Category: Sandwich (Page 4 of 4)

Our Detroit Lakes Weekend Part II: Hotel Shoreham & Fireside Restaurant

After spending a lazy morning lounging around The Lodge on Lake Detroit, I shook Jake from his video game trance and summoned him to lunch.

I chose Hotel Shoreham, a small restaurant mostly known for its pizza, located on Lake Sallie.  Still feeling “za’d” out from the previous evening at Zorbaz, we opted for nothing that included a “Z.”

Jake ordered a fruity beverage that ended up costing $9 and I ordered a bottle of St. Pauli Girl, $4.75, having no clue that it did not contain any alcohol.  My beer connoisseur fiance laughed at me.

We started with a basket of beer batter fried shrimp, $9.95, which arrived scalding hot and nearly grease-free.

Salads came with our entrees.  The greens were fresh and crisp and I dipped them in the house dill dressing, that reminded me of that bread bowl party dip.

The $11 crab cake was about the size of my palm.  It’s crispy exterior was drizzled with a garlicky mayonnaise sauce.  The interior revealed some breading, flakes of crab along, and a few small lumps of meat.  Overall, we enjoyed its flavor, but felt it was pricey considering its size.  Oceanaire may charge about $15 per crab cake, but they are larger and made exclusively with jumbo lumps bound together with little more than sorcery.  Not quite the case at Hotel Shoreham, but not bad.

We split the walleye sandwich, $11.95

The fish fillet’s batter was crispy and greaseless, and the flesh was delicate and sweet.  We rejoiced at the toasted bun.

After lunch, we drove around Lake Sallie, hoping to find some sort of beach or dock from which we could dangle our feet.  We chased deceptive signs that pointed us towards nonexistent beaches.  We circled around luxurious lake homes and wooded lots sheltering what we imaged were the cabins of kings.  Lake Sallie must be an exclusive lake, as we could not find even a strip of publicly accessible land.  Finally, we finally found a public dock that reached into water covered in green matter so thick that birds traveled across it by foot.  We passed.

When we returned to The Lodge, I took a nap and slept off that St. Pauli Girl.

For dinner, we chose the Fireside Restaurant located a few blocks from The Lodge.  By 8 p.m., it calmly buzzed with customers and we sat on the screened porch overlooking the lake.  We felt like we’d been transported to a sleepy veranda on the deep south.  Diners leaned into their chairs and lingered over their dinners as servers gracefully allowed everyone to bask in the sunset.

I ordered a mojito for $6.50.

Despite the mojito’s whimsical swizzle sticks, it tasted a little off. Jake fared better with a glass of red wine.

We snacked on a complimentary plate of “no-frills” vegetables and dip.

And picked out the buttery garlic toasts from the breadbasket (also complimentary).

For an entree, I ordered a Caesar salad with anchovies, $6, and the Surf &Turf Skewers appetizer, $11, that consisted of bacon-wrapped beef and scallops in a “tangy honey-mustard sauce.”  Jake ordered the 10 oz. prime rib special. $23, offered with his choice of two sides.  He selected grilled asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes.

The Caesar salad greens were fresh and dotted with croutons coated in something cheesy and a little bit spicy.  Kudos for offering anchovies.

I began to feel full and gingerly tasted the skewers.

The beef was cooked to about medium and was tender.  Although the large scallops were fresh and buttery, mine contained some grit.  Jake ate the second and deemed it grit-free, pushing aside the soggy bacon which I happily ate.  He prefers bacon cooked ultra crispy while I like mine with some give.  I’d hardly describe the sauce as tasting like honey mustard.  Its sweetness tasted much more subtle and melded with the grilled meats.

Jake delicately carved bites of his prime rib and dunked them in au jus and horseradish sauce.  The meat was tender and cooked medium rare as requested.

The side of asparagus was carefully grilled (ends trimmed) and garnished with a hollandaise-like sauce and lemon wedge.

Since it was the end of our vacation, we split creme brulee.

At first glance, I was disappointed the sugar topping wasn’t more caramelized.  But after I dug below the surface, I was too hooked to care.  The smooth chocolate custard tasted exactly like the essence of a chocolate brownie.  Jake began to reminisce about the brownies his late, Norwegian Grandma used to make.

We were stunned when our bill was almost equivalent to our lunch at the Shoreham Hotel.  Fireside is known as the pricier option in Detroit Lakes, but served a better-than-average meal for lower prices than what we’d find in Fargo-Moorhead and the Twin Cities.

I really appreciate the juxtaposition of Fireside’s stunning lake view and unpretentious service/atmosphere.  While the staff is down to earth, occasional customers may be more high maintenance.  I laughed as I overheard a conversation that mirrored this Portlandia sketch.  We had practically finished two courses by the time they placed their order.

Hopefully, we’ll return to Detroit Lakes this summer.  Where do you like to eat and do you have a favorite dive-bar?

Memorial Weekend Jaunt Home: Cafe 116, Wise Acre Eatery, Clearwater Truck Stop

One of my goals is to compile some sort of food guide for those who travel between the Twin Cities and Fargo.

The drive is notoriously dull, but I refuse to believe it’s devoid of any gems.  Every time I make the drive, I want to stop in a different, small town and try a new truck stop or cafe.  The ride is dotted with intriguing towns, many marked by majestic church steeples.

On this particular drive back to the Twin Cities, I stopped at Cafe 116 in Fergus Falls, MN for a light lunch.  Cafe 116 notes that it makes its food from scratch and utilizes local foods and suppliers.  At least three individuals have recommended this cafe and I remembered reading positive reviews in The High Plains Reader and Jihye Chang’s blog.

I rolled into Fergus Falls around lunchtime on Saturday afternoon and was immediately taken by the town’s cozy homes and plush, green trees.  I easily located Cafe 116, about seven minutes from I-94.   I had to pause to my breath after nearly being T-boned by an elderly couple who ran a red light, and forget to grab my camera.

The cafe is spacious and I sat at the window bar.  At first glance, I was confused if I should order at the counter or wait for a table but was quickly assisted.  I ordered a small pot of loose leaf green tea, $3, and browsed the lunch menu that offers cold and grilled panini sandwiches by the whole or half, soup of the day, a vegan burrito, and selection of salads.

I ordered half of a Cleveland panini, $5.25, made with prosciutto, red onion, apple, and mozzarella.  For an additional $1, I substituted vegetables and homemade ranch dressing for chips.  The half sandwich was petite but tasted of high quality.  Nothing fancy, but the prosciutto and apple slices provided a pleasing salty-sweet sensation.  The bread was crispy and scented with toasty Parmesan cheese.

Despite the up-charge, I was glad I substituted fresh vegetables for potato chips.  The half sandwich and large serving of carrot sticks and pea pods made a lovely light lunch.  I wouldn’t hesitate to return and also try their homemade ice cream or creme brulee.

I spent the rest of the day with my folks and we made spicy tacos.

On Sunday afternoon, my friend suggested a few of us meet at Wise Acre Eatery in South Minneapolis.  C’s friend works there and she wanted to check out the restaurant for the first time.  Last summer, I visited Wise Acre Eatery and didn’t have many positive things to say about the service.  However, I have since visited Wise Acre twice for lunch, and have had positive experiences with food and service.

C’s friend stopped by often to check in, though we were served by a couple of individuals we did not know.

I kept it simple and ordered a cold press coffee, bowl of the daily chowder, and a side of bread with butter.  

I genuinely enjoyed the flavorful chowder.  It wasn’t too rich or too salty and I enjoyed the tender chunks of carrot and occasional piece of thick bacon.  The chowder was covered in croutons, made from both flaky croissants and bread.

C’s friend brought us a trio of house made hot sauces.

I’m not sure if they are typically offered to customers but I kept dipping the croutons into the thicker sauce to the left.

Wise Acres was celebrating its birthday and surprised its customers with jars of custard.

We shared a trio of chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon custard accompanied by caramel sauce, rhubarb caramel sauce, chocolate-covered cacao nibs, nut brittle.  I suspect the toppings were an extra gift and I loved the rhubarb caramel sauce the most.

On the way back to the Twin Cities, I picked up some spicy, grilled beef salad from Bangkok Thai Deli for Jake and made one more stop at the Clearwater Travel Plaza.  A couple of readers recommended stopping at Nelson Bros. Restaurant and Bakery for sandwiches made with freshly-baked bread.  I was too full to try a sandwich so I grabbed a giant caramel roll.  The employee confirmed the breads are baked in-house.

Since it was late afternoon, the outside of the roll tasted a little stale but the inside was still moist.  The roll was covered in a thick layer of caramel and nuts but I did not taste any buttery richness.  The caramel seemed to taste more like store-bought pecan pie filling.  Sweet and corn-syrupy.  Oh well.  I used to work next to Isles Bun & Coffee which has become my gold standard for sticky buns.  Isles Bun & Coffee emanates the sweet scent of butter and it’s better for that.

I plan to stop by again for one of the sandwiches but will pass on the baked sweets.

If you have any suggestions for food stops along I-94 between the Twin Cities and Fargo, I’d love to hear them.

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