Saturday, September 15, 2012

Respite in Lutsen

Last week I needed a respite from work, after planning a library event for all 5,000 incoming freshmen at the University of Minnesota.  Mom came to the rescue, and we went up North to Lutsen for the weekend.  Growing up we went to Lutsen for "leaf peeping."   Though the weekend was anything but relaxing, as I jam packed everything in that we could, it was different from work, so it did the trick and I came back to work on Monday rejuvenated.  Here are a few photos from our trip and restaurant suggestions.

 Duluth is the perfect stop on the way, and oh how it has changed since I was a kid!  I have been a fan of the North Water Smokehaus long before it was featured on DDD.  Their smoked salmon is the best in Minnesota.  This time I tried the Cajun Finn.  A well-balanced sandwich with the rich salmon, green onion cream cheese spread, topped with roasted red peppers and a little kick of banana peppers.

Other Duluth favorites include: Amazing Grace Cafe (great bread and soups), Taste of Saigon (egg roll noodle salad), Sammy's thin crust pizza (taco is a fav), Sara's Table (lobster mac and cheese), and for a splurge there is always the New Scenic Cafe. 
 Canal Park area in Duluth
 We visited two of Minnesota's best sugarbushes: Caribou Cream and Wild Country.  I will be doing a taste test soon comparing Minnesota maple syrups.
 Mom and I even tried sea kayaking for the first time on Lake Superior!
 Chez Jude has been on my restaurant list for some time, and mom was kind enough to be my date.  It was very good food, a quaint location with a beautiful view of sailboats on the Lake, however overpriced a bit.
 The scallops and pork belly were good, but one of mine was a bit sandy.
 Mom was intrigued and also got the Chicken and Waffles.  They were amazing!  The chicken was well seasoned, crispy and perfect with Caribou Cream syrup drizzled over it.  The wild rice waffles with chilli butter was the perfect pairing.  Mom has been converted to the dark side!
 Oberg Mountain is a must, especially in the fall.
 Betsy Bowen's studio with a wonderful demonstration of woodcuts.  I can't wait to get my original piece for Christmas. :)
 Another place on my list is the Naniboujou Lodge.  A beautiful rustic lodge almost at the Canandian border.  The dining room is breathtaking, as it is painted with Cree Indian designs, and has the largest stone fireplace in Minnesota.  The librarian and preservation part of me cringes when I look closely at the flaking painted particle board walls.  I certainly hope money is being set-aside for restoration. 
 Their wild rice burger is delicious!  Unfortunately, the coleslaw is inedible; I don't understand horseradish in coleslaw.

Do we have to go home?