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 😉
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!
Steveston is a beautiful little corner of Richmond, tucked right along side the Pacific Ocean it is still an active fishing community as well as a popular tourist destination. Home to beautiful parks, a national historic site (The Gulf Of Georgia Cannery), a bustling fisherman’s wharf where you can buy fresh seafood right off the fishing boats and many shops and restaurants all within a very walkable old fashioned town centre.
I had lunch at Hog Shack Cook House, a southern BBQ joint and one of my favourite restaurants in Greater Vancouver. Chef/Co-owner John and Co-owner Alan are great guys with a serious knack for making your restaurant visit a great one. I usually order the Smoke Lover’s Combo, So good. Hog Shack also has a terrific craft beer selection.
After our tasty lunch Hayley an I went for a walk around this pretty ocean side village and snapped some photos, enjoy!
WhatsForLunchBC.com and SurreyIsTheBomb.com totally did it and made a baby!! This is that baby, WFLBC.com. No longer shackled by the confines of the words “lunch” or “Surrey” Rochele and Scott will be able to write about whatever they want, wherever they want. It’ll take some time to get everyone moved over but it’s going to be awesome!! Big thanks to Mr. Rick Chung for the idea!
We’ll still be sort of food-centric but you’ll see more community stuff, travel posts, lifestyle and everything in between.
Have you ever heard someone talk about their city having a sister city and wondered “what is Surrey’s sister city?” Well it just so happens that Surrey is so cool we have to have TWO sister cities!
Surrey became the sister city of Koto, Japan on April 20th, 1989. Koto is one of the 23 special wards of Tokyo. It is located east of the Tokyo metropolitan centre and as of 2008 had a population of just over 440,000 people. Koto’s population and location are similar to Surrey’s position within the GVRD and it is a growing city forming it’s own identity separate of Tokyo.
Surrey’s second sister city is Zhuhai, China. Located in the province of Guangdong, Zhuhai sits along the Pearl River delta and neighbours the city of Macau. The Pearl River delta is know as the Chinese Riviera and is one of China’s most popular tourist destinations. Zhuhai has a population of just over 400,000 in its metropolitan area and another 440,000+ in its suburbs making it very similar to the GVRD.
Now go out and wow your friends with this knowledge we have bestowed unto you!!
Hosted by the energetic and charming Fred Lee the event was very fun and upbeat, all of the chefs did a great job and created some fabulous brunch dishes, lots of money was raised for a charity very close to my heart and everyone had a great time. The winner (two years in a row!) was the one and only Chef Ned Bell from Yew Restaurant with his take on a reverse Eggs Benedict served in a de-constructed style in a jar, it was so good I had two!! I’ve never eaten so many perfectly poached eggs in my life!
Another Longtable dinner at The Pumphouse Pub has come and gone and with Beerthirst hosting and Green Flash Brewing Co. as the featured brewer it was one I was looking forward to. Greenflash makes amazing beer, their West Coast IPA is in my top 5 for bottled beer and is probably my number 1 draught beer. This was a 5 course affair with a unique beer pairing for each course, as is the case with every Longtable dinner.
Course 1 was Thai Green Mango Salad with cold water shrimp, shredded coconut, bean sprouts and cashews. It was paired with the Rayon Vert, a Belgian style pale ale. Very nice pairing although the Rayon Vert has a tendency to foam up in your mouth when you drink it right after eating so it was tough to fully judge the way they complimented each other. The salad was refreshing and well balanced which is how I would also describe the beer. Nice combo.
Course 2 was Coconut Curry Prawns with Jicama and Pineapple slaw paired with West Coast IPA. West Coast IPA is, as I said above, an amazing beer especially on tap and it paired very well with the curried prawns and the sweet jicama and pineapple slaw. Jicama is a strange looking root vegetable that has the taste and texture of a slightly less sweet apple so pairing it with pineapple brought out the sweetness even more. If I had blind taste tested this dish I probably would have guessed the slaw was shredded apple.
Course 3 was Spicy dry rubbed Roast Beef with Caramelized Yams. It was paired with the Le Freak Belgian IPA. The Le Freak is a very hop and Brett forward beer that is not for the craft beer newbie and this was a ballsy pairing. I found that it paired very well with the caramelized yams, slightly less so with the beef. There was something about the sweetness of the yams that made a great partner to this aggressive beer.
Course 4 was Grilled Jerk Salmon with Miso Scallops and Coconut Rice. It was paired with the Imperial IPA. This was an interesting dish, the salmon was a nice partner top the very hop forward IPA but the scallops didn’t really seem to fit with this dish. The rice was an interesting choice as well. I think it was arborio rice which is typically used for risotto but it was prepared like regular rice for this dish. I’ve never had arborio rice prepared this way and I’m not sure I would ever use a grain with such potential in such a pedestrian way. The IPA was, as one would expect, fantastic just like everything that Green Flash does.
The 5th and final course was Chocolate Velvet Pie (aka Mouse) with a Raspberry Shortbread Crust and Grated White Chocolate. It was Paired with the Double Stout, an 8.8% abv monster that is frighteningly easy to drink. It’s so well balanced and has such amazing flavours that you don’t realize you’re getting absolutely plastered until you try and walk. The mouse was a very safe but very good pairing, stouts and chocolate are a no brainer. The raspberry crust wasn’t my cup of tea but that’s because I don’t like raspberry…weird right?
So there you have it folks, you should really come out to one of these things as they’re quite awesome and usually sell out for a reason. Beer and food pairings offer so much more variety and depth than wine could ever hope to, in my ever so humble opinion. I think a contest or something is the next logical step to get some new faces out to one of these great dinners… Now I just have to convince Norm.