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

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Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/12 22:08:19
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.
Davydd
Sirloin
Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odyssey 2010/08/12 22:45:45
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
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/12 22:58:30
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.


myterry2
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/12 23:11:14
Just might be the best report ever by anyone...super great!
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/12 23:41:27
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.
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/13 00:02:11
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.
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/13 00:26:01
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!)
Davydd
Sirloin
Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odyssey 2010/08/13 00:54:11
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
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 00:59:43
Mar52,

The RV will make an encore debut soon.
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 12:12:13
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.
buffetbuster
Porterhouse
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 13:30:17
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.
hatteras04
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 13:43:35
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).
Sundancer7
Fire Safety Admin
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 13:47:22
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
Knoxville, TN
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 19:25:13
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
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 19:52:11
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
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 21:06:06
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.
Ahi Mpls.
Double Cheeseburger
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/13 21:08:07
  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!)   
kland01s
Filet Mignon
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/14 07:38:55
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.
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/14 13:32:35
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
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/14 14:47:19
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.
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/14 15:32:09
ENVY!!!

What a life!
catherine s
Junior Burger
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/14 16:49:59
Wow, thank you for the tour,  everything looks good.  Nice food and
scenery pics.
agnesrob
Double Chili Cheeseburger
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/15 08:02:50
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!
tcrouzer
Cheeseburger
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - a Culinary Odys 2010/08/15 09:10:24
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!
jackd418
Junior Burger
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/15 14:32:23
All I can say is;WOW.what a fantastic trip report
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/15 21:47:15
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.



mar52
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/16 00:27:02
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.
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/16 10:19:01
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.
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/16 15:03:22
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.  ;)
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/08/16 15:16:25
For the record, I forgot to take a photo of Callie on the trip. This is she, the cat in question.


Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/17 13:46:20
Since my fourth trip this year to the North Shore I personally had the good fortune to meet with both NancyPalooza and wanderingjew just before they embarked on roadfood tours of the North Shore themselves. So, the area has been well tread this year with their recent trip reports here…

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

and here…

wanderingjew's, Heartland Through the Breadbasket

What else could I add? We had compared notes and they added new and fresh slants on the area. Still, I had an agenda for my fifth trip of the year to the North Shore, Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail. My wife and I were hosting the Northern Minnesota BSG Social in Grand Marais. BSG stands for BEE Social Group, or a very loosely organized group of Class B RV camper van owners that agree to get together at a campground on a given date. I was challenged by the group last April in Kerrville, Texas to come up with a place in Minnesota. I stated at the time, since most socials had taken place in the warmer climes (Moab UT, Pagosa Springs CO, Lafayette LA, Niobrara NE) that I doubt anyone would come. As it turned out 18 RVs from 12 states did come. It did turn a little cold and they may all be happy to return again to the warmth of Tombstone, Arizona the next social in April.

Our trip from the Twin Cities to Grand Marais was a circuitous trip by first heading south to La Crosse, WI to visit the grandsons and make the next leg to the Brat Challenge in Pewaukee where I posted my photos of that event.

We then headed onto the North Shore via Northern Wisconsin camping at a national forest campground near Eagle River, WI, a north woods lake area I vacationed numerous times back in the 50s with my family driving non-stop from Indianapolis overnight to arrive on a Saturday afternoon. That area has fond memories.

We had breakfast at Faye's Dinky Diner in Eagle River. The diner has three booths and 8 stools. Now that's dinky, but there was nothing dinky about the food. I had this Philly Skillet of shaved prime rib, onion, green peppers and melted swiss cheese topped with two eggs over easy.



I had reported on Faye's Dinky Diner from another trip about their pork tenderloin sandwich. Sad to say I did not see it in their new menu.

We headed on to the Minnesota North Shore in a downpour of rain and arrived two days earlier than we had planned in Grand Marais in hopes of finding better weather. We did managed to drive through and out of the rain.
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/17 14:06:43
Our first night in Grand Marais I finally gave in and visited Sven & Ole's Pizza. That completed my tour of nearly 25 eateries over the past couple of years in town save for the Dairy Queen and Subway.

Sven & Ole's has an order counter where you take a number and then have your pizza delivered to your table when ready. If you want a beer you have to go up to the mezzanine Pickled Herring Club and get it yourself. The interior is a typical north words motif complete with tin ceiling, old signs, skis, snowshoes, lumberjacking tools and the obligatory deer or moose heads on the walls.



The pizza surprisingly was not that bad. We opted for a generous 12" size Uffda Zah comprising of the common ingredients of Italian sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, green peppers and onions.



They had a similar wild rice version, but Nancy talked me out of it. Wild rice pizza would be had later anyway.

Did I say Pickled Herring Club? I guess pickled herring is Scandinavian. The mezzanine bar is kind of an intimate place to enjoy a beer.
post edited by Davydd - 2010/09/17 14:12:33
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/17 14:38:29
If you are going to eat like we had been eating one had better get some exercise. So the next morning we set out for the Oberg and LeVeaux Loop hikes near Lutsen that are part of the Superior Hiking Trail.



The Oberg Loop is a 2.25 mile walk with several vista views like this one of Lake Superior.



The LeVeaux Loop is a longer more dense woodsy hike of 3.5 miles crossing the Onion River on the Superior Hiking Trail. We came across this interesting ladder of shelf mushrooms climbing a dead birch tree.



We hiked one after another and then returned to Grand Marais and stopped at the Java Moose for a cup of coffee and check in on the Internet. The Java Moose offers free internet access. This is their stained glass sign. It is meant to be read from the outside but the photo was better with the outdoor backlight shooting from inside so in order to get the word "Java" to read correctly I flipped the photo in editing.



  We were still a day early for the social so that evening we went to the Angry Trout Cafe for dinner. Wanderingjew showed you and had this same dinner only mine was Whitefish instead of Lake Trout.



post edited by Davydd - 2010/09/17 14:41:41
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/17 15:09:51
Thursday arrived and was the day most everyone would show up for the Social. We hiked the trails in Cascade River State Park that morning for about 2 miles along the Lake Superior shore and then up to More Mountain mostly on the snowless but grassy cross country ski trails for a total of about 8 miles in all. In the past we had hiked up to Lookout Mountain and up and down the Cascade River. So all in all we have pretty much covered the park.

That gave us enough appetite to hit My Sister's Place, a bar/restaurant on Highway 61 on the east end of town. I had this Philly Cheesesteak sandwich with a cup of Beef Stroganoff, the soup of the day. The sandwich was tasty but the purist are going to cry since they used mozzarella cheese instead of provolone.



That afternoon people started arriving for the Social. The campground started filling up with Class B camper vans.



I originally tried to reserve Chez Jude for a first night group dinner but found trying to get everyone to respond and commit was like trying to herd cats. It just could not be done since many were on the road already and had no or sporadic access to the internet. Still we mustered enough to commandeer the upstairs dining room.



I ordered the Lake Superior Whitefish en Papillote w/Lobster Lemon Dill Butter
in parchment pouch, autumn vegetables, trio of potatoes with a dinner salad.



This is in the parchment pouch that comes with scissors to open it. The whitefish is baked with the vegetables.



Now I am going to have to disappoint you. After I opened the pouch the sun had set and my camera focus malfunctioned and I ruined all three shots. Just imagine a delicious piece of whitefish with various steam baked vegetables.
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/17 15:36:02
On my last trip up to the North Shore I met with George and Lesley who live a few miles up the Gunflint Trail. They had just bought a camper van and wanted to join in with our social. I previously reported about them. This was very fortuitous since they offered to host a pizza party for our group. So we made plans for a Friday afternoon. They were very well organized in that they started advertising and doing this on Thursday and Saturday evenings during the summer to help amortize the cost of their oven that was built on-site by a North House Folk School class a couple of years ago. They said they usually got less than 10 people. We were a group of over 30.

Most of us took a bus from the campground and arrived at about 1 PM. The brick oven was already fired at over 800 degrees. Toppings were set up on the screen porch and Lesley's plan was to take three pizzas at a time and baked them. Most baked under 5 minutes. The weather was perfect and no one could complain about his/her pizza since each was responsible for making his/her own.

Arriving at George and Lesley's Pizza party on the Gunflint Trail.


George and Lesley at their wood-fired brick oven. George described the routine for us to follow so from beginning to end we would not lose track of our pizza.


Making your own pizza. All the toppings were laid out and labeled.


Even the wasp likes the prepped pizza before it is baked.


Pizzas going into the oven.


My pizza was the 30th out of the oven. I topped mine half and half. One side I did traditional with marinara sauce and the usual traditional ingredients. On the other side I used pesto sauce along with wild rice.

Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/17 15:52:12
So how was pesto-wild rice pizza?  It sounds great.
 
I think your papillote picture is awesome just as it is--there's something so exciting about the bag unopened.  Is there a fish inside, or a million dollars?
 
Terrific pictures!  Even the Sven & Ole's pizza looks delicious!
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/17 16:20:54
Davydd

I ordered the Lake Superior Whitefish en Papillote w/Lobster Lemon Dill Butter
in parchment pouch, autumn vegetables, trio of potatoes with a dinner salad.



 
How is the Sir Duluth Oatmeal Stout?  The only Lake Superior products I've had are the Special Ale and Kayak Kolsch so I'll have to look for it next summer.
 
Brad
TJ Jackson
Filet Mignon
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/17 16:42:47
Your piece of corn was somewhat larger than WJ's
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/17 16:52:00
TJ I think Dale got a plate where somebody was trying to stretch a supply.  :)
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/17 19:49:23
The Lake Superior Oatmeal Stout is excellent. I also had the others on this trip as well as some Surly brews I brought along myself and at the the Gunflint Tavern.
 
The pesto wild rice pizza was also good. Most people that tried it raved about the wild rice. I guess it goes well with pizza but I doubt you will find it anywhere but in Grand Marais at Sven & Ole's. I've never seen it anywhere else.
 
If you want a larger ear of corn you've got to learn to set your camera down on the table at the beginning. It could make them nervous and search out a better ear.
 
BTW, I am about half way through the week on this trip report.
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/17 22:31:54
Did I mention Grand Marais is a walkable city? Yes I did for a few of reasons. One, you can get around everywhere; two, there are a lot of interesting places; and three, you do have to walk off all those food opportunities. Both NancyPalooza and wanderingjew easily discovered Artist Point, a breakwater that protects the bay. One end terminates into a lighthouse. The other point, the artist point, is a difficult rock climb that just terminates into a point when you emerge from a woods or the craggy shoreline and points northeast to Isle Royale National Park.

 
Going the other direction you'll find a concrete wall that leads to the lighthouse point buffered by granite stones. There are many loose stones and both NancyPalooza and wanderingjew discovered these in their reports. Those loose stones are randomly stacked by the many hikers. They are known as cairns. In this instance, there is no reason other than for fun and creativity. On rocky hiking trails where there is no discernible path they are purposely stacked to show the way. They are also know as hoodoos all along the Lake Superior North Shore through Ontario, Canada. Where there is a loose rock humans must stack. And why not?

Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/18 16:46:56
Saturday afternoon a lot of us went on a pub crawl. That meant The Gunflint Tavern and My Sister's Place. Our first stop was the Gunflint Tavern. We all walked into town from the campground. The men had one single minded intention. The women were going to shop but it seems the Gunflint Tavern was a priority for all.



What I like about the Gunflint Tavern is it is one of the few places outside of the Twin Cities that serves Surly brews, a craft brewery in the Twin Cities that features Furious, Bender, Coffee Bender and Cynic brews. They are indeed Surly and becoming one of my favorites.

Surly Brewing Co.

But the main attraction was not the beer but the more healthful "salad" for a few.



There were some more serious luncheon eats in this Bruschetta appetizer.


…and this Grilled Walleye sandwich.


Our next stop was My Sister's Place sans the women to drink more beer out of a Mason jar this time. The women did go shopping.


Those red plaid shirts and jackets are not hung there by the customers. It is part of the decor along with animal skins tacked to the ceiling and the usual north woods kitsch on the walls. Under previous ownership if sisters came in to the bar and got their pictures taken the owner tacked them up on the wall at the bar. We went looking the pictures and found them on the women's restroom door hidden around the corner.  I'm not sure if that is a message or not.
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/18 16:52:33
What was on the bruschetta?  It looks great.
 
Tell the truth.  You guys without the ladies around were thinking maybe the pictures were naughty?
wanderingjew
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/18 19:11:24
Nancypalooza

TJ I think Dale got a plate where somebody was trying to stretch a supply.  :)


That's it! I'm asking for my money back!!
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/20 20:34:46
The night you've been waiting for. No restaurant but PIES!

We had our social tradition of a Saturday night potluck dinner where each RV made a special dish to share. I had reported about my stews in a cast iron Dutch oven pot on two previous social Roadfood.com trip reports to Lafayette, LA and Moab, UT, but this time my wife Nancy volunteered to make wanderingjew's favorite Minnesota roadfood pursuit - the Wild Rice Hot Dish but without the Tator Tots. Too bad he couldn't join us.
 
If she were going to take over the duties at this social I only insisted she use Minnesota hand harvested and native processed true wild rice. If you are curious about what I am writing about, I invite you to read this Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine article, After the Harvest

Seeing the various potluck plates probably will not excite many. What people choose varies in the millions of possible combinations. I'll spare you the counter.


So let's just get to the pies. In this overall thread I believe I have probably sampled all the pies along the North Shore and previously alluded the best was to come. We are talking about Lesley's pies. Lesley is a native New Zealander living on the Gunflint Trail. She and George had the wood-fired brick oven built for breads, pizzas and pies. I'm not sure any restaurants bake on the North Shore a pie in a wood-fired brick oven. There is a difference. No you cannot tell by taste. There is no wood-smoke flavor imparted since all the embers are raked out and the hearth swabbed before baking bread and pies. What it is, is the combination of radiant deep heat from the dome and conducted heat from the hearth to give an overall bake no regular oven can equal. Well, you'll just have to trust me on that if you have never had a wood-fired brick oven pie. If you don't believe me, believe the mind can make it so.    I might add the pedigree of Lesley's pies are that of previous best sellers at the Grand Marais Farmer's Market and dessert offerings at a Gunflint Trail Lodge.

Clear the counter. Bring on the pies.


The first pie sampled was the Fruits of the Forest. This was no SYSCO pie as I believe one person mentioned in another thread that from which all fruits of the forest pies come. This was the real thing of wild picked blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries.


Followed with a traditional Rhubarb and Raspberry pie.


The potluck dinner pretty much wrapped up the social save for the Sunday morning goodbyes and departing. A few of us caravanned up the Gunflint Trail Sunday for some more surprises to come.
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/21 14:30:42
Lesley's pies are *gorgeous.*
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/21 21:54:42
Sunday morning we all said our goodbyes and fond farewells at the Social. Some were planning to stay at least another day. We were heading up the Gunflint Trail and as it turned out two other Bs were planning to follow us up. So the way we went.

We got a late start so I figured we would make the Trail Center Cafe for lunch. We arrived at about 11:30 AM only to see this on a table as we walked in.


The lady had two pancakes larger than the amply large plate. It appeared she ordered more than she bargained for. That was also the clue. On Sunday breakfast lasted until noon before they switched over to a lunch menu. Either that or we could twitter around and wait another half hour. We decided to order breakfasts.



The Hash Browns


Something like a garbage plate?


Wild Rice Cakes


It's worth looking around. The Trail Center is Esquire Magazine's  highest ranked Minnesota Bar and one of the Top 10 in the nation. It is one of the first stops for canoers coming off the BWCAW and where snowmobilers meet skiers in the winter. I've shown you north woods bars with everything tacked onto the walls and ceilings. I believe this one tops them all.

Ceiling over the bar


The bar


Chairs nailed to the ceiling?


Entry wall after walking through a gift shop.


Old time piano. Have no idea if it is used.


South wall.


That was halfway up the trail. We drove onward another 20 miles to the recently opened Chik Wauk Museum dedicated to the history of the Gunflint Trail and its early pioneers. This was once a Lodge that was just recently converted to a museum and opened in July of this year.


Inside are exhibits..


Dominated by a huge central stone fireplace and the customary moose head of course.


The pay off for this trip was at the end, Trails End National Forest Campground. As luck would have it, we found three sites in a row.


Our view from Campground No. 6 looking out toward the BWCAW


And the river flowing into the lake


We closed out the day with a campfire and leftovers for dinner. That's the good life.

 
I think this is the third time in this thread alone I have ended a day at Trails End. As you can gather I don't get enough of it and it is always sad when we leave. But we have two more days.
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/21 23:26:55
I can't wait!
Wintem01
Cheeseburger
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/22 13:21:22
The Philly Skillet is my kind of breakfast and I love the sign on the piano. Great report!!
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/24 07:52:10
This most recent report is wonderful. With you ,Dale and Nancy all reporting from the north country, I have areal hankering to visit there. thanks for sharing.
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/26 19:04:38
Once again we broke camp at the Gunflint Trails End Campground and said our goodbyes to our traveling friends from Texas and Wisconsin. We ambled back down the Trail checking out some of the other campgrounds and many of the lodges for future reference. We stopped for lunch at the Windingo Lodge about midway up the Trail on Poplar Lake. This lodge is not the prettiest site on the lake. It is an oversized out of proportion building. I believe this is a rebuild after a fire.

Windingo Lodge


The lunch was OK but it certainly was not of the calibre of Trail Center Cafe less than a half mile away or the Red Paddle Bistro at the Gunflint Lodge 20 miles up the Trail. Nancy had the BLT and I had a Denver omelet.





Before we got off the Trail we encountered a bald eagle and a turkey vulture hovering in the same area. So we stopped to investigate. It turned out there was a dead deer in the woods and it had already been pecked considerably. Sorry, no picture for you of the grisly scene but here is one of the bald eagle before we spooked it deeper into the woods. This is a hand-held shot using my 300mm DSLR telephoto lens.



In Cook County, the northernmost county up the North Shore are three dead end road trails terminating at the BWCAW. The longest is the Gunflint and it is paved. The other two are gravel roads and are called the Arrowhead and the Sawbill Trails. We haven't traveled the Arrowhead yet but we were taking our second trip up the Sawbill. The Sawbill was where I captured the moose shots previously. NancyPalooza called the area the Wolf's Nose in her report. It certainly could be interpreted as that but most call it the Arrowhead in references. Maybe because Arrowhead Realty might be a tad more appropriate than Wolf's Nose Realty for a business name.

What do you see? Arrowhead or Wolf's Nose?


The Sawbill Trail is every bit as alluring as the Gunflint Trail. There is much less development since it is mostly all forests for its full length with the exception of the beginning few miles of paved road. We explored this area last May. This time we camped, if you call it camping, at the Sawbill Lake National Forest Campground. This is camping. Sleeping in the B van and making campfires. We grilled our brats on this campfire for dinner.


Once again our campsite was on a lake, the Sawbill Lake, and look across into the BWCA.


The Sawbill is another embarking and debarking place for canoeist. So, the first connection to civilization on coming out of the wilderness is in Tofte at the end of a 24 mile drive where right across the road intersection with US 61 is the Coho Cafe Bakery & Deli. Our goal that morning was to stop at the Lemon Wolf Cafe down the road in Beaver Bay, but we too as did wanderingjew found it closed on Mondays. Luckily, we decided to stop at the Coho Cafe if for nothing but coffee. It turned out to be fortuitous and we stayed for breakfast.

The Coho Cafe


The Coho Cafe is an order at the counter and take a number place and have your food delivered to the table except dinner is full service. Nancy had an Eggs Benedict Wrap.


I had the Sunrise Breakfast Pizza


What we didn't try but would have if we weren't planning on stopping at the, as it turned out, closed Lemon Wolf Cafe was their full array of baked on premise pastries, pies and cakes. Definitely another stop is anticipated in the future.




From there we beat it straight home. I think after 5 trips this year we have exhausted the season and the North Shore. We do have the itch to head north again but may aim for Voyagers National Park. We have been to most of the national parks in this country but have never been to Voyagers in our home state.
Nancypalooza
Filet Mignon
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/26 20:11:38
I was really jealous when I first saw the picture of the bakery case--looks awesome.  And that breakfast pizza doesn't look half bad either.  I'm so glad you put an establishing map in here--all these little town names don't make so much sense together unless you see the layout of how they're related.  I didn't think this thread could get better, and there you go, it is.  :)
mar52
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/26 22:51:38
Awesome pictures!  That eagle is magnificent.
 
How close did you park from that rock???
mr chips
Filet Mignon
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/27 00:56:40
Really enjoying the photos and the commentary.
kland01s
Filet Mignon
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/27 10:04:22
The Coho Cafe is part of Bluefin Bay resort, we've stayed there a number of times but only ate at Coho once. We try to try someplace new every meal. The cove there is exceptionally pretty.
Davydd
Sirloin
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/27 15:02:02
kland01s

The Coho Cafe is part of Bluefin Bay resort, we've stayed there a number of times but only ate at Coho once. We try to try someplace new every meal. The cove there is exceptionally pretty.


That went right over my head because the Coho Cafe is disconnected with Bluefin Bay Resort by at least a block east, has a different exterior color motif of tan vs powder blue, and I knew the Bluefin Grille at the resort also served breakfast. I've never stayed at Bluefin Bay and now that I have an RV probably never will now even though I know several people who have and like it. If we do a winter trip and stay in a resort it would most likely be the Gunflint Lodge again.
post edited by Davydd - 2010/09/27 15:03:11
kland01s
Filet Mignon
Re:Building the Brick Bread Oven in Grand Marais and the Gunflint Trail - A Culinary Odyss 2010/09/28 08:55:52
Bluefin has expanded quite a bit over the years.  I think the shoreline there is exceptionally beautiful, here is a link,
 
http://www.bluefinbay.com...ining/coho-cafe-bakery
drummagick
Cheeseburger
Re:Minnesota North Shore, Grand Marais, the Gunflint Trail & Brick Ovens - A Culinary Odys 2010/10/04 15:41:32
That's it.  I'm moving to Minnesota!!!!
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