With Whistler’s closing day on April 23rd and Blackcomb’s not until May 22nd, get out there if you can, you will not regret it. I was lucky enough to arrive for one of their best weeks of the season. Each day we were hit with at least 7” of amazing, pristine powder. Both Whistler and Blackcomb blew my mind. Mixed terrain of chutes, cliffs and glades made everyday an exciting adventure of exploring. Waiting for the Peak lift to open and watching guys huck back flips off of multiple 40 foot cliffs, leaves you drooling and in awe of what Whistler has to offer. The ‘Peak 2 Peak’ gondola, with its highest point above ground being 1,430ft, will leave even the most intrepid of people with a slight sense of ‘holy s**t’.
The village is hustling and bustling as soon as the sun comes up and doesn’t stop until well into the night. Strolling through the village you will find some great spots for après, drinks, dinner and club thumping music (if you’re into that scene). People watching is in full swing in the village as nearly every restaurant, pub and bar have heated outdoor patio seating areas. And don’t forget as an American over there, the exchange is in our favor for once!
Driving in from Revelstoke, I passed a Thai restaurant in Pemberton that caught my eye. The building, shaped like a barn was what was so unique. So much so that I almost turned around to catch the name, but decided to keep going and didn’t think much more about it.
On my second run I rode the chairlift with three guys who asked me if I wanted to ski with them. After one run, I knew I was with the right fellows. Without a doubt, the five days of skiing with them was some of the best of my life! Our trusty leader, Rick led the way having skied in Whistler for over 30 years and knows every inch of the mountain. On an absolute white out blizzard day, we got around as if it was blue bird. After making our introductions it was revealed that Rick owns a barn that houses a Thai restaurant in Pemberton. Not only shaped like a barn, but called Barn Nork, which loosely means a quaint, countryside inn in Thai. That was the place, I couldn’t believe the luck I had!
He invited us out for dinner and wow, was it a treat! Hands down, the best meal, (actually meals as I dined there twice), was at Barn Nork. Twenty minutes from Whistler at the base of Mount Currie and worth every minute to get there! Warm and welcoming from the moment you walk through the door, the smell of toasted spices and tantalizing aromas permeate the air. The Tom Kha soup was light and effervescent, starting off our meal. I had the eggplant green curry and other dishes ordered were the signature beef short rib Masaman curry, (six hour braised short ribs that literally falls off of the bone with potatoes, carrots and onions in a sweet and spicy curry sauce), and the ever popular Pad Thai that all received rave reviews. The Pad Thai, normally topped with chopped peanuts gets a taste of local Pemberton flavor using local hazelnuts instead of peanuts.
On their daily local special board, you will find fresh dishes such as green papaya salad and spicy Thai shrimp. The stir-fried Gailan (chinese broccoli) and pork belly tantalizes your nose, eyes and taste buds. You cannot ignore the oohs and aahs that echo through the small, intimate dining room. Outdoor seating begins when the warm weather arrives, so now is the time to make your way there! It will be one of the most memorable dining experiences you will have!
When in the Village:
Spanish tapas style restaurant and bar with great happy hour specials, ambrosial sangrias and scrumptious nosh for sharing. For happy hour, they offer 4 Tapas for $20, with choices like Chorizo Flambé, Calamari a la Plancha and Patatas Bravas; $4 beers/$15 pitchers and $6 Sangrias or $20 for a jug. Go for the jug, trust me! It has an open kitchen and a chef’s bar where you can watch all of the action. The prices are reasonable and the portions are sizable. Throughout the menu they offer a plethora of gluten free options including their wood fired pizzas.
Longhorn Saloon and Grill
This iconic après bar/restaurant steps from the base is packed the moment it opens and has a lively, rambunctious atmosphere since its opening in 1981. Live DJ’s and live music keep it bumping 7 days a week into the wee hours. It’s everyone’s first stop for après. Monday through Friday they offer specials like, Mimosa Mondays and Margherita Madness Wednesday, where the Long Horn Bull Dog Margherita (classic Marg topped with Corona), is the special of the day. Soak up some of the libations with their après plates such as Poutine: fries and cheese curds smothered with chicken gravy, add pulled pork and peppers for a hearty snack or their legendary Nachos.
Tandoori Grill Indian Cuisine
For those of you who are like me and avoid dairy and meat, Indian food never disappoints. Tandoori Grill offers fresh, classic Indian fare at a reasonable price. I had the Baingan Bharta (eggplant simmered in a flavorful, spicy tomato sauce) and the Vegetable Samosas; which were both delicious! For carnivores, the classic favorites like Chicken Tikka Masala, Tandoori Chicken and Lamb Biryani will not disappoint! The vegetarian, vegan and gluten free menu is filled with savory options like Saag Paneer (spinach cooked in a creamy cheese sauce), Chana Masala, (Garbanzo beans simmered in a spicy tomato and cream sauce) and Aloo Gobi (cauliflower and potatoes cooked with onions and spices). Several flavors of naan are baked vertically in the Tandoor oven and make for a great addition to the meal. A popular place that gets crowded later in the evening, so if you don’t want to wait, get there on the earlier side. They also deliver if you feel like staying in and not fighting the crowds. Tandoori will be sure to please!