New day, new adventure! We were sticking close to home since we'd done a ton of driving the last few days, so we had dinner across the street from our hotel at the Family Inn
. Nothing but good, satisfying, perfectly cooked, flavourful homestyle breakfast here, and exactly what we wanted.
The coffee was bottomless, the American fries were tender with crisp edges, the sausage was probably commercially made but done to perfection, the eggs were fluffy, and the toast was done exactly how I like it. There's something to be said for a basic breakfast platter.
From there, we decided to try more beer, so we headed to the Upper Hand Brewery
Our first flight, which I forgot about photographing until we'd already finished one and started another, was (left to right) Yooper Ale, Rescue Annie, New Sun, and Laughing Fish Ale. I was a big fan of the Yooper Ale, but the rest were fine but not spectacular. The New Sun had an odor that made me think it was skunked, but it didn't have the corresponding taste.
Second flight (left to right): Escanaba Black, UPA, Yooper Ale, Light Lager. It turns out one pour of the Yooper Ale was all I really wanted, but it still wasn't bad. The UPA was surprisingly less hoppy than I was expecting, and the light was so nondescript I could have been drinking any given light beer. The black was tasty, but the short pour was plenty.
That ended our stay in Escanaba, along with the western half of the Upper Peninsula. Next stop: Sault Ste. Marie!
We stopped at Kitch-iti-Kipi on the way there (a must see beautiful place), and by the time we were nearing the hotel we were done with driving. A friend had recommended we eat at Pickles Bar & Grill
in Brimley, so we took a short detour and went. Again, one of those places you think you've gone completely wrong while driving, but eventually the road ended in their parking lot. They are located right on the waterfront of Waiska Bay, and also have a boat dock so patrons can arrive for dinner that way. They have interior seating, but we opted for the upper level of three on the back deck overlooking the water.
With a name like Pickles, we of course were obligated to start with deep fried pickles. They offered both chips and spears, but our waitress told us they'd run out of chips and weren't making any more since they were gearing up for dinner service so we got the spears.
The batter was very light and crunchy, and had dried dill added for flavour. A couple of the spears were a bit too thick so the juice squirted out and burned, but for the most part were good. A single order was a good size to share between two people without being too much pickle.
I ordered the fried whitefish basket, which came with fries and coleslaw. It was fine, but I can't understand why you would deep fry whitefish when it already tastes so good. It was left without much flavour other than the breading, which was very crisp. The fries were acceptable, and the coleslaw was meh. In retrospect, I should have avoided the fish and gone with a burger, which my friend said were excellent. Live and learn!
Our first runout from Sault Ste. Marie was down to St. Ignace, which other than going to Lehto's we'd skipped entirely since we had a long drive. I finally got to go to the Mystery Spot
, which I'd been wanting to do since I was a small child. It was delightfully cheesy and my childhood dream was finally fulfilled.
We had lunch at Bentley's B-M-L Diner
, another place we basically stumbled upon. I have an obsession with whitefish, so I had their whitefish sandwich, which came with house-made chips. Delightful! The fish was fried exactly right, and the condiments complemented rather than overwhelmed its taste. It was made as a variety of BLT, so it had a couple of strips of bacon, tomato, and lettuce. Simply mayonnaise to dress. Very nice choice for lunch! I also had ice cream (which I didn't photo because they gave it to me in a plastic cup rather than a bowl and you couldn't really see it). Two small scoops each of Michigan Pothole and Blueberry Waffle Cone. The food and ice cream were both very good, and the location was excellent. The service, however, was not up to par. Our waitress appeared to be barely old enough to hold a job, and she forgot our drink order as well as our request for refills. She was nice, just entirely too young and inexperienced to be waiting tables downtown in a tourist town.
Another St. Ignace spot, and one I am very cross I forgot to photo, was Manley's Fish Market
. It's clearly in someone's yard, and decorated to please the tourists with wagon wheels, saw blades, and other miscellaneous rustic things. The counter is in a shack stuffed with all manner of fishing gear and whatnot, all obviously used on a regular basis. The man waiting on us said he was the third generation of fishermen who smoked the fish they caught, and it certainly showed in the quality! We got smoked whitefish, and I couldn't have been happier about it. Gutted, beheaded, and smoked whole as they should be, each fish was the perfect amount of meat for one person for dinner. I don't know what wood they use for smoking, but it imparted a flavour that still makes my mouth water.
The next day we decided to explore Sault Ste. Marie proper, again because we didn't feel like driving very far. We poked into a few places, visited a few beaches, went to some souvenir shops, and scouted for what we might want later. We ended up having lunch at Oh Crepe and Coffee
because the name made us giggle.
I got a smoked salmon crepe, which was to die for! Flaky crepe, what I assume to be local smoked salmon, and fresh spinach, spread with cream cheese and sprinkled liberally with fresh dill. I also got a bag of parmesan and ranch potato chips from a local-ish company, and an iced coffee. Altogether very good!
I did not take a picture of the fudge I bought because I'm not going to tell you how much I got so you won't think I'm a horrible pig. But after lunch we stopped at Fudge du Locke
and I spent a bit of money. It's not MY fault they were having a buy 3/get one free sale, or that fudge was $2 off a pound. It's the UP. You must buy fudge. It's the law.
The next day was the last of our road trip days and completed our tourist-ing. We went to the Tahquamenon Falls, and while we were there had lunch at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery
I indulged in a couple pints of Wolverine Wheat Ale, which was very tasty and perfectly cloudy as a good wheat beer should be.
We started with their spicy cheese curds, which were very good. And while they came with ranch dressing (as everything in the midwest does), it was thicker than most and tasted like they may have made it themselves.
My meal was the special, a Beer Burger. As best I can remember from the sign, it was 1/3 pound beef patty made with one of their beers, topped with beer cheese, spread with some kind of beer aioli. The fries were beer-battered, and the bun was nice and soft. It was a lot of food; far more than it appeared on the plate. I was stuffed.
Our last day of vacation we mostly lazed around the room savoring the end of our time. But we did venture out for dinner and drinks eventually. Dinner was at the 1668 Winery and Lockside Brewery
in Sault Ste. Marie. When we walked in, there was only one other table, but we figured it was early and they'd fill up. Service was slow, which is even more amazing since there was no one there. I tried a glass of black raspberry wine, and it was tasty but was more like drinking fruit juice than anything else. The menu listed recommended wine pairings for their entrees, but they did not have most of them in stock. Instead, they offered three beers and seven wines, and our waitress made a point of announcing they only serve their own because they're not a taproom.
We started with some hummus and pita chips since they were out of smoked whitefish dip for some unknown reason. The pita chips were tasty, and the hummus was OK, but it had remarkably little flavour and had something added to it that made it green. For dinner I ordered (go figure) baked whitefish. The fish itself was good, and being baked let its natural flavour shine through, especially when enhanced with a bit of lemon juice. The potatoes were not only unexpected, but dry and flavourless, as if they'd opened a bag of Ore Ida and forgot to season them. The coleslaw was absolutely tasteless, but looked good. My consort ordered a Reuben panini, which arrived looking like a regular Reuben sandwich on thick swirled rye bread that had briefly been stuck in a panini press. With all the glitches, the small selection of beverages, and the slow service (it took almost 45 minutes for our food to arrive, and by then there was no one else in the place), we figured they must have just opened. Sadly, they've been open for four years.
From there, we decided to cut our losses and try the brewery everyone recommended, Soo Brewing Company
. They had a very small selection of beers, most of which were dark or IPA, so we ordered the only thing that wasn't. the Laker Gold is a blonde ale that was oddly hoppy and bitter. It was a neat place in a great location, and looked like somewhere I'd want to hang out, but the beer wouldn't bring me back.
And so ended up adventure up across the Straits. We weren't expecting to be wowed, and for the most part we weren't, but the things that were good were over the top excellent. Overall it was not only a scenic win but a culinary win as well.
post edited by felix4067 - 2019/08/01 18:49:01