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A November Weekend in Door County (long)

A November Weekend in Door County (long)
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  • A November Weekend in Door County (long)

    Post #1 - November 27th, 2005, 9:12 pm
    Post #1 - November 27th, 2005, 9:12 pm Post #1 - November 27th, 2005, 9:12 pm
    Mr. X and I recently took a long weekend to enjoy the quiet off-season in Door County. One of the main reasons for our journey was to experience a fish boil. Beyond that, we were there to relax and explore.

    Since it was the slow season and mid-day on a Friday, we wandered to Door County on 42 from Manitowoc. Our first stop took us to the Copper Kettle in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. The yellow sign with black lettering must have caught our eye. Or it was the “best burgers in town” sign. Either way, we had been driving for a few hours and breakfast had worn off. Despite the burger claim we saw, Mr. X ordered the shrimp special and I chose the perch sandwich. The shrimp were in a peppery batter and deep-fried, served with fries. They had a nice zip to them. As for my sandwich, I should have gone with a burger. The two pieces of perch were so thin, there was barely enough fish to support the breading. The roll was fine – it was buttered – but it totally overwhelmed the perch. Not a great meal, but it gave us the sustenance to continue.

    The evening highlight was the fish boil at the White Gull Inn. Fish boils are a Door County tradition, but are only done one night a week in the off-season. It is quite a spectacle. Potatoes and fish are boiled in salted water over an open fire with the finale coming near the end as kerosene is poured on the fire to allow the oils in the kettle to boil over. (I’m sure there’s a much better explanation out there!) It was somewhat magical to be bundled in coats, standing on the snow-covered ground, sipping a Leinenkugel (Mr. X) and a Spotted Cow from the New Glarus Brewery, watching our meal being prepared.

    The White Gull Inn does a fine fish boil. Not that I have anything to compare it to, but we enjoyed the red potatoes, whitefish and homemade coleslaw. Fortunately, the servers assist with deboning the fish. We were less successful when left on our own. We found the potatoes to be quite good when we poured the provided clarified butter over them. Another Door County tradition concluded our meal – cherry pie a la mode.

    Saturday morning rolled around and we had to find our next dining destination. Fortunately, we were staying just behind the Cookery, a family restaurant. I tried the pancakes with Door County cherry sauce. The cherry sauce was pretty much like eating pie filling on pancakes. Mr. X had eggs over easy, sausage, hash browns and biscuits. We really enjoyed the homemade jams (strawberry-rhubarb and tart cherry) with the biscuits. The Cookery was a good way to start the day.

    After some hiking and shopping, we ended up back in Fish Creek for a quick lunch. The Bayside Tavern beckoned with a good selection of beers on tap (they have one brewed for them under the Leinenkugel label) and a menu of bar food. I tried the seafood chowder. It was a creamy, peppery base with pieces of seafood of unknown origin and carrots, corn and peas. (Extra frozen mixed vegetables?) It hit the spot even if it wasn’t top-notch. X started with a cup of Bay Side’s chili, Cincinnati style. It was a good, meaty chili with a decent heat level. (Mr. X’s comment: “yum!”) He also had the 4-oz. pork chop sandwich. Grilled, served on a torpedo roll and garnished with American cheese and pickle slices, it was a tasty option.

    The highlight of the weekend was our Saturday night dinner. A coworker had recommended the Inn at Kristofer’s in Sister Bay. In the summer, it is in a perfect location to watch the sun set over the bay as the windows overlook the Sister Bay marina. In the middle of November, one can only imagine the sun setting. A piano player provides enjoyable background music (and takes requests) in the back part of the dining room.

    We started off with the artichoke and mushroom crostini. Although the angle the bread was cut gave us a higher crust to topping ratio, the mixture of artichoke hearts, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, garlic and cheeses was a nice start to the meal. For our main course, Mr. X chose the Chicken Scaloppini while I had the Southwestern Pork Tenderloin. Here are the descriptions from the menu:

    Chicken Scaloppini: Thinly pounded chicken medallions are dusted with seasoned flour then sautéed. Layered between a mixture of spinach, mushrooms, roasted tomatoes and served over angel hair pasta which has been tossed in a roasted garlic sauce. Finished with Parmesan cheese curls.

    Southwestern Pork Tenderloin: Pork tenderloin is marinated in southwestern flavors and grilled. Finished with fresh mango salsa and avocado puree garnish and served with our homemade garlic mashed potatoes.

    Both entrees were quite good, although I had entrée envy. I found that pork dish had too much going on for me. The flavors were all good, but they didn’t work together as well as I wanted. I found the chicken scaloppini to be much more pleasing to my palate. Mr. X didn’t mind switching plates midway. We selected a 2004 Pinot Noir from Duck Pond to accompany the meal and it was a tasty match.

    Having saved some room, we considered dessert options. We stopped when the chocolate terrine option was described to us. It consisted of a thin layer of a chocolate cake followed by a layer of chocolate mousse. A white chocolate layer was next. Follow that with another layer of mousse, topped by a chocolate ganache. As if that wasn’t enough, it was served in a pool of chocolate sauce. Mr. X described it as the best chocolate dessert he’s ever had (and he makes a mean flourless chocolate cake!) This dessert, combined with the Highland Grogg coffee from the Door County Coffee & Tea Company, made for a fitting conclusion to a great meal.

    The Inn at Kristofer’s has big city prices – dinner for two with wine came to about $140. Chef Terri Milligan was nice enough to come out and answer our questions about the dessert and the restaurant.

    Sunday’s return trip meant a stop at Kopp’s Frozen Custard. I had the buffalo chicken sandwich while Mr. X went the burger route. They do a fine burger there. The chicken sandwich was topped with blue cheese dressing with chopped celery. The spiciness wasn’t high – just enough to give it a small kick -- but that didn’t stop me from finishing it. I finished with a cup of chocolate custard (never a disappointment!) while X tried a chocolate malt. He was disappointed with the malt. “If I wanted a vanilla malt with chocolate sauce added, I would have ordered that!” As this was his maiden Kopp’s voyage, I let him order whatever he wanted. Next time, he’ll know that a cup of chocolate custard is fail-safe.

    All in all, our journey to Door County was successful on the food front.

    -The GP

    Copper Kettle
    1600 Washington Street
    Two Rivers, WI

    White Gull Inn
    4225 Main Street
    Fish Creek, WI

    The Cookery
    Highway 42, Main Street
    Fish Creek, WI

    Bayside Tavern
    4160 Main Street
    Fish Creek, WI

    Inn at Kristofer’s
    734 Bay Shore Drive
    Sister Bay, WI

    Door County Coffee & Tea Company
    5773 Hwy 42
    Carlsville, WI

    Kopp’s Custard
    5373 N. Port Washington Road
    Glendale, WI
  • Post #2 - November 28th, 2005, 6:34 am
    Post #2 - November 28th, 2005, 6:34 am Post #2 - November 28th, 2005, 6:34 am
    Thanks for the report. My family had a great time in Door County this summer, and I look forward to returning soon. I just love eatin' in Wisconsin, and hopefully today, I will finish my report on several recent forays.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.