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Table Scraps

A different kind of clubber

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Within seconds of accepting a glass of champagne from Robert Tan, food and beverage head for the Hilton’s Cinnamon Bear, I was toasting conversation with new acquaintances at the newly created Dinner Club, hosted the first week of every month at the Hilton.

So often in Whistler we fall into the same circle of friends and acquaintances. Here at the Bear club, I sat down to a table of 10 new faces, and despite our varied backgrounds – ski instructors, teachers, media, restaurant industry professionals – we all had one thing in common: an appreciation of great food and company.

Both came together under the creative and talented guidance of executive chef Jay Lynn, who orchestrated a memorable three-course dinner. Seared ahi was spiced up with an eggplant timbale to begin, followed by roasted elk medallions with the usual potato fare passed up for a herb spaetzle.

The blood orange soufflé with white chocolate anglaise stole the evening’s spotlight. All 20 soufflés, warm little decadent clouds, were expertly timed and met with great applause.

A mini winemaker’s dinner, each course was coupled with a different wine: from a bubbly reception to a dessert wine finish, suddenly an ordinary mid-week evening turned into the extraordinary – the presentation, flavours and service second to none.

This Wednesday’s club, May 3, begins with a social reception hosted by Bin End Surprise Wines at 7:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 8 p.m. The three-course set menu includes prawn and asparagus tempura, a wild mushroom and bocconcini stuffed chicken breast and strawberry napoleon pastry with almond cream. Each course is paired with a different wine from Bin End Surprise Wines.

A fine dining experience at a regular Joe price, this elegant yet casual evening is only $37.45 (gratuities not included). Valet parking is complimentary with dinner receipt.

Seating is limited to 20 people so reserve ahead of time – already people are catching on. Call 604-932-1982 for reservations and see you there this Wednesday.

Behind the Grind now out front

Needing to satisfy a Chai Tea Latte fix – the only kind satisfied by a visit to Behind the Grind – I wandered into the village to hook myself up at the local java joint. The windows were wallpapered with newspaper and the door locked.

Closed?

Where would I get my hit?

I could feel the shakes coming on, the sweat pearling at my brow, until I saw a sign informing chai addicts Behind the Grind was moving to a new location: The Hilton.

Well pull out the white gloves for afternoon tea with scones and Devonshire cream, our homegrown hangout will be mixin’ with society’s hoi polloi, and instead of the no shirt, no shoes, no service sign, counterpersons will require all patrons sip their cappuccinos with pinky finger in the air.

However, caffeine crusader Chris Quinlin assures followers it will be business as usual: the café will boast the same laid-back, cozy atmosphere coupled with the value-oriented menu locals can’t say no to.

The only thing changing is the location and floor space. People will finally be able to give directions on where to find Behind the Grind, rather than the previous scavenger hunt. The new space is a few steps away from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory on one side, and Art Gallery Row on the other. Both perfect places to stroll to with latte in hand.

As for space, think of the old Behind the Grind patio; now think about the same patio only five times bigger. And with the addition of a liquor licence, the café will be open for breakfast, lunch and après.

So the only question left is now that the café isn’t tucked away behind the Village Stroll, and instead in front of it, does that mean the name has to be changed?

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