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Table Scraps

Holiday delivered on a plate

There is nothing like having a holiday right here at home in Whistler. You’ve got time to get out on the mountain, sleep in a little more than usual and throw dishwashing liquid to the wind and get out to some great restaurants.

For the first time, I visited Bavaria. The place was packed, even on a Thursday night, with fondue pots lined up as far as the eye could see.

For $55 per person, a three-course fondue lands you straight in the middle of the Swiss Alps.

A plain Jane, traditional approach is taken with the cheese and Chinoise (broth) fondues. The chocolate fondue is everything a chocolate lover could desire, with accompanying strawberries red right the way through, even in the middle of winter.

The fondues didn’t leave me totally yodeling from the mountains, but the beer definitely did and the non-filtered variety with lemon, is worth a trip to Bavaria on its own.

sFondue is only one style of dining available at the cozy dining room located off Main Street across from the 7-Eleven. Other menu items include traditional Swiss raclette, schnitzel specialties, tartiflette and a children’s menu.

The holidays also give you time to catch up with friends, even if only over a quick drink.

Another first, I caught up with a friend over a glass of sparkling at Morgan’s restaurant in Creekside.

You step into another world when walking through the doorway of the vaulted, post-and-beam escape. The soft guitar strumming and easy-listening vocals from classical musician Cesar de Acha Beltran wafted through the main floor, which includes an open kitchen adorned with its signature wood-burning mesquite grill. Booth seating wraps around huge bay windows and an upstairs wine library provides even more dining hideaways.

There was bar seating, but instead we opted for soft leather chairs tucked beside a roaring fireplace.

The menu showcases a certified-organic showing, ranging from Moroccan lamb stew for lunch to seafood and game meats for dinner.

Araxi also hosts a great bubbly-clinking hangout perfect to catch up at. While the award-winning dining room hosts an evening culinary escapade, the lounge/bar setting welcomes a more casual crowd taking advantage of Araxi’s raw bar of sushi and seafood tiers as well as cocktails.

My friend opted for bubbly, myself for one of Araxi’s infamous creative concoctions: the cucumber and kiwi martini.

Araxi’s drinks and food are fit for royalty. A Saudi prince dined earlier that evening, returning for a second night in a row with a large entourage to partake in exquisitely crafted dishes such as lobster.

No matter how flexible or talented a restaurant, sometimes nothing beats dinner at home. Grant Cousar of Whistler Cooks stirs up the best of both worlds by catering a fine dining experience in the comfort of your own dining room.

Up on Whistler Mountain at Nature’s Door, the stark beauty and coziness of winter was reflected in the rooftops of great wooden homes blanketed in white. I could see why the New York family wanted to stay at their vacation home for dinner that evening — although they dined at Araxi the previous night with plans for Morgan’s the following evening. The roaring fireplace, the great windows framing mountain views and the comfort of sampling canapés and bubbly in your own living room before moving to the dining area for a family dinner of 10 people was wonderful, warm and like something from a holiday postcard as people conversed comfortably without the clatter of the kitchen or conversation from neighbouring tables.

Two of the senior heads of the family commented on how they enjoyed the quiet of a home setting, so they could easily hear and participate in the round-table discussions happening over crab cakes, risotto, lamb and an apple-cranberry upside down cake.

With the winemaker in attendance, both wine lover and executive chef explained their presentations, so company could appreciate the sensory delights on both plate and glass.

The host’s son raved about how the lamb was cooked to a perfect temperature and the crab cakes were voted best of the evening as Grant casually sipped wine and chatted with the table, all the while working his magic and pulling out fine-dining dishes from what seemed like nowhere.

I loved the family setting and the anything-but-usual family meal, but the head lady especially loved that there were no dishes to wash at the end of the evening.

You can partake in Cousar’s French classical culinary stylings mixed with Pacific Rim Asian and Northwest flavours in a variety of ways. In addition to his full-service chef-catered meals, he also delivers take-home, pre-made meals and operates a sit-in lunch café in Function Junction.

So the holidays are over, but indulging in a fine-dining night, out or in, can turn a few hours into an escape of holiday proportions.