Table Scraps 

Just the right Mix

Whether high heels or ski boots, you fit into The Mix, Ric’s Grill’s latest addition to the Village Stroll.

The trendy lounge stands out from its more casual beer-swilling counterparts: the modern urban décor dressed in rich reds, stone and onyx-glowing bar invites an alternative to jugs of Canadian and nachos for the après scene. A staff-favourite pine nut crusted Brie cheese with fruit compote and vodka martini (the bar boasts an international lineup of 30 different vodkas) is a unique alternative with sizable portions satisfying a mountain-worked-up appetite.

Sit back on the patio with mountain views on your right, central village buzz on your left and plenty of people watching in-between. A fire pit is planned for later in the season.

Quick bite lunches and après afternoons dim to evening rendezvous for two with bar-side seating staged in the centre of the lounge.

Last Monday, singles out for a night on the town pulled up a chair in sparkly tops for nibblies such as the lightly-breaded calamari while a family in fleece wrapped around a booth with burgers for the kids and a premium sterling beef rib eye steak for dad, the same entrée as Ric’s downstairs.

While The Mix menu boasts everything from sandwiches and pasta to main entrees and even a raw bar, catching up with a girlfriend we opted for the modest nine-item tapas menu with soup and salad to start. We toasted conversation with champagne cocktails – the tart and refreshing raspberry one the favourite of both of us – followed by a spicy, lemongrass scented Tom Yum Goong to bring back Thailand trip memories.

The hit of the night was the unusual Ahi Nicoise Salad (big enough for a main course) with tuna grilled rare on top of crisp green beans, seasoned potatoes, olives, capers and egg with a Dijon vinaigrette. Never able to say no to a girl’s best friend, we finished with the largest decadent raspberry-and-chocolate-bottomed crème brulee I’ve ever seen – brulee flavours change regularly.

The tapas bar with a full menu option of 44 items, which follow Ric’s fresh and value standards, is under the guardianship of Executive Chef Derek Lawson, a Ric’s Grill veteran of four years.

With city sophistication and big mountain laid-back hospitality, and not to mention value-sized portions, the new tapas lounge offers the right dining mix, day or night, for any occasion.

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Other Whistler tapas joints to sample are the tucked away upstairs lounge at 21 Steps across from Village 8 Cinemas, as well as Elements whose fine-dining-quality food and service in a relaxed atmosphere led to the 2005 Best New Restaurant in Whistler accolade by Pique readers.

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Instead of wine being paired to complement food, wines take centre stage at a winemaker dinner with a chef orchestrating a set menu to complement and showcase a select winery.

Nk’Mip Cellars, the first aboriginal owned and operated winery in B.C., has joined forces with Aubergine Grille Master Chef Hans Stierli, for a winemaker dinner Friday, Jan. 13 at the Aubergine Grille.

Connecting with new friends is a staple ingredient of the winemaker dinner experience and the Aubergine-Nk’Mip evening includes a hosted reception before the dinner, allowing diners to sit around large tables with plenty of room for discussion.

From local wild mushroom and Pemberton potato pave paired with 2004 Nk’Mip Cellars Pinot Noir to roasted venison loin matched with 2002 Qwam Qwmt Reserve Meritage, the winemaker dinner gladly takes ordering out of the hands of food and wine lovers and into the hands of experts.

Dinner is $95 a person. Call 604-935-4344 for reservations.

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Get into the whisky spirit with insight into premium whiskies and scotches Monday, Jan. 9, also at the Westin Resort. Edible British Columbia toasts the knowledge of Andrew Starritt of CaskStrength along side a dinner of local game meats and seafood orchestrated by Stierli. Tickets are $150. Call 604-905-5000 for reservations.

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