Fish Boil – a Door County Tradition

This last weekend my friend Daina and I visited Door County, WI. We enjoyed shopping, beachcombing, and kayaking, but one of our favorite things was the Fish Boil. This is a centuries old tradition of this area, and was a cooperative effort between local farmers and fisherman to feed the lumberjacks. It is still a popular dish and no one has found a way to improve on the technique, so it continues to this day. You can experience this feast at many local restaurants several days of the week. We went to Pelletier’s , check it out; here’s their website :


Here is the “Master Boiler”, who has built a wood fire under a large kettle, added  whole red potatoes, sweet whole onions, and salt.  The salt serves to increase the boiling temperature.  When the veggies are done, the Whitefish is added, having been freshly caught by local fishermen in Lake Michigan.  The oil from the fish begins to rise to the top, necessitating the need for a “boil over”.  This is done in order to burn off that oil, so that it does not adhere to the food as it is served.


The Master Boiler throws a container of diesel fuel into the wood fire underneath the kettle.  Immediately a huge fireball ensues, engulfing the entire kettle.   The kettle is then removed by two men with a metal pole, brought to the kitchen, and the food is immediately served.


The meal consists of the fish, potatoes, onion,  homemade coleslaw,  and a variety of bread.  Many people choose to douse their fish and veggies in butter and/or lemon (I did!).  I ordered the lite eater’s version.  You can get a larger plateful if you wish.  Dessert  consists of homemade cherry pie made with fresh local cherries from a nearby orchard.  I must admit I had my doubts about boiled fish, but I must say it was very moist and delicious!  I would recommend a fish boil if you ever travel to Door  County, it was an interesting and yummy experience!

Two Girls and a Cupcake, Inc.

We ran across this little shop on our way home from the Starved Rock Lodge.
Jill and Tim own this little sweet shop in Utica, Illinois


There were many tasty cupcakes to choose from. I had strawberry cheesecake, yummy creme cheese frosting on a white cake cupcake.
Cookies and creme,Turtles,coconut dream,cotton candy and Andes mint were some of the choices.

If you ever pass through Utica, Illinois don’t pass up Two Girls and a Cupcake.




What?! No tomato sauce on a pizza? AKA visit to BJ’s Brewhouse

Last  night my wife and I went out to dinner for our tenth anniversary. We chose a local new to me spot called BJ’s Brewhouse.

The place has a great atmoshpere with a look I liked. The place was open and noisy. The menu is large with something for everyone. The food,this visit, I would rate a “C”.

Firstly, it was a busy Friday night. But I have to say it took forever for our food to arrive.

I ordered a 9” deep dish pizza. listed on the menu as “Sweet Pig” .  It contained ham,pineapple,cheese and roughly chopped tomatoes.  That’s it!! No sauce!! WTH!! Who ever heard of pizza with no sauce?!  I t was ok but

NO SAUCE?!  LOL Surprised smile

Cheryl ordered.. a burger, a bacon cheeseburger.  The thin fries offered with the burger were really good. She said she preferred the burger from Lumpy’s  better.

The true gem of BJ’s is something called a Pizookie! OMG!! good stuff. A freshly cooked cookie with ice cream on top. We had a combo…me, red velvet cookie… Cheryl , cookies and cream cookie with vanilla ice cream and a squirt of cookies and cream mousse.

BJ’s offers a reward program offering  one point for every dollar spent minus alcohol tips etc.. discounts on your bill and a free pizookie are some rewards.

We will give this spot another visit and try other items from the menu. And most definitely another Pizookie . Open-mouthed smile

BJ’s also offers online ordering and curbside pickup for those on the go.



Sweet Pig Pizza WTH no sauce.


Cheryl’s Bacon Cheeseburger and really good fries


Pizookie…fresh made cookie with ice cream yummy!

The Hat

When I recently had a chance to visit Southern California, I was strongly encouraged to try this restaurant. It’s a local phenomenon with several restaurants in the Southern California area, having first started in Alhambra, CA in the early fifties.  Its called The Hat.  They specialize in thinly sliced pastrami sandwiches, and huge servings of gravy fries. I highly recommend that you stop by If you find yourself down there!


You will never be able to eat this alone Bring a friend to share!


Delicious thinly sliced pastrami, with a little mustard and pickle, dipped in juice


This is the original Hat, in Alhambra, CA

Skoog’s Pub And Grill

This weekend my sister and I spent a weekend at Starved Rock near Utica Illinois. We spent one evening strolling the little tiny downtown, And found a charming place called Skoog’s Pub and Grill. . There was a Swedish flag in front, so we were intrigued ,being of Swedish ancestry ourselves. We found out that the owner of the restaurant is Swedish, But there is no Swedish fare on the menu. However we had the chance to sample deep-fried macaroni and cheese balls, which I have always been curious about. They were served with a side of ranch dressing or marinara sauce. Both were delicious; I liked both at the same time. I had a deep-fried cod sandwich which tasted very fresh and delicious , and homemade coleslaw . We also sampled their homemade drink which they called JuicyJuice: a combination of several fruit juices vodka and rum. It was all pretty yummy and if you are ever in Utica Illinois I would recommend this place 🙂



Best Pizza Ever! Well I think so…

One of my favorite pizza joints is Lou Malnati’s , and there are several locations in the Chicagoland area. Their sauce is their own special recipe with select tomatoes, and their crust is buttery and delicious. As much as I love their crust though, what I really love them for is their crustless pizza, nice for those of us on a low carb or gluten free diet. The “crust” is a layer of italian sausage, topped with their tangy sauce and whatever toppings you want. I like onions, mushrooms, spinach, sliced fresh tomatoes and of course plenty of mozzarella. Each slice contains 210 calories, 3 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, one gram of sugar, and 18 grams of protein. I think I’ll have another slice 🙂


Great Eats at Lumpy’s (Antioch, CA)

One of our favorite eateries is Lumpy’s in Antioch CA. They serve hot delicious food. They serve breakfast,lunch and dinner with a great menu. I almost always order a cheeseburger and one of their varieties of fries. This time I also tried a salted caramel shake…TO DIE FOR!!!!  If you are ever in the area.. stop in and enjoy this great place. Take on their “BIG Appetite Challenges”  including a Kitchen Sink Omelette (12 eggs with 4 meats, cheese and veggies) or The Famous Dog Pounder. A 4 + pound burger with a minimum of 6 condiments and 6 slices of bacon. I’m stuffed thinking about it.

The place is comfortable  and filled with people eating great food. The atmosphere is absolutely diner,cars and fun. Did I mention that the food is great.

Deep fried artichokes!

I spent the last weekend in Monterey California and one of the things I discovered were vegetable stands selling the wonderful delicacy of deep-fried artichoke hearts. It was apparently artichoke season in California… Lucky me! They are covered in a delicious batter made with flour baking soda various seasonings deep fried and served with your choice of dip. I chose lemon dill.. I brought a full bag of fresh artichokes home with me from California …if I get brave enough I may try to cook this on my own 🙂