We’ve invited Whistler’s Sidecut to join our GOODS section as a recommended local business that is worth checking out. They’re now proud members of Scout, and as such we’ll be posting their news front and center and hosting a page for them on our curated list of independent goodnesses. We’d like to take this chance to thank them for their support of Scout, and for making BC a more delicious place to live!
Reader “J.I.” | Nita Lake | Whistler, BC | 5:45pm | SHARE YOUR VIEW
We love posting the photographs that reveal the views from our reader’s windows. Whether it’s a back alley in the fall or a sandy beach in high summer, we’re always stoked to see what you see from home, work or while on the road. Some of our all-time favourite reader submissions below… Read more
The GOODS from CinCin, Araxi, West, & Blue Water Café
Vancouver & Whistler, BC | Top Table’s four wine directors—Araxi’s Samantha Rahn, Blue Water Cafe’s Andrea Vescovi, CinCin’s Sarah McCauley, and West’s Owen Knowlton—are excited to debut their inaugural wine label, Director’s Blend, a duo of personally blended wines produced by Laughing Stock Vineyards in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley.
Augmenting the extensive international wine cellars at each restaurant, the 2009 Director’s Blend Red and 2010 Director’s Blend White are now available exclusively at Top Table restaurants and represent the first vintages of an ongoing project. Learn more after the jump… Read more
We recently got away up to Pemberton to take in one of chef James Walt’s outdoor Araxi dinners at Jordan Sturdy’s stunning North Arm Farm. The weather was uncharacteristically cool and the sky more dramatic than previous visits, but the food and drink (all wines from Mission Hill) stole the show.
Garden Back to Eden Tomato Gazpacho
Yarrow Meadows Duck Liver Parfait with Rosemary
Tofino Dungeness Crab Roll with Cucumber Pearls
Mission Hill Martin’s Lane Riesling, 2010
Schramm Vodka Cocktails (Pemberton Valley)
North Arm Zucchini Flowers
stuffed with Okanagan goat cheese, heirloom tomatoes
Root Down organic greens with red pepper vinaigrette
Mission Hill Perpetua, 2008
Cherry Wood Hot Smoked Barkley Sound Sockeye Salmon
roasted North Arm beets, english pea and green tomato salsa
arugula flowers with beet caviar
Mission Hill Quatrain, 2007 (magnum format)
Pemberton Meadows Natural Beef
crispy slow cooked beef cheek fritter, pepper and rosemary roasted sirloin
North Arm rainbow chard and baby carrots
Mission Hill Oculus, 2004 (magnum format)
North Arm Strawberry Ice Cream Bar
strawberry ice cream dipped in dark chocolate with chocolate crust
Agassiz hazelnut financier with Okanagan apricots
Mission Hill Late Harvest Riesling, 2005
Altogether it was a stunner of an evening, and as per usual, we’re telling the story by way of photographs with captions as memory serves (short form: it was amazing). Should you want to enjoy one of these outstanding al fresco suppers, there are two more on the horizon taking place in the very same spot. August 27th will see Araxi pair up with Naramata’s Foxtrot Vineyards and Napa’s Trefethen Family Vineyards, and then September 11th will witness chef Walt plate alongside pours from sister wineries Le Vieux Pin of Oliver and LaStella of Osoyoos. Find out how to attend here.
ARAXI SUPPER ON NORTH ARM FARM
The GOODS from Araxi
Whistler, BC | The menu and wines have just been confirmed for the araxi longtable @ north arm farm event on July 30th, the first in a trifecta of outdoor dining experiences taking place this summer at Pemberton’s picturesque North Arm Farm.
Araxi’s wine director, Samantha Rahn is thrilled to be showcasing a range of outstanding wines from Mission Hill Family Estate, which represent the very best of their current portfolio. Ingo Grady, Mission Hill’s Director of Wine Education and one of the province’s foremost wine authorities, will lead guests through the wine pairings that he has personally chosen to accompany Chef James Walt’s menu. Take a look after the jump… Read more
The GOODS from Araxi
Whistler, BC | Araxi Restaurant is excited to announce araxi longtable @ north arm farm, a series of outdoor dining experiences taking place this summer at Pemberton’s picturesque North Arm Farm, located 20 minutes north of Whistler, British Columbia.
A progression of Araxi’s strong partnership with Pemberton’s farming community, the inaugural year will kick off with four events: Saturday, July 2nd; Saturday, July 30th; Saturday, August 27th; and Sunday, September 11th.
With dozens of ingredients grown just footsteps from Chef James Walt’s outdoor kitchen, diners will enjoy a four-course menu featuring the valley’s freshest produce, beef from its pastures, day-boat catches from our coastal fisheries and wines from leading producers. Each event will begin at 3:00 p.m. with a reception and farm tour led by North Arm Farm’s proprietor Jordan Sturdy.
The 60-acre North Arm Farm is certified organic, and has more than 45 acres planted with multiple varieties of vegetables (six varieties of carrots alone), stone and berry fruits, and herbs. Chef Walt has enjoyed a lengthy ‘growing relationship’ with the Sturdy family, planning seasonal menus around their just-picked produce, and visiting frequently during the growing season. Details after the jump… Read more
We have invited the awesome local spirit makers Pemberton Distillery to join our GOODS section as a recommended company. Tyler and Lorien Schramm produce Schramm Vodka, Schramm Gin and Pemberton Fruit Liqueurs, and are also working hard on a Single Malt Whiskey that should land on shelves in 2015. They are now proud members of Scout, and as such we will be publishing their news on our front page and hosting a page for them in our list of local and independent goodness. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their support, and to encourage you to pay their little distillery a visit the next time you’re up in the Whistler/Pemberton area. They’re good people making great things!
If you think your business would be a good fit for Scout, we want to know.
Whistler gets given the tilt-shift treatment, making every scene look as if it was filmed inside a rinky-dink snow globe.
It’s actually Pemberton and not Vancouver, but we’re nothing if not stiffly formulaic with our headlines. We have over 100 photos that we’re putting together for a Scout feature on our weekend up in Whistler and Pemberton (coming shortly in the carousel), but this one is too pretty not to share immediately. Wished you were there…
This week we talk to Canadian Olympic hero Ross Rebagliati, who on February 8, 1998, made history in Nagano by winning the first ever gold medal for snowboarding.
The thing that you eat that is bad for you that you will never stop eating: Anything I want.
Default drink: Beer.
Drink you’ll never have again: Buckley’s.
Best thing about the Okanagan in the Winter: No rain and great snowboarding.
Best thing about the Okanagan in the Summer: Sunshine and outdoor sports.
Best hotel room ever: Presidential suite at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA (for appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno). Read more
On New Years day, my girlfriend and I were joined by a couple of friends en route to Whistler to have an after-the-fact ringing in of the New Year. Originally, I was going to do a post entitled “Fondue at Five-Thousand”, but that never really panned out as the holiday hangover sapped all my motivation. I then toyed with the idea of making up a story about infiltrating an Australian snowboarding gang that terrorizes the hapless tourists of Whistler, but that was too far fetched (and a downright fabrication), so I’ve settled instead on a brief account of our trip. It was just nice to get out of the city for a couple of days.
We arrived in Whistler to crystal clear skies and some of the most beautiful scenery you might find in this fair province of ours. I’d never been up there in the winter, as I don’t partake in any winter sports and nor am I fabulously wealthy.
We checked into our suite at the Adara Hotel – an unassuming boutique hotel right in the centre of Whistler Village – and proceeded to kick off our shoes and pop open a bottle of bubbly.
The fireplace was going, there was a Canucks game on TV (which we won!), and I felt relaxed for the first time in ages. Do you ever stop and realize that you have been grinding your teeth for weeks? I had one of those moments, and it felt good to unclench my jaw and take a load off.
After a few bottles of wine, we ventured into the heart of the village for dinner at Araxi. They were loaded to the hilt, but within a few minutes we were able to snag four seats at the bar. My friend Victor, with whom I once worked at West, mans the raw bar there now, and he sent us out some sushi and sashimi to start. So good for a white boy!
We ordered a few things off the menu, all of which were great (chef James Walt’s food is always solid). I had the chance to work with him this past summer when he and the restaurant catered the VIP tent at the Pemberton Music Festival. A really nice guy, and a great chef. For the volume they do (300 plus covers that night), it makes what they do even more impressive.
Now, call me lame, but all I really wanted to do after was go back to my hotel room at the Adara, have a few nightcaps, and go to bed. But then Victor came over after his shift. We reminisced and bitched about things, as that’s what cooks do, and then it was off to sleep in a way-too-comfortable bed that made mine at home seem very inadequate.
Upon waking up, we lingered over coffee (Adara provides JJ Bean beans and a French press), and waited until the last possible second to check out. We then headed out for a forgettable breakfast at a tourist trap in the village, kicking ourselves for not listening to Victor, who recommended the Sunshine diner.
On the agenda for our final day was checking out the recently opened Peak to Peak gondola, which now links Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. The project took over a year and a half to complete, cost nearly $51 million dollars, and is the first of its kind in North America. The trip across takes 11 minutes and covers 4.4 kilometres, 3 of those kilometres being with no support from towers – just hanging cables. It is quite the trip, both literally and figuratively. Being the idiot that I am, I wore Vans up the mountain, and upon stepping outside I knew I’d made a mistake. My feet remained frozen for the next hour, and I was lucky to escape with all of my toes intact.
We made it down the mountain safely and headed back to Vancouver, stopping only for the last period of the Canucks game at a White Spot in Squamish (does anybody know what is in Triple-O sauce? It’s pretty tasty, but man do they put a lot on their burgers!). I could feel myself getting fatter, and it didn’t help that I cashed in on their offer of bottomless fries. Will I ever learn? Just because the food is there, it doesn’t mean I have to eat it.
Oh well, Happy New Year.
Owen Lightly is a boy from a small island in the Gulf of Georgia. After attending cooking school, he moved to Vancouver in 2002 to start a career in the restaurant “biz”. His website, Butter On the Endive, was created for sharing and caring.
The word of the day? Ice-jacking!
CTV reports on today’s gondola tower collapse up in Whistler:
The tower collapsed around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, trapping 53 skiers and snowboarders for several hours in unheated cabins on the Excalibur Gondola lift. All were rescued, with 12 suffering minor injuries. One staff member was also cut during the evacuation process and sought medical attention.
The most serious injury was a fractured vertebrae, Doug Forseth, senior vice-president of operations for the resort, told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.
Most of the injured had bumps and bruises.
He said the tower failure occurred when water seeped into a splice on a section of tower four on the lift. Water flowed into the tower, then froze, rupturing the splice as it expanded.
“Water had seeped into the tower which had turned to ice with the recent extreme cold temperatures,” the statement said.
It’s “an extremely unusual situation referred to as `ice-jacking,”‘ he said.
Seriously…what is with the ridiculous terminology being bandied about in the media these days? Apparently ice-jacking is an actual scientific term, and not, as I initially suspected, invented on Tuesday by an enterprising engineer who looked at the damage to the gondola tower on Blackcomb and wondered how to describe it. “Will we say it’s a fracture due to ice? A rupture, a schism, a snap? No, no, that’s not right. We could say it broke. No. Too straightforward. The tower was injured by the ice…overthrown by the ice…hijacked by the ice. That’s it! It was ice-jacked!”
In fact, the term refers to the phenomenon of ice expanding as it slightly thaws and refreezes, growing ever-bigger and wreaking havoc along the way. But that doesn’t mean that we in the media have to use it. It would be perfectly fine to say that expanding ice caused the tower to collapse. After all, this comes not two weeks after we had to endure every reporter between here and Halifax wrapping their tongues around prorogue, when really, they could have said postpone.
Flickr photo by martapiqs
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.