Zeal Introduces A New Chef

Former Greenbriar chef tackles & tweaks “clean” food menu.

001Zeal, a downtown Boulder restaurant catering to health-conscious food enthusiasts, opened November and developed a following from those allergic or averse to certain foods or food groups. Vegetarian? Zeal has many dishes for you, including sustainably harvested proteins of various kinds. Carnivore? They serve only pedigreed meats from grass-fed animals. Gluten-free? The only gluten is in the beer and the little spelt-flour bread that is served. Avoid processed foods or concerned about GMOs, pesticides and chemical fertilizers? Zeal is the restaurant for you. On the Paleo diet bandwagon? It’s easy at Zeal. Interested in the Conscious Cleanse? Jo Saalman and Julie Paleaz, authors of the bestselling book by the same name, are hosting a three-course, $39 Conscious Cleanse dinner at Zeal on November 11.

Zeal owner Wayde Jester at the chalkboard where the changing menu and the popular grab-and-go options are posted.

Zeal owner Wayde Jester at the chalkboard where the changing menu and the popular grab-and-go options are posted.

From the beginning, Zeal has used whole fresh ingredients, served as simple flavorful combinations. But like many a new restaurant, Zeal has experienced some growing pains. In addition to the service glitches common to new restaurants, there has been turnover in the kitchen. It is on its third chef in less than a year. Opening chef Arik Markus had left by June, and his successor, Sean Smith, was replaced about a month ago by Leslie White (that’s a he-Leslie), who has made a rapid shift from the butter-and-cream kitchen of The Greenbriar to the “clean” ingredients used at Zeal. I don’t know any details about these changes, except to speculate that since founder/owner Wayde Jester, a prototypical Boulder endurance athlete, comes from the real estate realm and though a cooking enthusiast, didn’t have restaurant experience, the owner/chef combination has taken a few tries.

Zeal hosted a group of foodies and food bloggers to sample a few of White’s creations, plus artisanal cocktails, other adult beverages and the sensational cold-pressed juices.

Super-fresh cold-pressed juices in a rainbow of colors.

Super-fresh cold-pressed juices in a rainbow of colors. Juicing is a two-step process that can be seen through a window in a back corner of the restaurant.

Thai-style shrimp and tofu cradled in an endive leaf.

Thai-style shrimp and tofu cradled in an endive leaf.

Spicy eggplant puree in a hollowed cucumber.

Spicy eggplant puree in a hollowed cucumber with carrot and red cabbage slivers providing additional color contrasts.

It may be fall, but this is Zeal's spring mix salad with spiced pecans.

It may be fall, but this is Zeal’s spring mix salad with shredded carrots, spiced pecans and dressing on the side.

Cute bundles of sweetness, on this evening some orange-flavored and others pumpkin.

Cute bundles of sweetness, on this evening some orange-flavored and others pumpkin.

Zeal is participating in First Bite Boulder but has not yet posted its menu — perhaps to busy serving breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and recently added happy hour ($2 off beer, wine and spirits and $5 small plates). In addition to the popular bowls and sandwiches, Chef White is presenting more large and small plates and has brought dessert-making in-house. Zeal is pickling and fermenting in-house too (think kimchee and kombucha). During the warm months, the restaurant closed for two hours for Movement Mondays or Trailblazer Tuesdays so that staff and guests could go on a local hike. The concept might soon be transferred to a climbing gym or other indoor venue. And then there’s the Zeal food truck, which debuted at the Hanuman Yoga Festival and most likely dispatched to Uptown Denver, where Jester hopes to open a second restaurant. Stay tuned.

Zeal on Urbanspoon

 

 

Volta at One Year of Age

Special dinner at Boulder restaurant with Mediterranean roots .

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Yesterday Volta Mediterranean Restaurant celebrated its first anniversary with a special four-course dinner, plus suggested wine pairings. It was called the Harvest Menu, not the anniversary menu, but it was served only that one evening. Two of the courses contained pumpkin, underscoring the harvest part, but Greek accents abounded too. I first ate at Volta last December when a group of local food bloggers met there. Click here for my post. Between then and now, my husband and have visited Greece, so I was excited about a meal that would not only acknowledge a local restaurant’s first major milestone but also recalled those days in a country I quickly learned to love. Here’s what was on last night’s menu:

Chewy bread, olive oil for dipping (of course) and coarse salt on the side.

Chewy bread, olive oil for dipping (of course) and coarse salt on the side.

The kitchen sent out an amuse -- a wonderful amuse called Lemon & Fennel gazpacho with parsley and mint.

The kitchen sent out an amuse — a wonderful  little amuse called Lemon & Fennel gazpacho with olive oil, parsley and mint. The green circular band is actually part of the plate

A lovely linear salad features greens, a couple of sections of navel orange, beet cubes, juniper and pepitas.

A lovely linear salad features local greens, a couple of sections of navel orange, beet cubes and a subtle juniper accent.

A beautiful spicy pumpkin soup with a perfectly seared sea scallop rising like an island from an orange sea, with pepitas and dried cranberries scattered about. The soup rehydrated the cranberries, so they were plump and juicy too.

A beautiful spicy pumpkin soup with a perfectly seared sea scallop rising like an island from an orange sea, with pepitas and dried cranberries scattered about. The soup rehydrated the cranberries, so they were plump and juicy too.

The less-than-photogenic Lamb Duo features kolokithia yemisti, a classic dish of spiced ground lamb stuffed into a halved zucchini, and a braised chop. On top, braised greens and alongside, large white beans called gigandes. Garlic, anchovy and Meni olive oil compose the sauce.

The less-than-photogenic but tasty Lamb Duo features kolokithia yemisti, a classic dish of spiced ground lamb stuffed into a halved zucchini, and a braised chop. On top, braised greens and alongside, large white beans called gigancdes. Garlic, anchovy and Mani olive oil compose the sauce.

Kolokithithopita is what it says on the menu/ The translation is Greek pumpkin pie, but it is actually baklava with pumpkin filling between layers of phyllo sheets. It also didn't photograph well with my little camera, but it was delicious.

Kolokithithopita is what it said on the menu. The translation is Greek pumpkin pie, but it is actually baklava with pumpkin filling between layers of phyllo sheets. It also didn’t photograph well with my little camera, but it was delicious.

Price check: The Harvest Menu, offered on one evening only, was $50, plus wines. Volta is participating in First Bite Boulder (November 14 to 22), with a three-course dinner just $27. That’s a real deal. Volta’s FBB menu features a choice of six appetizers, five entrées and three desserts.

Volta Mediterranean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

YAMA Preview at Bistro C.V.

Downtown Steamboat Springs Bistro C.V. introduces on-mountain YAMA menu.

I have been wanting to eat at Bistro C.V. in downtown Steamboat Springs since it was new, and I learned that the chef, Brian Vaughn, was a Colorado pioneer in sous-vide cooking. I’m not sure that his immersion circulator will ever make it into the town’s Tread of the Pioneers Museum, but maybe it should because after all, a pioneer is a pioneer, no matter what the context. My wish to dine there came true this weekend at a dinner consisting of eight small plates, most with paired wines, at this super-cool, super-seasonal restaurant.

Brian Vaughn and his wife, Katy, own Bistro C.V. and also LOW Country Kitchen, where we ate the prior evening. Click here for my post. They are getting set to launch YAMA, described as a “modern Japanese and ramen bar,” at slopeside. Brian is building a menu that will blend Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian ingredients prepared using a Jade Range Custom Suite that is a dream commercial kitchen set-up for a technique-savvy chef with big ideas. The Vaughns hosted an eight-course dinner at Bistro C.V., the first four from its own menu and the final four from YAMA’s menu. It was the pinnacle experience of this very foodie weekend.

From the YAMA Menu

Hamachi tartare with whipped ponzu on s mirin cucumber and scallion an tiny radish from Elkstone Farm.

Hamachi tartare with whipped ponzu nested with a slice of mirin cucumber and scallion and atiny radish from Elkstone Farm.

Exquisite carpaccio of Emma Farms' tender and tasty wagyu beef, nama soy, ramen gel (whose composition and provenance I don't understand), Elkstone Farm arugula, pickled ramps and olive oil.

Zen-simple presentation of exquisite carpaccio of Emma Farms’ tender and tasty wagyu beef, nama soy, ramen gel (whose composition and provenance I don’t understand), Elkstone Farm arugula, pickled ramps and olive oil.

A small pot containing fine-looking and fine-tasting assemblage of a poached egg, smoked steelhead trout roe, nori, a Japanese citrus called sudachi and minced mustard greens.

A small pot containing fine-looking and fine-tasting assemblage of a poached egg, smoked steelhead trout roe, nori, a Japanese citrus called sudachi, finely ground almonds and mustard greens.

A pair of steamed buns, one with pork belly and the other vegetarian. Flavor punches come from sriracha kewpie mayo (a popular Japanese product made with rice vinegar), hoisin, cucumber and radish.

A pair of steamed buns, one with pork belly and the other vegetarian. Flavor punches come from sriracha kewpie mayo (a popular Japanese product made with rice vinegar), hoisin, cucumber and radish.

A Bit About Chef Brian & Katy Vaughn

Brian Vaughn

Brian Vaughn

There are two stories about the derivation of Bistro C.V.’s name. One is that it stands for Chef Vaughn. The other is that is stands for curriculum vitae — and Brian Vaughn’s C.V. is impressive. He began working in restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky at the age of 14 and was still a kid when he moved to Steamboat Springs to ski and continue working in the kitchens of local restaurants. At age 21, he forsook the mountains and moved to Napa to study at the Culinary Institute of America.

Brian returned to Steamboat and spent four years as sous-chef and then chef de cuisine at long-time Ski Town USA faves, Harwig’s/ l’Apogee. Next stop was Coral Gables, Florida, to train under the esteemed chef Norman Van Aken, a renowned chef who, among other honors was named one of the “Founders of the New American Cuisine” at Madrid Fusion, Spain’s International Summit of Gastronomy in 2006.

Katy Vaughn

Katy Vaughn

Returning to Steamboat, he married Katy (whose original name I don’t know), who had worked in restaurants while attending George Washington University and University of Miami, studying art and architecture. After graduating with a master’s, she moved to Steamboat, a lifelong family vacation spot. There she and Brian met and they opened bistro C.V. She has designed all three of the couple’s restaurants and is the front-of-the-house organizer and occasional hostess. I only briefly met the couple, but seems that Brian has the serious intensity of a dedicated chef, while Katy is an extrovert who smiles easily. It’s a good pairing for a restaurant couple.

From Bistro C.V.

Spicy herb salad shcasting Elkstone Farm's produce. In addition to super-fresh greens, it features red onion, apple, Haystack Mountain chevre, lemon vinaigrette and crispy quinoa, made by cooking, drying and dry-frying this grain.

Spicy herb salad showcasing Elkstone Farm’s produce. In addition to super-fresh greens, it features red onion, Palisda gala apple, Haystack Mountain chevre, lemon vinaigrette and crispy quinoa, made by cooking, drying and dry-frying this grain.

An entrée called Badon & Eggs consists of house-made maple bacon, manchego custard, (that's the "egg" part) local sourdough, cilantro salsa verde and guajillo ketchup.

A dish called Bacon & Eggs consists of house-made maple bacon, manchego custard, (that’s the “egg” part) local sourdough, cilantro salsa verde and guajillo ketchup.

Emma Farms beef sirloin, slow-cooked and served with Elkstone Farm root vegetables, potato confit and Bouguignon broth.

Emma Farms beef sirloin, slow-cooked and served with Elkstone Farm root vegetables, potato confit and Bouguignon broth.

Even after seven little courses, there's always room for dessert. Here, the autumn hues and flavors of pumpkin-mascarpone cheesecake, warm brown butter sponge, brown sugar Anglaise and  spiked whipped cream. And to drink after all that wine, an after-dinner cocktail of Bailey's, Frangelico and vodka sipped from a glass with crumbled pretzel on the rim.

Even after seven small-plate courses, there’s always room for dessert. Here, the autumn hues and flavors of pumpkin-mascarpone cheesecake, warm brown butter sponge, brown sugar Anglaise and spiked whipped cream.

And to drink after all that wine, an after-dinner cocktail of Bailey's, Frangelico and vodka sipped from a glass with crumbled pretzel on the rim.

And to drink after all that wine, an after-dinner cocktail of Bailey’s, Frangelico and vodka sipped from a glass with crumbled pretzel on the rim.

Price check: The menu often changes, and this is the off-season. Current prices, which may or may not change come winter: small plates, $5-$11; cheese and charcuterie, $11-$14; “middle course,” $10-$16; mains, $23-39. There is currently a $45 four-course tasting menu, plus $25 for paired wines.
Bistro C.V. on Urbanspoon

Two Gluttonous Mornings in Steamboat Springs

Breakfast at Creekside and football brunch at Carl’s.

For years, my go-to breakfast place in downtown Steamboat Springs has been Winona’s, a local institution. During this weekend’s culinary-focused visit, I was introduced to two more worth a.m. eateries.

Creekside Café

009This homey restaurant with the fine patio is set beside Soda Creek, hence the name. In summer, when the flowers are in full bloom, it is like eating in a garden. At any time of year, the cozy dining room with its hand-painted cloud ceiling and flowers on the exposed-brick walls echo summer. No matter how Steamboat Springs locals and visitors love the fabled Champagne Powder, the artistic evocation of flower season is always welcome.

Year-round floral décor in the Creekside dining room.

Year-round floral décor in the Creekside dining room.

This breakfast and lunch café features the usual — omelets, pancakes, eggs (including a 10 different Benedicts), house-made granola and various combinations of these for guests who can’t decide just what they want — the Fourteener (two oatmeal or buttermilk pancakes with two eggs any style and a choice of bacon or local sausage) or the Wafflelaughagus (malted waffles topped with sausage gravy and melted cheddar and jack cheese plus a choice of meat and two eggs any style and breakfast potatoes). House-made rules. Here are some dishes we tried:

 $11.25 The Slalom Eggs Benedict features  fresh spinach, mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese under a mantle ot Hollandaise.

The Slalom Eggs Benedict features
fresh spinach, mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese under a mantle of Hollandaise.

Huevos with  black beans and melted cheddar cheese, topped with salsa, sour cream, and then chopped green onions and tomatoes.

Huevos with
black beans and melted cheddar cheese, topped with salsa, sour cream, and then chopped green onions and tomatoes.

Country Fried Steak is a Yampa valley beef steak, hand-pounded, battered and fried and then smothered in pork sausage gravy, served with breakfast potatoes and two eggs any style and toast.

Country Fried Steak is a Yampa valley beef steak, hand-pounded, battered and fried and then smothered in pork sausage gravy, served with breakfast potatoes and two eggs any style and toast on the side.

Price check: At breakfast, “specialties,” $11-$14; omelets, $11-$14; various eggs Benedict, $10-$19; pancakes, French toast and waffles, $7.25-$13; substitutions and additional items, $1.50-$3.

Creekside Cafe & Grill on Urbanspoon

Carl’s Tavern

004While Creekside serves breakfast and lunch year-round, Carl’s Tavern is more of a p.m. place that opens earlier only during football season. It serves hearty food and great drinks, particularly their roster of specialty cocktails. At Sunday brunch time, guests arrive early to stake claims to their favorite viewing spots, perhaps ordering beer or craft cocktails, or bellying up to the D.I.Y. bloody Mary bar for a house-made mix to host a staggering choice of 20 hot sauces and all sorts of stuff to mix in.

Carl Howelsen, the Swedish-born father of Colorado skiing gazes out over his namesake tavern, which is in Howelsen Place condos, which in turn are across from the Howelsen Hill ski area.

Carl Howelsen, the Swedish-born father of Colorado skiing gazes out over his namesake tavern, which is in Howelsen Place condos, which in turn are across from the Howelsen Hill ski area.

We actually each got our own drinks, including this excellent Maple Bourbon Manhattan made with smooth Buffalo Trace Bourbon.

We actually each got our own drinks, including this excellent Maple Bourbon Manhattan made with smooth Buffalo Trace Bourbon poured over a huge ice cube.

 

Excellent green chili, a Colorado specialty.

Excellent green chili, a Colorado specialty.

Bar food, salads, sandwiches, hefty entrees and desserts round out the regular menu, but for this short-run seasonal brunch, we shared several dishes including several that are so buried in gravy that I can’t actually tell one from the other. Photos follow, but you can guess what lies beneath the mantle of gravy – and if you do guess help me out by leaving a comment:

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Price check: At Sunday football brunch, most dishes are $7-$9 plus $15 for a “The Beast,” a dish that combines some of almost everything else on the menu.
Carl's Tavern on Urbanspoon

Aurum is a New Eatery on Yampa

Aurum part of the changing face Steamboat’s Riverside restaurant row.

P1100997As we strolled down Steamboat Springs’ Yampa Streeet, I kept spotting signs with new names where I expected familiar ones. Aurum Food & Wine at #811 was one. Previously the family-friendly Sweetwater Grill occupied the riverside space that it is now more urbane. Past the lively bar and door to the patio with firepit is the large dining room. Woodwork, quiet wall colors and vintage photos make for a great look but don’t really tone down the noisy crowd. The name relates to Au, the chemical designation for gold, referencing Steamboat Springs’ short-lived gold days.

Since this is low season, I’m guessing that the current special of 50 percent of entrées (through November 15) is drawing in lots of locals. The menu features sprightly dishes that are intensely seasonal and therefore currently feature lots of dark leafy greens, squash and other root veggies. Only the exemplary Jumbo Lump Crab Cake is always on the menu. Steamboat insurrection might break out if they were not available. Chase Wilbanks, a 2004 CIA grad who worked in such diverse Colorado locations as Cooks Fresh Market in Denver and La Tour in Vail, is executive chef.  Seasonal cocktails, a changing wine list and custom house wines from Sutcliffe Vineyards in Cortez make the beverage list as interesting as the menu. I couldn’t get to photograph everything, especially the mountains beef and lamb shank entrées before my companions dug in, but here are just some of the dishes a group of us tried:

Crisp, lightly curried cauliflower with fiery shishito peppers, pine nuts, golden raisins and a sweet and sour reduction.

Crisp, lightly curried cauliflower with fiery shishito peppers, pine nuts, golden raisins and a sweet and sour reduction.

Seared diver scallop with broccolini puree and greens -- a special of the evening.

Perfectly seared diver scallop with broccolini puree and greens — a pair constitutes a special of the evening.

Fall salad consisting of greens, cranberries, toasted hazelnuts,  tomato, orange supreme, brioche crouton and aged cherry vinaigrette.

Fall salad consisting of greens, cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, tomato, orange supreme, brioche crouton and aged cherry vinaigrette.

Wild mushroom ravioli with Gorgonzola fondue, cherry tomatoes, toasted walnut and crisp leeks. There are usually two to an order, but for this abundant sampling, I requested just two.

Wild mushroom ravioli with Gorgonzola fondue, cherry tomatoes, toasted walnut and crisp leeks. There are usually two to an order, but for this abundant sampling, I requested just two.

Two prime beef burgers with foie gras mousse, Taleggio cheese, caramelized onions, house-made and savory gaufrettes.

Two prime beef burgers with foie gras mousse, Taleggio cheese, caramelized onions, house-made and savory gaufrettes.

Pumpkin tart with cinnamon caramel, powdered sugar and Chantilly cream

Pumpkin tart with cinnamon caramel, powdered sugar and Chantilly cream

Who doesn't like crème brulee? This is a cold version made with Grand Marnier-macerated beans and a bit of mint on top.

Who doesn’t like crème brulee? This is a cold version made with Grand Marnier-macerated beans and a bit of mint on top.

Aurum’s owner is Phillips Armstrong, whom I’ve previously met when he partnered in the launch HUSH, whose roving pop-up dinners gave up-and-coming chefs a chance to cook in usual venues. I wrote a post about Kate Horton of Black Pearl cooking at the Infinite Monkey Theorem’s original location off Santa Fe in Denver. Our paths crossed again when he produced a series of dinners prepared by visiting chefs at the Hotel Stanley in Estes Park.

Price check: At dinner, appetizers, $39-$16; Salads & Soup, $8-$12; entrées, $22-$42; desserts, $9-$12. (This price range does not reflect the current half-off entrée special.)
Aurum on Urbanspoon

Steamboat’s LOW Serves High-Taste Food

Low-country cooking in downtown Steamboat Springs.

001When I was in Steamboat Springs in January, I don’t believe that there was Southern anything in town other than a KFC, which in my world doesn’t count. Beyond my general distaste for chains, I admit that I don’t generally care for Southern food. What I’ve had in the past was too much fried everything, too many pasty grits, too much gloppy gravy, often too much salt. Last spring, LOW Country Kitchen opened, and changed all that. It filled a dining niche as well as well as the happy tummies of guests — and having eaten there on a food-sampling weekend, I had a Southern food epiphany and came away with a happy tummy too.

LOW displays simplicity with minimalist-set tables, napkins like dish towels linen and B&W photography on the walls (no photos, sorry).

LOW displays simplicity with minimalist-set tables, napkins like dish towels linen and B&W photography on the walls (no photos, sorry).

 Color comes from bright flowers and greens on each table that look as if someone just picked them in a field and stuck them in water. A lovely, feminine touch.

Color comes from bright flowers and greens on each table that look as if someone just picked them in a field and stuck them into an old-fashioned milk bottle. The waitresses wear colorful retro print aprons. Charming touches.

LOW is the brainchild of Brian and Katy Vaughn, who operate Bistro c.v. half a block away. Southern- born and raised Brian is one of Steamboat’s top chefs, and so he added to classic Dixie dishes with a hefty dose of cheffiness. The result is really good food. Much to my surprise, I loved the grits — first time ever. I also loved the fried chicken — usually my least favorite version of the bird. And the ribs, which I usually do like, were terrific. In my view, the Vaughns could have named the place LOW Refined Country Kitchen.

The ambiance is neat too. The small space is features slate gray walls, mural-scale black-and-white ph0tos of library shelves laden with books, blow-ups of Louisiana and Alabama images taken by Brian’s father,  a small bar and big windows looking out f Steamboat’s main drag. White and wood-grain molded chairs on chrome legs are pulled up to  spare tables. It provides neutral palette for the food which, cheffy goodness notwithstanding, still features a fair amount of foods that I call “fried brown.”

From LOW's list of scrumptious specialty cocktails comes this Mango Hibiscus Margarita -- Herradura tequila, Mango puree, hibiscus syrup and fresh lime juice.

From LOW’s list of scrumptious specialty cocktails comes this Mango Hibiscus Margarita — Herradura tequila, Mango puree, hibiscus syrup and fresh lime juice.

Fried green tomatoes with smooth avocado dressing, also presented on a country-kitchen-style dish towel.

Fried green tomatoes with smooth avocado dressing, also presented on a country-kitchen-style dish towel.

A heap of long-cooked Low Country pork ribs with Carolina BBQ sauce.

A heap of long-cooked Low Country pork ribs with Carolina BBQ sauce.

Price check: Starters, $3-$12; salads and soups, $7-$11; kids (“and grownups like these too,” the menu notes), $3-$4; supper, $25-$20; sides, $4-$6.

Low Country Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Ten Days of Fine Food & Wine in Whistler

British Columbia mountain resort hosts fabled restaurant festival.

Cornucopia-logoMuch as Colorado has to offer in the restaurant realm, there’s a good reason to grab a flight to Vancouver next month and head north to Whistler to indulge at Cornucopia. The word means “horn of plenty,” the festival certainly provides opportunities to sample plenty of exquisite food and fabulous wines. There’s not just one style of food or one price point during this annual food and wine event, but local and visiting chefs devise menus for every taste and budget. 

“Each participating restaurant brings its own unique and delicious concept for the festival,” says event producer and Watermark president, Sue Eckersley. “What is really exciting is the vast selection on offer this year, from winery dinners to luncheons to interactive demonstrations. It’s the perfect opportunity to soak up every aspect of B.C.’s diverse culinary scene.”

Cornucopia returnees: Four Seasons Resort Whistler’s SIDECUT Executive Chef Tory Martindale will once again manning the grill during signature events, House Party: Best of B.C., CELLAR DOOR and Crush Gala Grand Tasting. SIDECUT has also partnered with local Lillooet winery Fort Berens for a winery dinner. Alta Bistro pairs modern French flavors with wines from renowned natural wine producers. The Mexican Corner’s five-course dinner features tequila. The Grill Room at Fairmont Chateau Whistler pairs with the Burrowing Owl Winery. Hy’s Steakhouse’s two tableside dinners feature Road 13 winery and Fairview Cellars and the Friday night winery dinner partners  Noble Ridge Vineyard & Winery.The Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler hosts a black tie event, Indulge Gala Dinner, a fundraiser for the Whistler Healthcare Foundation. Araxi restaurant + bar returns with the annual sell-out event, Big Guns winemaker dinner, and last year’s very popular Intimate Winery Dinner series, all featuring the creations of one of Canada’s leading chefs, James Walt, plus some of B.C.’s finest wines.

If dinner doesn’t work, or if you actually can handle two great meals a day, such Vancouver hot spots Minami, Cibo Trattoria, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, Chef Terry Pinchor from Sonora Resort and Good Wolfe Restaurant present Chef’s Table Luncheons in some of Whistler’s private luxury homes. Also, Nourish is back for its second year with a series of educational and informational seminars and luncheons such as Ferment for Health; Eat the Best, Leave the Rest; Benefits of a Raw Food Diet and more. Whistler’s Green Moustache and Pemberton’s Solfeggio are among the presenters.

Locals often like the à la carte option for particular dinners or other events, but the most convenient booking option for visitors is to book a lodging package. United and Air Canada offer Denver-Vancouver non-stops but the aircraft are operated by partner commuter carriers.