Monday, August 23, 2010

Sweets, Spiders and Cherry-Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Vacations are surprises. The bumper sticker outside the funky cafe where we took refuge from a rainstorm.
"You haven't seen that one, Mom? Duh ... it's all over Facebook." It was a good luck omen for the vacation on the lakes.

Bella Curella Italian Cheese and Deli. The Italian cheese factory on a tiny road to our destination. A vacation surprise.

Surprisingly good. Why am I surprised? It's in the heart of the artisan cheese farms in Wisconsin. I made my first purchases there. When we reached Madeleine Island, Kirsten and Matthew looked in the fridge I stocked and noted, "It's just like home. Olives, Parmesan and Italian meats." And on the counter for them - pizzelles.

And then we wondered what it would be like to live on that corner. And how difficult it would be writing your address on scantron forms.

And then we reached the lakes. It's interesting that I choose to vacation on a lake. Always.

And we went down that long and winding road to surprises. Sometimes we found deer. Sometimes it was a wolf.

Food could be basic fare but always delicious. A hamburger with portobello mushrooms and caramelized onions. "Why don't you make caramelized onions with our burgers?" So now, I guess I shall.

Or the Vietnamese short ribs on an Asian slaw from the Mission Grille.

Kirsten left her "vacation burger box" for crab risotto cakes. What your children order from menus is a sure sign of their growth.

Lakes everywhere. Lake Superior. And Green Bay.

Hot chocolate. 90 degrees out and we all wanted it.

Egg Harbor on Green Bay. Lazy days of lakes.

The largest mocha in the world. From the wondrous, funky Village Cafe. We brought home the mugs. (Our condo mugs held 2 ounces of coffee... we were desperate for a "real" mug.) To get the "children" to admit this was better than Caribou Coffee was another vacation amazement.
More long and winding roads. Wild turkeys everywhere. Except when I got my camera out.

Wild roses on the beach. A sweet amazement.

Hollyhocks reaching to the sky.

The honor system: a true vacation amazement. Plunk down your cash and rent a canoe.

And glide into Lake Superior. A gentle bay for a noteworthy stormy, furious lake.

It was only when we spread out our elegant picnic from Fish Creek Market in the Penninsula State Park that we noticed the huge spider webs strewn from tree to tree. Kirsten ate standing - not trusting the picnic tables. We dubbed these woods the "Spider Woods."

And for you: the best breakfast in America. Or so says the viewers of Good morning America.

Cherry-cream cheese stuffed French Toast at the White Gull Inn in Door County. Not for the faint of heart. With the sweet-tart cherries that Door County is famous for. The cherries are reminiscent of the sour cherries sold in Italy. Complementing the creamy dollops of sweet cream cheese, the dish dances and sings. As does your tongue. As will your thankful palate. Find the recipe here.

And here. I'm pretty sure you can get someone to propose to you if you serve this for brunch.
Lazy days on two lakes. Lighthouses, flowers, beaches, good food, harbors, sunsets. I brought my work but did not work. I came home to surprises... but I did not work.

So I wonder why I vacation on lakes ... because the things is... I live two blocks from White Bear Lake. You'd think I'd want a mountain.


Monet said...

What a wonderful vacation. I loved going with you (through your photographs, of course!). The whipped cream on all your warm drinks made me did that delightfully decadent plate of french toast!

Anonymous said...

What a nice getaway with your kids! The hot chocolate and the mocha look so good and that cherry cream cheese french toast sounds incredible!

Anonymous said...

beautiful photos! french toast looks divine!

Maureen Brady Johnson said...

Claudia, This photo journey was wonderful!!!

Mister Meatball said...

Looks like you had better luck with food on your vacation than we just had on ours.
And, yeah, your offspring is tuned in. Here in Maine we're just lousy with "Coexist" stickers.

Sutapa said...

Wonderful pics! Foods are awesome, hot chocolate and hamburger with portobello mushrooms and caramelized onions sounds and looks too delicious!

A gift for you in my blog Tips for delicious and healthy cooking take some time to visit!

Kim said...

Claudia- I love your writing style and always enjoy reading your posts. (So much so that I sometimes read them twice or three times each). Thanks for sharing all your pics. You have some very good looking young adults on your hands:) Look the pic of the picnic area where Uncle Al welcomes you. "Parking for Italians" - very cute!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Don't know what I love most here - the beautifully happy and smiling children, the gorgeous scenery or the fabulous food. I can see you had a wonderful time.

FOODESSA said...

Claudia...from this wonderous mini-tour you offered us I've deducted that we have more more than our name in common ;o)
Any vacation of mine has to be either on the water or by the front itself.
On vacation...I love the unexpected surprises and welcome it like a child that opens a brand new toy.
I don't count calories on vacation ;o) I'm so going to make that stuffed french toast recipe...I'll go pick up the recipe soon. The hot chocolate was really over the top. LOL the photo of the Italians being able to park at a priority spot. I need one to carry around with me. LOL.

I truly enjoyed your post ;))

Have a fabulous week,


What a fun trip! The Vietnamese short ribs sounds amazing!

Velva said...

The beauty of vacation is that we really stop and take the time to observe our surroundings. I know when I travel, I am amazed at what I discover.

Your vacation was full of discovery. I really enjoyed the photo journey of your travels. Thanks.

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

what great pictures and vacation glad to see you had a great time love the french toast yum

Barbara GF said...

Lapping lake waves give off good negative ions, Claudia - a perfect way to relax. Looks like a lovely vacation was had by all. And that French toast! Yum; I could use a piece right now.

We Are Not Martha said...

Everything looks beautiful! BUT especially that french toast! OMG I would neverrr think to make something like that, but I think I'm in love :)


denise @ quickies on the dinner table said...

Love the banner - it really says it all!

OMG! That little pot of hot chocolate - it's just too much...too much of a great thing!! I want me some too!

The French toast is just beyond description and I could really get into those Asian style ribs....

Angie's Recipes said...

A great relaxing trip! I love that pot of hot chocolate with inviting swirls!

Heather S-G said...

Oh my, that cherry cream cheese stuffed french toast is fabulous!! And I'm still chuckling about those street signs...What The!? LOL. And that is my absolute favorite bumper sticker...and what I put down on my own 'religious views' on FB ;)

Jeannie said...

What a lovely vacation...I have always preferred a beach vacation or anything by the waterfront too...otherwise, it doesn't feel like a vacation to me lol! Love drooling over the yummy good food!

Reeni said...

Your vacation looks like it was chock full of fun, love and food! Those signs are hilarious Claudia and you saw a wolf? I love wolves! Never saw a wild one before. That would of made my vacation. The food looks wonderful - loving that french toast and hot cocoa in the summer!

Claudia said...

Thanks for the smiles. Wolves are numerous in Wisconsin - although it was the first time I saw one on the wild.

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

So wonderful vacations with excellent photos and the largest mocha in the world, is there more for international delivery??? :)

All the best,


Chef Dennis Littley said...

what an incredible vacation! this country is truly amazing, I have never been up that way but I do want to see it more than ever now! thanks so much for sharing your journey with us!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Claudia, what a great spot for a vacation. I love lakes. The food looked fabulous too. We have a lot of wild life where we live in the mountains too. When the sign says "Deer crossing" they mean it - right there, not down the road, but right there.

Thanks for taking us along.
P.S. I've never seen that bumper sticker either.

Jen_from_NJ said...

Thank you for sharing your vacation surprises. I would love a lake vacation! Canoes on the honor system - love it! What a lovely family vacation!

Kirsten said...

Every coffee house needs to make Mocha's like that one!

Magic of Spice said...

Looks like such a wonderful vacation...and wow, all of that food :)

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Your vacation looks like it was a wonderful combination of fun and relaxation, and full of delicious food, Claudia! Those stuffed pancakes would have done me in but I would enjoy trying to eat them!

My Little Space said...

No matter far or near, it was still great to travel and spend some times with the kids. Tis don't just happened everyday. So, just enjoy and have fun! The mocha & french toast look yummy anyway! haha... Have a great day.
Chers, kristy

Nancy said...

Wonderful Post is a beautiful place! We recently went to Grand Marais..I didn't want to leave.