My favourite eats of 2013

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!

Sous Vide Lamb
Sous Vide Lamb – Mosaic Bar and Grill
Cauliflower steak
Cauliflower steak – Mosaic Bar and Grill
Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter.
Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter – Edith and Arthur Public House
Nigiri
Nigiri – Noma Sushi
Chipotle Braised Pork Belly
Chipotle Braised Pork Belly – Sharkey’s Seafood Bar and Grille
Queso Fundido
Queso Fundido – La Mezcaleria
Peace Country Lamb Chop
Peace Country Lamb Chop – Cache Bistro
Sexy sexy cheese skirt
Sexy sexy cheese skirt – Gordy’s Cafe
Fantastic risotto and another great wine pairing.
Risotto – Mosaic Bar and Grill
Tuna Tataki
Tuna Tataki – Rajio Public House
Mini carpaccio
Mini Seafood Carpaccio – Rajio Public House
Tacos, so hot right now. Tacos.
Tacos, so hot right now. Tacos – The Taco Shack
Albacore Tuna Nicoise Salad
Albacore Tuna Nicoise Salad – Grain Tasting Bar
3 piece snack pack
Fried Chicken – Mags 99 Fried Chicken and Mexican Cantina
The Brownstone Burger
The Brownstone Burger – Mr. Brownstone
Lobster Mac and Cheese
Lobster Mac and Cheese – Mr. Brownstone
Buffalo Brats
Buffalo Brats – Beast and Brine
Amazing Avonlea clothbound cheddar
Amazing Avonlea clothbound cheddar – Beast and Brine
Heritage Bacon (The BEST)
Heritage Bacon (The BEST) – Beast and Brine
Nat's Pizza
Mac and Cheese pizza (and pepperoni but…) – Nat’s New York Pizzeria
Porchetta goodness
Porchetta goodness – Meat and Bread
Crab Cakes
Crab Cakes – Eight and a Half Resto-lounge
Chacuterie Board - Alta Bistro
Chacuterie Board – Alta Bistro
Chili Prawns - Tap Restaurant
Chili Prawns – Tap Restaurant
Braised Beef Cheek with Risotto - Goodwolfe Kitchen and Bar
Braised Beef Cheek with Risotto – Goodwolfe Kitchen and Bar
No WFLBC list would be complete without BBQ! - Hog Shack Cook House
No WFLBC list would be complete without BBQ! – Hog Shack Cook House

Let’s see what 2014 puts on my plate!

Scott.

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Alta Bistro Cocktail Competition – Cornucopia Festival 2013

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.

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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.

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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!

The 7th place cocktail from Eloyn, head barman at Whistler's The Mexican Corner
The 7th place cocktail from Eloyn, head barman at Whistler’s The Mexican Corner

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.

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Charcuterie board

 

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.

Braised beef shank
Braised beef shank

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.

Cheese board
Cheese board

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.

Scott.

1 night in Whistler, a WFLBC guide!

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.

5 Rings IPA
5 Rings IPA

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.

Charcuterie plate
Charcuterie plate

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.

Pork and pickled veal tongue terrine.
Pork and pickled veal tongue terrine.

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!

Scott.

 

 

Iceberg Vodka Event at Alta Bistro

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!!

Alta Bistro Tweetup for Andrew – May 3rd, Whistler

Event number one is booked! Alta Bistro in Whistler and I are having a Tweetup on Tuesday May the 3rd and 5% of sales are going towards getting Andrew his Liberation Treatment in Seattle. Please spread the word to anyone and everyone who can come out!!! Karma Tuesdays is something that Alta Bistro does regularly and I can’t thank them enough for their support!!

Please share this on Twitter and Facebook and whatever other way that you can!! Event number’s 2 and 3 will be announced shortly and promise to be AWESOME!!!

Scott

Alta Bistro, Round 2

Alta Bistro oozes cool. A super hip cocktail list, craft brewed beer and a selection of hand-picked wines compliment a focused menu featuring dishes made from local and/or organic ingredients. Owners Eric Griffith and Edward Dangerfield have brought something truly unique to Whistler. Located at #104-4319 Main Street in Whistler, part of the Pinnacle Hotel building, Alta Bistro feels like somewhere that would work in Gastown or Yaletown and gives Whistler’s restaurant scene a modern kick in the ass.

I’ve been to Alta Bistro a few times now and every visit has been fantastic. “Cocktail Technician” Scot Curry and Co-Owner Edward are always willing to suggest drinks to a willing participant and Eric seems to be everywhere at once ensuring that customers are looked after and that Scot and Edward are trying to get me drunk, which I’m totally fine with by the way. On my most recent visit I enjoyed some Bison Carpaccio with juniper berry dressing and alpine cheese and on two occasions I had the BBQ Duck Confit flatbread with Salsa Verde. The flatbread is a special that runs after 10pm and is only $5!!! This is the best food bargain in Whistler, period. It doesn’t hurt that it’s delicious as well as affordable.

The cocktails are made with premium spirits and house made bitters, syrups and infusions such as the Flor de Cana 4 year old rum infused with vanilla pod, clove, ginger, cinnamon & cardamon which I gladly finished off! Their Old Fashioned is also a force to be reckoned with along with the Painkiller. Also, being a Scotch lover, having Ardbeg  on hand is a one way ticket into my good books.

This is the kind of place that I will visit every time I return to Whistler, it’s that good. Eric, Edward, Scot and the rest of the staff are fantastic people and make Alta Bistro a memorable experience. Going to Whistler without going to Alta Bistro is a mistake you just can’t make.

Scott.