Hot!On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin!

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buffetbuster
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2010/06/16 14:33:16 (permalink)

On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin!

Recently, cousin Johnny and I spent 10 days driving around Wisconsin.  I wasn't planning on badgering all of you with a trip report, but there were just too many really good meals.  Instead of doing the usual, "we went there and then we did this", I'm going to jump around and show the highlights.
 
We were undecided what to do on this day, but promises of scenery along the Mississippi River made us detour over to the western Wisconsin town of Pepin.  For lunch, we ate at the Roadfood reviewed Harbor View Cafe.  If you read enough reviews written by Jane & Michael, you can glean out which ones they are especially enamored with.  In the Harbor View Cafe review, J&M call it "a true gem" and "one of the finest meals along the banks of the northern Mississippi river."  Our expectations were now officially on high alert.
 
Pepin is a lovely little river town, full of all kinds of shops.  We pulled up to the nautical looking restaurant 


just a minute or two after they opened at 11:00AM, taking just a few seconds to admire the water view.

Doesn't the sign look like something you would see on Nantucket?  The inside is cozy and comfortable, with wooden book shelves lining the walls.


 
No menu here.  Everything is written in small handwriting on a chalkboard behind the bar. 

Despite the fact that we were one of the closer tables to the menuboard, I still had to get up to take a look.  Would hate to make an error in such a big decision, like what to have for lunch!  The friendly, 60ish waitress, who was a real pro, brought Johnny and I our fresh brewed unsweetened iced teas. 

After the first sip, I knew I was in the right place.  We tried to figure out what the flavor was and we overheard the waitress tell another table it was apricot in the tea. I could have drank a gallon of it.
 
Since we are both big soup lovers, we started out with the Potato Leek soup. 

Hot, creamy, with big chunks of spud, it was very good but not anything special.  Johnny especially enjoyed dunking the warm, fresh, home baked bread into the soup.

 
Entree-wise, Johnny went with the Stuffed Mushrooms with Linguini.  He was rewarded with this:


According to the Harbor View Cafe website, this dish is "made with several cheeses. lemon zest, garlic and herbs sauteed in cream, sherry and garlic, served with linguine."  We asked and were told there were five different cheeses used in this dish.  All the ingredients blended into some wonderful flavors and this dish was fantastic!
 
Mine was the Norwegian Meatballs,

which was a pork/veal blend.  The sauce includes sour cream and cardamom and although not as good as the stuffed mushrooms, was still a winner.  As for the side dish of fruit, I was convinced that they were cranberries, but Johnny thought they might have been some kind of cherry.  We meant to ask and forgot.
 
For dessert, there was no doubt that my choice was going to be the Chocolate Buttercream Pie. 

This thing was thick, sweet, but not overly rich as I thought it would have to be.  Johnny was equally as happy with his Caramel Custard.

 
Harbor View Cafe actually exceeded our high expectations and going into the last few days, we considered it to be the best meal of the trip.  And this place is no well-guarded secret as all seats were filled by 11:15AM, with a line out the door during the rest of our meal. 
 
Harbor View Cafe
First and Main
Pepin, WI
715-442-3893
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Review/23-23/harbor-view-cafe
 
Immediately after leaving here, we had another equally outstanding dining experience....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/06/16 14:40:40
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    TJ Jackson
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/16 14:39:07 (permalink)
    buffetbuster
    I wasn't planning on badgering all of you

    I could gopher a report on Minnesota.

    I'm sure it'd be in the big ten top trip reports of all time

    #2
    joerogo
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/16 14:49:45 (permalink)
    Bring it on BB!  

    I could use an education on that neck of the woods.  Just in case I head up there someday to watch a Lion rip the head off a badger.


    You didn't happen to run into that famous Wisconsinite, Booger Brad?
    #3
    buffetbuster
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/16 14:53:43 (permalink)
    TJ Jackson-Nicely done!

    JoeRogo-Of course.  You couldn't possibly go to Wisconsin without a Brad "Love the Drake" Olson sighting!
    #4
    wanderingjew
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/16 15:05:29 (permalink)
    Uh-oh- you ate food that according to Davydd  "doesn't exist". " />

    I think he might be melting as we speak!

    Good start so far- I'm wondering if those could be lingonberries
    that you had with the Norwegian Meatballs
    #5
    buffetbuster
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/16 15:07:31 (permalink)
    WJ-Lingonberries?  I didn't think about that.  I may end up calling them, because I really want to know.
    #6
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/16 15:23:33 (permalink)
    #7
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/16 15:25:29 (permalink)
    TJ Jackson

    buffetbuster
    I wasn't planning on badgering all of you

    I could gopher a report on Minnesota.

    I'm sure it'd be in the big ten top trip reports of all time


    As long as it contains lots of detail.  Nobody wants to read a spartan report.
     
    Brad
    #8
    MilwFoodlovers
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/16 15:35:44 (permalink)
    I wouldn't want to nittany pick but I'm steeled for more!
    I'm glad you loved the Harbor View. Penguin WI is a very scenic town.

    post edited by MilwFoodlovers - 2010/06/16 15:41:44
    #9
    hatteras04
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/16 16:20:40 (permalink)
    I know I'm ready to knock back a couple of boilermakers and see where you went. 
    #10
    mayor al
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/16 16:36:03 (permalink)
    OK So you played in the Great White North... Hoosier your decision maker about where to stop??  I bet you a BUCK I can tell who selected the restaurant choices for you !!

      ( OK, So I OWE A You!) 
    #11
    buffetbuster
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/16 16:43:42 (permalink)
    I believe we are just missing Illinois, Northwestern and Michigan.  Does Nebraska count yet?
    #12
    Davydd
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/16 17:09:35 (permalink)
    wanderingjew

    Uh-oh- you ate food that according to Davydd  "doesn't exist". " />

    I think he might be melting as we speak!

    Good start so far- I'm wondering if those could be lingonberries
    that you had with the Norwegian Meatballs


    wj,

    I didn't see any lefse or lutefisk on that menu board.

    The grilled pork tenderloin did catch my eye. They had the Canadian walleye too. Harbor View is a nice restaurant.
    #13
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/16 18:36:16 (permalink)
    I'd call them ligonberries also.

    the pricing looks a little steep for lunch...especially if you order three of them.  Did you feel the pricing and food quality and quantity were a match. 

    I beleive Ikea does 18 Sweedish meatballs for $3.99....
    #14
    enginecapt
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/16 19:10:05 (permalink)
    18 bucks for that plate of 'shrooms? That's an L.A., square plate, nose-in-the-air price.
    #15
    buffetbuster
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/18 10:17:14 (permalink)
    Just a few miles further up the river from Pepin is the town of Stockholm.  Even smaller than their neighbor, Stockholm is basically one block in size.  The reason for the visit was to check out the Stockholm Pie Company.  I had read rave reviews about the place before leaving on the trip and decided it had to be a must visit.
     
    I have absolutely been jonesing for a good slice of Sour Cream Raisin Pie for a while now.  Actually, ever since I had the lousy slice at Norske Nook a few months ago.  Located right on the corner, Stockholm Pie Company sure looked promising on the outside.


    There was a list of pies available that day on a post by the front door and Sour Cream Raisin was on the list.  Woo-hoo!!!!  When we walked in, two smiling women greeted us and asked how they could help us.  I scanned the inside blackboard

    and my heart immediately sank.  Sour Cream Raisin was not listed.  I asked and they told me someone had just come in and bought the entire pie.  And they only make one a day.  This put me in a foul mood for a few seconds, until I realized just how many other great choices there were to be had. 
     
    Since both Johnny and I had eaten dessert at Harbor View Cafe, we decided to only get one slice here, but get more to go.  Being a lemon lover, Johnny ordered the Double Lemon Pie. 

    As you can see, he already attacked it with a fork, before the photo could be taken.  Kudos to him for trying to fix it the best he could.  And for putting up with me.  The bottom part of the pie was a dense, sharp tasting, lemon chess pie.  The top had a light lemon custard with cut up pieces of lemon in it.   Johnny, as accomplished a pie eater as I know, called this the best pie he has ever had in his life.  And he is not one prone to hyberbole.  He visited me in Pennsylvania last weekend for a cousin's wedding and he was still talking about this pie!
     
    Once I found out that their version of the Apple Pie is "baked in a bag", similar to what they do in Mukwanago at The Elegant Farmer, that became my choice.

    The filling is layer upon layer of fresh, sweet apple and the top is more reminiscent of a cobbler or an apple crisp.  Ultra-dense, this is a substantial slice of pie.  I think it is a step lesser than The Elegant Farmer's, but a terrific slice of pie, nevertheless.
     
    The inside of Stockholm Pie Company is a long narrow hallway, with a few seats and a ledge, for pie eating. 

    There is one table by the window, which is where we sat.  While we were eating, the owner, Janet Garretson, 

    came over to check on us and we ended up chatting for a good 20 minutes.  To go, Johnny got a slice of Pecan Pie and I, a six inch Blackberry Pear.  Unfortunately, neither one got photographed, but they were every bit as good the ones we ate in house.
     
    They do make savory pies and I am still kicking myself for not sampling the pie cookies or the cinnamon rolls.

    But, my big regret is not being able to try the Sour Cream Raisin.  Janet pointed out an article, where they were written up in a Minneapolis newspaper, a copy of which hangs on the wall.  In it, the writer declares this the best Sour Cream Raisin Pie she has ever had.  GROAN!!!
     
    Stockholm Pie Company
    N2030 Spring Street
    Stockholm, WI
    715-442-5505
     
    http://thestockholmpiecompany.com/
     
    And here is the previously mentioned article, which also reviews Harbor View Cafe.
     
    http://www.citypages.com/2009-04-15/restaurants/harbor-view-cafe-norton-s-and-nosh-are-great-road-trip-restaurants/
     
    post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/06/23 08:27:06
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/18 10:22:00 (permalink)
    Well, you'll just have to go back now!  I'm with Johnny--that lemon thing looks crazy good.
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/18 10:25:11 (permalink)
    Nancy-
    I will be spending part of my weekend in Omaha.  Hopefully, I can find a good slice of Sour Cream Raisin while there.
    #18
    mayor al
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/18 12:23:13 (permalink)
    I need some one to explain something to me. In the comments about the HARBOR VIEW CAFE The thought about them serving "Canadian Walleye" was received with Positive thoughts as a good thing to see on the menu. Yet when we talk of "Imported Seafood" in terms of Crabs in  Maryland, Fish in Florida, and Shrimp everywhere, we get a real solid "it's a BAD thing". Are we we profiling the source of our seafood??? 
    #19
    buffetbuster
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/18 15:04:56 (permalink)
    ChiTownDiner
    the pricing looks a little steep for lunch...especially if you order three of them.  Did you feel the pricing and food quality and quantity were a match. 
    No doubt, this was an expensive lunch.  But, we both felt we got more than our money's worth.  It is also worth mentioning that Harbor View Cafe does not accept credit cards.

    post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/06/18 15:20:47
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    Lisajo
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/19 18:29:52 (permalink)
    Can't wait to see the rest of the trip!  I will never get out that way, so I am enjoying your trip!
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    Foodbme
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/20 01:10:38 (permalink)
    So far, no mention of the Official State Food---Bratwurst! When are we gonna hear about Brats----and WI Cheese?????? Hurry up, dying with anticipation!!
    #22
    X1
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/20 01:28:21 (permalink)
    Waiting for the rest of the report....
    #23
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/20 09:02:46 (permalink)
    We invite all of our Roadfood guests to enjoy an intermission slice of pie or perhaps some pimento cheese spread while the legendary and multi-talented buffetbuster is called upon for pinch hitting duties at the College World Series!  Stay tuned...
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    John Fox
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/20 09:21:12 (permalink)
    You people have access to Usinger's franks and bratwurst. I have to mail order them and pay as much in shipping as I do for sausage. I'm jealous.
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    Foodbme
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/20 15:02:23 (permalink)
    John Fox

    You people have access to Usinger's franks and bratwurst. I have to mail order them and pay as much in shipping as I do for sausage. I'm jealous.


    Heck, if we can get them out here in AZ, surely someone in NJ must carry them.  (Unless the NJ Hot Dog Mafia is keeping them out!) " />
    I'm sure Uinger's knows the NJ-NY Market is the largest Hot Dog Consuming section of the country.  Suggest you contact Usinger's for a Retailer near you!
    post edited by Foodbme - 2010/06/20 23:08:40
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    Big Ugly Mich
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/20 16:54:28 (permalink)
    buffetbuster I believe we are just missing Illinois, Northwestern and Michigan.  Does Nebraska count yet?
    Not while there's a Weiner and Still Champion, you're not missing Northwestern. http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/tm.aspx?m=300896&high=Weiner%2cStill+Champion
     
    Too bad you're nowhere near Milwaukee. For all my fellow Cheeseheads and Flatlanders (ie The Contingent) I'm off to Saint Roman's Festival, where my brother in law is grillmaster. It's on Bolivar off 20th Street, near the interstates.

    post edited by Big Ugly Mich - 2010/06/20 16:59:17
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    John Fox
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/20 17:31:46 (permalink)
    Foodbme

    John Fox

    You people have access to Usinger's franks and bratwurst. I have to mail order them and pay as much in shipping as I do for sausage. I'm jealous.


    Heck, if we can get them out here in AZ, surely someone in NJ must carry them.  (Unless the NJ Hot Dog Mafia is keeping them out!" />
    I'm sure Uinger's knows the NJ-NY Market is the largest Hot Dog Consuming section of the country.  Suggest you contact Usinger's for a Retailer near you!

     
    I have with no luck. There was a Foodtown near me that carried the quarter pounders for a little while. They were discontinued because they didn't sell. Go figure.
    #28
    Foodbme
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/20 23:12:12 (permalink)
    John Fox

    Foodbme

    John Fox

    You people have access to Usinger's franks and bratwurst. I have to mail order them and pay as much in shipping as I do for sausage. I'm jealous.


    Heck, if we can get them out here in AZ, surely someone in NJ must carry them.  (Unless the NJ Hot Dog Mafia is keeping them out!" />
    I'm sure Uinger's knows the NJ-NY Market is the largest Hot Dog Consuming section of the country.  Suggest you contact Usinger's for a Retailer near you!

     
    I have with no luck. There was a Foodtown near me that carried the quarter pounders for a little while. They were discontinued because they didn't sell. Go figure.


    Check Kroger or any of their subsidiary companies. That's who carries them out here. (Fry's Markets in AZ)
    #29
    douginvirginia
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    Re:On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin! 2010/06/21 07:16:03 (permalink)
    mayor al

    I need some one to explain something to me. In the comments about the HARBOR VIEW CAFE The thought about them serving "Canadian Walleye" was received with Positive thoughts as a good thing to see on the menu. Yet when we talk of "Imported Seafood" in terms of Crabs in  Maryland, Fish in Florida, and Shrimp everywhere, we get a real solid "it's a BAD thing". Are we we profiling the source of our seafood??? 


    Mr. Mayor,
     
    There is no commercial walleye fishery in Wisconson (probably in the entire US). Thus, you'd have to catch your own, or have a good friend. That said, regardless of which side of the border it comes from, walleye is some of the best eatin' you'll ever have. 
    #30
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