The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota

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MiamiDon
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/09 09:08:36 (permalink)
What a great trip report, Nancy!  A lot of excellent food photos.  Are you sure you're not a closet food-stylist?  I love your choices of restaurants and dishes.  I think I'd trade your root beers for Julie's beers, though!
 
In the pizza photo, what is the brown (?) stuff squiggled all over the plate?
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Greymo
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/09 09:23:41 (permalink)
Nancy, this is one outstanding report.  I have enjoyed every minute reading it.  My granddaughter  got a real big kick out of the name of the restaurant, " Amazing Grace" because that is what her  basketball coach calls her!
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Nancypalooza
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/09 09:26:00 (permalink)
Nina I think they had t-shirts!  I bet they'd send you one.
 
Thanks again everybody for all the nice words.  Don I know some actual food stylists and I am not nearly meticulous enough for that job, by a long shot.  Come look at my house sometime if you don't believe me.  That was a balsamic syrup on top of the pizza, and I kind of made a joke in one of the flickr pictures about Julie 'introducing' the beer she's drinking, but she's really licking that syrup off her fingers.  It was a great addition but it got everywhere.
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Ralph Melton
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/09 10:07:10 (permalink)
Nancypalooza
Now here's where you know I'm a Roadfooder, because I don't have a picture of Davydd, but I have a picture of his lunch:

 
This line made me laugh out loud!
#34
mr chips
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/09 10:30:42 (permalink)
Every chapter keeps getting better and better, Nancy.
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Nancypalooza
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/09 23:38:01 (permalink)
Just a few more things before I close this out.
 
On the way back down what I guess is the scenic old route 61 from Grand Marais, we were scouting someplace for candy and happened upon the Great Lakes Candy Kitchen:
 

 
The couple running the place were super helpful--the husband kept pressing freebies on Julie--but we managed to get out of there without going too far overboard.   We got salt caramels for me and toasted coconut haystacks for Julie:
 

 
My only quibble was that I wished more of the salt had stayed stuck to the caramel, but otherwise it was very smooth and creamy, and the haystacks were good too.  We also took some fudge back to Julie's sister and brother in law, and some adorable chocolates in a shell that looked like tiny lake pebbles for their boys.  We were rewarded with my brother in law's ribs and the best sweet corn you will ever eat:
 

 
To me, that corn this time of year is the only thing you should never leave Minnesota without having.  It's just like manna from heaven.
 
Locales south of the Twin Cities (up to now we've been really far north): I don't have pictures from this place, but we had dinner one night at Pub 500 in Mankato, a very nicely appointed brewpub/sports bar type joint in a newly renovated space downtown.  I was nursing the end of an upset stomach at the time so I went really easy, but what I had was memorable.  Their menu touts a pulled turkey, available in a sandwich and I think topping a salad, and I was dubious at first but it was scrumptious.  Very moist and tender and with just a slight smokiness.  Other highlights were very good onion rings and homemade potato chips, and a really great selection of beers.
 
Another dinner happened at a place called Kokomo's Bar and Char Grill in the hopping borough of Cleveland, MN.  The thing you have to get over first is the incongruity of a Florida-style-decor place in what is literally a crossroads town in the middle of what seems like interminable farmland as far as the eye can see.  Most of the dishes on the menu have tropically derived names as well, even though the food is straight-up Minnesota.  For instance, let's peruse my salad plate:
 

 
I do not shy from pointing out that there are five different mayonnaise preparations on that plate, and three of them are pasta salads.  They like mayonnaise in Minnesota.  Hell, throw in a congealed salad and a ham biscuit and you have Sunday Lutheran church lunch.  The salad bar and a couple of soups were provided with any entree, and this was a pretty good salad bar.  At Kokomo's I had my walleye broiled:
 

 
And this was actually really good.  My father-in-law had a beautiful piece of prime rib but I let the man eat in peace.  Julie and her mother both had a special, I think a small steak with shrimp and their complaint was that the mashed potatoes were out of a box.  For shame, Kokomo's!
 
One day for lunch I requested that we go back to the Dam Store in Rapidan; I've posted a bit of their stuff before, particularly their sour cream raisin pie.  The best things at the Rapidan Dam Store are the milkshakes and the pies, and I had become consumed with the idea of getting them to put one of each together for me.  Since we were visiting on a Saturday afternoon, they were slammed.  I waited patiently until the lady came to our table and I asked her if they made pie shakes.  She said no, and I asked her if they'd be willing to charge me for both a piece of pie and a shake and put them together.  She went over to the guy manning the counter to confer.  She was confused but thought they'd give it a try--she was very concerned about the presence of the crust.  I told her I was okay with that and thought it might be really good; she even took me over to the case to show me which were the one-crust pies.  I perused the pie board:
 

 
She suggested a cream pie thinking that would go better, but I told her I wanted to try the river berry pie (their name for the usual four-berry) in a vanilla milkshake.  We also ordered a couple of burgers and tried one of the specials, a pulled pork sandwich.  The gentleman behind the counter got to work:
 

 
And after a few minutes he brought it over himself:
 

 
I think he thought I was maybe a tiny bit out of my tree but was very eager to see what I thought.  This is what the shake looked like:
 

 
The flavor was exactly what I'd hoped for, very fruity and sweet.  I think they had either removed some of the crust from the pie or had thoroughly pulverized it.  I got just a couple of tiny bits through the straw.  At any rate I don't think I've had as lovingly prepared a milkshake as this in my near memory.  Thank you ma'am and sir!  Thanks for taking a chance on a crazy kid with a dream!  The guy ran after me after I left to give me a postcard showing the dam right after its construction.  He's clearly very proud of his place, and should be.
 
The food at the Dam Store is good but doesn't hold up to a place like the Trail Center for instance.  The burgers:
 

 
benefit mainly from that healthy slab of grilled onion.  The meat seems fresh but prepackaged and it's just a store-bought bun.  Julie thought the pulled pork was pretty bland--you can tell it's basically unseasoned:
 

 
You know when she and I first met and I told her what was good around here (barbecue, sweet tea, etc.) she made a face, and now I know why--I think this is what she was used to for barbecue.  It's not bad, it just hasn't discovered its potential yet.
 
The following weekend we attended the Dakota County Fair, mostly for the purpose of watching our nephews engage in something called "mutton busting."  Mutton busting, for the uninitiated, is an entertainment that basically consists of adults throwing unsuspecting small children on the backs of equally clueless sheep, to gutbustingly hilarious results.  The poor children in question's father had done us the service of visiting the fair a few days earlier "to check out the cheese curds for Nancy."  Which I appreciated no end.  He steered us right:
 

 
And for the education of those unfamiliar with these, I caught a picture of some in their pre-fried condition at the grocery store:
 

 
I can't imagine they taste anywhere as good before frying. 
 
That's all I've got.  Thanks for coming along, and especially thanks for all the encouraging words.  I'm gonna close the way the cool kids do nowadays.  Please visit the establishments that have caught your eye:
 
Amazing Grace Bakery & Cafe
394 South Lake Avenue
Duluth, MN 55802-2325
(218) 723-0075
 
Hell Burgers
310 South Lake Avenue
Duluth, MN 55802-2372
(218) 727-1620
 
At Sara's Table Chester Creek Cafe
1902 E. 8th St.
Duluth MN 55812
218-724-6811
 
New Scenic Cafe
5461 North Shore Drive
Duluth, MN 55804-2918
(218) 525-6274
 
Bridgeman's Ice Cream
200 W 1st Street
DuluthMN, 55802
 
Fitgers Brewhouse Brewery & Grille
600 East Superior Street
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 279-2739
 
Takk for Maten
11 E Superior St
Duluth, Minnesota 55802
(218) 464-1260
 
Chez Jude
411 Minnesota 61
Grand Marais, MN 55604
(218) 387-9113
 
Dockside Fish Market
418 Minnesota 61
Grand Marais, MN 55604-2334
(218) 387-2906
 
World's Best Donuts
10 E Wisconsin St
P.O. Box 1272
Grand Marais, MN-55604
(218)387-1345
 
The Pie Place
2017 W Highway 61
Grand Marais, MN 55604
(218) 387-1513
 
Great! Lakes Candy Kitchen
223 SCENIC DR.
P O BOX 27
KNIFE RIVER, MN.55609
 
Pub 500
500 South Front Street
Mankato, MN 56001-3717
(507) 625-6500
 
Kokomo's Bar & Char Grille
114 10th St S
Cleveland, MN 56017
507-931-6410
 
The Dam Store
Rapidan, MN
 
#36
wanderingjew
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/10 08:08:33 (permalink)
So you followed me up to Grand Marais? Or was it the other way around?
 
Funny you mentioned me regarding Takk for Maten. I strongly considered going there if I had time to explore Duluth, but I had so much ground to cover in such a short time that unfortunately this part of the trip got scrapped in the early planning stages.
 
Everything looks great!
#37
Nancypalooza
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/10 08:55:18 (permalink)
I think you followed me--we were there the second full week of August, and very sad we were going to miss the State Fair.  
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wanderingjew
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/10 09:10:43 (permalink)
Nancypalooza

I think you followed me--we were there the second full week of August, and very sad we were going to miss the State Fair.  


Bummer, I hit the state fair on Labor Day- the day I flew back home. I had a blast. It was my second visit- I ate well(my eventual final chapter of the trip) and my only wish was if only  I had room eat more!
#39
Davydd
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/10 09:37:14 (permalink)
Nancy hit the North Shore before you Dale. Between the three of us we may have it scoured of all the eateries. This week I had a Philly Cheesesteak at My Sister's Place to see if it might be "authentic", finally an Uffda Zah pizza At Sven & Ole's, whitefish at the Angry Trout and again whitefish en parchment at Chez Jude. En parchment comes with scissors to unwrap. Today is wood-fired homemade pizza day up on the Gunflint Trail.

We solved the the eating dilemma at the Minnesota State Fair this year. We paced ourselves and went twice. That was a first for us.

No pies yet. We hope to have pie at our potluck dinner tomorrow wood-fire brick oven baked by the best baker of all on the North Shore. We are promised Fruits of the Forest actual hand picked wild blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and apples from the Gunflint Trail.
#40
Nancypalooza
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/10 10:52:23 (permalink)
Davydd I'm gonna be really excited to see whatever you post from this get together!  I do think between the three of us the area has probably been put to bed.  :)
#41
wanderingjew
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/10 11:02:02 (permalink)
Davydd

No pies yet. We hope to have pie at our potluck dinner tomorrow wood-fire brick oven baked by the best baker of all on the North Shore. We are promised Fruits of the Forest actual hand picked wild blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and apples from the Gunflint Trail.


Is that Buffetbuster I hear crying in the background?
#42
swabby4862
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/13 22:39:00 (permalink)
Fascinating reading, we're longtime, frequent visitors of the North Shore and lovers of its pie. You hit some of our favorite places and some that we haven't been to yet. One place easy to overlook is the Satellite in Schroeder. Fantastic Swedish meatballs, and they have great pie too!
#43
Nancypalooza
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/13 22:43:14 (permalink)
Swabby thanks for the words and the recommendation.  Since we're usually trying to make time on our way up North we miss a lot of the joints in the little towns nearby.  Will have to check out the Satellite.
#44
swabby4862
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/13 23:03:29 (permalink)
I forgot... anyone going to north central or northeastern Minnesota should stop at Tobie's in Hinckley. Best caramel rolls in the state (possible exception of Lange's Cafe in Pipestone). Also, glad to see you skipped the over-rated Betty's Pies; the nearby Rustic Inn has fantastic food and its pie beats Betty's, hands down.
#45
Michael Hoffman
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/13 23:23:02 (permalink)
I don't really need this crap, you know. I don't have to get back to northern Minnesota for anything. There's nothing there that I absolutely need. I hate the area. I never want to see it again.

Damn! I really want to go back.
#46
Nancypalooza
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/14 09:07:50 (permalink)
;)  The loons are calling you.
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agnesrob
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/14 09:42:35 (permalink)
Thanks for taking the time to post this trip report Nancy! I've rally enjoyed reading it.
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kland01s
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/14 10:23:51 (permalink)
Michael Hoffman

I don't really need this crap, you know. I don't have to get back to northern Minnesota for anything. There's nothing there that I absolutely need. I hate the area. I never want to see it again.

Damn! I really want to go back.

 
I'm with you Michael, it's been too long for me too! Right now is the perfect time of the year to go feel that crisp clear air and listen to waves crashing on the rocks!
#49
Wintem01
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/14 10:58:42 (permalink)
" I ate like the undead." HA!! I like that one.
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Davydd
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/14 17:04:49 (permalink)
Michael Hoffman

>Mr. Chips, check out the books written by William Kent Krueger, the Cork O'Connor series. They capture the essense of Northern Minnesota. <

How about Sigurd Olson?


Mr Chips original question was about mysteries and mystery writers. Sigurd Olson wrote about the place and nature but didn't write mystery novels.
#51
Davydd
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/14 17:13:39 (permalink)
I just got off the Sawbill Trail camping at the edge of the BWCAW and previously Trails End campground at the very end of the Gunflint Trail, but I did spend 5 more days in Grand Marais. All told I think I have spent a total of three weeks spanning over 5 trips up there this year. Didn't have much time to get on the internet or even have access at all at times.
#52
TnTinCT
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/15 12:32:55 (permalink)
Really enjoy your stories, and the food pics tie it all together - thanks for a great read!
#53
Michael Hoffman
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/15 13:17:28 (permalink)
>Mr Chips original question was about mysteries and mystery writers.<
 
Obviously, I missed the original question.
#54
mar52
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/15 15:08:16 (permalink)
I am thoroughly impressed!
Scouting for candy!
Your food choices are outstanding and your descriptions are as well.
I can't stand this double spacing!
 
I want to taste everything and maybe one of these days I'll get there.
HOPING!
 
#55
Davydd
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/15 15:40:03 (permalink)
mar52
I want to taste everything and maybe one of these days I'll get there.
HOPING!


Marlene,
 
Now if you had purchased my B Camper Van RV you could have gone to our BEE Social Group rally in Grand Marais last week.   We had people from AZ, KS, WA, MO, IL, IN, MI, WI, NJ, CT, TX and MN attending. I sampled more food including the absolutely best pies on the North Shore.
 
#56
Nancypalooza
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/15 15:41:35 (permalink)
Now he's just being obnoxious, Marlene.  ;)
#57
mr chips
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/15 23:08:05 (permalink)
Many thanks, Davy for the recommendation of Mr. Kreuger's work. i finished "Red Knife" and "Boundary Waters" and loved the sense of place in both the works.  They were great reads and good mysteries with mysteries i found interesting. it is always exciting to me when a mystery writer can open my eyes to a new place.
#58
mar52
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/16 02:22:26 (permalink)
Davy!  Did you sell my camper without telling me?
Really now!  I want first dibs!  Then you can drive it to me because I still have to work.
#59
Davydd
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Re:The Wolf's Nose: Duluth, Grand Marais, and assorted small towns of Minnesota 2010/09/16 10:15:41 (permalink)
Marlene,
 
NancyPalooza got to see it but she didn't buy it. I still have it but I tell ya, I am Jonesing for a new one after 5 years and 60,000 miles on the road and knowing now exactly what I want. The B camper van is fine but there are just a few things I would like to improve on such as being able to carry our inflatable kayaks inside the van and having two batteries to extend boondocking off the electrical, cellular grid.
#60
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