By and large, I’ve never been that impressed with the food and drink offerings of ski destinations. And it’s not necessarily any fault of their own. They’re called ski resorts, and not “food resorts” or “cocktail resorts” for a reason (but how much fun would a food or cocktail resort be?!). Maybe it’s because they’re further away from the ocean or because I associate Rocky Mountain oysters with mountain towns (I don’t really), but I’ve never been that impressed with the food and drinks of ski towns.

Pemberton Distillery British ColumbiaAnd then I went to Whistler (where I was hosted by Whistler Tourism). I figured that if a town has their own celebrated food and drink festival, like Whistler does with Cornucopia Whistler, then it must know a little somethin’-somethin’ in the way of food and drinks. And as I found out, it does. There are breweries. There are distilleries. There are fancy dinners where you get to open a wine bottle with a saber. And there are not-so-fancy (yet delicious) dinners with something Canadians call poutine (pronounced kind of like the the Russian president’s last name). And there are longtable dinners in the very fields that much of the local food comes from.

Needless to say, I was impressed. And while there are a lot of ski towns I haven’t visited, of the ones I have, Whistler is a standout in its food and drink offerings. And a lot of that can be credited to how much of it is local, and therefore the cream of the crop, literally. Pemberton Distillery, for example, which is located within a half-hour of Whistler, uses potatoes from just down the road to make their Schramm Organic Potato Vodka, which was Spirit of the Year in 2010 at the World Spirit Awards. In Whistler, Araxi Restaurant + Bar uses ingredients from local farmers in many of their entrees and cocktails, and even hosts longtable dinners during the summer at the very farms where a lot of their food comes from. Many of these local farms, most of which are in nearby Pemberton, help power the food of many British Columbia restaurants in Whistler and beyond, which my friend Annemarie Dooling recently wrote about on Yahoo.

But enough talking. Let’s get to the photos.

Blood and Sand cocktail

Naturally, I ordered one of my favorite cocktails, a Blood & Sand, on my birthday from Araxi.

 

Araxi Restaurant, Whistler, British Columbia

Food like this at Araxi was almost too pretty to eat. ALMOST.

Fried Chicken Sushi Roll

The fried chicken roll at Sushi Village. I’m sure my southern ancestors are “rolling” in their graves right now.

Aged negroni cocktail

Aged Negroni cocktail at the bar of Alta Bistro.

Foie gras Whistler, British Columbia

Followed by elk tartar and foie gras at Alta Bistro.

Whistler Bearfoot Bistro Restaurant

It’s not every day you go into a restaurant like Bearfoot Bistro, which has a wine cellar where you go to saber open your bottle of champagne, and a vodka bar made completely out of ice.

Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler, British Columbia

The remains of said sabered bottle of champagne.

Vodka Ice Bar Whistler, British Columbia

Yes, as a matter of fact, -25 degrees Fahrenheit does make it the coldest ice bar in the world.

Bearfoot Bistro Restaurant in Whistler, British Columbia

With its own wine cellar (with champagne bottle sabering), vodka ice bar, and food that looked like this, Bearfoot Bistro really honed in on dining as an experience.

Whistler's Bearfoot Bistro restaurant

And a tableside homemade ice cream cart. Because homemade ice cream.

Whistler, British Columbia restaurant, Bearfoot Bistro

AND your own ice cream toppings. Yes, that’s a cup of brownies.

Bearfoot Bistro Whistler

The finished product. Yes, I did in fact put every single topping on my ice cream.

Mile One Eating House Pemberton, British Columbia

If you blink, you’ll miss the little town of Pemberton near Whistler, but doing so would mean missing out on this poutine topped with short ribs, cheese curds, and gravy from Mile One Eating House. Nom nom.

Whistler burger restaurant

The tallest burger in Canada? The burgers are among the favorites at Mile One, with the local mushrooms and homemade condiments really bringing it home.

Mile One Restaurant British Columbia, Canada

And dessert, because dessert.