I seem to have a love/hate relationship with the Whistler food scene. I adore being in Whistler and the idea of enjoying a great al fresco meal out on a patio somewhere. And apparently, I love Araxi, as it was my second time there and both experiences were fantastic. But what I dislike is a lack of other options. If you stroll the village and type the name of each restaurant into Urbanspoon, you’ll be shocked at the low ratings. My friend and I sat down at one patio (seated ourselves as there was no one around), and then overheard a table complaining about how long the food’s taking – the server’s response was that they have a small, slow kitchen. And it wasn’t even busy, so we bolted – I’ve learned that oftentimes it’s best to listen to your guy and just walk away. We decided to re-visit Araxi, since it was so great the first time around (and because I pretty much refuse to dine somewhere rated below 80% on Urbanspoon – I typically try to stick to 85%+). I also discovered Purebread, which has some gluten-free goodies, and strolled the farmer’s market. Non-food wise, Brandywine falls are beautiful. Read on to find out about this round of eats in Whistler.
I didn’t realize Purebread also had a new location in Whistler Village. My friend and I visited their original location on Millar Creek Rd. I had previously had one of their macaroons at a farmer’s market. I liked the texture, but found it to be too sweet.
Here, I tried the brownie, made with almond flour. My friend thought it was a little too sweet, but I found it okay and actually quite liked it. It was very moist and chewy, and I’ll definitely be buying it again.
My friend really liked the almond croissant. In terms of gluten-free, they also had meringues and power bars.
I also ordered a coffee. Apparently they only have one type and serve it one way: Stumptown pourover. Personally, I didn’t really like the coffee, and found myself putting more cream in than I’d like in order to make it more enjoyable (I also wasn’t impressed that they didn’t know if it was heavy cream or half & half). I’ve had Stumptown coffee before, in Portland, and loved it. I guess it must’ve been a different kind.
I did check out the Olympic Village location, which was much bigger. I only grabbed some bottled water, but they seemed to have an even larger offering of goodies. Overall, a pleasant stop for baked goods.
Whistler Farmers Market
I jump at the chance to visit any farmers market, so I was excited to revisit the Whistler one. There’s always a lot of people, and the energy is great.
I didn’t end up eating anything, but my friend tried Jeggs, which I would’ve love to have tried if not for the wheat and soy – though I must say I’m impressed that they list the ingredients.
Basically it’s Japanese style eggs with cabbage and some other ingredients, battered and pan fried. It looked quite tasty, but my friend didn’t think it was anything special and thought it was way overpriced considering it was mostly cabbage (I believe it was $7.50). I’m guessing that there’s a huge novelty/Whistler premium. Still, kind of a cool concept.
I have a feeling that rather than fighting an uphill battle of finding a great patio with delicious food and terrific service, I might just wave the white flag and keep revisiting Araxi.
The setting is beautiful, in the center of the Village action, and yet serenely detached from it via some smart and pretty landscaping. Service is second to none: efficient, professional, friendly, helpful. And the food is delicious, creative and beautifully presented. And for all that, I’m willing to pay a slight premium.
This time, my friend and I ordered off the weekend brunch menu. I had the Roasted Tomato Frittata (with aged white cheddar, goat cheese and arugula drizzled with balsamic reduction). It was terrific – the goat cheese, tomato, and arugula worked well together. And the presentation was beautiful.
My friend loved the Paradise Valley Pork Belly Hash (house smoked and slow cooked with fingerling potatoes, cherry tomatoes and two baked eggs). I was just expecting a pile of meat and potatoes, so I was impressed by the lovely presentation. The eggs were cooked perfectly.
I had another fantastic afternoon at Araxi, and I look forward to returning.
The Den at Nicklaus North Golf Course
Unfortunately, it was all downhill from the awesome brunch at Araxi. I had been looking forward to checking out the Den at Nicklaus North Golf Course for a while. The menu looked casual but tasty, and I knew the patio overlooked Green Lake.
When we arrived, my friend and I were stoked. The patio, as you can see above, lived up to my expectations. The vies were gorgeous – lake and golf course in the foreground and mountains in the background – very picturesque. Sadly, that’s all it had going for it.
Long story short, we left without eating. Being ignored for over 45 minutes sucks, no matter how pretty the view. We saw someone twice – once at the beginning, where I right away asked if the chicken wings were gluten free and a second time much later to answer our question (but refuse to take our order because she wasn’t our server). Sadly, our server never did appear, even after flagging down two other servers in the hopes of placing our order. I even had to fetch our own water for us.
After 45 minutes, when we asked to speak with the manager, a server motioned in the general direction of the entrance – how professional. The manager didn’t seem surprised, nor did she seem to genuinely care. She did offer to cover our meal if we wanted to stay, and said that the servers lost our table and there was no one covering it. But it was too little to late. It appeared this wasn’t the first time this situation has occurred (and sure enough there’s another similar review on Urbanspoon). My friend later told me that the table next to us had complained about the chicken wings. So perhaps not being able to place our order was a blessing in disguise. Still, what a waste of such a beautiful setting, and what an unpleasant end to an otherwise great day.
Cure Lounge at Nita Lake Lodge
As if the experience at the Nicklaus North Golf Course wasn’t bad enough, we then stopped by my back-up choice, Cure Lounge at Nita Lake Lodge. There was no one around for the first 15 minutes, and it was clear that people had been waiting for their food for a long time. Then when the server did show up, she said she didn’t know anything about the burger & drink special on their website, which I showed her on my phone. Seeing how I wasn’t impressed with that response, she said she’d go check with the kitchen. After some more waiting, we decided that the last thing we needed that day was more bad service, so we decided to take off and have dinner in Vancouver.
I don’t know what it is about these places, if it’s because summer is the off season so maybe they’re understaffed or something. But as I’ve expressed before, for the most part I remain underwhelmed, to put it mildly, by the Whistler dining scene. If anyone’s got any great food recommendations for Whistler, I’m all ears.