Some wonderful meals in Whitehorse

Before trekking out to Whitehorse I had asked one of my colleagues for some recommendations. Funny thing was, for one reason or another, I was only able to go to a couple of her recommendations. Despite this, I am happy to report that I had some wonderful meals in Whitehorse and ensured that I still hit local establishments.

My best experience was at The Wheelhouse Waterfront Dining restaurant. It was the last place I was able to enjoy a meal before returning home. It is the fancier and pricier restaurant in town, but I loved the ambience of the antique tins and wooden crates from all across Canada and the nautical elements.

20161016_192955In terms of the food, I had never had Artic char before. Their grill offering came with quinoa, which was putting me off. Thankfully they allowed me to substitute it with the braised mushroom rice that normally comes with their duck confit dish.  I did not receive the bruschetta that is listed on the menu, perhaps because of my rice substitution. Instead, my meal came with a side of vegetables. All together it was a superb dish! The Artic char was a hefty fillet topped with herb butter and arugula. My friend and I agreed that it tasted less like salmon and was more similar in texture to tuna. It was cooked well, moist, even without the herb butter. The braised mushroom rice was a great pairing to the Artic char. The rice wasn’t heavy and its flavour did not overpower the fish. There were ample mushrooms, which I can appreciate. The vegetables were orange carrots, purple beets, and red peppers. Adding a bit of the herb butter to them made them very enjoyable and I was able to eat everything on my plate. This is particularly noteworthy considering I almost never eat beets!

Next up is our first unexpected surprise, brought to us by a colleague who was also working the event I was at. The Gold Pan Saloon is very much what one would imagine a sports bar to be, a long bar that wrapped around half the space, multiple screens featuring different sports (I stopped counting at five), but still a substantial seating area. Lunch was hopping on both days that we attended, a Friday and a Sunday. My first visit I had the seafood board which included deep fried mussels, shrimp, calamari, with sourdough bread and two dipping sauces. It also included salsa fresco which helped lighten the deep fried factor. We debated if it was too much food for one person, but since a woman at a nearby table had ordered it and did not seem to be having any trouble we decided not to split the dish. I enjoyed the variety and tapas-style offering. I savoured the chili sauce because there was a hint of heat, it was not sweet, and it had enough vinegar to act as a counterpoint to the taste of the mussels and calamari. My second visit I ordered the salmon burger. The patty retained the natural flavour of the salmon with a hint of dill and lemon without taking away its innate juiciness. Two not-so positive comments I have about the Gold Pan Saloon is that it is a pricier lunch (even considering we are talking about Whitehorse) and they aren’t consistent in their kitchen. The first visit my colleague was able to get a half-and-half order of salad and fries. When I tried the same thing on my second visit, I was told no and just got a full salad.

A couple of other honourable mentions include The Deck and Legends. At The Deck my friend and I split their Deck sampler and a two-piece fish and chips dish. You can probably sense by now that I love ordering a bunch of things so I can try a lot more dishes. We really liked the fish dish. The batter was light with great taste and the fries were very easy to munch on, not overly salty, nor oily. On the other hand, the sampler was a good amount of food, but nothing that stood out. It was the first time I had a jalapeno slammer, which was a jalapeno with goat cheese inside and bacon wrapped around it. It wasn’t spicy and the bacon definitely made it easier to eat the jalapeno. The wings and ribs were overdone so I didn’t enjoy the meat as much as I expected to.

Legends had good breakfasts at reasonable prices. I had all of my three breakfasts there because of my work schedule and location. For my first breakfast, I loved the bannock over bread option, although it was a denser bannock than I’ve had before. My second breakfast was a great bagel sandwich, where the bagel was soft, and having two types of meats, Canadian ham and bacon was standard and were not oily at all. Finally for breakfast three, being able to substitute more sausage links when I didn’t want to eat eggs anymore to accompany my large pancakes filled me up as I knew I wouldn’t be able to have lunch that day until much later than normal.20161014_072326.jpg

I hope that I am able to return to Whitehorse one day as there were so many other places that I wanted to taste their food fare.

Baba Sweets is spicy!

Trust me to go to a place called Baba Sweets and eat only savory items. Regular readers won’t be surprised as they know I don’t have a sweet tooth.

Happy to say I’ve made another great discovery in my neighbourhood. I was actually aiming to try a place across the street, but their opening hours listed on-line are different from real life. With Baba Sweets & Restaurant in Burnaby already open, it was that time or never for lunch that day, so in I went.

I ordered the butter chicken lunch special and added an order of chicken pakora. Only after the food was brought out was I asked if I had someone joining me. Sheepishly I said, “Um…no. I didn’t realize my order would result in so much food!”

The lunch special includes different choices of main which comes with a small Indian salad, half a plate of rice, and four pieces of naan. This was all placed in front of me, with my chosen butter chicken main, then a full plate of chicken pakora was added to my table. Needless to say, I had leftovers.

I really liked the chicken pakora. I decided to test my taste buds and went for medium spice, instead of my regular choice of mild. The menu describes it as boneless chicken marinated in yogurt, ginger, and garlic, that is fried served then with chutney. Medium for me was definitely spicy! However, the chutney was the perfect cooling compliment, so as long as I ate them together, I could enjoy each bite. I can also attest that when I had them for leftovers the next day, the heat and flavour had intensified overnight.

Price generally matched the amount of food you receive (note to self) so I’ll remember that the next time I order. I am certain there will be a next time.

Alright at Aioli’s

I am so glad we hit the Aioli Seafood Restaurant on our recent trip to Parksville.

Firstly, going out to dinner with our toddler is still challenging so having something close, really five minutes walking distance, was an immediate plus. Secondly, the kids meals were quite reasonable ($7.99) which included a variety of pretty standard main choices, a drink, and ice cream for dessert. The portion sizes for both the chicken nuggets and the chicken fingers were decent, given the range in age of the two kiddos we were feeding. Third, the decor was interesting and captured the imagination of the kids and adults alike. Personally, I loved the nautical elements, especially the various boat models on display. They were all different and came from different time periods, so it had an eclectic feel without seeming over-decorated or cliche. The place were a tad short on high chairs (as other families were also dining at the time) but we were able to survive the meal with the kiddo in a booster.

20160719_174352For my own meal, I loved the lobster tail grill dish. I know the lobster wasn’t local but it was Canadian. It also included a generous portion of wild West Coast salmon and six skewered shrimp. I really enjoyed the amount of seafood. In addition, they had a great vegetable medley which include six different vegetables: bok choy, broccoli, carrots, snap peas, squash, and zucchini.  I was also able to substitute the mash potatoes with white rice, so it ended up being an ideal dish for me. Very satisfying!

Perfection at Panaderia

I am a little ashamed to admit that although I have worked in the neighbourhood for over a decade I only recently tried the Panaderia Latina Bakery. I was talking about it with some colleagues of mine and we agree that there is something about the physical structure of the sky train being between where we work and the bakery that feels like a psychological barrier that seems so far to cross.

I am happy to break this barrier for this killer sandwich. I had a barros luco, which I have learned is a very popular hot Chilean sandwich made of beef and melted cheese. This version included thickly sliced beefsteak tomatoes on Pan Amasado, which has been described as Chilean country bread. Of course the bread is baked in-house. If I can describe the sandwich in two words, I would use “heft” and “melt-licious”. This sandwich has some weight to it, they definitely do not scrimp on the beef. Melt-licious is probably self-explanatory once you feast your eyes on my food pic. Just separating the two sandwich halves easily resulted in cheese pull that definitely delivered in my first bite. The price is comparable to higher-end burger places, but well worth it!



Flavourful Freebird

Tried a cute little kiosk-esque resto at the Quay today. I admit, I had a hint about Freebird when I saw a news article a while back mentioning Longtail’s owner has brought something else to the same food court location in New Westminster. Having an hour to kill waiting for an event gave me the opportunity to remember this news bite and take an actual bite of their fare.

Freebird focuses on chicken, one of my favourite proteins. FYI – My experience (and the prices) are a bit different than described on their website. I was told that the chickens were organic. I was presented with two options in how I want my chicken prepared, which came with accompanying sides. I chose their rotisserie half chicken, which came with your choice of sauce, chicken-fried rice, and papaya salad. I can’t remember the specific name of the sauce, but I do know it was tamarind based, mixed with at least chilli and fish sauce.


It was a good size to share. The chicken was very moist and had a unique flavour, definitely not typical of mainstream rotisserie chicken. After consulting with my personal chef, we concluded that they may include lemongrass perhaps during the brining process. Light or dark meat, the flavours were on-point and juicy. The skin had great colour and tasty to boot. The sauce was a nice addition, but the chicken could stand on its own. The sauce wasn’t overly sweet or sour. The papaya salad was not only a bit of a palette cleanser in between chicken bites, it announced itself with its level of heat! I didn’t try the chicken fried rice, but both D. and the little guy seemed to love it.

If you’re at the Quay and doing a quick walk around on the main floor, don’t walk by Freebird.


Rack of…pork anyone?

People often tell me that I am lucky because D. can cook. My usual response is, “You’re right,” and I add, “Not only can D. cook, but she can cook really well.” Which is why I can’t resist sharing pics of some of her creations.

Tonight’s dinner featured a rack of pork. D. roasted a whole rack of pork chops for about two-and-a-half hours. After cooking, she let the meat rest before cutting into these double-cut portions. End result? Perfectly cooked chops and still juicy. Given that she was also taking care of our ever-energetic little guy at the same time is a feat in itself, but in addition, she made roast potatoes and an accompanying gravy from scratch. As a reverse presentation style, she had a gravy “river” with the chops and potatoes arranged on top. Roasting also created a great outer bark that I savoured. Lucky, lucky me, indeed!


Tried Thai New West

After more than a week of this viral thing I was trying to kick, I was craving something that would awaken my taste buds and appease my new found appetite so I decided to bring my family to Thai New West. We had gone before, a while back I guess, but I never blogged about it.

Unfortunately upon entry we were informed that they do not have high chairs or boosters for our toddler, which in itself almost turned us away. We knew this would mean a definite dining challenge for us even armed with a tablet and snacks. This was strike one for this resto, but we decided to try anyway.

My cravings had my order already in mind. Chicken satay and rice for the little guy, shrimp Pad Thai, lettuce wrap with beef and p20160401_172112apaya salad for D. and I.

The chicken was supposed to be the “safe” dish to feed the little guy, but unfortunately it wasn’t to his taste. The shrimp crackers were also supposed to be a saving grace but it was too spicy for him. It also ended up that the shrimp crackers were the spiciest thing on the table that night.

Which leads me to the papaya salad which was the next dish to arrive. I took the pic after taking out a portion of salad for my plate, that was how eager I was to bite into 20160401_172106it. It was refreshing and the papaya and the peanuts provided different textures of firmness to the dish, but…no zing. It wasn’t spicy at all. That is when I recalled that while we ordered we were never asked what spice range we were going for even though they mention it in their menu, and while we were there they asked folks on the phone who were ordering for pick up. Perhaps they did this on the assumption that the little guy would be eating from all of the dishes, but they never actually asked. You know what they say about how you shouldn’t assume. Strike two.

20160401_172054I chose the beef lettuce wrap for a different protein (there was only a beef or chicken option). Average in taste, no zip once again, but this ended up being a blessing in disguise because the little guy would eat this with the jasmine rice. Unfortunately it meant D. picking out some of the chopped up veggies before feeding, which meant a prolonged eating experience.

Finally, the dish I had been waiting for was the Pad Thai with tiger 20160401_172548prawns. When it arrived at the table I admit I was underwhelmed at the serving size. I was glad D. and I had ordered another dish and a salad because the Pad Thai could have easily been eaten by one person. Also, they served it with the smallest wedge of lime I’ve seen in a long time. The picture here does not do it justice, but the dish was desperately needing some citrus. A positive is that the tiger prawns were cooked perfectly, very plump and delectable.

After what seemed like an eternity, the little guy was finally full from the beef and rice and I went to settle the bill. After giving a reasonable tip the dinner totaled out to more than $60. I can’t justify that cost with the experience that we had so it is strike three and we’re out. I continue to be on the look out for a Thai restaurant that I can return to time and again.