Best of Whistler 2012: Food and Drink 

Best new restaurant

This past year was a tough year for some in the food service business. It has been the kind of year that saw some places close the doors for good and only a few new places launch. Despite impressive annual visitor numbers, our visitors just haven't been spending their money the way visitors did before the world economy went sideways a few years ago and the Canadian dollar started gaining strength compared to other power currencies around the world.

Despite the tough business climate,  El Furniture Warehouse  turned on the open sign this summer and took the most votes in the Best New Restaurant category. The runner up was the Mexican Corner and the Royal Taste of India polled third. Anyone brave enough to launch a new restaurant in the very competitive Whistler market and this economic climate deserves recognition so a tip of the hat to the two runner-up restaurants and the others who made 2012 their first year of operations.

Dom Boucher and Anthony Leffelaar, two of the people behind El Furniture Warehouse, said the goal from the start was to attract the hard working people employed at resort hot spots.

"Whistler does an outstanding job providing first-class accommodations and dining options, we just want to serve the people making those places tick," said Leffelaar.

Best latte

This is the third year in a row the  Lift Coffee Company  has been voted the best place for a latte. A caffè latte is a coffee drink made with espresso, milk and the most important ingredient of all, love. This appears to be the secret at Lift Coffee Co. Forget about the little white leaf or the heart the baristas weave into drinks. That is not the secret. At the bottom of every Lift Coffee Co. latte the love is found.

Find the love at Mountain Square between 6:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. or visit one of the other locations at Nesters or Function Junction.

Second this year was Moguls and third spot goes to Alpine Café.

Best hot chocolate

This is a new category and we're happy to announce  Blenz  is the inaugural winner.

There's a little magic that happens each time Belcolade Belgian Chocolate Chips and steamed milk are blended together at the coffee shop by the children's play area at Whistler Marketplace. This vote wasn't even close. Blenz ran away with this award. No other hot chocolate maker came near to the number of votes Blenz received. Sampling one of these is a must-do in dark, milk or white chocolate.

Second in this new category was Moguls and the Lift took third spot.

Best breakfast

Whistler has a clear preference for the first meal of the day and we love to go where we feel at home. So it is no surprise that we enjoy the restaurants that bill themselves as "owned by locals for locals." This year it was a clean sweep for the Wild Wood restaurant group with  Elements  taking first place for the first time and the Wild Wood eateries getting both second and third spot for their Function and Village locations. "We couldn't do it without the locals," said an excited Chris Skene, one of the owners in the eatery group. "It is fantastic. That makes it 10 years in a row we've won this category. We are pretty proud of that." The best part about the Wild Wood group's breakfasts is the generous servings at what most consider a small serving price. And what's not to love about Element's caramelized banana and chocolate stuffed French toast, with its thick sliced French bread stuffed with caramel banana and chocolate chip butter — with or without real Canadian maple syrup, or Wild Wood's Banana Bread French toast for breakfast! Congratulations on a clean sweep!

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