When Happiness Is Smoked Trout

All it takes is one moment of contentment to realize you never knew what content was. Let me explain how this relates to smoked trout.

After a leisurely day of enjoying breakfast At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe, touring the Glensheen Mansion, and napping, we headed to Northern Waters SmokeHaus for lunch.

The tiny deli storefront is located in an indoor mall of sorts. A big chalkboard menu sits above the register. There are so many types of sandwiches to order, from house-smoked meats and fishes to roasted lamb, house-cured meats, and liver pate.

It’s easy to turn any sandwich order into a boxed lunch; simply add $3.50 for a cookie, pickle, and chips. Or, add a side of homemade kimchi or deli salad.

We ordered fish baskets – a fish basket is simply an order of any smoked fish you want sold by the pound + $3 which adds a hefty portion of saltine crackers and container of some of the creamiest scallion cream cheese you’ll ever find. It reminds me of the really high quality cream cheeses from Ess-A-Bagel and Rise Bagel Company in Minneapolis.

From Canal Park, we drove about 30 minutes along the North Shore Scenic Drive to Castle Danger Brewery in  Two Harbors. Having no idea what the brewery looked like, we pulled up and found it looked quite the opposite of a dangerous castle. The owners built this current location when they outgrew the previous in 2014.

I imagined sitting on the back deck overlooking the lake in warmer weather. There are plenty of board games and guests are free to order delivery or bring their own food. Otherwise, you’re pretty much limited to purchasing a full-sized bag of tortilla chips and jar of salsa.

We took a seat at the bar, ordered beers, and opened our fish boxes. The smoked Lake Superior trout fillets are served whole, ready to tear apart with your flimsy plastic knife. The flesh is firm, but separates into flakes rich with fish oil with a texture that’s  almost creamy. And the flavor is slightly sweet from the brown sugar cure, salty, and delicately smokey.

Spread a saltine with a good swipe of scallion cream cheese and layer with smoked trout. We were surprised at how quickly we could put away entire fillets. We’ve never tried anything like it. I doubt we ever will.

Until this very moment, I had no idea my happiness was so directly tied with smoked Lake Superior Trout.

The Places:

Northern Waters Smokehaus
DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace
394 Lake Avenue South – Suite 106
Duluth, MN 55802 USA
Phone: 218.724.7307

Castle Danger Brewery
17 – 7th Street
Two Harbors, MN 55616
Phone: (218) 834-5800


  1. Beth Ann Chiles

    I am ready for a road trip! Yum.

    • Jeni

      Wait until the weather is nicer;)

  2. Beth

    LOVE Northern Waters Smokehaus!

    • Jeni

      So glad people recommended it.

  3. Katie

    I need a Duluth weekend STAT!

    • Jeni

      I can see why you love it so much

  4. Elisabeth Olson

    The photos in your blogs are so gorgeous. Duluth is a true gem.

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