Though Scout is decidedly Vancouver-centric, we often adventure north up the Sea To Sky highway for kicks. Whistler offers so much more than just the slopes its famous for, and both Squamish and Pemberton are magnetic small communities that seduce with incomparable scenery and genuine character. Each town (and the wild spaces in between) is an essential facet of the complete British Columbian experience, and we encourage our readers to get out there and explore each of them.
Right now we see the red of the Peak 2 Peak gondola; the tri-colour of the Whistler Mountaineer train; the peak of Blackcomb when it catches the last rays of the sunset (five colours); drooping epiphytic moss on the trees surrounding Alice Lake; the freezing Vodka Room at Bearfoot Bistro; the tri-colour of the exterior of Nita Lake Lodge; Australian green and gold; charger plates at Araxi; turquoise meltwater off Squamish; and a turkey vulture’s pink head.
BRIGHTLY COLOURED JACKETS FALLING DOWN MOUNTAINS
AN OPEN AIR OBSERVATION CAR ON THE WHISTLER MOUNTAINEER
THE LONG, DEEP “WUP WUP WUP” ECHO OF RESCUE HELICOPTERS
TOURS OF WHISTLER BREWING COMPANY
GREAT STACKS TO BROWSE AT ARMCHAIR BOOKS
PLAYING “AVOID THE BEAR” ON THE 40KM WHISTLER VALLEY TRAIL
DAWN SKINNY DIPPING AT ALICE LAKE
MASS CAVORTING AT THE CORNUCOPIA FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL
EXCELLENT FARMER’S MARKETS IN BOTH SQUAMISH & WHISTLER
STELLAR’S JAYS WAKING CAMPERS UP WITH HIGH PITCHED SCREECHES
A LITTLE SNAKE RUN & MELLOW BOWL AT THE WHISTLER SKATEPARK
GLACIAL POWDER BEACH CAMPING ON THE SQUAMISH VALLEY CAMPGROUND
CALM CANOEING ON ALTA LAKE
2,500+ AUSTRALIANS WHO HAVE LEARNED HOW TO TIP
OLYMPIC LEGACY CABINS AT PORTEAU COVE
THE PRETTIEST HOLE IN CANADIAN GOLF (14TH AT FURRY CREEK)
VINYL HUNTING AT KELLY’S ECLECTIBLES
OUTSTANDING IN THE FIELD SUPPERS AT NORTH ARM FARM
16OZ DELMONICO STEAKS AT SIDECUT
BIG GUNS SUPPERS AT ARAXI
HOT STUMPTOWN COFFEE & COCONUT BANANA LOAF AT PUREBREAD
FIVE COURSE TASTINGS AT BEARFOOT BISTRO
BREAKFAST BURRITOS AT ZEPHYR CAFE
BANGERS & MASH AT THE PONY
PRE-SLOPE WARM UP AT LIFT COFFEE
VEGGIE BURGERS AT WILDWOOD BISTRO
PINTS OF GUINNESS AT THE DUBH LINN GATE
DEEP FRIED CHEESECAKE AT HOWE SOUND BREWPUB
SMOKED SALMON EGGS BENEDICT AT FERGIE’S CAFE
SCHRAMM ORGANIC GIN FROM PEMBERTON DISTILLERY
- The great granite monolith known as the Grand Wall of the Stawamus Chief was first climbed in 1961 by Jim Baldwin and Ed Cooper. It took them 40 days to get to the top.
- Pemberton Distillery’s Lorien Schramm was named after the fair forest realm of the Elves in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings.
- Bearfoot Bistro chef Melissa Craig won the country’s biggest cooking competition, the Canadian Culinary Championships, in 2008.
- Squamish’s Britannia Mine produced 56 million tons of copper in its 70 years of operation from 1904.
- The “Sea To Sky” highway from Horseshoe Bay to Whistler is considered one of the most beautiful drives in the world.
- Whistler was named after the call of the Hoary Marmot, North America’s largest (and loudest) ground squirrel.
- Australians make up a third of the workforce at Whistler Blackcomb.
The GOODS from Market by Jean-Georges
Vancouver, BC | For one night only, two iconic dining establishments will be switching venues. On Saturday, November 9, MARKET by Jean-Georges will be taking over the dining room at the Bearfoot Bistro, while on Wednesday, November 13 the Bearfoot Bistro team will be packing up their things and moving into MARKET. Each restaurant will be serving up an exclusive four-course tasting menu featuring the best of the season for $78.00.
The evening was inspired by a glass of wine and conversation between Bearfoot Bistro founder André Saint-Jacques and MARKET restaurant manager David Auer. “At the Bearfoot Bistro we are always looking to be innovative and have fun. I have always been a great fan of Jean-Georges and have had the pleasure of dining at many of his restaurants around the world. Partnering with the MARKET in this crazy idea seemed like a natural fit,” says Saint-Jacques from the Bearfoot Bistro.”
“From the chefs, furniture, front-of-house team and bartenders, each of our restaurants are planning to take this opportunity to be playful and have some fun,” says Auer from MARKET by Jean-Georges. “The plan is to recreate our respective restaurants so that from the moment you walk in the door to the moment you leave, you will think you are in a different place. The switch is a perfect way for us to be able to share our amazing MARKET experience to a different audience in a different place.”
Chef de Cuisine Montgomery Lau from MARKET by Jean-Georges is planning to feature the “Best of MARKET” for the restaurant swap. Jean-Georges’ signature ‘vibrant cuisine’ – a reflection of classic French training, 10 years spent in Asia and the Culinary Concepts’ philosophy of ‘global in reach, local in content’ – features intense flavours and textures resulting from the use of vegetable juices and fruit essences, light broths and herbal vinaigrettes. Executive Chef Melissa Craig has established herself as one of the top names in Canadian cuisine. Commanding a large kitchen devoted to sourcing the best ingredients from home and abroad, Chef Craig’s vision is both approachable and cutting edge. For the night’s tasting menu, Melissa will be featuring classic Bearfoot Bistro favourites inspired by the local harvest season. Read more
The GOODS from RauDZ Regional Table
Kelowna, BC | Chef Rod Butters and Audrey Surrao of RauDZ Regional Table are excited to announce that they are a top five finalist in the “Best Concept” category at the 8th Annual Small Business BC’s Successful You Awards, the only restaurant (as well as the only Okanagan business) to make the final cut. “Support local, buy local, eat and drink local” is the simple, impactful philosophy at RauDZ Regional Table. Guests are making a financial contribution to the community by supporting an independent restaurant, which in turn supports regional farmers & suppliers, thereby keeping our local economy vibrant and growing. Read more
Michelle and I went up to Whistler last weekend for a wee bit of gastronomic excess with some journalists visiting from the United States (cool cats all). It was bloody hot out, so we borrowed a pretty sweet convertible for the duration, and cranked old Rolling Stones tracks all the way up, singing “Pleased to meet you, won’t you guess my name, wooo-hooo!” Good times…
After checking in at the Westin (hooray for pools), we headed straight for Araxi, this year’s critic’s choice for Best Whistler at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. It and Bearfoot Bistro are my two Whistler reliables, as their respective chefs – Melissa Craig and James Walt – are two of the best in BC. We couldn’t get up in time to enjoy lunch at BB with the American journos, but they regaled us with tales of noon-hour excess. One of them even fell asleep at the table after the lunch had ended! I had the opportunity of being a judge when Melissa won the Canadian Culinary Championships in Toronto a few years back, so I have pretty good idea as to the excellence of what we missed. Sigh…it sounded fantastic, like a fisherman’s “one that got away” tale. There’s always next time…
The 10 of us – happily received in Araxi’s private room by GM Steve Edwards – were led through five courses prepared by James and his crew (including recently minted sous chef Owen Lightly). Several of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life have been enjoyed in that room, and this one was definitely in the running. It began with a tiny, Caprese-esque salad of GME heirloom tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, basil sorbet, gazpacho vinaigrette and nasturtiums, crescendo-ed with a plate of Pemberton Meadows shortribs that had been cooking for 72 hours, and finished with white chocolate-pistachio nougat glacé dealt by pastry chef Aaron Heath. Wine Director (and charmer) Samantha Rahn made some great and sometimes brave pairing moves – like saddling the beef up to a seven year old Austrian Gruner Veltliner – but…if I can channel Hopper for a sec, it was pure poetry, man…poetry. Here’s the menu… Read more
News from Scout supporter Bearfoot Bistro
Whistler, BC | If champagne sabering were an Olympic event, Bearfoot Bistro owner André Saint-Jacques would have to trade in his gold for silver. Just as Mr. Saint-Jacques prepared to fête Olympic Medalists by sabering a celebratory jeroboam bottle of Moët et Chandon Brut Impérial, comes word that a South African barman has successfully challenged his title for sabering the most bottles of champagne in one minute. Read more
News from Scout supporter Bearfoot Bistro
Whistler, BC | At Whistler’s legendary Bearfoot Bistro, every night is a celebration, and as the resort town gets set to throw its biggest party ever, Bearfoot Bistro’s convivial owner André Saint-Jacques is primed to play host. Get all the details after the jump… Read more
News from Scout supporter Bearfoot Bistro
Whistler, BC | Stepping off the slopes into Whistler’s Bearfoot Bistro? Après-ski will take on a new twist this winter as Canada’s first sub-zero vodka room opens at Whistler’s Best Restaurant. The Bearfoot Bistro’s new Belvedere Ice Room is a sleek space where guests can step up to the ice bar and sample a range of 50 vodkas from around the world. This cold-as-ice room opens just in time for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, and replaces the Bistro’s former Cigar Lounge. Connoisseurs keep warm, while looking oh-so chic in the -18 degree C temperature, wearing Canada Goose down parkas and winter hats.
The Belvedere Ice Room menu features suitably chilled partner plates of gravadlax, oysters and caviar with vodkas from Russia, Poland, France, Sweden, the Czech Republic, United States, and even neighbouring Pemberton, British Columbia to name a few. Guests will be served flights of vodka to sample and sip in an arctic ambience as music blasts the foreground. Behind the frozen bar the standout spirit is showcased in individual ice sculpted display boxes. Read more
News from Scout supporter Bearfoot Bistro
Whistler, BC | Few restaurants can boast an award-winning star chef, a heavily-lauded wine list, and a moniker as synonymous with throwing lavish parties as it is with its impeccable cuisine. Under the auspices of the legendary Bearfoot Bistro, founder André Saint-Jacques announces the creation of a new, high-end catering service that aims to bring the Bearfoot Bistro experience into your home. Just in time for the 2010 Winter Olympics landing at North America’s top ski resort come February, Bearfoot Bistro prepares to host not only the world, but also exclusive, unique, and custom private events. Read more
Whistler’s Bearfoot Bistro is now a proud member supporter of Scout. We will be publishing their news and press releases on our front page, and hosting an individual page for them on our list of recommended restaurants. Click ahead for a taste or visit their Scout page here… Read more
Sid Cross has been kindly contributing to Scout this week as we cover the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival. Widely considered one of the finest palates in the world, Sid’s list of honours and accomplishments are staggering. He is Wines Committee Chair for The International Wine & Food Society (www.iwfs.org) headquartered in London England; an Officer in France’s prestigious Ordre du Merite Agricole; a Membre d’Honneur of the L’Academie du vin de Bordeaux (and the only Canadian to receive that honour); and he has been named The Gourmet of the Year by The Society of Bacchus America. He’s also co-founder and an advisor to The Chef’s Table Society of BC, and an all around gent, first class… Read more
What a wild weekend! And to think I almost didn’t feel up to it. Pshaw.
We started on the road to Cornucopia in the afternoon on Friday, which meant I missed my favourite event, the Trade Tasting (always good to have that rush when the doors open and the pouring begins). Once installed at the Four Seasons there was an hour for some beta fixes to this website before it was time for the Big Guns dinner at Araxi. This year the feature winery was Penfolds, and they broke out the superlative ’98 Grange during the 4th course (dry aged Pemberton Meadows beef with veal sweetbreads). The night went late and long, and involved cigars, ports, whiskeys, and I presume a few other things before I found myself in bed, 6 hours later and dying for coffee and a brand new tongue. The next day saw guests and media piled into a chartered bus and whisked to a private home tucked away outside the village for a luncheon showcasing Prospect Winery wines and the talents of Cabana Bar & Grille chef Ned Bell. Five courses later and fully recovered now from the night before, I stole a two hour nap at the hotel, enjoyed a forty minute shower, and then dressed for dinner at Bearfoot Bistro. We began in the cellar, where owner Andre St. Jacques sabred some large format Pommery champers and the gathered guests got giddy in anticipation. I’d spent some time with chef Melissa Craig and Andre in Vancouver a few days previously at the Gold Medal Plates, and they’d mentioned that dinner, paired with dueling Chateau de Beaucastel wines, was going to be a “different” and a “surprise”. And man, was it ever. They’d dreamed up a “diner” theme, playing up comfort foods of yore with high end ingredients and exacting preps, everything from mac & cheese and grilled cheese to eggs benny and banana splits. I heard some bitching from some guests (“I wouldn’t pay $250 for dinner in a diner!”), and even some media, but overall I thought the response was very positive. I certainly loved it. It takes guts to get thematic, and not a little confidence/capability to do it right. The wine pairings were challenging, but I enjoyed how they were structured. For several courses we were poured two glasses of the same wine/vintage, only one had aged in a 750ml bottle and the other in a 3l Jeroboam. Tasting bottle variation based on size wasn’t something I’d done before, and I found it fascinating that the larger format wines, all 20 years old, could do with a lot more cellaring. Once dinner had wrapped (just after midnight), my dining companions and I braved the rain and the drunken Australian teenagers who own the village square for sparkling nightcaps at Araxi’s famous “Bubbles” shindig. One huge improvement this year over previous years: crowd control. One could move relatively easily through the rooms and it was nowhere near as stifling. Perhaps they lost several thousand dollars in ticket sales by lowering their capacity, but the decision made the party that much more enjoyable. Great crowd of usual suspects and a tremendous amount of fun. I struggled somewhat through a long and leisurely brunch over at the Fairmont the next morning (a consequence of two days and nights of going too far), and then it was off down the mountain and back to the always pleasant grind.
In addition to the little home movie above, I’ve put together a gallery of photos below. Many of the pictures in both the gallery and the film were taken by my friend Coleen, and for that I am eternally grateful.
Thanks for reading, watching, and looking. If you have any advil or pepto, I’d appreciate the hook up.
4121 Village Green, Whistler, BC V0N1B4 | MAP
Tel: 604-932-3433 | Fax: 604-932-8383
Led by owner Andre Saint Jacques and executive chef Melissa Craig
At the legendary Bearfoot Bistro, every night is a celebration of sophisticated culinary wizardry and magical joie de vivre.
The festivities begin in the stylish Champagne Bar, where your crystal flute awaits, chilling in a frozen cradle of illuminated ice carved out of the solid pewter bar. Relax into a high-backed leather chair while the resident pianist warms up the romantic dining room with some bluesy jazz.
Founder André Saint-Jacques is the convivial master of ceremonies who presides over the lively ambience of this award-winning dining room, the only Whistler restaurant to receive a coveted three-star rating from the anonymously conducted Where to Eat in Canada guide for 2009/2010.
Mr. Saint-Jacques’ passion for champagne sabering – he holds the Guinness World Record for 21 bottles sliced open in under a minute – is as renowned as his saucy Masquerave parties, at which body-painted models lend lusty fizz to the free-flowing bubbles.
But after you’ve finished touring the Bearfoot’s extravagant underground wine cellar (a perennial winner of the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence) and the smoke clears from the cauldrons of nitrogen ice cream flash-freezed tableside, it is the subtle elegance of executive chef Melissa Craig’s modern haute cuisine that will leave you dazzled.
In 2008, Ms. Craig was crowned “Canada’s best chef” at the Canadian Culinary Championships. Her triumphant Alaskan king crab trio tantalizes the taste buds with her gastronomic signatures: a thoughtful progression of exquisitely balanced flavors and surprising mix of textures. In this case, it was a bamboo cone of tender claw meat topped with soy-infused pop rocks that wowed the judges.
Whether it’s a delicate quail egg sprinkled with Canadian caviar or a luscious cube of Wagyu beef from Japan, the Bearfoot Bistro brings you the very best ingredients from local farmers and around the world to create an unforgettable experience.
“Best Whistler” | Vancouver Magazine Awards, 2009
“…Craig had executed an unforgettable meal that cemented her position as one of Canada’s most talented chefs.” | Fiona Morrow, Vancouver Magazine January/February 2009
“Canada’s Best Chef” | Canadian Culinary Championships, February 2008
“Chef of the Year – Melissa Craig” Top 40 Foodies (Under Forty), Western Living Magazine October 2008