If you haven’t guessed already I have fallen in love with the Yukon. The people are friendly, adventures are epic and the culinary scene is on point. Just because snow is on the ground for five months of the year doesn’t mean that Whitehorse restaurants ignore culinary trends. Maybe because Yukoners travel so much they don’t settle for restaurants that serve a just ok meal. They have worldly palettes and the restaurants I visited during this adventure all met the challenge. Great food served with Yukon charm and friendliness.
During my first visit in 2017, I explored Whitehorse and Dawson City quite extensively and ate at many great restaurants including Giorgio’s Cucina, Baked Cafe, The Claim and Winterlong Brewing for a pint or two. On this visit, I went back to all of these restaurants and was just as happy with them as I was on my first visit.
Here are some of the new places I visited and highly recommend you add to your where to eat in Whitehorse restaurant list. While reservations are not always 100% necessary it is still a good idea to make one. It ensures you don’t have to wait if there are others ahead of you and some of these restaurants may sell out of their daily specials early.
Big Bear Donair 4161 4th Avenue – Open for lunch and dinner Big Bear Donair is the place to go for the best Donair, Shawarma and Poutine in town. Absolutely casual this place is perfect for dine-in or take-out. The menu selection includes six donair options along with multiple poutines including shawarma poutine. I opted for the classic poutine and the East Coaster Donair. the closest thing to a Halifax Donair without flying to Halifax.
Wayfarer Oyster House 6098 6th Ave – Feel like a night out? Wayfarer Oyster House is the hip place to be. They Serve fresh Oysters, Seafood from the Yukon, Alaska, and BC, locally sourced meats, house-made pasta and they mix a mean libation. Start your meal off with sampling from a charcuterie plate and slurping down a fresh Oyster or two.
Daily specials keep the menu fresh and that is what I went with. Duck Cassoulet followed by a slice of Crack Pie for dessert. Simply delish.
Woodcutter’s Blanket 112 Strickland Street – Looking for a cocktail bar that serves up wicked food in an historic log cabin? Woodcutter’s Blanket is the place for you. Housed in the Widdershin cabin that dates back to 1938 Chef Ayla Smith creates food that looks as good as it tastes and pairs them with classic and inventive cocktails. Who can say no to a Black Manhattan cocktail or a Stuffed Pork Chop? Not I.
There is one more culinary treat for you to check out if you have the time while you are in Whitehorse and it is to sign up for a cooking class at the Well Bread Culinary Centre. I signed up for more than a cooking class, it was a cooking class combined with a cocktail class using locally made Free Pour Jenny’s bitters. If they don’t have anything scheduled while you are there ask for a custom class for you and your friends.
Over the course of the class, we made a series of cocktails and appetizers that paired perfectly with them. My favourite? The Tequila Sundog Sour with Klondike Sourdough Bites. I’ve even got permission to post the recipes for you if you want them for yourself.
TEQUILA SUNDOG SOUR recipe by Jennifer Tyldesley
- 2 oz (60 ml) tequila (try Don Julio Reposado)
- 1 oz (30 ml) lemon juice
- ½ oz fireweed or cranberry simple syrup
- 6 drops FPJ Fireweed Bitters
- 1 egg white (optional)
- Fireweed flowers (fresh or dried) or orange twist
Fireweed (or Cranberry) Syrup Ingredients:
- 1 cup (240 ml) water
- 1 cup (240 ml) sugar
- 1 small handful rinsed fireweed flowers (fresh) or lowbush cranberries/commercial cranberries (may be frozen)
- Prepare Syrup: Place all syrup ingredients in a small saucepan. Over medium heat; stir occasionally until the mixture nearly comes to a simmer. Ensure the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and let the syrup cool completely. Strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a clean jar and store in the refrigerator until needed. Make the fireweed syrup up to 2 weeks in advance and keep refrigerated.
- Place all cocktail ingredients except the flowers in a cocktail shaker without ice. Dry shake, vigorously, to emulsify the egg white.
- Add ice to the cocktail shaker and shake again. Strain into a chilled coupe.
- If you are omitting the egg white: you can shake with ice right away and strain into an Old-Fashioned glass filled with ice.
- Garnish as desired with fireweed flowers, if available, or an orange twist.
Klondike Sourdough Nuggets recipe by Cat McInroy
- 1 cup (250ml) 1898 Sourdough Starter – active and bubbling
- ½ cup (125ml) warm milk
- 2 Tbsp (30ml) butter, melted
- ¼ cup (60ml) water
- 2 Tbsp (30ml) sugar
- ½ tsp (3ml) vanilla
- ¾ tsp (4ml) table salt
- 1 egg
- 2 cups (275g) All-Purpose Flour + ½ cup (70g) held aside until the end of mixing
- 2 Tbsp (30ml) cracked wheat
- Neutral flavoured oil for frying (such as grapeseed or canola)
- Melt butter and warm milk to just above body temperature. It should feel warm, not hot. Add the water (cold) to the milk/butter mixture if necessary to cool it or likewise, warm water to the mixture to warm it.
- Dissolve sugar and salt in the warm liquid milk/butter/water mixture. Add vanilla. Test with your finger to ensure the liquids are not too hot for the sourdough starter.
- Stir sourdough starter into the warm liquids. Pour this mixture into the bottom of the mixer bowl. Add egg. Add flour and cracked wheat on top of the liquids.
- Mix with paddle attachment for several minutes on medium speed until the dough is smooth. Dough will be very sticky and resemble a thick batter. This is exactly what you want.
- Switch to dough hook. With mixer on medium-high speed, gradually sprinkle in a small portion of the remaining ½ cup of flour. Wait until the flour is absorbed by the dough before adding more. The dough will become much tighter and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Continue until all the flour has been incorporated into the dough.
- Let mixture rest, covered at room temperature until doubled in size.
- Dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. The longer the dough sits, the more moisture the cracked wheat will absorb which changes the texture of the dough and the wheat. It’s delicious but often people mistake the swelled wheat for chopped nuts. As the dough sits in the fridge it will continue to ferment and the sour taste will intensify. After three days it becomes very sour and some may find that flavour off-putting.
- Once the dough has warmed from the fridge or has proved double its bulk, pinch or cut small nuggets of dough from the main dough ball.
- Heat oil to 375OF/190OC
- Fry nuggets until golden brown and puffed. Toss directly into sugar from the fryer. Best when eaten fresh and still slightly warm. Enjoy!