Food Of The Day: Olives & Almonds At Grill & Vine

Think bar snacks, but better. The Westin Whistler Hotel & Spa's newest restaurant addition, Grill & Vine, has found the perfect upgrade for the good old bowl of nuts often served at a bar: a snack they call simply "Olives & Almonds."

Don't let the name fool you, as these are no ordinary olives. Or almonds. Served in a sleek metal bowl is a mix of lightly semolina-crusted and fried green olives, stuffed with anchovy, and salted, roasted almonds. Not only does the bowl look pretty — much better than that dish of peanuts I am used to digging into at my neighborhood bar — but the flavors are surprisingly complex.

Biting into an olive you get the slight crunch of the fried batter, the briny flavor of olive, and then — as you reach the middle — a burst of saltiness from the anchovies. Imagine eating a bite-size anchovy-topped pizza minus the cheese and you know what I'm talking about. The almonds, salty and crunchy, add bite and diversity to the snack bowl, and I could personally have kept picking between the two snack components for quite a bit longer than I probably should: olive, almond, olive, almond...

If I ever opened a bar (which is highly unlikely), I would definitely bring this creative snack to the table. Until then, I'm hoping to soon find similar snack offerings at a restaurant or bar in my home city of New York. If you know where I should look, please, let me know!

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