Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - A Culinary Odyssey

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Davydd
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Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/12 22:08:19 (permalink)
It is a year later and I still haven't built that brick wood-fired oven. I had a set back last winter that kind of waylaid my plans and changed some of my priorities. For quite a while I was not baking bread and pizzas. Since my MN North Shore report we have made two major RV trips out west. Last fall we were on the road for six weeks in 17 western states and again this spring for three weeks mostly in Texas and New Mexico. But starting in February we made a series of trips to the North Shore starting with a winter trip to the Gunflint Trail. Then in early May we went up to Grand Marais. Again in July to Grand Marais and Nancy's turn to take a course at the North House Folk School. And finally last week I went up to Grand Marais again to scout out and prepare for an RV social Nancy and I are hosting in Grand Marais in September.

So rather than a series of individual reports I thought for convenience I should continue this culinary odyssey in this thread. So bear with me.
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Davydd
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Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odyssey 2010/08/12 22:45:45 (permalink)
I altered the title of this thread to Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odyssey. This encompasses the trip report, and yes, brick ovens are still very much a part of it.

I was getting restless and relentless in my rehab from CABG. I figured two months was plenty of time for healing so I made a reservation for a few days at the Gunflint Lodge some 50 miles up the Gunflint Trail from Grand Marais on the Gunflint Lake across from Canada. Last year I had reported about my brief stop at the Red Paddle Bistro and conversation with the owner, Bruce Kerfoot. Now we were back for a stay in a winterized cabin.

But to keep the chronology let me digress. On driving up we hit the Duluth/Two Harbors area, the gateway to the North Shore at about lunch time. So first stop was planned for the New Scenic Cafe a few miles west of Two Harbors on Old Scenic Highway 61 on Lake Superior that is now bypassed by a new four lane freeway for those rushing further north.

New Scenic Cafe like many restaurants on the North Shore is an unpretentious make do building.


We ate a light lunch. I had a Tempeh Reuben sandwich and Nancy enjoyed this lightly crusted walleye sandwich.


Traveling on we arrived at the Gunflint Lodge to be greeted by a herd of deer that would eat out of your hand. These deer were a lot tamer than the ones that visit our woods in Tonka Bay.


The entrance to the lodge in the winter with some decorative winter touches.


Our cabin living room with fireplace.


The Gunflint Lodge dates to 1927 and has been in continuous operation by the Kerfoot family. I first became aware of the Gunflint Lodge written up in a series of books in the 1950s by Helen Hoover. I further became aware from a series of two books written even earlier by Florence Page Jaques, one titled, Snowshoe Country covering the winter of 1943/44. That book fascinated me the winter I was born and meeting Bruce Kerfoot, a child mentioned in the book. Kerfoot related to me that the Jaques did not tell his parents their intent to write a book so as not to influence their behavior. Frances Lee Jaques amply illustrated the book with pen and ink drawings.

So there we were living the winter somewhat. We hiked and snowshoed the trails in the hills behind the lodge. We came upon these wolf tracks. That's some exciting stuff knowing they were out there. We think we saw them at a great distance out on the Gunflint Lake one evening.


Yes, two months after open heart surgery I was out on snowshoes in the hills and feeling pretty good if not still a bit sore from having a breast bone sawed apart, separated and wired back together again. It was not until I got back and visited the cardiologist when he said it really takes a full year for healing.

There is a culinary report in here yet. Bear with me...
post edited by Davydd - 2010/08/12 23:01:29
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Davydd
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Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/12 22:58:30 (permalink)
And, oh yes, brick ovens! The Gunflint Lodge built a brick wood-fired bread oven in the fall of 2009. It sits just outside the dining room on the lake side and is accessible from the kitchen. It did not seem to be in a lot of use in the winter. More and more restaurants are relying on wood-fired ovens for breads, pies and pizzas to keep a competitive edge or just parity in their offerings. This is what makes the North Shore a culinary delight.


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myterry2
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Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/12 23:11:14 (permalink)
Just might be the best report ever by anyone...super great!
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Davydd
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Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/12 23:41:27 (permalink)
We spent four nights at the Gunflint Lodge and ate most of our meals there. Breakfast and dinner was in Justine's Dining Room named after Justine Kerfoot who moved to the Gunflint Trail in the 1920s and started the lodge. Lunch and lounging around took place in the connecting Red Paddle Bistro of which I reported on last year. There is no cell phone service on the Gunflint Trail but the lodge had satellite internet service which was agonizingly slow but possible.

I won't agonize you with my healthy eating of oatmeal breakfasts. I did deviate one time. Not on the menu but requested was this all egg white omelet with veggies and mushrooms.


For dinners I ate a lot of fish. Again, I'll show you a sampling Nancy had of a ribeye steak topped with onion rings and served with mushroom risotto. Dinners were garnished with edible orchids.


We did head down the trail to the Trail Center Cafe for lunch one day.  I previously reported about this cafe last year and their northern most deep-fried breaded pork tenderloin sandwich and fruits of the forest pie. This time I opted to try their Grilled (not fried and not breaded) Smitty tenderloin sandwich. It came with a generous heap of sauteed onions and a cup of beef stroganoff so I am not so sure it was really all that healthy.


The Trail Center Cafe has been voted a Top 10 in the nation bar. In the winter it is a stopping place for snowmobilers on the trail and in the summer it is a first stop for a beer by canoers returning from the Boundary Waters Wilderness Canoe Area. I since learned the pies they served are baked by The Pie Place in Grand Marais. So what, that's about as good as it gets.

So you want to watch your calories and still have your dessert? They serve this World's Smallest Sundae in what looks like a 4 oz. Mason jar.
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Davydd
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Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/13 00:02:11 (permalink)
On our return home we chose to stop at the Northern Lights Roadhouse in Beaver Bay. This is a place we passed numerous times but never stopped. Wanderingjew in his quest for the quintessential Minnesota Scandinavian meal found this place. I can tell you it was not there in 1968 when we first stopped on the North Shore and stayed in Beaver Bay. I can tell you back then there was the genuine small cafe that did serve first or second generation Scandinavian food and I can remember it was the first time I ever had Lake Superior Whitefish. That place and the cabin we stayed in is no longer there. I've finally figured out a gasoline service station now occupies the site.

The Northern Lights Roadhouse is decorated as a norhwoods curiosity as these two photos will attest.


Have you ever eaten under a moose head?


Rather than Swedish meatballs I opted more for north woods choices. I had this Forester sandwich consisting of thinly sliced Caribou topped with Wild Rice Gouda Cheese and served on a Wild Rice Baguette.


Nancy had this Hunters Pie with wild rice and elk, peas, carrots onions, mushrooms on bed of garlic mashed potatoes and topped with cheese.


We made one last stop to check out Gooseberry Falls frozen over before heading home.
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mar52
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Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/13 00:26:01 (permalink)
Davy you sure do it right...

But there's not one picture of my future RV!

I love your reports and how much you enjoy traveling the US while enjoying the sites and bites.

(I hereby copyright Sites and Bites!)
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Davydd
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Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odyssey 2010/08/13 00:54:11 (permalink)
After our trip up north in February we then tended our sugar maple trees most of March and made pure maple syrup for the second year in a row. In April we headed south in our RV to Texas and New Mexico. I was kind of in roadfood ennui at the time in not bothering to take many photos of our restaurant meals. But Texas would be another report anyway as would last falls 6 week western trip through a dozen national parks and monuments. Maybe this will give me the incentive to tackle that one.

When we were in Texas we attended a Class B RV social in Kerrville, TX. Our group is a loose collection of friends from all over the country. In the past couple of years we have gotten together in Moab, UT, Pagosa Springs, CO, Lafayette, LA and Kerrville - all southern and western. We've enjoyed another group organized on RV.net and have attended rallies in twice in Ohio and once in North Carolina - all eastern. At Kerrville I was chided about hosting a social in Minnesota. It just didn't seem to be in the cards was my thoughts. But when we got home we decided to head up to the North Shore once again and think about the possibilities. It was time to recheck the Grand Marais Community Campground and its potential. So on up we went.

On this trip we decided to stop in Duluth for lunch. Our destination was what we thought would be Hell's Kitchen, an outpost of the Hell's Kitchen in Minneapolis. Confusion reigned. When we got there per the GPS "arriving" the sign said Hell Burgers. Same owners we understand but evidently a change in concept.


No breakfast that made Hell's Kitchen famous. In fact Hell Burgers does not open until 11 AM and seemed more like a sports bar dominated by a big screen in the back showing a Twins baseball game.


There are some shared menu items with Hell's Kitchen but I did not think the place translated very well. It was certainly no Hell's Kitchen. Nancy had this bar food grilled ham and swiss sandwich.


I had the Hell Burger...


…and then we moved on.
post edited by Davydd - 2010/08/13 00:57:59
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Davydd
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 00:59:43 (permalink)
Mar52,

The RV will make an encore debut soon.
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Davydd
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 12:12:13 (permalink)
We arrived in Grand Marais in early May when many restaurants were re-opening after a winter hibernation. Many close or go on reduced hours during the winter. Chez Jude, Angry Trout, The Pie Place, Crooked Spoon, Sydney's, Wild Onion and World's Best Donuts are among them. The Angry Trout was open. Since we were in Grand Marais the first weekend of May we encountered no problem getting seated there or anywhere else. In fact in a campground with 300 campsites we were only one of four campers in the whole campground. There was a reason for that. It can still get rather cold overnight.

The Angry Trout recently expanded its seating to the side with an addition in front of the reception counter. Oddly, they still have but one restroom you must go outside to get to. This is a view of the heavy timber frame interior dining room.


Nancy did not make the trip with me the previous year when I took the course building the brick oven at the North House Folk School so she was getting reacquainted with the Angry Trout after a two year absence. Her choice was this Lake Trout Salad.


I opted for the Grilled Herring Sandwich


The Angry Trout serves sustainable harvested, organic and locally produced foods. They take great pride in supporting the local community as do many of the other restaurants in Grand Marais. There seems to be an ethic of community support in the area perhaps a throwback to a previous era in America where communities had to be more self-sustaining due to isolation and remoteness. The harsh winters also obviously to me help to encourage that.

The next morning we woke up to this sunrise over the city harbor. Our campsite was right across from the city beach so we could enjoy this view.


We walked into town to seek out breakfast. I estimate there are nearly 25 eateries within an easy walk from the campground from which to choose. The four full breakfast places are The Pie Place, the Wild Onion, Blue Water Cafe and South of the Border. The Wild Onion had not opened up for the season yet. Nor had the World's Best Donuts if a donut and coffee was all one wanted. South of the Border Cafe was our choice this day. The name eludes an Hispanic connotation and one would normally think Mexico. But wait! On second thought we were "south of the border" from Canada just 40 miles away.


As you can see, breakfast was basic fare. I've been told South of the Border is the locals favorite or obviously the favorite of the person who told me that. I take it to mean less touristy. The waitress did fill us with local gossip along with our bottomless coffee cups.


As I mentioned, this was an exploratory trip for the possibility of hosting an RV social. At least that was my excuse for eating our meals about town and not out of our completely stocked RV with kitchen. We talked to the campground people, set a date, and they agreed to block out some campsites for our group.  That mission was accomplished.

Now time for lunch. After all, as host, I am now going to have to be the "official advisor" about the restaurants around town. Love that role.   How about Hughies Taco House? This was a recommendation by Bruce Kerfoot of all people. The tacos are different. They are not the hard shell kind but are a soft puff taco.


Hughie's Taco House interior.


Your order is taken at a counter by this friendly staff and delivered to your table.


Your beef puff taco comes hot wrapped in foil for eating in or take out.


For dinner my sights were set on Chez Jude. Last year I ate from their luncheon menu of wood-fired pizza and bistro burgers and I challenge you to find better after you try them. This time it was time to try their dinner fare. Nancy had never been to Chez Jude in all our past trips. It was Friday night, the first night of the new summer season. We had the restaurant all to ourselves which gave us lots of attention but was probably a disappointment with the restaurant. So we when all out full-course.

The first thing we did was take on their new concept of Wine Flights where you sampled three different wines of the same variety of escalating price points. Nancy ordered the white and I ordered the red. It was a good way to relax and start the meal. I'm not really a wine connoisseur. They all tasted fine to me. I doubt Chez Jude would stock a ringer but you could tell the subtle differences between them.


For the first course I opted for this French onion soup.


Nancy ordered the pork ribs.


Still smarting about diet after breakfast and lunch tacos I went for the Salmon Plank.


In looking around the intimate dining room and counting 34 chairs the idea entered my mind that Chez Jude could be a great restaurant for our first night RV social get together. Fine food, fine service. Nothing could be better. I tucked that idea away for later.

Mission accomplished. I've been to a lot of RV socials and rallies in the past few years since buying our Class B camper van and I came away convinced Grand Marais was the perfect place to host a social. Few places could rival it. Lafayette, LA had the great Cajun and Creole food but you had to drive everywhere to partake.  Yes, people will like Grand Marais. So I decided to head home and announce a social in Grand Marais in September, 2010. Will people be willing to travel to "south of the border"? We are going to find out.

So heading home I also felt obligated to explore some more for other opportunities for people coming to Grand Marais before and after the social. So we headed up the Sawbill Trail to check out National Forest campgrounds there. That's when we saw our moose on the side of the road. I posted an earlier photo of this moose. Here is another one for your enjoyment.
#70
buffetbuster
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 13:30:17 (permalink)
Davydd-
Cousin Johnny and I wanted to eat at HellBurgers when we were in Duluth a few months ago, but, frankly, we just ran out of room.  Doesn't sound like we missed to much.  Beautiful photographs, especially of the moose and the sunrise.
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 13:43:35 (permalink)
I'm glad to see the New Scenic Cafe still doing well.  I last went there in 2000 when my wife spent 2 weeks in Duluth for training and I went up for the weekend.  I just remeber the great use of produce and how fresh everyting tasted. 

Great report and I'm glad to see you're doing well after your CABG (I work for a heart hospital so I'm always interested in outcomes).
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Sundancer7
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 13:47:22 (permalink)
I have made the strip around lake superior several times.  I overnighted in Ste. St. Marie at the Objibway hotel right on the locks and had a great white fish.  I spent a couple of nights in Thunder Bay and also at the places Davy D stopped.  I saw several moose that were road kills and I almost hit two black bears crossing the highway at a very good clip.
 
That was one of my more favorite drives.  I also stopped at the amethest mines where I found some very large species.
 
I will be in Brainerd, MN for the NHRA races for the next few days where I will enjoy walleye many different ways.  The Black Bear restaurant which is just a few miles south of the track has always been one of my favorites.
 
Minnesota is one of my favorite states.
 
Paul E. Smith
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Davydd
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 19:25:13 (permalink)
Our next venture north was in July. We had this trip planned well before thoughts of the RV social we are hosting. It was Nancy's turn to to take a course at the North House Folk School adjacent to the campground. Hers was a two day course on bead embroidery. That left me pretty much on my own for two days with Callie our calico cat.

On our way north we stopped in Castle Danger at the Rustic Inn for lunch. The Rustic Inn, about 11 miles further north up the road from Betty's Pies, has wonderful pies in their own right as I have previously reported. We skipped pies this stop but I would seek out the Rustic Inn before Betty's Pies. And trust me, I will succumb to pies later in this trip report.

Here I am thinking healthy again, eschewing their excellent breaded pork tenderloin sandwich for this smoked Salmon wrap.


Nancy went for the Walleye cakes.


After securing our campsite at the Grand Marais Community Campground we decided to walk a mile west up Highway 61 to The Pie Place for dinner. We had been there before for breakfast but never dinner. We chose from the lighter side of the menu because I was now determined to introduce pie back into this report.

So Nancy had the Krab Cakes


…and I settled for a simple BLT with a side of potato salad...


…all to make room for this shared Lemon Cheesecake.


Two miles of walking helped with that caloric decision.

Actually we walked all the way back on into town to relax and have a beer on the Gunflint Tavern rooftop terrace and listen to live music. I was set on a Surly Bender I knew they served downstairs in the bar, but alas! they had a very limited tap on the rooftop so I settled for a Summit Ale. Both brews are fine Twin Cities craft brews.


This is the evening view from the rooftop terrace. There was an art festival going on in Grand Marais and they had Wisconsin Street blocked off. Those are the white tent art booths below.


The next day I was pretty much on my own. I walked around town a lot. I went to the Java Moose Coffee shop to catch up on the internet, I browsed all the art booths, I spent nearly two hours listening to a live Michael Monroe concert in the Bay Park. I walked along the break waters and rocks to the light houses and Artist Point.


I stopped at the North House Folk School and learn the spring Building the Brick Bread Oven class built two ovens this year and they were sitting in the yard next to an older oven. They were waiting to be sold. If you have a spare $2,400 you could possibly have one but you would have to arrange for your own transportation, build your own foundation and finish it off.


The weather was again nice so we decided to try the Birch Terrace Supper Club outdoor terrace. We opted for the sandwich menu, aka, bar menu. Nancy opted for the Philly Cheeseteak…


…and I went for the walleye sandwich.


For dessert we walked back into town to Sydney's and I had this Dutch chocolate frozen custard waffle cone. We sat yet again on yet another rooftop terrace and enjoyed a view of Lake Superior.


The next morning we got up prepared for a trip up the Gunflint Trail but not before having one final breakfast at the Wild Onion where I had this eggs Benedict.


We stocked up with dinner provisions at the Cook County Food Coop and bought some fish chowder to go at the Dockside. Our destination was the Trails End National Forest Campground 60 miles up the dead end Gunflint Trail.

On the way up we stopped to hike in to Magnetic Rock. Along the way we found blueberries were in season so we started picking them along the trail.




Needless to say it took us quite a while to walk the 1-1/2 miles in and back out to see the Magnetic Rock.


The Magnetic Rock trail area has suffered numerous disasters. When we first walked it  over a dozen years ago it was heavily wooded and you stumbled into the 40 foot high rock at the last moment. Then in 1999 they had a major straight winds blow down that knocked over and topped many trees. The coup de grace was the 2007 Ham Lake Fire that burned through the tender area. Three years later there is recovery going on with head high fir trees. The open area and rock outcroppings have also made great blueberry crops possible.

We got the campsite I had my eyes set on. It is site #10 located at the end of a quiet and secluded dead end road.


The view looking out over Seagull Lake and the edge of the BWCAW was not too shabby either.


The next morning we broke camp and headed home but not before thinking about my Roadfood.com friends and their insatiable appetites for pie. Oh yes, we also made a 4 mile long hike up to Pincushion Mountain above Grand Marais in preparation for pie. Who said you didn't have to prep and train for roadfood?

The destination was Satellite's Country Inn in Schroeder, MN 37 miles back down the road toward home. This is a blink and you will miss it kind of stop. You would never guess otherwise what a delight you will be in for. They serve a Wild Blueberry Pie that is the genuine thing as we now know from picking our own on the Magnetic Trail. If you don't trust and believe me, none other than Andrew Zimmern of Travel Channel Bizarre Foods fame corroborates me. Google it.


Another mission accomplished in preparation for our September RV social. But the one item I had in the back of my mind about dinner had not been resolved and new friends would come into the picture on the internet that would necessitate me making another brick oven and pie significant trip back north in August. So stay tuned...
post edited by Davydd - 2010/08/13 19:29:17
#74
mar52
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 19:52:11 (permalink)
There she is!  Remember... when you're ready... give me first dibs!  (I say knowing I could never afford such a beautiful RV)

I never knew how blueberries grew.  Did you first know that they were in fact the real thing?  That would be so much fun discovering a meal along a hike.

Tell me about Magnetic Rock.  Is it really magnetic?  If so, what causes it?  How do they make magnets, anyway!?

LOVE those ovens!  If you ever make one I can get you the pipe!  LOL
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Davydd
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 21:06:06 (permalink)
Magnetic Rock is actually not magnetic. It is just one giant chunk of iron. So if you take a compass near it the compass will go haywire and lose its north direction because Magnetic Rock interferes with the Earth's magnetic core.

The wild blueberries are smaller than the commercial variety you see in the grocery stores. They taste a bit different too. I think better. They are just a rare treat to be savored.
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 21:08:07 (permalink)
  Oh my! That picture of the harbor on art fair day is BEAUTIFUL! 
  I camp at Devil Track every year but almost never stop to eat in Grand Marais... Next time I am most certainly getting myself a puffy taco (or 3!)   
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/14 07:38:55 (permalink)
Birch Terrace is my favorite Grand Marais place along with breakfast at South of the Border. Not being campers we have stayed at Shoreline Inn a few times, enjoying the big windows that open out onto Superior which is just a frw feet away.
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Davydd
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/14 13:32:35 (permalink)
I was thinking I probably would not be going back up north again until September. We had pretty much settled in on about 22 camper vans coming to our social from as far away as Arizona, Florida, Texas, Connecticut and New Jersey. People from all over the Midwest including Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and South Dakota were coming as well as the native Minnesotans. Time to relax and wait. Then out of the blue Grand Marais locals, George and Lesley, piped in that they would be participating. They live just up the Gunflint Trail and just that week had returned home with a used Class B camper van, their first. Would you believe they add a connection with pies and brick wood-fired ovens? Is that karma?

This whole trip report started last year because Nancy went to Bolivia with the grandsons and I cast about for something to do while she was away and decided to take the Building the Brick Bread Oven course at the North House Folk School. Well last week the grandmother/mom duties took over once again with Nancy. She flew out to Washington DC to help drive back to Minnesota with our daughter and granddaughter for a vacation here. Our son-in-law will come later and take care of the task of driving back home. So, I decided to head north once again and tie up all the loose ends with my trusty companion Callie the calico cat who whined and meowed all the way past Hinckley before finally settling down. She either figured out it was not a trip to the vet or just gave up. You cannot figure out cats.

By now you realize I have settled in on a North Shore stop on the way up to Grand Marais. It is a 300 mile trip from our house. I thought about giving Two Harbors some action but kept going until I hit Beaver Bay. I had just recently learned about the Lemon Wolf Cafe, another place you dare not blink lest you miss it. Actually the sign was there but the restaurant was tucked away in one conner of a two story beige building set back from the highway.




The special of the day was Grilled Herring with a cup of Wild Rice Soup. But before I could order the waitress said they were out of the special. That seemed strange since the place just opened up 15 minutes before I got there. So while I was mulling over an alternative choice the waitress finally came back and said the herring had finally arrived. Evidently fresh caught (I hoped) and delivered. So I ordered it.

The cup of wild rice soup.


The grilled herring with fresh homemade multigrain bread.


But the real reason I was there was for yet another North Shore homemade pie. George and Lesley put me onto to this place. First, the pie connection. As it turned out Lesley was a pie baker. She used to bake pies in the wood-fired brick oven and sell at the local farmer's market. She also supplied pies to a lodge dining room further up on the Gunflint Trail. She knew her pies. She saw where I had posted North Shore pie photos from Betty's, Rustic Inn, Satellites, The Pie Place and Trail Center to cajole RVers to come to the social. She said I needed to try the Lemon Wolfe Cafe. So I did.

On the trip up I had this absolutely decadent Rocky Wolf Trail pie consisting of chocolate, pecans, cashews and walnuts in a butter pecan crust.


I'll jump ahead in the story. On my way home I stopped again just for a piece of pie and their local brewed coffee. That pie was their Forest Fruits pie with raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, rhubarb and Apple served hot.


Back in Grand Marais…


I caught up with George and Lesley and went to their home in the woods up the Gunflint Trail to discuss plans for the RV social. They offered to throw a pizza party at their home for the group. The plan will be to have pre-prepared dough where each person can top his/her own personal pizza and take it to Lesley to bake in their wood-fired brick oven. That's this oven.


This is an oven built at the site by students in a North House Folk School class. George and Lesley then hired a mason to finish the brick exterior. Last year at the North House Folk School we celebrated at the end of the class with a similar pizza party so I was familiar with how it works. I can't wait.

I had a great home meal with George and Lesley and George offered me his home brew, George's Boreal Brew Nut Brown Ale. It was excellent.


The next day I re-engaged task at hand. Had I been to all the restaurants in Grand Marais? I actually skipped breakfast for just a cup of coffee at the Java Moose so I could catch up on the internet. Then I did a lot of walking around town with the intention of stopping at Chez Jude only I forgot it was closed Mondays. So I hoofed it over to My Sister's Place. I hadn't been there in a few years and since it had changed ownership.




My passion is pursuing the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. When I can't get one I usually fall back on the breaded walleye sandwich which is so easy to do in Minnesota. So this is what I did at My Sister's Place along with a cup of tomato soup.


I then walked back to the camper van to check on the cat's comfort. With an electrical hookup I can run an air conditioner or a fan depending on the temperature. She was quite content but who knows what cats think. With an afternoon to kill I decided to walk west on the Highway 61 bike trail out to a new restaurant called Gunnar's. Just last month it was The Howlin' Wolf. No walleye and no pork tenderloin on the menu so I decided maybe another time, but I did sit at the bar and enjoy a brew and the company of others.

My thoughts for dinner was perhaps it was time to try Sven & Ole's Pizza but being alone a whole pizza was just out of the question. They sold two varieties by the slice but neither appealed to me. So, I once again hoofed it west out the highway to another place called Allen Campbell's. It was a British inspired restaurant (maybe Canadian, eh) that served breakfast, lunch and dinner.


The breakfasts on the menu looked the most interesting and inspiring including a traditional British breakfast. For dinner I opted for the Celtic Stew, a savory dish of beef stew, cheddar cheese, potatoes, carrots and peas very much like my family recipe stew but a more British bland with no hot peppers or spices. Still it was tasy.


Allen Campbell's was another free wifi hotspot.

By then I thought I had exhausted my time in Grand Marais. I estimated I had walked around town for over seven miles that day. It felt like it was time to move on.
post edited by Davydd - 2010/08/14 13:40:01
#79
Davydd
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/14 14:47:19 (permalink)
The next morning I decided to head further north. Lesley, the pie expert, told me about another place I should try 18 miles up the highway in Hovland. So, instead of trying that traditional British breakfast I drove on up toward Canada.

That place is the Chicago Bay Marketplace that serves the tiny community of Hovland. Hovland used to be called Chicago Bay and there is a loop road off Highway 61 called Chicago Bay Road. The marketplace is located on Highway 61 between the two road entrances. Yes, another blink and you might miss it place.


Chicago Bay Marketplace is divided in thirds. One part is a small dining room. In the middle is a convenience grocery store and at the other end is an open kitchen and bakery. If not for this place locals and tourists would have to drive several miles for basic essentials.




Breakfast, of course called me in. I had this serviceable omelet with baked on premise tasty bread.


Of course if you come this far you cannot pass up the pie. Here is another baked on premise Blueberry Pie with one of the most delicious crusts I have tried.


Now, I think I have tried most all pies along the North Shore of note. They are all good to outstanding, but interestingly, the pies that have set the standard, Betty's Pies, for the North Shore's reputation, I believe may be the only pies that are not actually baked on premise in a restaurant kitchen and certainly not baked by the original Betty since ownership has changed hands.

After breakfast I decided to try camping in Judge C R Magney State Park. I arrived at 9 AM and found but one campsite available out of the modest number of 27. I took it but the people who pulled in right behind me were not so lucky. Encore photo of the camper van in Campsite Number 23.


After having breakfast along with a pie I needed to hike. So I headed out for the Devils Kettle Falls. First, you pass by the Upper Falls on the Brule River which is very typical of falls you find all along the North Shore.


Then you reach the Devils Kettle Falls after climbing some 200 stair steps to get a suitable view. The falls on the left fall into a hole and where the water emerges is anyone's guess, thus the Devils Kettle.


The Devils Kettle Falls is just over a mile walk up the Brule River so I decided to hike off more of that pie and continue on part of the 200+ mile Superior Hiking Trail perhaps to spot a moose (just hoping but not likely midday). Well I hiked and I hiked and finally emerged outside the park on Camp Rd 20 here. I then had to hike back. I say hike because hiking at 2 mph average in the woods is more arduous than asphalt walking at my normal 3.6 mph pace.


Thoroughly exhausted I was glad the Naniboujou Lodge was just across the road from the park. Even so I didn't walk. I drove maybe a mere quarter mile distance. Last year I reported on the Naniboujou Lodge in this thread and with photos of perhaps one of the most impressive dining rooms, not only on the North Shore, but anywhere. You can refer back to refresh. Strangely, with all that hiking my appetite was destroyed but I drank five glasses of water. I decided on the Pork Tenderloin Medallions and skipped dessert (no pies ).


The following morning I headed back to Grand Marais, had my coffee and internet session at the Java Moose again and made contact with Roadfood.com member, Nancypalooza and her friend Julie to meet at Chez Jude for lunch. She was coming up and I was on my way down passing on the North Shore. My goal was to hopefully organize an RV social dinner at Chez Jude in September. I met Chef/owner Judi Barsness to work out the logistics to make that happen. Would you believe I forgot my camera for my final meal in Grand Marais this trip? I had the Bistro Sirloin Burger similar in presentation as the Bistro Bison Burger I reported on last year in this thread. Nancypalooza snapped a photo of the Chef Judi. Maybe she can contribute to this thread.

Mission accomplished after four trips this year? I hope so, but maybe not…


There is still September to come.
#80
mar52
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/14 15:32:09 (permalink)
ENVY!!!

What a life!
#81
catherine s
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/14 16:49:59 (permalink)
Wow, thank you for the tour,  everything looks good.  Nice food and
scenery pics.
#82
agnesrob
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/15 08:02:50 (permalink)
Davydd, You have to be one of my favorite trip posters! I enjoyed rereading last years report and am thrilled you have added on things from this year. I can't wait for the rest!
#83
tcrouzer
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Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/15 09:10:24 (permalink)
Great trip report! You have become a fabulous spokesperson for that area of MN! They should offer you a free weekend campground for your efforts to promote tourism - or at least a slice of pie and cup of coffee. Thanks for your trip reports and pics!
#84
jackd418
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Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/15 14:32:23 (permalink)
All I can say is;WOW.what a fantastic trip report
#85
Nancypalooza
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Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/15 21:47:15 (permalink)
Davydd you had a lot to add!  Gorgeous pictures from last winter, and I'm so sorry we didn't make it around to the Lemon Wolf to try that hot chocolate mess--that looks insanely good.

And thanks again for being such gracious company for a hastily arranged lunch.  When I get my stuff together and post a trip report I do have pictures from our lunch, but sadly not one of us together!  And Marlene, just to make you jealous, I got to tour your RV and pet miss Callie.



#86
mar52
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Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/16 00:27:02 (permalink)
ROTFLMAO!

Nancy, did you have greasy hands?

I just love Davy's reports and want to follow all of his trips.

Unless he hikes.  Hiking is out.
#87
Davydd
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Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/16 10:19:01 (permalink)
Be careful what you ask Marlene. I made a 6 week trip out west last fall in your territory that I never wrote up. There was lots of hiking in it.
#88
Nancypalooza
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Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/16 15:03:22 (permalink)
I think Davydd would be a really good hiking buddy.  And he keeps a very clean RV--no sign of the pork tenderloin rolling cabana that you might expect.  ;)
#89
Davydd
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Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/16 15:16:25 (permalink)
For the record, I forgot to take a photo of Callie on the trip. This is she, the cat in question.


#90
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