Field, B.C. is a town in Yoho National Park. It’s easy to pass on the Trans-Canada Highway, but I planned our drive to stop there for dinner. Specifically to stop at Truffle Pigs. When I lived in Calgary, many of my friends who skied, or visited Lake O’Hara or Emerald Lake raved about it. I filed it under “places to go on a weekend” and it turned into “places I should have gone when I lived in Calgary.”
So on our road trip drive home, I made it a destination. It was a dodgy plan with two kids, because Truffle Pigs doesn’t take reservations and it was the busy summer season. We risked some major meltdowns so perilously close to bedtime after a long day of travelling. But damn it, J and I were going to do something for us this trip.
Field is a half hour drive west of Lake Louise. The town (village?) is tiny, so Truffle Pigs is not hard to find. Cross the railroad tracks and keep going up and to the left. You’ll find a big blue building that houses the lodge and restaurant run by Truffle Pigs.
There were obvious groups of people waiting for a table outside the lodge entrance, in the parking lot, and at the lovely picnic tables outside that overlook the railroad tracks central to the town’s creation. (Field, B.C. began in 1884 as a locomotive depot.)
But finding how exactly to get our names on the wait list was pretty haphazard. I went in the main entrance and found the “front desk.” This reception area backs into the restaurant’s bar, and is next to the corridor that leads into the dining room. But after several minutes of standing in front of the desk, shuffling to the corridor, edging toward the bar, and back, I couldn’t find anyone to talk to.
The journalist in me — OK, just the hungry me — finally pushed my way to the bar and flagged down a busy woman who seemed to be in charge. She added my name to a clipboard hanging on the wall behind the bar. (Later, I noticed other servers taking names from people standing in the corridor, so I guess it just depends where you can flag someone down.) The woman told us it “wasn’t too bad of a wait” that night. Luckily, it was a gorgeous evening so H ran around outside and we enjoyed the view of the mountains.
After about half an hour, we got a great table by the windows where H could watch the trains go by, and I could tuck T and his car seat in a corner. It was the start of a fantastic night.
We all shared the Korean bulgogi BBQ pork belly nachos ($13) to start. Three chunks of saucy pork belly anchored this truly unique appetizer. Corn cilantro lime salsa and sour cream sauce contrasted perfectly with the meat’s smoky sweetness. And pork belly isn’t easy to get right: the meat has to be tender, the skin crisp, and the fat rendered just so. I wanted to lick the plate clean.
Jason ordered the If Pigs Could Swim ($29): rainbow trout wrapped with double-smoked bacon and then stuffed with honey, quinoa and goat cheese. This was a surprising choice as J loathes quinoa — but he said he would happily eat loads of it if it was served like that all the time. Served with rosti, quince jam and broccolini, J’s only quibble was that the portion could have been a tad bigger.
In contrast, my dinner was plenty. I got the feature ($28) of maple duck breast, and according to my notes, “candied something” garlic risotto. (Oh how the blogging falls off when I’m juggling a baby and iPhone camera. OK, and a glass of Desert Hills Gamay.) The not-very-fatty duck was cooked to a lovely medium rare and the maple syrup was a nice touch that I wouldn’t have thought to pair with the quack.
Amid all of this, the boys were ANGELS. T was grinning away, charming all the staff and patrons — some of them came over to ogle him. And H sat happily tasting bits of all the dishes. There must be something in the air in the Kicking Horse River Valley. Or perhaps, like the winged animals hanging from the ceiling, pigs can fly.
J couldn’t resist a homemade raspberry pie ($7.50) for dessert and I got the Sticky Encounter ($8), chocolate ganache and caramel in a short crust with whipped cream. Simple but a fine end to our meal. H was rewarded with his very own scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Our server was sweet and attentive, despite a large table of very demanding tourists. Truffle Pigs is used to visiting families, so is very kid-friendly. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience. I only wish I had come sooner. Our next visit can’t come soon enough.
Truffle Pigs, 100 Center St., Field, B.C., (250) 343-6303. No reservations. Lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m., dinner 5-9 p.m., bar 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Breakfast during high season only 7:30-10:30 a.m. Check out 2013 menu here.
High chairs: Yes.
Room for strollers: No.
Change table: Yes, in one of the two bathrooms.