Tag Archives: Jasper Alberta

An Elk to Go With the Syrah in Jasper

A complimentary elk sausage appetizer starts things off right at Syrahs of Jasper

A complimentary elk sausage appetizer starts things off right at Syrahs of Jasper

What often separates great from good dining is the little extras. And what could be better than something you didn’t order or pay for, at least not directly?

At Syrahs of Jasper, it’s the complimentary items the server delivers while you’re deciphering the menu. First, there’s the flavourful slice of elk sausage, with a shaving of apple and some sauce, artfully presented on a little ceramic spoon. Then there’s the melt-in-your-mouth, wee cheese and salt biscuit with soft butter. Only a couple of bites but a delightful alternative to the typical basket of bread.

Of course, the main event has to live up to the expectations created by these charming starters. And chef/owner Jason Munn—competing in the crowded world of fine dining in touristy Jasper—pulls things off nicely. I lick up every morsel of a succulent smoked bison ragout on house-made gnocchi ($18), while a vegetarian friend tears with gusto into a lentil loaf cloaked in roasted tomato gravy ($20). Of course, as the restaurant name suggests, there are half a dozen listed syrah wines to complement your dinner.

A moist flavourful lentil loaf

A moist flavourful lentil loaf

All things considered, it’s not that expensive, especially if you steer clear of high-end items like the $55 elk tenderloin (I wonder if tourists mistakenly think it’s from the same critters grazing along nearby roads). If nothing else, it’s a chance for road trippers to step up in class and celebrate a five-day backpack, without anyone looking askance at our soiled hiking pants. Because we sure didn’t have warm biscuits served on linen in the backcountry.

How about a succulent smoked bison ragout on house-made gnocchi?

How about a succulent smoked bison ragout on house-made gnocchi?

Syrahs of Jasper
606 Patricia Street, Jasper, Alberta
Daily 5 pm-10 pm
Syrahs of Jasper on Urbanspoon

Chicken Sandwiches and the Chicken Man in Jasper’s Patricia Street Deli

Patricia Street Deli owner Glen Leitch is a fun-loving guy

Patricia Street Deli owner Glen Leitch is a fun-loving guy

I’ll make things simple for you. When you walk up to the counter at Patricia Street Deli, in Jasper, Alberta, just order the chicken sandwich. Roasted on a back-wall rotisserie, the meat is moist, tender, delicious. It’s a most reasonable $8.25 for a substantial sandwich in a Canadian Rockies’ resort town.

Going down the sandwich assembling line

Going down the sandwich assembling line

Where you’ll have to make decisions is the toppings you load on the house-baked wheat or white bun. Maybe shredded beats and carrots, pickles, lettuce, sprouts, five kinds of cheese…. you get the idea. Make sure to add one or more of their spreads—say, cranberry chutney, pesto or chipotle.

Chicken sandwich with a lot of fixings on a house-baked whole wheat roll

Chicken sandwich with a lot of fixings on a house-baked whole wheat roll

As good as the sammies are, they may be eclipsed by an irreverent crew headed by chief jester and owner Glen Leitch. Have your wits and comebacks at the ready. The only bad news is you’ll likely have to eat your meal outside of earshot of this hole-in-the-wall, mostly takeout joint.

Actually, Patricia Street Deli keeps pretty simple hours... at least I think they do

Actually, Patricia Street Deli keeps pretty simple hours… at least I think they do

Patricia Street Deli
610 Patricia Street, Jasper, Alberta
Daily 10 am-5 pm
Patricia Street Deli on Urbanspoon

Clean Clothes and Great Java at SnowDome Coffee Bar in Jasper, Alberta

Wash your clothes while you savour a fabulous java at SnowDome Coffee Bar in Jasper, Alberta

Wash your clothes while you savour a fabulous java at SnowDome Coffee Bar in Jasper, Alberta

It’s such an obvious concept, I’m surprised more enterprising businesspeople haven’t thought of it. I’m talking about a laundromat combined with a coffee shop. You’ve got a captive market of folks waiting an hour or more to clean their clothes. Might as well sell them a cuppa and maybe something to nibble on.

But Coin Clean Laundry in the mountain resort town of Jasper, Alberta has taken things a step further. The java in their SnowDome Coffee Bar is so good, you can happily go there with no intention of putting a load in—the quiet hum of all those stainless machines just an interesting backdrop while you’re sipping in a comfy chair.

You know owners Shelley and Sam are serious about their coffee when they’re using a high-end, custom-made Slayer Espresso machine, with its walnut paddles. (Slayers are made in Seattle by a company headed by Jason Prefontaine, whose family owns the Calgary-based Fratello coffee business; no surprise, Fratello beans are used here.) The robust Americanos were so good, I could never stop at one.

Comfy chairs with a barista operating the exacting Slayer Espresso machine in the background

Comfy chairs with a barista operating the exacting Slayer Espresso machine in the background

SnowDome also bakes some fine fruit muffins and cookies (try the Warden). They do charge for Wifi and to use the in-house computers but, hey, they are dealing with the tourist crowds. If you need to clean your body, too, after a weeklong backpack, there’s  coin-operated showers in back.

SnowDome Coffee Bar
607 Patricia Street, Jasper, Alberta
Daily 7:45 am-8 pm
SnowDome Coffee Bar on Urbanspoon

Across the street from SnowDome, Jasper Liquor Store & Wine Cellar seems a misnomer. I mean, sure, owner D.J. Bowen’s got a couple of thousand wine labels on hand. But what hooks me is the 700 kinds of beer in a spacious, refrigerated room. It’s one of the best beer selections I’ve seen in Alberta.

Just a small sampling of the 700 types of beer available at Jasper Liquor Store and Wine Cellar

Just a small sampling of the 700 types of beer available at Jasper Liquor Store and Wine Cellar

I’m enthralled with so many compelling ales, lagers, IPAs, lambics and stouts that I’m shivering when I emerge. The biggest find is a hopped mead from Water Valley, Alberta’s Fallentimber Meadery, the honey smoothing the hoppier tones and producing a drink that’s delightfully different.

Jasper Liquor Store and Wine Cellar
606 Patricia Street, Jasper, Alberta