Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Full disclosure here - I've spend the least amount of my time in Door County in Egg Harbor, we're normally north in Sister Bay or Ephraim. So if anyone has any favorite places here, I'd love to hear!
1. Shipwrecked Microbrewery & Restaurant - Fun casual restaurant and bar. Short walk to the beach, right downtown, and they have a great selection of their own beers.
2. Trio - Craving pasta? Trio has great Italian and French dishes. We don't get down to Egg Harbor that much, but I always try to stop here when we do.
3. The Bistro Bar & Grille - Another great casual place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It has a fun patio to sit outside and enjoy both the food and the weather.
1. Egg Harbor Beach and Marina - The great thing about Door County is that most of the towns are beach towns. Egg Harbor has a great beach for swimming and a fun marina to explore.
2. Wine Tasting
a) Harbor Ridge Winery and the Wisconsin Cheese Masters Shop - This is another one of my favorite stops in Door County because the wine shop and the cheese shop share the same parking lot. How much better can it get? Start at the Harbor Ridge Winery for some free wine tasting (their oaky Cab is amazing!) and the walk a few steps over to the Wisconsin Cheese Masters and take a cheese journey (No really, that's what the sign says) when you sample some of their many cheeses. So much goodness.
b) Door Peninsula Winery/Door County Distillery - The Door Peninsula Winery/Distillery has a special place in my heart. We used to come here when we were younger to taste the fudge and olive oil (while my parents tasted the wine) and in the last few years it opened a distillery in another part of the old schoolhouse building. They produce small batch gin, whiskey, vodka, and now brandy. This is my favorite gin ever. EVER.
c) Simon Creek Vineyard - This vineyard is inland a bit, but if you're in Egg Harbor it's not too far of a drive. Another winery that I'd recommend visiting.
3. Antiquing - Egg Harbor is near some great antique stores. Some of my favorites are Old Orchard Antique Mall which feels like it's miles long and full of fun and Bay Trading Company which has an entire room full of architectural discards such as shutters, mantels, doors and other goodness. If I had a house in Wisconsin I'm pretty sure half of the decor would come from that shop.
4. Kurtz Corral - If you want to ride horses through the countryside, this is the place to go. They're open all year, but summer and fall are my favorite times to explore the fields on horseback.
5. Various locations - cherry picking - Door County is known for their cherries. If you're up there while they're in season (late July to early August) definitely go cherry picking! There are numerous orchards and locations, so just find one that's close to you.
Thursday, September 4, 2014
1. Cooper's Corner - Fantastic food and a great environment. They have indoor and outdoor seating, but my favorite is their second story patio and bar where you can eat and watch the hustle and bustle of the main street below.
2. Bayside Tavern - This is your typical Wisconsin neighborhood corner bar, and it's fantastic. A favorite of locals and sailors, with pub grub (fantastic chowder!) drinks, and a relaxed casual atmosphere.
3. The Cookery - PIE!!! The cookery has great food - especially breakfast - but pie is the most important thing here. Door County cherry pie. If there's only one thing you do in Fish Creek, get some pie from here and eat it. You can thank me later. Growing up we used to stop here and get a cherry pie to go. We'd take it back to the condo and eat it all weekend. It was delicious and I miss it greatly.
4. Mr. Helsinki - This restaurant has been around for a while but I just discovered it this past year. Which is a shame, because it's incredible and I wish I would have gone there more. Its menu is a mix of crepes and Asian fusion - which sounds really weird but it works. You can get a variety of crepes for lunch, and all sorts of Thai inspired cuisine for dinner. It's also a wine bar with a great selection.
5. Not Licked Yet - This is a gnome themed frozen custard stand. Yes, you read that right. It's awesome. It's a mix of Scandinavian and gnome decor located right along a creek (I'm assuming it's Fish Creek). Also, if you're not a midwest native, frozen custard is a creamier and more delicious version of ice cream. I'm a fan of stopping by here for a scoop of ice cream - excuse me - custard, but they also serve burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches. Worth visiting for the decor alone.
1. Fudge House/Door County Confectionary - I mentioned this before in the Sister Bay guide, but stop by either the Confectionary or the Fudge House for some free samples of fudge. They're right next to each other and are nestled in with a bunch of cute shops.
2. Shopping at all the cute independent shops - Fish Creek has probably the best selections of little independent shops in Door County. Everything from clothing to souvenirs to a grocery market and deli where you can get supplies for a trip into the state park or a lunch by the beach.
3. Alibi Marina - I don't think you can rent boats here, you'll have to hit up some of the other towns or Peninsula Park for that. But If you have a boat, you can rent slips and this is a great marina to wander around and take in the sites. There's a park right there so you can bring a picnic lunch and watch the boats go by.
4. Wine Tasting (more to come next week with Egg Harbor)
a. Orchard Country Wine and Market - I love the markets like this that are in Door County. They have everything you could ever want - salsas, mustards, preserves, baking mixes, dressings, oils, jams, etc. And usually there are free samples! They also have free wine tasting here. If you like sweet, fruity wines this is the place to go. They have all sorts of fruit/grape wines that are made on site. The wines here are a bit too sweet for my own taste (I like bolder, dryer wines) but I have many family members and friends who prefer their wines. Even if you're not into wines, check out their market!
b. Stone's Throw Winery - Don't like sweet fruit wines? Look no farther! Stone's Throw is probably the most "high end" winery in Door County. Their grapes are all brought in from California and if you're looking for your standard merlots, cabernets, and chardonnays to taste this is the place to go. They have really great wines and a very cool wine cellar-like atmosphere. They're a bit east of Fish Creek, but it's definitely worth the quick drive!
5. Peninsula State Park (See Guide to Ephraim for specific activities) - The park is located between Fish Creek and Ephraim so not matter which town you're visiting, it's easy to access the park and all it's activities.
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
I'm going to admit something - I love raw cookie dough. Yes, I understand that supposedly it could be contaminated with salmonella from the raw eggs, but I just don't care. (Unless I get salmonella, then I'll probably kick myself for eating all that dough.) Once when I was in grade school, my best friend and I made cookie dough for the sole purpose of eating it raw. We took it upstairs with us, had a great sleepover, and left it out overnight so we could eat it for breakfast the next morning. Needless to say, my mother freaked out when she realized we were eating raw cookie dough which contained eggs and butter that had been sitting out all night. (We were fine, and it was delicious.)
Unfortunately, consuming large amounts of unbaked cookie dough is probably really bad for you. Luckily, this recipe sort of gives the taste and texture of cookie dough, is really tasty, and is pretty healthy!
These snack bites are made of ground nuts and oats, and sweetened with honey and cinnamon. Throw in a few chocolate chips and it's basically a healthy uncooked cookie! I love taking a few of these to work with me and eating them during the afternoon lull where I'd normally fill up on chips or actual cookies. It tastes like you're filling up on junk food, except you're actually getting a protein boost from all the nuts. Much better than a bag of Cheetos (although I do love me some Cheetos).
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup oats
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Mix the almonds, walnuts, pecans, oats, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor until ground to a meal. Add the honey and vanilla and pulse to combine. Add the chocolate chips and pulse again until just mixed together.
Drop a tablespoon of the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with freezer or parchment paper. Wetting your hands will help the dough not stick to you. Freeze for an hour to harden and then store in an airtight container in the freezer.
Note - I'm using the word "raw" in the generic uncooked way, not the specific Raw Diet way. I don't know much about the Raw Diet, but I'm sure this recipe could be altered to fit the requirements and become a raw Raw cookie dough snack.
Monday, September 1, 2014
The next town on the list is Ephraim. This is probably the smallest of the four main tourist towns. It's quaint and artsy and it's quieter than it's southern neighbors of Fish Creek and Egg Harbor.
1. Old Post Office Restaurant - Right across the street from the lakeshore, this place has great breakfasts and daily fish boils in the evening.
2. Good Eggs - Great for omelet wraps and quick breakfasts to get you on your way. Also across the street from the beach and conveniently located next to a Door County Confectionary so you can stuff your face with fudge after your delicious breakfast.
3. Wilsons - My favorite place for ice cream in all of Door County. Such a popular place that you take a number from a ticket dispenser and wait for them to take your order at the ice cream bar. They put a jelly bean in the bottom of your ice cream cone which makes it even better! The restaurant itself is pretty good too if you're interested in some food with your ice cream.
1. Skyway Drive In - Catch a movie at one of the few remaining drive in movie theaters. This is especially fun as a date night or to take the family. Usually the movies are PG-13 or lower.
2. Peninsula State Park - nestled between Ephraim and Fish Creek there's enough to do in this state park to last you a week. There is a fee to get in, but it's less than $10 for a day pass or $25 for a yearly pass.
a. Nicolet Bay Beach - This is one of the main beaches and bays to hang out if you have a boat or want to swim and lay out on the beach. You can also rent kayaks, paddle boats, paddle boards, and other watercraft to explore the bay.
b. American Folklore Theatre - Outdoor theater in the woods under the stars. They're apparently changing their name to Northern Sky Theater, but this group does fantastic comedy plays which includes titles such as "Packer Fans from Outer Space" and "Guys on Ice". Definitely worth checking out!
c. Camp - There are all sorts of campsites to stay the night for tents and trailers. No cabins though, so bring your own gear!
d. Hiking trails and checking out the lighthouse. One of the best parts of the park is the abundance of hiking and biking trails. Definitely check out the lighthouse and the lookout tower for sweeping views of Green Bay.
3. South Shore Pier - If you don't want to go into the state park (which can get crowded) you can still rent boats, including jet skis, pontoons, and sail boats from Ephraim's small marina/pier.