Fairmont Lifestyles Menu Mini-Review

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Whistler

Fairmont’s new Lifestyles Menu makes it easier for vegans across North America to eat at Fairmont Hotels—and the food isn’t bad either.

I grew up in the shadows of the Rockies. Riding through the foothills, or cycling up and down the neverending streets of Calgary, at times I felt like my whole life was being pulled towards those mountains. Moving towards those rough and wild peaks was to see the world up before your eyes. Ancient sea-beds lifted to the sky, now filled by azure lakes and incredible green trees. It was easy to imagine people crossing oceans and continents for that view.

When our family came to visit from further in the praries, the Rockies were always on our list. A highlight of these trips was always dinner at the Chateau Lake Louise, built by Canadian National Railways, and now a Fairmont property.

To be honest, I have a bit of a thing for grand old hotels, and I wonder if this fondness dates back to those trips. I was so impressed by the formality of the dining room, the copper-roof and shining wood surfaces. From the Palliser in my hometown of Calgary, to the Empress in Victoria, Fairmont Hotels are some of my favourites.

And so I was delighted to hear that they were instituting a chain-wide ‘lifestyles’ menu with vegan options. It only makes sense from a hotel chain with such a strong commitment to environmentally sound practices. When I worked at an environmental non-profit a few years ago, Fairmont treated us well, and we were proud to host a conference in a venue with local cuisine, a sustainability program, and a commitment to recycling.

Just this past weekend, we had family come into town. I now live in Vancouver, at the foot of the Coast Mountains. I felt a sense of nostalgia as we drove up the Sea-to-Sky Highway, to climb from the Salish Sea into Squamish territory. After a day filled with natural wonder, we stopped at the Fairmont Whistler for dinner.

With a call ahead, Fairmont restaurants have always been good at accomodating my vegan diet, but it was nice for once to walk into the dining room and eat without having to be ‘accommodated.’ The menu on offer is rather small, with three courses offered in gluten free, raw, macrobiotic, and vegan categories. At the same time, I was pleased to notice that many of the choices not on the vegan section of the menu were either already, or easily veganised.

I ordered a salad of fresh greens with heirloom tomatoes, and a plate of raw ‘ravioli.’ Comprised of thinly sliced layers of fresh beet filled with a raw pesto, the ravioli were an unexpected treat. A light finish after a day I kicked of with a high-tea at home, the meal was refreshing, and perfect for lingering over. While I wouldn’t rate it as the best meal I ever ate, it was far above and beyond the barely competent offerings found at most ‘mixed’ restaurants.

To start, the menu is being offered across North America. Speaking to a Fairmont Rep this past weekend at a travel writer’s expo, I was pleased to hear both that chefs seemed to be excited about the new menu, and that they were working hard to expand vegan options on the regular menu as well!

Mains ranging on up from $12. Four stars out of five, because the ambiance and service at Fairmont’s has always been top notch.

beet 'ravioli'Noodle Bowl

 

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§ One Response to Fairmont Lifestyles Menu Mini-Review

  • tazimd says:

    I look forward to trying new items on their regular menu that are vegan. Going out with non-vegans can be very tricky because they just assume you can always get something—but there are often no guarantees, because the chefs don't care enough. I don't need to worry about that with Fairmont, though!

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