotel, Alta Bistro serves up modern French bistro cuisine focused on locally sourced sustainable dishes, hand crafted cocktails, an impressive list of fine spirits and craft beer and a world class wine list featuring Whistler’s first Enomatic machine. I put Alta Bistro in my top 5 restaurants, anywhere at any budget. This year I was lucky enough to return to judge their second annual cocktail competition, this time as part of the Cornucopia Festival, Alta’s own Scot Curry walked away with the title beating some of Vancouver and Whistler’s finest cocktail technicians. The value to quality ratio of Alta’s food is not found anywhere else in Whistler with 3 course menus starting at the same price of one entrée in most comparable Whistler eateries. If they still have the pork and pickled veal tongue terrine when you visit I highly recommend it. Reservations are accepted and encouraged.
So by now you’re probably ready for bed. If you’re a reader of this blog I would hope that you’d be quite intoxicated by this point. Wander back to your hotel, try to avoid the main entrance as it’s always embarrassing when you fall over in front of the late night desk staff. Get a good night of shut eye, you deserve it. When you wake up you’re probably going to need a good breakfast. My favourite spot is Wildwood Bistro. Located alongside the Whistler Tennis Club, Wildwood has won “Whistler’s Best Breakfast” every year since 2002. The Benny’s are amazing and the prices are what you’d expect to pay at a big breakfast chain in the city.
I usually spend some time walking the Village before heading home but if you’re looking for something unique and have some disposable income grab a gondola ticket and head up the mountain. The views are gorgeous no matter the season and you can take a ride in the Peak to Peak gondola. Try and get one with a glass floor, it’s fun to watch people freak out that didn’t know it was there before they got in.
On your way back to the city you HAVE to stop in at the Campfire Grill in Squamish. They’ve moved from their super cool but very seasonal outdoor location to a real restaurant space in downtown Squamish. They are open for breakfast but you’ll probably roll through town around lunch time. Their potato salad is insanely good and their slow smoked meats are fantastic. They don’t follow a traditional style of southern BBQ which I love, it gives them the freedom to do whatever tastes good.
Whistler is a world class resort and it’s right in our backyard. If you haven’t been there in awhile I recommend you make some time, even if it’s just one night!
Ladies and gentlemen Movember is here. I look forward to this glorious month every year and religiously shave of my trademark chin warmer in favour of a hairy upper lip. This year Movember has expanded from it’s original mandate of raising prostate cancer awareness and is now championing male mental health as well. Both of these causes are seldom talked about and adding mental health to the Movember agenda is a great move.
So what can you do to help? I’m glad you asked! It’s great to donate money and if you can I would be most appreciative (you can donate HERE) but what I really want is for you to join my team! Team WFLBC is looking to recruit Mo Bro’s and Mo Sista’s to help us raise money. Hit up you friends, your family, even your co workers and people on Facebook you haven’t seen in 20 years. You don’t have to grow a moustache to make a difference, I’ll be doing that on behalf of the team. If you want to grow a Mo please do and post pictures on the team page! Ladies, you are my secret weapon, guys who are afraid to grow a Mo will gladly fork over a few bucks to a awesome woman who supports men’s health!
Knowledge is power, moustache is king. Join my Movember team HERE. We’ll be holding a Movember Cask night fundraiser at Big Ridge Brewing Co. in Surrey on November 22nd. There will be amazing craft beer, great people, fine moustaches and a donation box! I’ll post all the details in the next week or so.
Thanks in advance for your amazing support!!
Is Vodka boring? Modern bar tending tends to overlook it in favor of sexier libations and the vodka cocktail has certainly fallen off the radar because if its simplicity. The fact is that vodka is an amazing blank canvas for talented cocktail technicians to create something great.
Alta Bistro, my favorite spot in Whistler, held their inaugural Iceberg Vodka cocktail and infusion competition on September 15th and kindly invited me to come and use my borderline “12 steps” skills and judge from a list of some of the best bartenders from Whistler and Vancouver. The restaurants and bars represented were as follows. Sidecut at the Four Seasons Whistler, Hawksworth Restaurant in Vancouver, Nita Lake Lodge in Whistler, Alta Bistro (obviously) in Whistler, Maenam in Vancouver, The Mix in Whistler, The Cascade Room in Vancouver and Chambar in Vancouver.
Each bartender had to make an infusion with Iceberg Vodka and then create an original cocktail featuring their infusion and prepare 4 drinks in 5 minutes. I could go on and on about how amazing everything was but lets face it, you guys just want to look at the pictures right? The runner up was Tanya Roussy From Meanam with an infusion of orange, red cedar, noble pine and vanilla and a cocktail called the Full Moon. The winner was Arthur Wynne from The Cascade Room with 2 separate infusions, one was black tea, marigold and passion fruit and the other was shiso leaf. His cocktail was called Shiso Pretty. They both won a trip to Newfoundland to visit the Iceberg Vodka distillery!! Special mention to my man Scot from Alta bistro who’s infusion was crazy complicated and awesome and his cacktail, the Jardin de Vie was also great and to Derek from Chambar for making a caesar with a chipotle, cummen, black pepper, oregano, ancho, coriander and garlic infusion. Caesars rule.
Dinner was awesome as usual, 3 courses consisting of a pate and charcuterie board, a tuna nicoise salad and seared bison with green peppercorn sauce. I have yet to be less than blown away by the food Alta Bistro serves and the price points they are able to do it at, simply outstanding. Huge thanks to Eric and Edward from Alta Bistro for inviting me!
Check out the pics!!