Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Whistler Trip Report - Aug 6th & 7th, ...and then 8th, 2011

Whistler is expensive.  We (my son and I) stayed for one night last summer and the tab was $750 for one day all in!!!!!  That didn't even include a dinner at Araxi or something like it but I did buy him a Ziptrek tour.  My son really liked Whistler. He's 21 right now.  I saw a Travelzoo local deal that was $250 for a two night stay at the Pan Pacific Mountainside, including two Peak 2 Peak gondola passes and one day bike rentals for a studio suite with fireplace and full kitchen.  I asked my son if he was interested in going and he said he was, so I bought it.  Parking was another $25 per day so add another $50. We're up to $300 now and I haven't left the gate...  :-)

Pan Pacific Mountainside (pic from their website)

August 6th:

The trip did not start out well!  We left at 12:30pm.  At 1:30 we were sitting stuck on Highway 99 by Porteau Cove.  Dead stop.  We sat for an hour when traffic the other way told everyone to turn around as it would be four hours at least as there was a traffic accident and death.  We turned around and went home.  I phoned the hotel - which, like I said was purchased with a Travelzoo voucher.  They said there was nothing they could do if I didn't want to come back today.  My reservation could not be changed.  I understand that.

I forfeited the first night and they said I could come back as early as I wanted in the morning as my room would be empty.  The highway opened one lane each way about 3:45 though the news didn't reach us until 4-ish and it said the backlog would take some time to clear as well.  We discussed going back but ended up deciding against it.  My son was feeling under the weather.  Sniffly, blowing his nose constantly and looked tired.  He did not want to drive back again.  I made him a Neo Citran and we ordered early dinner.

August 7th:  

I awoke at 2 am and couldn't get back to sleep.  At 3am I phoned Pan Pacific to see if they could give me a reduced rate so I could stay Aug. 8 to 9th.  The night manager was off property and would be back around 4am so I asked him to call me when he returned.  (I really had my mind set on staying two days!!!!). He called but said he couldn't make any decisions and it would have to wait until I checked in.  He was sympathetic and gave me the manager's name who I should deal with at check in.  He said he was the one that dealt with these kind of experiences...I went back to bed.

We left at 9am.  Son was still a little under the weather but better than yesterday at least.  The drive was much better today, to say the least, and we pulled into the Pan Pacific at just after 11am.  Side note:  My son begged me NOT to play Bruce Springsteen on the drive home.  Geez, sorry I didn't have "System of a Down" for him.  NOT.  :-)

The manager was at the desk and he was familiar with my story though I did have to go through it again.  At first he told me that I should have asked yesterday when I knew of the accident to switch my nights.  That is exactly what I did, but they told me it wasn't possible.  So he said it would take him an hour or so to sort it out and if I wasn't in my room, to stop back at the front desk as he'd let them know.

A friend from work recommended Elements Urban Tapas (online menu prices are wrong) for breakfast so that is where we headed.  They said it was a twenty minute wait and it was.  Service is very good here and breakfast is pretty stellar.  Really good.  I had crab benny which had lots of delicious Dungeness crab on it and the hollandaise was perfectly silky and smooth with a nice lemon taste.  The serve a fruit smoothie shot and the potato tartlet had a nice creme fraiche on it.

Dungeness crabmeat, Citrus Hollandaise $16

Chocolate Chip, Banana stuffed French Toast 

A mimosa ($6.50) and an hot apple cider (Alpine packet) brought the bill to $43 or $51 after tip.  My son paid so I didn't see the prices of the items he ordered.

We walked back to the hotel and stopped at the front desk.  When the manager heard me talking he came out of the office and said he worked everything out and we could stay for two days and use the voucher.  The night manager had said the hotel was only 80% booked so he didn't see a problem with working something out but you never know...If it was full, I don't know if this conclusion would have happened.  Regardless, I was very happy!  I shook his hand and thanked him very much.  I felt a lot better.  I was not expecting it all and it was a pleasant surprise.  I was more than thankful for someone understanding what had happened.  The studio suite was very nice and looked exactly as it does on the Pan Pacific website.  Went to the room and freshened up, then it was off to the gondola.

View from our room

Pictures from the Gondola journey

After the ride we walked around the Village.  My son had an ice cream at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.  2 Scoops = $4.99.

Entertainment on stilts in the Village

Went and checked out the pool area of our hotel.  Got ready for dinner and walked over to La Rua Restaurante.  The restaurant has a fine dining setting with white table cloths.  Service is very good with everyone that works there chipping in to help out each other.  It was full tonight with hardly an empty table to be seen.  I can see why.  Their menu right now is three courses  for $39 and is great value for what you receive.  The description for most of these dishes are on their website.  I would absolutely recommend it and I would return to this restaurant any chance I could.  Here's what we ate:

Amuse of Cambozola cheese, poached pears and almonds

Bread basket with olive oil and vinegar

Seafood chowder after a cracked pepper seasoning

Spicy gazpacho with a seafood tower of avocado, Dungeness crab, baby shrimp & candied smoked salmon with added cracked pepper seasoning

West Coast Bouillabaisse 

Heritage Bavette Steak

Side of Mac & Cheese - $7

"Young Again" Ice Cream Sandwiches

Cheese plate (Aged Cheddar & Cambozola)

The gazpacho soup and seafood tower was amazing!  It was a special of the evening.  Soup had a great bite to it  and woke up the taste buds.  The seafood tower melded all the different tastes perfectly together.  My favourite dish of the night.  The "Bavette" aka "minute" steak didn't thrill me and I didn't eat it.  It was just chewy and had zero flavour.  However, the potato/short rib  terrine and crispy onions were delicious.  Honestly, this could have been a dish on its own.  The bouillabaisse broth had great flavour and abounded with seafood.  Mac & cheese was creamy, cheesy, though very rich.  I only had a bite but son ate it all.  Overall it was a delight to dine here.  I was very full so I took my cheese plate to go and it made a great midnight snack later on.  (My son ate all the candied nuts).  

August 8th:

I awoke and told my son I'd take him to Crepe Montagne for breakfast.  I really wanted to try it after hearing great things about their crepes.  It was another beautiful sunny day.

"2010" Crepe - Humongous!

"Rockies" Crepe

Service was great here too.  We've encountered nothing but friendly, efficient service since we got here.  The ladies speak to you in minimal French..."Bonjour, Merci Beaucoup, Oui", etc.  We both got Canadian bacon with ours.  My son finished his whole 2010 crepe.  I ate just over half of my Rockies crepe before packing it in.  I was still full at four in the afternoon.   Breakfast with coffee and Americano was $32 or $38 after tip.

I stopped eating eggs for the last six months because my cholesterol went up slightly last check up.  Cutting out eggs brought it back to normal.  I just got the test news last week.  Already, since then, I've had four eggs - all of them in Whistler!  Glad, I'm leaving tomorrow.  ;-)  I usually only eat two eggs a month now, if that.  Anyway, these crepes are worth having, if only once in awhile....comfort food at its best.

We strolled around the village some more and then decided to spend the afternoon at the pool.

View of the Village from the Pool Deck

Dinner tonight was at a relatively new place called Alta Bistro.  I took a  picture of it earlier when we walked to  the crepe place.

The restaurant is very nice, new and what a bistro should be like.  There is a bar area as well.  It was very comfortable and laid back.  We both chose the $29 three course menu and alternated the items.  There were two choices for each so we each took one and shared tastes.  Again, most of the descriptions for the menu are on their website.

Fresh brewed Ice Tea - $5 and a French 75 - $9

Gazpacho with cucumbers, onion and red peppers

Pemberton Fresh Salad

Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Smoked Duck Breast

White Prawn Cocktail

Pan Seared Arctic Char and Ratatouille

Additional Greens

Fraser Valley Lamb Ribs with Honey Thyme Glaze

This was another really good meal!  Personally, I liked the gazpacho the previous night better but this one was still good.  Our server said it was authentic Spanish but I won't know that until I get to Spain.  :-)  My son absolutely loved the goat cheese salad with smoked duck breast.  The smoked duck was sooooo good.  Took the salad over the top.

The avocado, lime, olive oil sorbet was quite interesting with the shrimp.  I enjoyed the twist.  The char was cooked perfectly and had a nice crispy bottom.  The star was the lamb!  OMG, this dish was decadent!  The sweet glaze accented it perfectly.  The raita was also nice with it.  I was extremely happy I chose this.  

Another ice tea and a Vesper drink brought the bill total to $97 or $115 after tip.  We had to rush at the end as we were going to a movie so we didn't get a chance for dessert.  Next time.  I hope this place does well.  They were very enthusiastic about their local and fresh items.  They also had a vegetarian three course menu they were offering that evening.

Walked up to Village 8 Cinemas and went to see the final Harry Potter movie.  Exiting the theatre found it very chilly out! Back to the room for sleep.  I got elbowed once in the movie - my son said I started to snore. Oops.  :-)

Awoke on August 9th to a cloudy, overcast day.  Made some breakfast (not eggs!) and coffee.  The hotel supplies Starbucks in the room.  Will be checking out at 11am and heading back to Vancouver.  I told my work friend I'd get the report up in the morning as she is heading to Whistler this afternoon and she wants to see where we ate and what we had.

P.S.  $$$$ spent this two day trip all in (including my son's lunch he bought) = $770.00.  Much better than last year as we didn't bar hop like we did last summer.  One drink each in each place added up very quickly.

I like Whistler in the summer and I hope to return next year!  Maybe three days next trip.  :-)

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