What's for Lunch? (The British Columbia Edition)

All This Fresh Snow is Making Us Hungry

Snorkeling through powder is standard practice at western Canadian ski areas like Whitewater—and it works up an appetite! Good thing for great ski eats.  Kari Medig | Courtesy    Destination BC

Snorkeling through powder is standard practice at western Canadian ski areas like Whitewater—and it works up an appetite! Good thing for great ski eats. Kari Medig | Courtesy Destination BC

Skiing and boarding the heaps of fresh snow blanketing North America right now is making us hungry. Sometimes, though, we don’t want underwhelming cafeteria burgers or soggy chili fries for our ski lunch. Here are a few tasty discoveries we love instead:

The Philly Cheese Steak sandwich takes a Canadian slopeside twist at  WH20  near  Nelson, British Columbia , Canada.  © Ski Travel Go

The Philly Cheese Steak sandwich takes a Canadian slopeside twist at WH20 near Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. © Ski Travel Go

This Canadian spin on a Philly Cheese Steak sandwich comes from Whitewater in British Columbia, a gem of a mountain beloved both for its kickass skiing and its excellent on-mountain eats. Made-to-order burgers and hot sandwiches at Whitewater’s Fresh Tracks Café and Coal Oil Johnny’s pub run C$14 to C$18.

For hungry skiers on a tighter budget, Whitewater also sells inexpensive yet huge grab-and-go cold sandwiches built from delicious, fresh ingredients. Its massive egg salad sandwich on fresh-baked marbled rye with dill and cucumber for just C$4.50 may well be the most filling yet least expensive made-from-scratch on-mountain lunch in North American skiing. 

Eat your veggies! The Glory Bowl is among the most popular and enduring lunch items at  Whitewater Ski Resort  in Nelson, BC.  © Ski Travel Go

Eat your veggies! The Glory Bowl is among the most popular and enduring lunch items at Whitewater Ski Resort in Nelson, BC. © Ski Travel Go

Whitewater serves its fair share of hearty, meaty eats—but its Fresh Tracks Cafe also is renowned for pioneering excellent vegan ski eats. The plant-based Glory Bowl, above, is an enduring WH20 favorite, featuring brown basmati rice, marinated tofu, shredded beets and carrots, candied almonds and Whitewater’s signature Glory Bowl dressing (so popular and addictive that it helped launch a series of best-selling cookbooks). The Glory Bowl sets its healthy ski-eaters back just C$11.

Fernie Alpine Resort 's Extreme Grilled Cheese melts powder pigs' hearts at the mountaintop Lost Boys Cafe.  © Ski Travel Go

Fernie Alpine Resort's Extreme Grilled Cheese melts powder pigs' hearts at the mountaintop Lost Boys Cafe. © Ski Travel Go

We like the cookies, tea and coffee drinks at  Fernie Alpine 's Lost Boys Cafe, too—not to mention the big mountain views. Fernie is simply stunning!  Dave Heath | Courtesy    Destination BC

We like the cookies, tea and coffee drinks at Fernie Alpine's Lost Boys Cafe, too—not to mention the big mountain views. Fernie is simply stunning! Dave Heath | Courtesy Destination BC

The Extreme Grilled Cheese is the local ski cult’s favorite at Lost Boys Café atop Fernie Alpine Resort, another gem of a mountain on British Columbia’s "Powder Highway." With brie, cheddar, jack and more, this decadent sammy melts cheese-loving ski hearts for C$16. Lost Boys also uses its top-of-mountain panini press for a pulled pork sandwich and a brie-turkey-cranberry sandwich, both also C$16. 

Inspired by Southeast Asian cuisine, this yumsville rice bowl is customized for each diner at the wok station in the fast casual servery at Rendezvous Lodge atop  Blackcomb Mountain .  © Ski Travel Go

Inspired by Southeast Asian cuisine, this yumsville rice bowl is customized for each diner at the wok station in the fast casual servery at Rendezvous Lodge atop Blackcomb Mountain. © Ski Travel Go

Whistler Blackcomb’s on-mountain cafeteria food has dropped in quality and serving size under the mountain’s new ownership—while rising 15%-20% in cost—but we still enjoy this "Thai-inspired" made-to-order lunch bowl (above) from the Rendezvous cafeteria atop Blackcomb. Diners choose their bowl's base (noodles, rice, greens or a combination), protein (chicken, meatballs, pork belly or tofu), vegetable type, sauce (choices range from mild to spicy and include an array of curries as well as a pad thai-style sauce) and toppings. We like to order our Rendezvous lunch bowls gluten-free, with a half-kale/half-rice base, gai lan and green beans for the vegetables, savory pork belly, a half-serving of tamarind sauce and lots of peanuts on top. From C$17.50.

Tacos La Cantina  has two locations in Whistler. At both, burritos are as big as small babies— and salads like this one make even full-grown Californians happy.  © Ski Travel Go

Tacos La Cantina has two locations in Whistler. At both, burritos are as big as small babies— and salads like this one make even full-grown Californians happy. © Ski Travel Go

The smartest bet in Whistler these days is to head to the valley floor for lunch. At La Cantina Urban Taco Bar (two locations in Whistler) the burritos are as large as avalanche control artillery, yet cost only C$11.90. And La Cantina's Luchador salad, pictured above, is a standout in Whistler's great new salad scene. It features pear slices, shredded beets, avocado, cashews, quinoa and mixed greens with a ginger tamari dressing for C$9.50, plus optional add-ons from the taco filling line-up starting at C$3. The restaurant calls this “fresh Mexican fusion.” We call it yum!

Oh hey deep snow of Whistler! All this excellent, over-the-top skiing is making us hungry!  Blake Jorgenson | Courtesy    Destination BC

Oh hey deep snow of Whistler! All this excellent, over-the-top skiing is making us hungry! Blake Jorgenson | Courtesy Destination BC

Whistler's New Noodle Shops

1. Ohyama Ramen

@whentheyfindus    | courtesy Ohyama Ramen

@whentheyfindus | courtesy Ohyama Ramen

Authentic ramen's hot and steamy heyday in happening Vancouver has finally spilled over to Whistler with the December 2017 debut of Ohyama Ramen. The new Whistler eatery builds its brothy, Japanese-style bowls on a deeply flavored house-made soup stock—and good stock is the key differentiator between so-so ramen and ramen that rocks. Ohyama's bowls, which start at C$11.95, are topped with BBQ pork belly and scallions, and come with a choice of additional broth seasonings for another 50 cents. Some twenty topping add-ons include crispy fried Brussels sprouts, garlic chips, Shiitake mushrooms, kimchi, greens, Bulletproof-style dollops of butter and seasoned boiled eggs with perfectly runny yolks. For vegans, a creamy ramen bowl with kale noodles, tofu and an array of vegetable toppings starts at C$12.95. Other menu items include pork gyoza, mushroom gyoza, chicken karaage and chashu donburi, priced from C$6 to C$8. Find Ohyama Ramen just off the beaten path near the center of Whistler Village, next to Harajuku Izakaya in the Royal Bank Building, alongside the Whistler Conference Centre. Eat in or get it to go. Either way, slurping is highly encouraged. www.ohyamaramen.com

2. Main Street Noodles

Main Street Noodles is located in Whistler’s “Fast Food Alley.”  © Ski Travel Go

Main Street Noodles is located in Whistler’s “Fast Food Alley.” © Ski Travel Go

Main Street Noodles, which opened in November 2017, sizzles up Asian-inspired creations modeled on signature dishes from China (like chow mein and kung pao), Thailand (pad thai and red curry), Indonesia (soy-sesame-garlic fried rice and a peanut-coconut satay bowl), Vietnam (Pho-style soup) and Mongolia (crispy chili beef). Bowls start at C$11. Protein add-ons (like boar bacon, tofu, pork belly, shrimp and egg) run C$3 to $6. Five spice levels range from mild to "kick ur ass." For gluten-free eaters, bowls can be built on a base of rice noodles (or straight-up plain rice) tossed with either the tamarind-based pad thai or peanut-coconut satay sauces. Find Main Street Noodles at the north end of Whistler Village, in what locals call "Fast Food Alley," around the corner from the big Marketplace IGA supermarket on... you guessed it... Main Street. www.mainstnoodles.com

3. Samurai Creekside

Samurai Sushi long has been Whistler locals' favorite place to indulge Japanese food cravings for cheap. The mini-chain's three locations—one at Nesters, one in Creekside and one in Squamish—dish fresh fare at a fair price, including an array of clearly-marked options for both vegetarian and gluten-free eaters. What's new for winter 2017 is that Samurai's newly reopened Creekside location is focusing its menu on noodles. From opening to close, they are ladling out all-day udon soup (thick wheat noodles in a mild kakejiru broth, sprinkled with scallions and topped with various add-ons). From 3 pm onward, they are serving ramen. And, yes, Samurai Creekside will continue to offer sushi, but is eliminating a few other menu items to focus on noodles. Meanwhile, the Samurai at Nesters (north of the main village) is focusing on sushi, sashimi, donburi, tempura and wraps—but will offer no noodle bowls. All of which means that tucking into Samurai’s udon or ramen requires a trip to the Creekside location, located a three-minute walk from Whistler Blackcomb's Creekside gondola, in an off-the-main-drag commercial building hidden on Innsbruck Drive. Udon starts at C$6. Ramen starts at C$13. Eat in—or call ahead and take those noodle bowls and sushi rolls to go. www.whistlersamuraisushi.com

Typical Udon Noodles  Smokefish | Dreamstime

Typical Udon Noodles Smokefish | Dreamstime