Lunch at Grain Tasting Bar

Grain Tasting Bar is the downstairs cousin of the uber amazing Mosaic (check out my post on Mosaic RIGHT HERE!) at the Hyatt Regency on Burrard st. Offering up an upscale feel and an outstanding food and beverage lineup it’s easily made it into WFLBC’s short list for places to grab a drink downtown. After a manly afternoon of shopping at Lululemon on Robson street I needed a beer, you know, to man up a little.

Chef Thomas Heinrich has created a very nice menu for Grain. It is less up market than Mosaic but still has some amazing dishes that you won’t find at just any hotel bar. Add the great food to an impressive cocktail list and a very nice craft beer selection and Grain is hard to beat. It’s just steps from the Skytrain too? Stop it! It’s not fair to the other bars!! AND you can also order off the menu from Mosaic Bar and Mosaic itself. I’m really starting to wonder why I haven’t just set up a bed in the corner and moved in.

Spicy Thai Chicken Wings
Spicy Thai Chicken Wings

For starters I had the Spicy Thai Chicken Wings (from the Mosaic Bar menu). They were big, hot and juicy with all the sweet and savoury flavours you’d expect from a Thai Chili dish. There’s also a subtle heat that sneaks in after a few chews. The plating is also very nice, something Chef Heinrich takes a lot of pride in.

Albacore Tuna Nicoise Salad
Albacore Tuna Nicoise Salad

For my main I had the AMAZING Albacore Tuna Nicoise Salad from the Mosaic Lunch Menu. Perfectly seared albacore tuna, green beans (aka haricot vert if you’re French), olives, hard boiled egg, potatoes and fresh tomatoes over baby greens with thyme vinaigrette. A classic Nicoise salad beautifully presented. I would order this again, and again, and….again.

I washed this all back with Parallel 49 Brewing’s delicious Hay Fever Spring Saison, yum.

Grain is good, really good.

Twitter – @Grain_Bar

Facebook – Grain Tasting Bar

Interwebz – hyatthotels.hyatt.com/minisite/corporate/restaurants/graintastingbar

Scott.

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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.