Butterfly room at the pioneer woman boarding house pawhuska

We had planned to spend Valentine’s Day the way we have most years; cooking a nice meal together at home and splurging on one of our “really good” bottles of wine. We tabled those plans when The Pioneer Woman invited us to spend Valentine’s weekend at her Boarding House in Pawhuska, Okla. She didn’t tell us much about the plans for the weekend, but we knew it promised to be the most over-the-top, romantic weekend that could only be dreamed up by Ree Drummond herself. And it was.

Here are the details (well, most of them, anyway) of our Valentine’s weekend, courtesy of The Pioneer Woman and her incredible team in Pawhuska.

3 p.m. Feb. 14  – The Butterfly Room

When we arrived at The Pioneer Woman Boarding House Valentine’s Day afternoon, we were welcomed by the courteous staff and escorted to the Butterfly Room. On the second floor and facing Kihekah Ave. in Pawhuska, the jaw-dropping gorgeous room was gloriously filled with sunshine. Full of thoughtful touches and feminine teal decor, the Butterfly Room made for the perfect place to relax and unwind on Valentine’s weekend.

Butterfly Room

It was no surprise that Ree and her team went all out. There were fresh flowers in the room (and roses from Steve) when we arrived. We also found chilled champagne and a hand-written note from The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond, herself, along with a gift card to The Mercantile. There was also the sweetest little snack plate we’ve ever seen. It had grapes, crackers, a heart shaped spread, and get this … roses made out of rolled prosciutto and bread sticks. Steve grabbed one immediately, of course.

5 p.m.  Feb. 14 – Happy Hour at The Boarding House

The Boarding House hosts a complimentary happy hour each day for its guests. It is always lovely, and Valentine’s Day was no exception. We met the other guests while enjoying a speciality cocktail (a strawberry margarita garnished with a red rose petal) and charcuterie. They even had heart-shaped molded fig jelly on the tray. So over-the-top, and we loved every bit of it! We snacked lightly, as we knew we a seven-course meal was on the horizon.

Pioneer Woman Valentines Weekend happy hour charcuterie

7:15 p.m. Feb. 14 – Dressed for dinner

After cocktail hour, we dressed for dinner and one of The Boarding House staff escorted us next door to the The Pioneer Woman Event Center. There, we where we were greeted again and seated a candle-lit table for two. Soft music played in the background while our server, Aaron, told us a little bit about the evening’s special menu. He shared that each of the SEVEN courses was being specially prepared for guests of The Boarding House and each would be paired with its own wine. Could this evening get any better? I think not.

dressed for dinner at The Mercantile

7:15 – 10 p.m. Feb. 14 – A special Valentine’s dinner

special event

First course – Savory Black Truffle “Truffle”

Our first course was honestly one of my favorites. It was a savory black truffle “truffle.” Playing off of the Valentine’s Day favorite of a chocolate truffle, Chef Kurtess Mortenson and his team created something magnificent. The round “truffle” you see below is not chocolate. No, this truffle was made of neufchâtel and then rolled in truffle dust to resemble a chocolate truffle. It was served alongside hon himeji mushrooms, a white truffle branch (breadstick), micro greens, and hazelnut soil. Take a good look at that “soil” at the base of the dish. It was made of ground hazelnuts and espresso beans and I wanted to shovel it into my mouth. OK, that wasn’t very lady like, I know.

black truffle truffle

Second course – Sweetheart Beet Salad

This was the most beautiful dish of the night; almost too pretty to eat. Almost. Our second course was a sweetheart beet salad. It consisted of a roasted and pickled beet “terrine,” candy stripe beet and cabecou “ravioli,” alongside aged sherry vinegar. I was actually excited to see pickled beets, because while I am not a huge fan of beets, I know that anything Chef Kurtess pickles will taste amazing. And they did. I didn’t get a great photo of it, but the purple and pink beets on top were also heart shaped. It was too much, I tell you.

sweetheart beet salad

Third course – Duck “In Blossom”

I won’t lie. I still have dreams about this dish: glazed duck breast, leg confit, and a delicious strawberry agri dulce. Garnished with tiny red flowers and served with a little curry-flavored roll, this plate achieved whole new levels of deliciousness. We took our sweet time with this course, savoring every bite and marveling that they had even created a bread to go with each course of this meal.

Pioneer Woman Valentines Weekend duck plate

The duck was paired with a 2015 The Prisoner red blend from Napa Valley, California. This popular blend combines Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Charbono, and beautifully went with the dish.

Fourth course – A Romance in Maine Lobster

This lobster dish was prepared and served in a unique way. The butter poached tail (it’s The Pioneer Woman, you knew there would be butter somewhere) and tempura claw were served over a bed of rib rouge paella, roasted tomato, Jason iberico (a type of cured ham), and mache (a winter green). The chef paired the lobster with a glass of Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay from Napa Valley.


Fifth course – Wagyu Beef – Chocolate & Cherries

And now, what we’d both been waiting for – our first-ever tastes of finely marbled and aged Wagyu beef. Wagyu beef is a high-grade beef from Japan known for it’s rich flavor. I would like to add that it melts in your mouth like butter. Really. First, we both tasted a bite of the thinly sliced and cooked to medium rare beef filet by itself. Perfection, we thought. Then, we ate a second bite with the montmorency cherries and scharffen Berger chocolate Demi-glace. It was heaven. Followed by a sip of the Caymus Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, this quickly became one of the best and most memorable dishes we’ve had anywhere in the world.

Of course, I can’t forget to mention the sides that came with this course. Accompanying the Wagyu beef was a light and airy manchego potato soufflé and green vegetables ragout. Both were outstanding and completed the meal. Both will live on in our dreams.

Pioneer Woman Valentines Weekend steak course

Sixth course – Chamomile Granita

Chamomile is typically a fragrance I spray on my pillow at night to help me get to sleep. But tonight, it was featured in an icy cold granita that served as a palate cleanser near the end of our meal. Garnished with a tiny bloom, the granita was served with a St. Supery 2015 Moscato from Napa Valley.

chamomile granita

Seventh course – Passionate Pistachio

Our seventh and final course was a dessert to remember. Sadly, my photo doesn’t do justice to the beauty of this dessert. It was pistachio foam lightly placed on top of a toasted almond sponge cake, on top of passion fruit ice. The chef garnished it with red raspberry paper, toasted pistachios, and a tiny flower. This culinary perfection made me want to cry. Aaron poured us glass of Inniskillin icewine, a Cabernet franc, to complete our food and wine pairings. We were the last to be seated, so by this time the other guests had already left. We took our time and enjoyed each bite of this decadent dessert and this special experience with each other.

valentine's dessert

10 p.m. – Saying thanks and goodbye

When our nearly three-hour dinner came to and end, we thanked our server, Aaron, and the others from The Mercantile who prepared and served our meal. They are an absolutely incredible team and never cease to amaze us with their creativity and execution. Truly, this was one of the best food and wine expereinces we’ve had anywhere in the world. And we had this one right here in little ol’ Pawhuska, Okla.

aaron at the mercantile

10:15 p.m. – Back to The Boarding House

We returned to The Boarding House to find our room showered with red rose petals. No really, I mean SHOWERED. Like the whole rose garden. It was very romantic and we just loved the “extra” effort of our friends at The Boarding House.

butterfly room at the pioneer woman boarding house

8 a.m. Feb. 15 – Morning coffee service

The next morning, The Boarding House provided coffee service for us in our room. We enjoyed a relaxing start to our day and saved the tempting pastries for later, as we were treated to breakfast at The Mercantile, as well.

morning coffee at the boarding house

9 a.m. Feb. 15 – Breakfast with new friends

Some visitors to Pawhuska (and new friends) saw us there and we invited them to join us. Steve tried the biscuits and gravy for the first time there (not sure why it took him so long) and I had my two favorites, the veggie scramble and a hot cup of Cowboy Coffee.

Pioneer Woman Valentines Weekend breakfast

9:45 a.m. – Shopping at The Mercantile

We took a few minutes to look around The Mercantile and check out some of the new spring items, including lunch totes, dish ware, and clothing. After a little shopping at The Mercantile, we took our new friends on a little tour of Pawhuska, making stops at the Swinging Bridge, Handy’s, and the site of the Million Dollar Elm.

Pioneer Woman Valentines Weekend merc merchandise 3

12 p.m. Feb. 15 – Not hungry for lunch

After a big breakfast (and dinner the night before), we weren’t hungry for lunch, so we just stopped by Pawhuska Hometown Foods for a banana.

light lunch from pawhuska hometown foods

1 p.m. – Nap time at The Boarding House

The thousands of rose petals that had adorned our room were magically gone when we returned. It is easy to relax in a room like this. Zzzzzzzz

butterfly room at the pioneer woman boarding house

3 p.m. Feb. 15 – The lodge on Drummond Ranch

Another couple we met at The Boarding House called and we offered to drive them out to The Pioneer Woman’s lodge where Ree Drummond films her popular Food Network Show. The four of us had a great time chatting on the way out to the lodge and it was fun to show them around. Everything was already decorated for spring and the view from the deck was fabulous, as always. When the lodge is open (check for available dates HERE) visitors are invited to take a self-guided tour around the house and take pictures in Ree’s famous kitchen. Ree means it when she says, “Welcome to my frontier!”

Pioneer Woman Valentines Weekend new friends

6 p.m. Feb. 15 – Dinner with friends

We met our friends, John and Cyndi Kane, at The Mercantile for dinner that night. We always enjoy their company and were excited to catch up and spend time together. Aaron was our waiter for the second night in a row and promptly asked us if we’d mind if Chef Kurtess prepared us something special. We know full well that when Chef Kurtess offers to cook ANYTHING for you, the answer is always a grateful “yes.”

valentine's dessert

7:30 a.m. – Coffee in bed

We awoke Sunday morning and again enjoyed coffee service to our room. We lay in bed, sipping hot coffee and munching on pastries from The Merc as we reflected on our romantic, over-the-top weekend. Eventually, we got up, got ready and headed to church. Then, it was back to reality for us.

coffee in butterfly room

Fortunately, we’re happily married, abundantly blessed, and our not-so-over-the-top reality is something we’re grateful for every day.

Thank you to The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond, Chef Kurtess Mortenson, Sondra, and everyone at The Boarding House and Mercantile for a Valentine’s weekend we’ll never forget. 

  • And, we have a baby bird! A cowbird, that is. ⁣
We were so excited when we found eggs in the nest two house finches built in a fern on our front porch in Pawhuska, Okla. When we posted a picture of the nest last week, several readers pointed out that one of the eggs was not like the others - - it was a cowbird egg.⁣
Cowbirds, it turns out, have kind of a bad reputation. It seems that they don’t build nests of their own. Instead, they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and let the other birds raise their chicks. The cowbird chicks tend to develop faster than the other nestlings, and sometimes out compete them for food and resources. Because of this, there are those who give advice to remove the cowbird egg from the nest. ⁣
According to an article we read on the Audubon Society’s website, though, there are several reasons to leave the cowbird egg in place: ⁣
First, cowbirds are native to North America and have been here for millions of years and we are never going to teach them how and where to lay their eggs a different way. ⁣
Second, cowbirds are, like all other songbirds, protected in the US. In short, it’s illegal to remove their eggs.⁣
Third, cowbirds have been known to check the nests where they leave their eggs and will, occasionally, destroy nests from which their eggs have been taken. As a result, all of the resident chicks would be killed, as well, instead of one or two being outcompeted for resources. ⁣
Because of these reasons, we decided to let the natural process play out in our fern. We’ll see what happens. But what we do know is that the cowbird hatched first...and that chick is hungry.
  • 🏡 We've had such a wonderful time at our Pawhuska, Okla., home. It felt so good to actually pack a suitcase again, even if we just went to our house there and stayed put. We walked together every day, drove through the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, and chatted with friends from a distance on our front porch. We took time to watch the sunset and see a mama house finch care for her babies in our hanging fern. We also explored a state park and found a waterfall. ⁣
Most importantly, we got to see our daughter, Meghan. She is an ICU nurse in Tulsa and because of her potential exposure to coronavirus, we'd not spent any time together in months. But Ann found a way to create a safe (and decorative) outdoor space for all of us to visit, share a few meals, and just be in each others' presence. We can’t tell you what a comfort it was to see her again. ⁣
In this time of sickness and uncertainty, it was nice to have a clean, safe place to get away. We are so thankful to have found this gem of a town, so many supportive and caring friends here,  and a second place to call home.
  • As we've been home since March 12, Steve has taken up bread making as a hobby. His sour dough starter is looking promising, but he also found the easiest four-ingredient artisan bread recipe that is so impressive. ⁣
We've shared the results a few times on social media and many of you have asked for the recipe, so he wrote a blog post about it. We've included a link in our bio with step-by-step instructions on how to make it. ⁣
If you bake this artisan bread, we'd love to hear about it (and see a photo). Just be sure to tag us @postcardjar. ⁣
We love this bread plain, with olive oil and seasoning, as toast with almond or peanut butter, and grilled for bruschetta. If you use the #Noom app like us, it is about 100 calories a serving (12 servings in loaf).
  • As we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice this Memorial Day, we hope you will join us in honoring others in a time of reflection, gratitude and respect. ⁣
Both Steve's grandfathers and Ann's grandfathers all served in the military and fought in WWII. We took this photo a few years ago at Wyuka Cemetery in Nebraska City, Nebraska, where Ann's grandfather, Donald Shrewsbury, was laid to rest.
  • Today is the day! This afternoon our friends and fellow travel writers @lindseyranzau and @coleranzau are taking over our Instagram stories and we can’t wait for you to meet them.⁣
⁣They are travel experts on everything Minnesota and will also be sharing some of their favorite Midwest destinations in honor of #NationalRoadTripDay! ⁣
⁣Lindsey and Cole have traveled the world and love finding hidden gems and writing about them on their blog, Look About Lindsey (link in bio). You’re going to love their personalities as much as their incredible photography so be sure to watch our stories and say hello.⁣
⁣And, to see our picks for best Midwest road trips, follow @lindseyranzau where we’ll be taking over her IG stories. It’s going to be a blast and we hope you’ll come along.
  • We are so excited to announce that Minneapolis-based travel writers Lindsey and Cole Ranzau of the blog Look About Lindsey will be taking over the Postcard Jar Instagram stories Friday, May 22! In celebration of National Road Trip Day, we are trading places (and IG stories!) to show each others' followers some of our favorite Midwest road trips and destinations. ⁣
We encourage you to check out our stories tomorrow to meet Cole and Lindsey (they are so much fun) and follow @lindseyranzau where we'll be sharing some of our favorite Midwest travel experiences on their Instagram stories. When the time is right and you feel you can travel safely, we hope you'll consider a road trip in the Midwest. ⁣
You can check out the Look About Lindsey blog at the link in our bio. ⁣
@natdaycal @pilotflyingj
  • The @pwmercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, reopened today. We have talked to folks here who said employees have been working hard to clean and sanitize everything. On our walk today, we noticed that hand sanitizer that was readily available, tables were spaced out, and Merc employees were wearing face masks in accordance with CDC recommentations. We hope visitors to our little town will also do their part to keep everyone safe and healthy.

Second most popular blog in Pawhuska