There are no greater pleasures in life than sitting around a table with loved ones, a bottle of wine, and delicious food. Often we get too bogged down by the day to day clatter of our working lives to make it happen. The hum of traffic as we make our way into another day in the office or the ringing of the phone for the 30th time as you listen to a stranger on the other line. We come home from another typical day, too tired to have a real conversation. Maybe go for a quick run before your stomach screams from emptiness. You make a quick meal with whatever is in the fridge and pantry, sleep and repeat.
Except there are those weekends. Those marvelous weekends.
You get to escape that dull humming that you’ve grown overly accustomed to and forget about your routine. It’s the perfect time to relax and recharge.
While we are frequently reminded of eating our five fruits and vegetables a day, it is rare that we are reminded how important de-stressing is for our health. The lives we lead have gotten faster and busier with no room to even think about taking a break. But if you can allow yourself at least one weekend a month to do absolutely nothing, your body and mind will thank you.
The past few weeks have been unbelievably busy at work and home for me. With Easter weekend on the horizon, I was itching to get away from the city. Luckily for me my long weekend took me to Whistler. That magical place where people from all around the world gather to ski, drink, and eat. Due to my utter lack of balance I reserve myself for the latter two options. The amount of unique dining establishments is nearly overwhelming. But with a little help from Zomata, I chose Basalt.
This little restaurant tucked into a corner of the Whistler village is the perfect night out. The decor is simple and refined, with a large bar stretching one side of the room and one long table in the middle. The space felt comfortable, not too tight but close enough that you felt the warmth and buzz of everyone around you.
Glancing at their menu, the mains offer a variety of meats, vegetables, and spices all paired with wines from around the world.
We started off our meal with a build your own charcuterie board, this is definitely a must do. Even if you don’t want to indulge in the mains, you must at least come for their charcuterie boards. Their Salumi and Cheese menu offers a large selection of cured meats ($7.50 per serving) and cheeses ($10 per serving). All are plated with a house made mustard, pickles, and a few slices of bread.
Based on suggestions from our server, we chose Leoncini Di Parma (prosciutto), Truffle Salami, Duck Salami, and Manchego. All were delicious in their own ways. However, the duck salami was my favourite; it was just the right amount of salty and seemed to melt in my mouth. Next time I might switch out the prosciutto for something a bit more unique.
For my main, I ordered the Red Wine Braised Veal Cheeks Pappardelle. I am not one who would normally choose veal on a menu, but how could I go wrong with red wine braised anything?
The answer: I couldn’t. The dish was delicious. The veal was perfectly tender and full of flavour, while the noodles were soft with still a bit of bite. The only critique was the menu called for swiss chard, however there was none on my plate.
M decided on the pork belly. The exterior had a nice crunch while the meat was soft and delectable. M said the gems of the plate were actually the parsnip puree and the parsnip chips!
For those vegetarians out there, Basalt offers one main that is meat free. This Smoked Tomato Garbanzo Bean+Zucchini Stuffed Butternut Squash was quite a surprise. The smokiness really came through in each filling bite. Again the parsnip chips scattered along the plate were a wonderful crunchy addition to the dish.
Not pictured here are Basalt’s chicken and strip loin dishes. Although the chicken description sounds delectable, the overall dish left us wanting more. In comparison with the 3 other dishes mentioned, the chicken really couldn’t hold its ground and the strip was a bit chewy.
Overall Basalt is an exquisite place to dine. The simplicity in each dish allows the ingredients to really shine. They don’t try and over-complicate things with unnecessary additions. Instead, their cooking and handling of each ingredient allows diners to enjoy every morsel.
Sitting along the large table, surrounded by my loved ones and extraordinary food I really did feel myself relax and enjoy. We need places like Basalt in our lives to remind us to take a break. It is okay to stop, breathe, and savour these moments.