We’re allergic to hyperbole so when we say this Whistler dinner might be the greatest event in the West this summer, please don’t snicker. Bear with us as we convince you. On the one hand, we have Eric Griffith and Nicholas Cassettari of Alta Bistro, the reigning champ of Vanmag’s Best Whistler category in the Restaurant Awards. On the other hand, you have architects John and Patricia Patkau, Western Canada’s greatest living architects (or, really, Canada’s, because Frank Gehry is more or less a Californian these days) and the designers of the stunning Audain Art Museum. And on the third hand (the last one, we promise), you have the magnificent collection inside the museum itself. Here’s how it all comes together.
1. You buy a ticket for one of the upcoming Friday events—which, at $99, is a screaming bargain for Whistler (plus it’s $10 off if you’re a museum member)—and show up at the appointed time. Before you’re seated, you get an intimate docent-guided tour through the museum’s permanent collection, hitting the highlights (like this jaw-dropper of a piece by James Hart), and giving you a just a taste of what one of the best small museums in North America has to offer.
2. Next, you’re led to your en plein air table facing the museum’s lawn and interior courtyard. Now, the Alta Bistro team shifts into gear with an art-inspired (and not in a hokey way) four-course menu. Expect a few showstoppers—like the tomato panzanella salad with gazpacho dressing hidden under a Warhol-inspired soup can that blew up Instagram last summer.
3. You sit in the open air, sipping a Nichol Syrah, wondering how you got so freaking lucky.
4. Over the next two days, use your dinner ticket for free entry into the museum as often as you like, allowing you to peruse the collection at your leisure—perhaps dropping a few of the docent’s observations and passing them off as your own to impress the other onlookers.
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