The Dude Diet: Weird Name, Solid Cookbook

I developed the habit this year of borrowing cookbooks from the library. It’s a win-win: it’s economical, provides for plenty of culinary inspiration, and allows the opportunity for boosting kitchen skills.

Most of the cookbooks I’ve borrowed have been a success (and if they’re not, no big deal – I just return them and choose another), but I want to highlight my latest find because it checks off all of my boxes:

  • Ingredients are available in Squamish;
  • Ingredients are relatively inexpensive;
  • Meals are healthy;
  • There are a wide variety of recipes; and
  • Recipes are straightforward.

I like cooking, and I’m willing to devote a fair bit of time (an hour, maybe) towards making dinners – but I don’t like overly rich foods or meals that require the use of every pot, pan, and utensil in the kitchen. This cookbook accommodates these needs.

I happen to think The Dude Diet is not the best name. I get it – the girl who wrote it (she attended Harvard and Le Cordon Bleu Paris) wrote it to show guys (like her boyfriend) who generally ate horribly that healthy food can be delicious and easy to put together – but the aggressive dude-isms peppered throughout the recipes are a little cheesy.

If you can get over the dude factor (and I did), you’ll be rewarded with a wide variety of recipes split into ten sections:

  1. Badass Breakfasts: Self explanatory.
  2. The Classics: With a twist, like the Dude Diet Shepherd’s pie with ground turkey and cauliflower (instead of beef and potatoes).
  3. Game Day Eats: Quintessential dude snacks and appetizers made healthier.
  4. On the Grill: Kicking the basics up a notch – Grilled Mahi Mahi with citrus-jalapeno salsa; grilled chicken paillard with avocado, corn, and cherry tomato relish, and the like.
  5. Serious Salads: My favourite chapter – salads that are entree-worthy.
  6. Take-Out Favourites: DIY versions made a little lighter (Pork un-fried rice; smarter sausage pizza)
  7. Sexy Sides: What it sounds like.
  8. Back-Pocket Recipes: Easy and delicious quick meals.
  9. Chronic Cocktails: With disclaimers in the preamble such as, “Moderation, moderation, moderation” and “Slowwww down”.
  10. Sweetness: Desserts made simple.

I didn’t cook recipes from all of these chapters, but I spent a bit of time on the salad, take-out, and back-pocket sections. A few of my favourites:

  • Arugula Salad with Crispy Prosciutto, Parmesan, and Fried Eggs: Okay, maybe not the healthiest, but this was a delicious combination. We ate it with some avocado toast (of course we did).
  • Sesame-Orange Chicken: Lots of flavour and super filling, and surprisingly easily to put together – with broccoli, a few bell peppers, and rice.
  • Coconut Green Curry Chicken: Soooo delicious. I don’t make curries very often, but when I do, they’re usually pretty boring compared to the stuff you get at restaurants. This recipe delivered.
  • Smoky Black Bean Chicken Stew: Smoky indeed – a few recipes in this cookbook call for chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, which I found at Nesters (they don’t have it at Craig’s). I did the smoky spiciness it added to this stew.
  • Dude Diet Shepherd’s Pie: I mentioned this one above – it uses cauliflower puree instead of mashed potatoes and it completely blew my mind. I feel like this crafty swap changes everything.

I recommend this book for quick(ish) weeknight dinners, people looking for some healthy inspiration, or those that are a little new to the kitchen and seek some inspiration (i.e., people living on their own for the first time).

The Dude Diet = it’s a winner.


I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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The Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival: Feel the Lumberjack Within

Wow. Just when you think life in Squamish can’t get any better – the Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival happens. I am officially in love with this place.

Squamish Days is not exactly a new tradition – this year, it celebrated its 60th anniversary. But it is new to me, and now that I know how awesome it is, I’m kicking myself for having skipped out on it last year. NEVER AGAIN WILL I MISS IT!

The Loggers Sports Festival is a multi-day affair, and the video above highlights a little bit of all of it (including the 8k community ran – which I ran!). But the event to beat them all takes place the Sunday afternoon. It’s a collection of lumberjack-style contests – think chainsaws, regular saws, a pit of water, and lots of giant logs. Of course, the actual events have technical names, but you don’t need to know them to enjoy the fun of it all.

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At $10 an adult (or $5 for seniors and kids), it’s a heck of a deal – we enjoyed 4.5 hours of epic entertainment, so the value is definitely there. Some (ahem – Cedric) might find that it’s a little on the long side, but I enjoyed every minute of it. If you happen to get bored, you can always walk around and check out the food stands, or even take off and come back (they stamp your hand, so you can come back in later).

The energy of the festival is awesome. The people watching is as much fun as the entertainment itself, and the event is really well paced – there are back to back competitions, so there’s always something to watch.

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Other things that are awesome: prizes. They had a few giveaways throughout the event that required you to interact with their social media accounts. I was STOKED to win a sweet prize consisting of a night stay at the Executive Suites hotel, two tickets up the Sea to Sky gondola, and $50 at Norman Rudy’s (located at the hotel) – who has two thumbs and is excited for an off season staycation? This girl!

I will leave you now with some tips on how to make the most of the festival:

  • The seats are bleachers – and as we all know, bleachers tend to get uncomfortable after a little while. Bring a sweatshirt or something to mitigate the effects of numb bum.
  • There is food for sale on-site, but it’s definitely festival fare. If you prefer to eat something a little more healthy, BYO – I didn’t see anything preventing you from bringing a sandwich from home. Bringing some water is a good idea, too.
  • There isn’t much in the way of shelter from the elements. In a way, the smokey air we’ve been having as of late was nice because it diffused the sun. I imagine it would get real hot, real quick with the sun beating down on you. Bring sun protection (and other gear to deal with whatever weather is thrown your way).
  • Everything is cash only. There are ATMs, but save on the fees and take our your money beforehand.

A Ranking of the Ice Cream Sandwich Flavours from Tall Tree Bakery

When I heard that Tall Tree Bakery was making ice cream sandwiches using their own cookies, I nearly cried.

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This is what dreams look like.

I also nearly cried when I paid them a visit and discovered they were sold out. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who thought this could very well be the best thing ever.

Luckily, they upped their production to keep up with the demand of the ravenous dessert lovers of Squamish, and I’ve had the chance to work my way through their ice cream sandwich menu throughout the summer thus far.

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Cedric took this picture because he was making fun of my dirty face

The sandwiches are delicious. The flavours are inventive. The price is insane(ly low): $5 for two big cookies and a thick slab of high quality ice cream. The cookies alone would set you back $3 if you bought them individually. I say with utmost confidence that this is the Official Squamish Treat of Summer 2017 – and beyond, I hope.

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Bring a friend = try two kinds at once! Brilliant.

What follows is my official ranking of the Tall Tree Bakery Ice Cream Sandwich flavours.*

*Sadly, I seem to have missed the boat on the coconut cookie with coconut ice cream flavour. I think I would have loved this one, but it appears to be off their menu. I’ll edit this post if it resurrects.

#1: Cranberry White Chocolate Cookie with Black Raspberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

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I won’t lie – at first, I was intimidated by this combination. I thought it might be too much of a good thing. I forgive my earlier, naive self, for I was used to simple pairings, like vanilla ice cream and chocolate chip cookies.

A friend raved over this flavour and said it was the only one she ever got – it was too good to risk trying anything else. Well, with a testament like that, I made the leap and ordered one for myself. I got it after a hike on a hot, sunny day, and three words describe my experience: Oh. My. God.

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The combination is not too much – it is utterly perfect. The tartness from the cranberries, the sweetness from the white chocolate, the cold creamy ice cream, and the fruitiness of the black raspberries are the TOTAL, MAGICAL PACKAGE. It’s a brave combination, but it works better than basically anything I’ve ever had before.

(I’m still dreaming about this one.)

#2: Ginger Molasses Cookie with Salted Caramel Ice Cream

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Wait… you don’t bring a knife to the bakery so that you can split ice cream sandwiches?

If you’re a little intimidated by some of the bold flavour combinations of the Tall Tree Bakery ice cream sandwiches – in other words, if you’re like my brother-in-law and choose to order vanilla when you’re at an ice cream store with 50 flavours – I recommend the ginger molasses/salted caramel sandwich. The flavours complement each other rather harmoniously, because the ice cream flavour is pretty mild. It tastes good, but relatively neutral – like vanilla with pops of caramel swirl.

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The aforementioned pop of caramel swirl

The ginger molasses cookie should be familiar territory for most cookie fans, and this one is good. I recommend letting the sandwich thaw juuuuust a little to let the cookie get that classic ginger cookie chewiness. Overall, this is a delightful combination and is sure to be a crowd pleaser – a safe bet, for instance, if you’re buying a sandwich for someone else and aren’t sure what to get.

#3: Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie with Grasshopper Ice Cream

This was the first sandwich that I tried. It seemed like a relatively safe bet. The grasshopper ice cream is a mint concoction, and I already know I love mint chocolate chip ice cream.

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Obviously, the flavour combo works, and though it is delicious, it isn’t my favourite. The cookies shine bright in this sandwich (it is also mighty good in a standalone state), but the ice cream falls just a little flat for me. It’s just mint – I think it could use some chocolate chunks or a fudgey swirl to add a little texture. Plus, the chocolate on mint is very sweet – and that’s coming from a lover of all things sweet.

But the fact of the matter remains that chocolate and mint is a killer combination – so there are absolutely no complaints from me.

#4: Peanut Butter Cookie with Heavenly Hash Ice Cream

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If I’m not mistaken, this combination was a later addition to the ice cream sandwich offerings (i.e., not one of the original menu items). On paper, I loved it: the nuts from the heavenly hash ice cream were the perfect tie in for the nuts in the peanut butter cookie. Nuts on nuts – what’s not to like?

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Individually, the peanut butter cookie and the heavenly hash ice cream are both stars. Together, it’s a lot – not in a bad way, but almost like both are competing for your attention. It’s like the peanut butter cookie is so good that it needs to be enjoyed on its own to be fully appreciated. It’s got the classic peanut butter cookie crumbly texture and it has full, non-crushed peanuts mixed in for a bonus crunch. The ice cream layered between these two, thick peanut cookies has it battle it out to get noticed.

(Am I weird for talking about treats in this much detail?)

Here’s how I recommend making the most of this sandwich without going overboard on the flavour train: take the top cookie off for an open-faced ice cream sandwich. Sure, your hands might get a little messy, but you’ll strike the perfect nutty balance. As a bonus, you’ll have an extra peanut butter cookie to enjoy later on. It’s a win-win.

6 Books That Made My Mind Explode

I love to read.

My old resume included this fact. It had a section for interests and hobbies, and reading was right up there.

An interviewer actually asked about it once. I was interviewing for a position on a team and three people sat opposite me. I knew them casually from industry stuff. I got along very well with two of the three, but the third (and most senior) and I never seemed to connect. “So you like reading,” he said as he scanned my resume. “What are you reading right now?”

The way he asked it, paired with the expression on his face, kind of made it seem like he was trying to trip me up and catch me in a lie.

The joke was on him because at that point in my life, I had established a long and detailed list of classics I’d never read – many of which most people had read in high school (Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, On the Road, that kind of stuff) but that I’d missed out on from attending French school. I can’t remember exactly what book I was on at that time, but I gave him a pretty good run down and he didn’t have any follow up questions.

(I didn’t get the job – but I made it two more rounds past the book question interview, so that has to count for something.)


I love a lot of books, but I confess that many don’t really stick with me in the long term. Storylines and characters blend together. I’ll see a title and vaguely remember reading it, but I couldn’t tell you a thing about what happened (especially if I had to read it for a course – Sweetness in the Belly, I’m looking at you).

So when a book hits me in the guts and sticks with me forever, I know I’ve found a keeper. Following is a list of books that, for one reason or another, shook me up a little bit – in a good way. If you’re looking to get lost in a wonderful book, give these ones a try.

The Secret History (Donna Tartt)

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The summer I explored Canada, I wanted a book that was endlessly long yet full of substance. I picked up Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch at a bookshop in Charlottetown, and the clerk told me that she was in the middle of it and couldn’t get enough. I loved it, too. It was exactly what I was looking for – though some people found it a little too slow moving, I liked that it went on and on and on because it meant the story lasted a little longer.

When I returned home, I hit up the library to check out what other works Tartt had up her sleeve. I checked out The Secret History, and… well, the rest is history (badoom tssss).

To me, The Secret History has all the makings of a perfect book. The setting isn’t unusual (a college campus) but the story is weird (eerie secret society disguised as a niche major), the characters turn delightfully strange over time, and the prose is right up my alley. I like books that are written in a way that is beautiful, but straightforward – I detest anything overly flowery or out there. I got totally lost in this book. When I finished it, I thought to myself, “Huh – that just might be my favourite book.”

Apparently Tartt’s other book, The Little Friend, is horrible. I still want to read it, though.

419 (Will Ferguson)

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This was the book that made me fall in love with audiobooks. The narrator is utter perfection.

My sister – my most trusted source of book recommendations – suggested 419 to me. The book is set partly in Canada, partly in Nigeria, and it’s a compelling story about those Nigerian prince e-mail scams we all know and love. If you’ve ever wondered about what happens on the other side of the scam, you will find this compelling (though the story is told from both sides, which eventually collide in total awesomeness). It’s a non-cheesy thriller and I loved every second of it.

The Orenda (Joseph Boyden)

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I belong to a book club. I adore it. It allows me to read books I probably wouldn’t otherwise look into, and we always have delicious snacks at our meetings.

The Orenda was a somewhat recent book club read, and it was received with mixed opinions. Some people found it overly gruesome. It’s a story about the Jesuits (and Europeans altogether) slowly infiltrating the First Nations in Ontario, and there is definitely a lot of excruciatingly detailed gore. Others found it long and hard to get into – but I love a book with a long, slow burn.

My background in history is very limited – regrettably, the last history class I took was back in grade 10 or 11. The curriculum at the time glossed over First Nations history, to say the least, and it wasn’t until I moved out west that I gained more appreciation and interest in our country’s history. The Orenda offers a more realistic and insightful take on what life looked like then than any history lesson I was ever taught.

In Cold Blood (Truman Capote)

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I cannot imagine a person not adoring In Cold Blood. Reading it was a wonderful treat, and I really mean it. It’s the only Capote book I’ve ever read, but his writing style is, in my opinion, flawless. The story about a small-town murder is completely captivating, and it took me awhile to digest the fact that it is NOT A FICTIONAL NOVEL. Honestly – the narration is so perfect that I couldn’t believe it was not made up.

I often find the big name classics to be overrated. Remember the list of classics I worked my way through back when I was interviewing for that job? Many were good, but a little overhyped in my eyes. NOT IN COLD BLOOD. In Cold Blood is as every bit wonderful as everybody says it is.

Indian Horse (Richard Wagamese)

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Indian Horse was another book club read and, coincidentally, it is also about Canada’s history with First Nations, though it’s set in a different era than The Orenda.

For whatever reason, I went into this book thinking I wouldn’t like it – I think I believed it would be about horses (it’s not). Instead, it’s a no-nonsense telling (my favourite kind of telling) about the skeleton in Canada’s closet: residential schools. It’s raw, honest, and not always pretty, but it steers clear from being overly dramatic or over the top. Elements of the story are revealed slowly as the book progresses – and that’s all I’ll say about that.

I think that a lot of Canadians don’t quite grasp how destructive residential schools really were. It allowed me to better understand how traumatic residential schools were and why our country still very much feels the reverberations of this ugly part of our (not so distant) history.

Scar Tissue (Anthony Kiedis)

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Most of the books on this list are fiction. An aside: I’m always shocked when people tell me they don’t like fiction – I’m pretty sure these people have only experienced the tiniest slice of what is out there.

For awhile, I was obsessed with biographies – preferably autobiographies. I read the good (Chris Farley), the bad (Lance Bass), and the ugly: Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis of The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

I wouldn’t say I loved Scar Tissue – at least not in the way I loved The Secret History or In Cold Blood. But it shook me up and it’s a book that has stayed with me since I read it many years ago. I like the Chili Peppers, but I wouldn’t say I’m a hardcore fan – but you don’t have to be a diehard to appreciate this book.

At its core, this is a book about addiction from the perspective of the addict. My number one takeaway is that addiction does not discriminate. No matter how successful or how rich you are, addiction can find – and destroy – you. At times, this book was hard to read. It’s maddening to read about Kiedis’s decisions and actions. But that’s also partly why I liked it: it doesn’t sugarcoat addiction. It doesn’t make it seem wild or zany or cheeky – it reveals it as ugly, destructive, and frustratingly tenacious.


(Folks, I’m trying something new: affiliate links. The idea is that if you click the linked book titles and images above, you’ll be taken to Amazon; if you purchase that book or anything else from Amazon within 24 hours of your click, I get a modest commission (I believe it is a whopping 4%). For more information on affiliate links, click here (don’t worry – I won’t get money if you click that, ha ha). Here’s what Amazon wants me to tell you:

“We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.”

(I have a hunch this won’t result in anything but I want to give it a go to understand how it all works. Bear with me!)

Alice and Brohm: The Key to Surviving the Summer Heat

It has been hotter than Hades these last few days in Squamish.

Frankly, I love it. We don’t have AC, but we do our best to keep cool by a) having our fans going all the time, b) putting our blinds to good use, and c) enjoying frozen treats. Our freezer is nearly always stocked with these President’s Choice Fudge Smoothie bars (highly recommended, by the way), but the other day we decided to make a little field trip to the base of the Chief to try out one of Squamish’s newest food truck additions.

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Sweet photo from Alice & Brohm’s FB

You can’t pick a more Squamishy name than Alice and Brohm, which is the moniker of this Boler-cum-ice-cream-truck (Alice Lake… Brohm Lake… get it?) They do one thing, and they do it well: berry ice cream, made with fresh fruit. On the day we were there, our options were strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, and raspberry. After agonizing for way too long over this decision, I went with strawberry.

They’ve got the berries on the spot, so you know this ice cream is the real deal. If you’ve ever had Yogen Fruz, the process is kind of like that (fresh berries mixed into a soft serve -ish type treat), though it’s fancier, local-ier, and generally classier than the ole YF.

I opted for the waffle cone (YOLO) and went to town on my strawberry ice cream. It was really delicious and totally hit the spot on such a hot day. It probably would have tasted even better if we’d actually hiked the Chief, but we made up for it by hiking the Sea to Summit trail the next day.

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I sampled Cedric’s raspberry ice cream, and it was just as good as my strawberry. It’s easy to describe the taste: it tastes like the real fruit. But better.

At $5.50 for a small (they have a kids size and a larger size, too), it’s cheap enough to justify as a treat on a sunny day, but expensive enough to keep it as an occasional indulgance. Check them out on Instagram or Facebook to find out where they’ll be in the coming days. The forecast looks mighty fun for the next little while, so you’ll probably want to pay them a visit.

I, for one, am a big fan of the new food trucks that have been hitting up town (check out my review of Flaca’s Tacos here). Casual, affordable, tasty food is a triple threat in my books.

Alice and Brohm – I’ll be back.

Mmm, Tacos – Flaca’s Tacos Food Truck

When I used to live in Vancouver, my office was located downtown, just on the edge of Gastown. Lunchtime was glorious because the options for deliciousness were endless: Jules, Nuba, sandwiches at MacLeans (RIP), and my favourite fast food place, Freshii. I spent a lot of money on lunches, and I regret nothing – not only was the food delicious, but I lived for the social hour.

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Photo from Arturo’s

However, without a doubt, my #1 favourite food option was ARTURO’S (or as I liked to call it on the inter-office messenger, R2ros). Arturo’s is a food truck specializing in all things Mexican and all things delicious. It was located steps from my building, which made it a great bet for rainy days. Arturo is a real guy, and he is so awesome. I haven’t lived in Vancouver for more than FIVE YEARS, but he STILL remembers me when I visit his truck for a chicken quesadilla on whole wheat – he always asks how Whistler (or now, Squamish) is. If you’re ever in the ‘hood (West Cordova @ Howe) on a Tuesday to Friday, you HAVE to check it out.

I have tried to convince Arturo to open spin-off food trucks in the Sea to Sky, but so far, he has not. But recently, I heard that there was a new food truck in town specializing in tacos called Flaca’s Tacos. To me, this was very welcome news.

I decided to start following them on Facebook. Here, I discovered that they make their own tortillas fresh. That is something I respect immensely. I kept an eye out on their location updates and made a mental to note to visit if I was ever close by.

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Then, on one fateful sunny afternoon, Cedric and I had a bit of time to kill while we were waiting for some car work to be done. I realized that we happened to be very close to A Frame Brewery, which is where Flaca’s was set up that day. Off to the tacos we went.

The menu is short and sweet: tacos of a few different varieties, including spot prawn ($6), veggie ($3.50), pulled pork ($4), and steak ($4). I ordered one veggie and one pulled pork taco, and a couple of minutes later, our orders were up.

(By the way, we popped into A Frame for a quick browse – check out this cool kids set up! I love these toys – they are made in Squamish and I got a little set for my niece for Christmas.)

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My first impression was that the tacos were on the small side – about the same as the tacos at La Cantina, if you are familiar with the Whistler establishment. My general spending quota for a meal from a food truck is $8 – $12. You’d need at least 3 or 4 tacos to make a full meal of it, which would put you closer to $12 – $18. So it’s not necessarily cheap.

But it’s good – very good. The veggie one was simple but nice, with beans, corn, cheese, and some other good stuff. What really stood out to me was the homemade tortilla. When we ordered, we could see the little balls of dough right in front of us, which were popped into the tortilla press (or whatever that thing is called).

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It was game over – in a very good way – when I bit into the pulled pork taco. It had a nice, spicy kick and the pineapple added a little sweetness. The filling was aces. It was soooo good.

If I was at a market or festival with a wide array of food trucks, I’d definitely made Flaca’s my first pick (unless Arturo’s was there, of course!). In fact, I hear they were at the Squamish market this past weekend. I dream of a day where they make a pulled pork burrito on a homemade tortilla – that would be a killer combo.

Next, I’ll be hunting down the Alice and Brohm (love the Squampty name) ice cream food truck that recently opened – just in time for the summer.

I love this town!

Best of Whistler, Food and Restaurant Edition

When I first moved to Whistler, many of my Vancouver friends believed I’d become some sort of all-knowing Whistler guru. I’d often get texts saying, “Where’s a good place to get lunch in Whistler?” or “I’m in Whistler, where should we go for dinner?”

These friends did not realize that my newfound ski bum lifestyle (and budget) did not afford me the luxury of sampling each and every one of Whistler’s fine dining establishments (of which there are many). But over my Whistler career, I eventually got the chance to eat at many of Whistler’s restaurants, largely thanks to visits from my parents and the off-season specials. I now confidently have a response to just about any Whistler gastronomic inquiry. Here are my unqualified recommendations for dining in Whistler.

Best All Around Restaurant: Creekbread

Creekbread is my favourite Whistler restaurant, period. It’s got everything a dream restaurant ought to have: excellent food, good service, a cozy atmosphere, and a lack of the pretentiousness that seems to infiltrate many Whistler restaurants. Creekbread mainly does one thing – wood-fired pizzas – and they do it perfectly, concocting unique combinations with local sourced ingredients, like the Pemberton Potato pie and my all-time favourite, Mopsy’s Kahlua Pork. (They also do a KILLER salad – it was my go-to take out option for many years. Order the No Boundaries salad with all the veggies.)

I always recommend Creekbread for families, big group gatherings (make a recommendation ahead of time), or friends looking for a good meal without having to drop $50 on an entree. The caveat: it is located in Creekside. I promise it’s worth the short drive (or cab ride).

Best Fancy Dinner: Alta Bistro

Fancy is arguably what Whistler does best, and everyone seems to have an opinion on which restaurant is the creme de la creme. My vote goes to Alta Bistro. Some people think the food is a little too “out there”. I disagree – there are plenty of options for people wanting to try something a little different, but there are lots of more familiar choices, too.

Alta Bistro has a smaller dining room, and they don’t really have a schtick. They just make excellent food (and excellent drinks, too). I’ve never, ever had a bad experience at Alta Bistro.

Best Drinks: Bearfoot Bistro

Bearfoot Bistro is arguably the fanciest, most over the top restaurant in Whistler. If you’re familiar with the establishment, you may be thinking, “Okay, moneybags, I’m not going to Bearfoot Bistro for a casual drink with a friend.”

I used to think that, too, until I realized that the drinks at Bearfoot Bistro aren’t THAT much more expensive than drinks at mid-range places (think Earls). If you’re planning on an all-night bender, you may be better off at Three Below (cheap drinks, never any wait to get in). But if you’re after a finely crafted cocktail or two, Bearfoot Bistro is just a couple of extra bucks – and it’s well worth it.

The bartenders are excellent – really, the service is over the top wow. The ambiance is most entertaining, not just because of the live pianist, but the rich city people sitting across the bar often put on quite the display. And if you’re looking for a next level drink activity, the Bearfoot has two: sabering bubbly in their wine cellar and vodka tasting in the ice bar. Both are expensive, but worth doing at least once (I’ve linked to two articles I’ve written about these experiences).

Best Brunch: Elements

It’s worth the wait – and there is always a wait – for brunch at Elements. I don’t know what it is about Elements, but I have yet to have a better brunch anywhere else. The potato stack (replacing your typical hash browns) is to die for, the stuffed French Toast is a life changer, and each meal comes with a shot of smoothie. It’s brunch, taken to the next level.

Best Place to Meet for Coffee: Purebread

Whenever someone wants to meet me for coffee, I steer them towards Purebread. They actually don’t have many coffee options – just the basics (and a good hot chocolate) – but the real reason I want to go is to ogle at the overflowing display of baked goods and to make the agonizing decision of which treat to pick. “Going for coffee” is basically code for “going for baked goods”.

Sitting room is a little scarce, so don’t be that guy who sets up shop with his laptop for two hours. As for what treat to pick, well, half the fun is figuring that out for yourself – but my go to is the outrageous brownie or any brownie variant.

Most Underrated Lunch: Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre

The day Cedric and I discovered the Thunderbird Cafe at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre was a pivotal day in my Whistler eating career. The mains are delicious (venison chili, anyone?) and affordable, but the real star of the show is the BANNOCK. Oh, the bannock. It’s like a non-sweet donut and it is sooooooo good with some strawberry jam. Since it’s a little under the radar, finding a seat is never a problem. You need to discover this cafe.

Best Off-Season Special

Spring (i.e., right now) and fall are the best times to try Whistler’s fancy restaurants because they offer amazing deals on multi-course menus. I have tried just about all of them – some several times – but Araxi always comes out on top. They usually offer the best value (something like 5 courses for $35) – and yes, the courses are small, but there are five of them and they’re usually rich as all heck, so you’ll leave feeling plenty satiated.

Best Cheap & Quick Bite to Eat: La Cantina

When I am starving, unwilling to wait for too long, and wanting to preserve my funds, I head to La Cantina in Marketplace. I used to order the tacos, but I have since discovered that the burritos are the way to go. They offer incredible bang for your buck and are FAR tastier than your typical burrito.

(La Cantina’s fancier sister restaurant, The Mexican Corner, is worth a mention – it’s not inexpensive, but it offers something different from your typical pub fare or West Coast inspired menu – and the quality is top notch).

Best Cold Thing on a Hot Day: Smoothies at Olives

They’re a little pricey as far as smoothies go, but they’re ridiculously, wonderfully filling. Olives Market in Function Junction whips up a mean smoothie, custom ordered. The peanut butter one is the PERFECT treat after a day at the lake, playing frolf, or mountain biking (I imagine, anyway).

Disclaimer: While I have tried numerous Whistler restaurants, there are still some on my to-try list. Chief among them are the Red Door Bistro and Southside Diner (I know, I can’t believe I’ve never been there either!)