Posted in Food

#WOYP Birch & Jowls anyone?

Sometimes we have to step outside of our comfort zone.  Assess and manage the risks and then go for it. That’s what we did yesterday.

For the first time since February of 2020, indeed which feels like a different life time ago, we ate inside a restaurant. We reserved for 7:30, chose an out of the way but highly ranked place and ensured they were asking for our vaccine passports and that servers were compliant with masks.

Now this seems like a weird way to link into #whatsonyourplateblogchallenge but again I’m going for it. Sure I could do one of our amazing meals we cooked while in our cabin (all on the BBQ with a cast iron frying pan for the sides) but this meal was pretty darn fabulous.

Let me set the scene. Pyramid Lake Resort 40 years ago only had small true cabins. We brought our little hibachi (remember those?) and spent our honeymoon enjoying all that Jasper had to offer. And each other but I guess that goes without saying seems it was our honeymoon😉.

40 years later that resort has changed a lot. Like so expensive that we chose to stay just down the road at Patricia Lake Resort (thanks to fellow blogger Allan for the tip there) which almost feels like Pyramid did 40 years ago but with more amenities. But we did stop in to take photos and check out place. It seemed like a good spot to take the dining out plunge when my last meal plan was turkey pot pie for which I had brought  all the ingredients but alas there was no oven!

Covid worries abated as they checked our vaccine passports and seated us 2 tables away from the nearest other people. So then it was time to relax and enjoy the view and the company.

We shared the bison tartare as an appetizer. The bison was so interesting; served with pickled onions, mustard seeds and berries. Dug into the tartare with some home made little potato waffle chips. So filling but of course there is more.

We always try to guess what the other one will have for their main. I thought he would have the duck breast but he opted for the trout. No brainer I was ordering  the “Bear & the Flower Pork”. Still not sure about the name but I mean pork and sweet potatoes are both favourites of mine. It came with corn succotash (something I’ve heard of and never tried), pork jowls (more on that later) and birch glaze. It was plated beautifully and it wasn’t until a few bites in that I thought – this deserves a WOYP post – hence the less than stellar photo!

The pork was perfectly cooked. The sweet potatoes so silky. That corn succotash had the jowls in it and was delicious. But the real star was actually the birch glaze. Like thin molasses with this really earthy flavour. Put this all together and every mouthful was amazing.

And every amazing meal should end with dessert. Now often we share that but he seriously wanted the banana dessert and I am a No Go Zone for bananas. Like I gagged when I fed them to our babies. So I was forced to order my own. I almost went for the apple puff pastry with whiskey caramel sauce but in the end I gravitated towards my usual. An upscale S’more fit the bill.  Homemade marshmallow, some kind of insanely smooth smoked chocolate pudding and a vanilla gelato that tasted like the best ice cream you’ve ever had.

Seriously I shouldn’t probably eat for another week! We sent our regards to the chef and so he came out to chat. And now, wait for it, I know what to do with jowls. Told you I’d get back there. Last year I saw our daughter butcher them from their pig and she told me they were really prized but we didn’t follow suit. I even took notes when he was talking so I could remember the long sequence of actions required. Perhaps that will become another #whatsonyourplateblogchallenge this fall. Although it might be a little too farm yard to appeal to the masses. Perhaps even the last paragraph may have made some forget the amazing meal but really pig jowls are like bacon on steroids so what’s not to love.



I have had a love of the written word for my entire life. It's no surprise that eventually I found a platform where I could write. It's random; sometimes funny, occasionally sad, maybe even at times from anger and I lean towards creative photography and hands on crafts. I have a few blogs that high light these interests.

7 thoughts on “#WOYP Birch & Jowls anyone?

  1. What a wonderful meal, Bernie! And so appropriate to be your first one out. Many parts of your meal I had never heard of before, especially Birch Glaze. I would love your notes to turn into a follow up post!
    Speaking of restarurant safety, after our hike today Richard and I went to a small, local pub which followed vaccine passport procedures to the T and seated all guests quite apart from each other. A couple who were regulars came in with their family from out-of-town (6 people in total). All had their vaccine passports with them except for the 14 year old. The waitress politely but firmly said that they unfortunately could not stay. The family was wonderful about it and said they understood and would come back again the next day with all required documents. It was great to see the system followed so well, without drama!
    (I have linked your post to the main body of my posts. Thank you again for joining WOYP!)


    1. Donna, I just might do that when we do our jowls up from our pig! Have you been following the blog long enough to remember the rabbit? We are adventuresome with our food.
      As to restaurant safety — it was a good first experience. The previous day we stopped at the local brew pub to fill up our growler and I totally forgot to grab my wallet with my passport in it. No worries I said to the guy I will just wait out here. Meanwhile just after us some 30 something female went ballistic at him and asked for his name and the owners’ name because she was reporting them to the human rights commission. She was so nasty. I felt so badly for him as he is just the messenger but good that he stood his ground.
      Thanks for hosting. It’s always a fun challenge. Take care. Bernie


    1. It was so enjoyable! Local ingredients usually equals great taste in the right hands. I guess you will have to eat at The Pines when you make it to Jasper. Thanks for hosting and for the comment. Bernie

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Glad you had a great Anniversary trip Bernie. Jasper has always been special to us. We have had many fine meals at the Pines. We are leaving our ocean view today for the long trip home. Kamloops tonight and the push home through Jasper tomorrow. Happy weekend. Allan


    1. Allan, hope your trip home was all right. So many miles hey. We don’t go to Jasper often but we always enjoy it when we do. The Pines is definitely somewhere we would go back to as is Patricia Lake Bungalows so thanks again. Bernie

      Liked by 1 person

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