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All posts for the month June, 2010

Restaurant Review – Elephant Cafe Restaurant (Whistler)

Published June 29, 2010 by Mary Jane

Hello Bloggy friends, hope this post finds you all well. Anyways, this week is going to be a killer week cos we’re working late but nevermind it’s only going to be for a week then we’re back to our normal hours. Anyways, I’m going to try to finish my Canada & Whistler post hopefully this week. I’m really excited cos this Saturday I’m off to the food & wine festival. 🙂 let’s hope I don’t spend too much money…

Well, this particular restaurant was at the ground floor of our hotel – and yes I will do a hotel review later. I loved the name: Elephant Cafe restaurant and it actually has a picture of an elephant for it’s logo 🙂

This restaurant is pretty casual it has a bar next to it. So it’s kind of like a pub restaurant. I love pub restaurants cos usually their food is pretty good and you get a huge serving.

I wasn’t feeling too hungry, just cold so I decided to go with the soup of the day which is vegetable soup – yum yum I needed a vegie boost. Pandabear went for the fish & chips – it comes with a coleslow.

vegetable soup

vegetable soup

fish & chips

fish & chips

The soup was really hearty – full of vegies and very tasty too it came with some crackers, I would have preferred some crusty bread but that’s ok, I ended up picking on Pandabear’s chips. His fish and chips looked awesome, large pieces of fish and large cuts of chips and the coleslow was pretty tasty 🙂

I even mucked around with a tomato sauce and put a smiley face on my plate. The waitress were pretty friendly and the food came out pretty quckly.

Here’s my rating:

Dining experience: 4 star
Food experience: 4 star
Would I recommend it? Yes

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Snow Mobile Lessons (Whistler)

Published June 28, 2010 by Mary Jane

Well, apart from spending some time with skiing lessons Pandabear has also signed us up with some snow mobile lessons. They had some dog sleighing as well, but as most of you know me that I’m strongly against any form of ‘using animals to carry humans’ cos I think it’s kind of a little on the cruelty to animals bit. I know it sounds a bit extreme, but I’m a full on animal person – the thought of getting these furry creatures to carry human beings are either on a carriage or bob sleigh just doesn’t sit right with me. So the other option is going on a snow mobile. I’ve never been on one before and when the bus came to took us to the snow mobile area we were greeted by our snow mobile guide. Who gave us some instructions on how to use these snow mobile.

Honestly, it was freezing cold that day – with a bit of a rain and when I saw the huge snow mobile – I was thinking to myself how am I going to ride on this huge machine on a cold and wet rainy weather. Anyways, I hopped on and stared at other professionals turning their engine on and away they go. Fortunately, our guide were a really nice guy he’s also from Aussie land. Lay back, and said he’ll go first and I can follow after him and Pandabear would follow after me just incase I get lose. So I’m kinda wedged in the middle heheheh

It turned out that it wasn’t too hard to steer this monster, the road was slippery but because the snow mobile was heavy it was quite stable on the snow grounds and you have the option of breaks and accelerate. First, I tried a little of acceleration to get the juice of it and then I started on full acceleration and made sure that I followed behind my guide. He was an experienced guide, he would turn around to make sure I was still behind him. All along, it was rather fun – and when it hit about lunch time – I was starving and the guide seemed to pick this up so he took us to this little tent place.

The tent place

The tent place

My face was totally frozen from the rain and spits of snow right into my face while I was riding. I was so glad to enter into this nice warmish tent and we met another Aussie who was heating up some minestrone soup.

Minestrone soup with bread

Minestrone soup with bread

I was so hungry that I scoffed down the minestrone soup and some bread. It was really tasty, not hot enough but it didn’t matter cos I was cold and hungry and anything would have tasted fantastic!! So we end up chatting to each other and it was time for a bathroom visit. So the guy showed me where the bathroom was, it was outside and it looked rather unusual as if when I walk into it, it’s going to collapse on me. A little on the flimsy looking. When I walked inside it was dark, no lights just natural light from the ceiling then there was a big hole and toilet seat but there’s no flush – it’s literally a big hole through the toilet seats. Very bizzare, I hurried quickly thinking to myself I hope I don’t fall through this gigantic hole.

The bizzare toilet

The bizzare toilet

After this, we were ready to go on again on our snow mobile. Our guide took us to many beautiful places with awesome sceneries that were just breath taking. Here’s some of the beautiful nature sceneries.

Now, there were some scary incidence that happened – our tour guide stopped at this place and explained to both myself & pandabear that we are now going to go down this really steep hill and make sure we occassionally break otherwise we might find ourselves struggling to stay on the snow ground. Now to make it worse, there were no fencing along the snow grounds, you could literally see the cliff side – and cos I’m afraid of heights, it made me really really scared. Our guide assured us that it’s going to be ok, provided we pulse on our breaks. So he went first followed by me, it was sure a roller coaster ride – I was going so quick and I kept pulsing on my break and thank goodness we survived it was an awesome but scary experience. Now, this was not the worse part, along the end of the causeway for some reason I ended up tail gating my guide and it was too late I was so closed to him that I ended up smashing myself to his snow mobile which caused him to sly down this small hill and all this time I was hitting on the turn off engine button as suppose to break!!!

Anyways, he was ok with it and I apologised profusely but it was all good we were covered under insurance. It was a once in a life time experience but I don’t think I’ll ever ride a snow mobile again – it’s just too dangerous. 🙂 I’m just glad I’ve done it now and that neither Pandabear nor I got hurt.

Restaurant Review – Araxi (Whistler)

Published June 28, 2010 by Mary Jane

Well, hope everyone had an exciting weekend. I didn’t get up to too much as I was still recovering from this nasty cold. but I had a fruitful Saturday where I went with my mate to Ikea to purchase toddler class plastic tables & stools. They were so cute, and had some fun assembling them together. I’m not really good with assembling furnitures, but these ones were pretty easy so I managed. Sunday, finally we cleaned out the library in our church 🙂

Well, this particular restaurant was recommended by Panda bear’s boss – it’s a fine dining restaurant and we were really excited to try it out. Upon arrival at the restaurant we see a large sign displaying Araxi, when we enter the restaurant – it was lightly lit, the waitress offered to take our jackets and she appeared very friendly.

We decided to order some non alcoholic beverages, Pandabear decided to have Kiwi honeybee – consists of saffron infused honey, lemon, kiwi and ginger beer and I went for the Symphony – consists of ginger, lemon chamomile tea, elderflower cordial and cucumber. The drinks were delicious 🙂 We felt like going for seconds, infact Pandabear went for seconds.

Kiwi Honeybee

Kiwi Honeybee

Symphony

Symphony

For entree we decided to share a chilled lobster salad – which consists of Nova Scotia Lobster with avocado and cilantro toasted Israeli cous cous with lemon and yuzu dressing. When it arrived the presentation was fantastic – except I thought the serving was a little on the small side. But I guess they wouldn’t serve large servings of lobster for people. Still, it was pricy so I expect a bigger portion 🙂 The lobster was well cooked, tender and fresh and usually we are not into cous cous but these toasted Israeli cous cous were gorgeous and very flavoursome.

Chilled Lobster Salad

Chilled Lobster Salad

As for mains, Pandabear decided to have Canadian prime rib eye and I had Fraser Valley Free Run Chicken. We thought we’ll try their house cut truffle fries. I’ve never had truffle before so we thought let’s give the truffle fries a try 🙂 when our meals arrived, the prime rib eye were juicy with generous amount of sauce and served on a bed of green beans and some carrots. As for my meal my chicken tendaloins were wrapped with proscuitto, sage and spinach, it was on a bed of wild mushroom risotto served on top some slow cooked petit gris snails and fried basil. I’m not a snail person, I’ve only had snails a couple of times. When the dish came I saw lots of these grey looking snails on top of my chicken. I flicked them off and started my chicken first – it was juicy and tender nicely balanced with the generous amount of sauce. As for snails – well, they were little chewy for my liking so I didn’t finished all the snails. As for truffle fries, well they tasted quite salty and had lots of parmesan cheese on top of it..

Canadian Prime Rib Eye

Canadian Prime Rib Eye

Fraser Valley Free Run Chicken

Fraser Valley Free Run Chicken

House cut truffle fries

House cut truffle fries

And since we had some room for a dessert, Pandabear and I decided to share a dessert together. We went for the Vairhona chocolate fondant – chocolate dentelle and dulce de leche triple chocolate stracciatella icecream. It sounds devilish & rich but I really want to see what their fondant were like. When it arrived, the presentation was amazing – with a waffle stick lying on top of the icecream and round drips of chocolate sauces around the whole plate. Now it comes to the test of spooning into the fondant to see whether inside is full of flowing chocolate.

Valrhona Chocolate Fondant

Valrhona Chocolate Fondant

Here’s what you see, the chocolate sauce oozing out 🙂

Complimentary orange mini cakes

Complimentary orange mini cakes

Well, we were pretty happy with our dessert and when we asked for our bill they brought along our bill and a little surprise of orange mini cakes on a plate – what a sweet ending to a meal. This is rather thoughtful. Overall, we were pretty happy with food waiting time and the food experience was lovely. The service there were nice and friendly.

Here’s my rating:

Food experience: 4.5 star
Dining experience: 4.5 star
Would I recommend? Yes

Ski lesson food

Published June 25, 2010 by Mary Jane

When it came to lunch time, we were starving and couldn’t wait to grab some hot food cos it was so cold outside. So our ski instructor took us to this food court which had a variety of hot meals. I came across this burger joint and decided to try out their grill burgers. Pandabear went for the healthier option grilled salmon burger and I went for the unhealthy option – beef & cheese patty. I was feeling pretty hungry after all the skiing in the morning so I rewarded myself with some fries as well 🙂 Our ski instructor had a mix of pasta & burger and he couldn’t finish his serve.

Salmon burger

Salmon burger

Beef burger with fries

Beef burger with fries

I scoffed down our meal, it was actually pretty tasty or maybe I was just so hungry. After the meal I felt much better ready to ski down the slope for the afternoon lesson. I missed out on trying this Beavertails pastry which is meant to be quite popular in Whistler. Oh well, maybe next time…

Skiing Lessons

Published June 25, 2010 by Mary Jane

Anyways, it was time for our beginners skiing lessons – we need to meet up at the shop to try out our equipment. when we entered into the store we came across this huge bear. There’s something about Whistler – they seemed to have huge teddy bears everywhere. This bear is not really the cute type of teddy bears you see it’s more like a wild bear…

Then you’ll see lots of ski boots and snow boards hanging against the wall.

There was a nice Aussie lady who came and asked us to fill in some forms which included our approx heights and weights so she could do the calculation and grab us a suitable ski boot, ski poles and ski slides.

The ski boots were really tight, but apparently you need them to be really tight other wise you’ll slip and get blisters. I would recommend everyone to wear extra long thick socks for cushioning 🙂

Time to meet at the kiosk and await for our ski instructor…

Our ski Instructor

Our ski Instructor

Our ski instructor – James were from the UK and he has been around Whistler for a while, we were really happy to have him as our ski instructor as he was really patient with us and a brilliant instructor 🙂 He took us around showing some basic accelerating and brake moves and then when we start to get the hang of it he too k us along the belt which took us to the top of the slope. In total I fell 4 times but thank goodness didn’t manage to hurt myself at all 🙂

It was great fun, but I must warn you the boots gets tighter and tighter and it was starting to hurt so much that I had to take them off. We spent the whole day skiing and in between we had lunch and by afternoon I decided I had enough of skiing and wanted to build some snow man…

Our scary looking snow man

Our scary looking snow man

I’ve always wanted to make some snow angels. Let me just tell you that the snow are freezing but it was fun and really worth the cold.

Snow Angel

Snow Angel

Let me just tell you the next day, both Pandabear and myself were in pain – especially our legs were like jelly and our arms were really sore – we needed a full day to recover from our skiing lessons. But it was great fun and we would definitely ski again 🙂

Whistler Village

Published June 25, 2010 by Mary Jane

Well, when we arrived in Canada we checked into this average hotel and the next morning we had to catch a bus that would take us to Whistler. It was freezing, thank goodness the snow bus was nice, warm and comfy so that made the trip pretty pleasant and I spend most of my time sleeping on the snow bus. When we finally arrived at the Whistler area, checked into our hotel and decided to go for a walk around the block. Everyone you come across are from Australia – so you feel like you’re at home. They all said they were planning to stay for the winter season and some how ends up staying for like 3 years. All Aussies love Whistler because of it’s skiing.

Snow Bus

Snow Bus

We arrived at Canada just after the winter Olympics so you still see winter Olympics soft toys for sale.

Winter Olympics Soft Toys

Winter Olympics Soft Toys

Found a huge teddy bear sitting alone by himself so I went and gave the bear a big bear hug 🙂

Big Teddy Bear

Big Teddy Bear

As it was really cold, we’ve decided to warm ourselves up at Star Bucks and their hot chocolate are delicious plus you get free wifi internet access at Star Bucks which is a bonus 🙂

Star Bucks hot chocolate

Star Bucks hot chocolate

As the place gets darker, the place was looking more beautiful with the lights on the pine trees it really felt like you were spending a white Christmas there. Here’s some of the lovely night scenes…

Then we came across this awesome candy/chocolate place, now both Pandabear and myself ain’t really into sweets stuff but we had a good look and their sweets variety looks very tempting.

Found this shop that’s really cute called – Knicknacks Skitch Paddywacks – hahaha my type of shop but we didn’t end up buying anything as most of my shopping are done in States already so I’ve spent nearly all my shopping money already.

Restaurant Review – Sushi Village (Whistler, Canada)

Published June 25, 2010 by Mary Jane

Well, I’m moving onto the next part of our trip that is Whistler in Canada. We’ve booked ourselves some beginners skiing lessons and snow mobile rides. Really excited as I’ve never tried skiing or snow mobile rides before. Anyways, we went around the whole Whistler village area to check out places and deciding what to dine for dinner came across this particular restaurant in our hotel brochures – apparently it’s really popular and since it’s Japanese cuisine – it’s a bonus for me cos I love Japanese food.

We decided to try this place out on a week night, when we arrived around 7pm it was already packed and there were people standing in the queue already. So we asked the waitress how long we need to wait for our table she said around 30-45 minutes, now Pandabear and myself didn’t feel too hungry so we were happy to wait for our table. There was a bar next to the waiting area, so Pandabear ordered a strawberry mocktail drink – it was pretty tasty.

Bar Area

Bar Area

On my way to the bathroom, I notice along the corridor there’s a little sign that says Sushi Village Hall Way of Fame. It was very interesting, as there are photos and signatures of famous people including sports stars, singers, and actors/actress.

Finally, after 45 minutes later – the waitress called out our names and lead us to our table. I wasn’t feeling terribly hungry so we decided to share a plate of assorted sushi, tempura prawns and Pandabear had beef udon noodle soup and I had the plain udon noodle soup. There was a sushi bar next to our table and you could see the sushi chef making yummy sushis.

Sushi Chef

Sushi Chef

We had to wait for 10-15 minutes before we could place our order and then wait for around 30-40 minutes for our food, by that time I was getting really hungry and we asked our waitress how long our food is going to be. She went back in the kitchen and came back to let us know it’ll be ready in about 10 minutes. Finally, our food came…

Assorted Sushi

Assorted Sushi

Tempura Prawns

Tempura Prawns

Beef Udon Noodle Soup

Beef Udon Noodle Soup

Plain Udon Noodle Soup

Plain Udon Noodle Soup

When the food came out, the presentation for the assorted sushi were great – lovely colour balance and it taste pretty fresh. For the tempura prawns it was crispy and tasty, as for udon noodle soup they were just average. Well, the food overall was ok – it wasn’t spectacular or worth waiting for 45min up to an hour. Service was average as well. So here’s my rating:

Dining experience: 3.5 star
Food experience: 3.5 star
Would I recommend? Maybe (if you don’t mind waiting for your table for up to an hour)