Follow Me Foodie to Whistler!
“The hills are alive with the sound of music
With songs they have sung for a thousand years
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing every song it hear”
– Julie Andrews, Sound of Music lyrics
Breathe in. Breathe in the air!!! I was told to breathe in and I did! Ah! Whistler. A week ago I would not have done that. To be honest, even though I live in Vancouver, I’ve only been to Whistler a few times. People ask me “are you a mountain girl or an ocean girl?” And I say “neither, I’m a restaurant girl.” I do enjoy the mountains but I prefer dining on it rather than climbing it, and while I love the water I’ll be easily tempted by dinner on a cruise or picnic on the beach.
So you get the point, I’m not the adventurous or outdoors-y type, except when it comes to eating and for that I’ll go anywhere. As long as it’s not raining and there is mosquito repellent and a blanket, I can warm up to the outdoors with a culinary adventure. I was invited on a culinary trip to Whistler and I didn’t expect to be as impressed as I was, but Whistler, you have more than outdoor game – you have culinary game.
I decided to take the Rocky Mountaineer up to Whistler because I’ve never done it before. That, and they were serving breakfast, which I wouldn’t get on the bus. The 2-2.5 hour drive just pains me thinking about it, so the train it was. A round trip ticket on the Rocky Mountaineer is pretty pricey, but the ride up is breathtaking. Whether you’re a tourist or a local I recommend trying it at least once in your life – even if it’s just one way.
The train ride up reminded me of how lucky I was to live in BC. All those postcards images you see of our city, province and country just come to life on the trip up. The staff pointed out sights and gave a little bit of history along the way. Sights included the Howe Sound, the Cheakamus Canyon and the Tantalus Mountains and calling it a “scenic route” barely does it justice.
On the journey there, for breakfast they served a salmon fritatata and on the way down they served “land and sea” tapas. It was BC Spot Prawns, pine nut and almond cristini, BC pork and pistachio pate, watermelon and tomato skewer, and of course a piece of candied maple glazed salmon.
I have to mention this part of the train ride. When the train enters the residential areas of West Vancouver, the residents of many of these houses will come out just to wave at the train. The staff referred to these people as their “train family” and it was a good 20 minutes of non-stop waving. I was shocked at how many people would take time out of their day just to wave at us. The people on the train were equally as into it too. Maybe it was the wine, but I found the whole thing really quirky and at the same time hilarious and infatuating. There was even one lady living in a hi-rise named Nina that hasn’t missed one wave in the last 2 years. Rocky Mountaineer actually sent her a ticket to ride the train and that was the only train she has ever not waved to.
At last, I arrived in Whistler. I know this picture looks fine, but almost the entire 4 days I was there it was raining and gloomy. I really thought it would put a dinger on the whole trip, but there is nothing that food can’t fix. I have to admit that the scenery is also effortlessly gorgeous… and so are the people. Tourists or not, it’s a good looking town. Anyway with all the rain I was a bit worried, but as a food person there were lots of delicious activities to occupy myself with.
So this is what they meant by “the great outdoors”, well in that case I’ll make myself comfortable. I’m really not the most active person, but lifting forks and glasses I’m pretty good at. The photo above is from the Araxi Longtable Dinner Series which used to take place in Pemberton, and this is their first year hosting it in Whistler.
It was a freaking amazing event and I don’t know where else I would get ambiance and air like that. It blew any other “Long Table Series” (LTS) concept I’ve been too. I tried both Araxi the restaurant in Whistler as well as this LTS event and I actually liked this one even more. To me, this embraced “dining in Whistler” and it was one of those events you just feel grateful to experience. It was definitely a Follow Me Foodie moment and dinner with this view was nothing but incredible.
This is The Scandinave Spa Whistler – I can handle this kind of outdoors too. I’ve tried Scandinave Spas, but none in this context with this mountain vista and valley view. The environment was truly unique to Whistler. This was an outdoor activity for an indoor personality.
I called Whistler the Disneyland for Adults. Being that it is a resort and tourist destination there isn’t much of a “culinary scene” to analyze. Since I’m from Vancouver I am likely biased too because “Pacific Northwest cuisine” is all around me. Restaurants in Whistler may come off as touristy even if they are not and the options are limited compared to a bigger city. They do have 100+ dining options which include restaurants, bistro, lounges, pubs and cafes, which is decent for a resort town. However if you think of all the different cuisines available it’s not going to have extensive choices for every type of food. You still need to do research to pick out restaurants worth visiting.
Whistler sells itself on adventure and nature before food, but I was definitely introduced to some gems that could hold their own in a bigger food forward city. I was actually quite impressed with the places I tried. As a Vancouverite, I wanted to pluck a few of those restaurants and bring them down to Vancouver for my own selfish pleasures. On the other hand those same places are my incentives to go revisit. It makes it more special knowing I can’t get it in Vancouver.
Here is just a small taste of things you can expect from Follow Me Foodie to Whistler!
… to advanced wine tasting (at Bearfoot Bistro).
… to Heirloom Tomato Salad (at Bearfoot Bistro).
From squash blossom (at Bearfoot Bistro)…
… to squash blossoms (from Araxi Longtable Dining Series).
From sabering champagne…
… to savouring steak (at Sidecut).
From liquid nitrogen smoke (at Bearfoot Bistro)…
… to applewood smoke (from Sidecut).
… and raspberries (at Araxi)…
… to even more raspberries (at Bearfoot Bistro).
My taste of Whistler begins tomorrow… start thinking of Whistler in the summer. It’s delicious.
Accommodations: I was hosted by Four Seasons Resort Whistler which is a top resort in Whistler. It’s a luxury hotel with rustic elegance and Trip Advisor’s Travellers Choice Awards rated it as one of the Top 25 Hotels in Canada this year. It’s about a 15 minute walk away from the main village area and offers a calm and peaceful atmosphere. It has been a AAA Five Diamond – Only Resort in Canada from 2007-2012. It has a fully heated outdoor pool all year long, complimentary wifi, award winning spa and fitness facilities. It is appropriate for families, couples, and/or business. As a foodie I should also add that they have a solid steakhouse and the lobby even serves complimentary lemonade in the summer and s’mores in the winter.