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Vancouver: Earls



One of my favorite casual places in Whistler is the Earls that sits right above the Starbucks in the center of the village.  The place is always filled with the resort workers who have come to cover the various lift operator, ski shop, housekeeping winter jobs but in reality are there to ski.  Earls always feel full of camaraderie because of it.  You also get your share of those of us who are there for a shorter time to enjoy the winter activities and so the place is a good mix of "locals" and visitors. 
In addition to the convivial atmosphere, Earls presents great value.  Their portions are huge, the food is pretty good and they have really good values on wine. They were the first place I had really good dry ribs, as I talked about in a previous post
Although I’ve been to the Whistler location many, many times I’d never been to any other Earls – even though there are several in Vancouver, as well as all over British Columbia and three other provinces. 
That finally was rectified on this last trip to Vancouver.  After running around all day on Saturday I’d returned to my room to rest and have a little early evening refresher.  After relaxing for a bit I decided I wanted a little something to tide me over until morning.  I wasn’t super hungry but needed a light bite.  I decided to stroll the streets in my area to see what I might find.  Lo and behold, not three blocks away I came across an Earls! 
Upon entering I realized that this was a different creature from the one I knew in Whistler.  Not in a bad way just that this was a big city Earls, not a cozy resort Earls.  The place was packed, although I found a seat at the bar.  It was date night all around me – with folks either having pre-arranged meetings or making them on the fly with those they met. 
I ordered a "glass" of Mission Hills Sauvignon Blanc, one of Earls’ premium wines by the glass.  Earls by-the-glass pours are generous and come in a little carafe.  I love that!  Your server will pour some into your glass and then leave the balance in the carafe for you to pour when you are ready. 
They bring in great value wines from all over the world, but there are always at least a few British Columbia, normally Okanagon Valley, wines on the menu which I think is great, as they support their local industry.  This Sauvignon Blanc was typical of the region, nicely acidic but with a bright taste.  It was a good wine for a warm evening. 
[Side Note:  This same fertile valley reaches into Washington.  In B.C. the name is spelled Okanagon but in Washington is spelled Okanogon and the pronunciation is slightly different:  Oh-ka-NAW-gun versus Ok-ka-NO-gun.]
Along with my wine I ordered a Santa Fe Chicken Salad.  This salad was fresh and crisp and loaded with tons of good bites! The chicken was nicely grilled; the avocado was perfectly ripe and had just been cut; the goat cheese added a nice tang to it all; and the supporting characters of black beans, chips and mixed greens brought it all together.
It was finished with a nice, slightly spicy peanut dressing. As is normal, the salad was large so I couldn’t eat it all but it certainly was the right choice for that evening.   
Again, this is a chain restaurant and you’re not going to find haute cuisine but just good solid tasty food. 
As I was writing this post, I suddenly realized that I had both started and ended this day with a salad.  The other interesting thing is that although I was in Canada, both salads were named for areas in the U.S that bring to mind a certain type of cuisine!  Funny! 
Multiple locations throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan
  1. 30-Jul-2006 8:15 pm

    Great photos!  Even though we\’ve lived here 15 years we\’ve never been to Whistler.  (Insert embarassed blush here.)  Earls looks like a great place!
    p.s. David Sanborn and Earl Klugh at CSM in a week!!

  2. Culinary permalink
    31-Jul-2006 9:37 am

    BH –
    Whistler is a lot of fun, even for non-skiers.  The little village just has a ton to offer.  I\’ve actually been trying to get up during the summer for a number of years – might get there in the next month or so.  The hiking and outdoor activities (including just biking around the village) are wonderful in the summer months!
    And, one of my favorite events Cornucopia, is in early November.  I hope to make this my 4th year in a row to attend! ;-)
    ~ B

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