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Spotlight: Dining in the Yukon

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Posted by : Anonymous, Mon, Aug 31 2009

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From fish to beast to . . . human toe, one thing is certain: Yukonners are meat connoisseurs. A recent trip north allowed me to partake of the various delicacies that roam the land.

Nowhere is their meat expertise more evident than Klondike Rib & Salmon BBQ. The restaurant's historic metal-framed building, one of the oldest in Whitehorse, is suffuse with a cozy, Northern charm, and always bustling with meat-lovers. While the place is named for what they no doubt do best, their menu offers wild game of all kinds to choose from. I went with the caribou stew, which came in a hearty sauce with root vegetables, peas and chives, and tender, juicy morsels of meat rich with flavour. Portions are monumentally sized with winter hibernation in mind -- I split the stew with a friend and still couldn't finish it.

On the road from Whitehorse to Dawson, the Yukon's next largest city, the Coalmine Campground in Carmacks is the place to refuel your belly. Here, they grill up succulent burgers for a classic road-trip meal. They're simple, but delectable. And if you're looking to cool off from a hot summer drive, they offer an assortment of ice creams, shakes, slushies, floats and "iceburgs".

In Dawson City, where the Yukon River and the Klondike River converge, it is essential to dine on the fruit of the waters. Klondike Kate's has a terrific salmon teriyaki burger, topped with a pineapple ring, sprinkled with sesame seeds and served with a side of potato salad. For more upscale dining, visit La Table on 5th, an elegant restaurant at the Aurora Inn. The service is stellar, and the golden glowing ambiance indicative of the riches they have to offer. I had the Pickerel Fillet -- a light, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth fish, coated in a pine nut crust, and accompanied by a fresh burst of tropical fruit salsa, roasted jalapeno coulis and scallion mash potatoes.

Dawson doesn't just do fish; in the pubs and taverns they serve up every kind of meat -- including a certain human appendage. At the Downtown Hotel, patrons line up to join the Sourtoe Cocktail Club -- the initiation for which involves downing a shot of your choice with a human toe in it. The tradition has gone on since 1973 and there is many a tale to be told about the toe -- there have been several toes over the years in fact, for now and again, one has accidentally gone to its final resting place in the belly of an overzealous new member. Over 33,000 people have gone mouth-to-toe, and while I bragged to my friends back home that I was going to be next on the list, the moment I laid eyes on the thing I realized it would take a bit more than a shot -- like perhaps a whole barrel of whiskey -- to get me to join the club.


View Dining in the Yukon in a larger map

Klondike Rib & Salmon Barbecue
2116 2nd Ave
Whitehorse, YT
867-667-7554

Klondike Kate's Cabins & Restaurant
3rd Ave
Dawson City, YT
867-993-6527

Downtown Hotel
1026 2nd Ave
Dawson City, YT
867-993-5346

Michelle Mayne is a Vancouver-based cookbook designer and photographer. You can read about her food adventures at her blog, Michelle Meals.

"Spotlight" is part of a new Bazaar feature which will profile unique foodie neighbourhoods and experiences in cities and towns across Canada
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Posted: Mon, Aug 31 2009 by Anonymous

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