On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin!

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2010/06/16 14:33:16 (permalink)

On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin!

Recently, cousin Johnny and I spent 10 days driving around Wisconsin.  I wasn't planning on badgering all of you with a trip report, but there were just too many really good meals.  Instead of doing the usual, "we went there and then we did this", I'm going to jump around and show the highlights.
We were undecided what to do on this day, but promises of scenery along the Mississippi River made us detour over to the western Wisconsin town of Pepin.  For lunch, we ate at the Roadfood reviewed Harbor View Cafe.  If you read enough reviews written by Jane & Michael, you can glean out which ones they are especially enamored with.  In the Harbor View Cafe review, J&M call it "a true gem" and "one of the finest meals along the banks of the northern Mississippi river."  Our expectations were now officially on high alert.
Pepin is a lovely little river town, full of all kinds of shops.  We pulled up to the nautical looking restaurant 

just a minute or two after they opened at 11:00AM, taking just a few seconds to admire the water view.

Doesn't the sign look like something you would see on Nantucket?  The inside is cozy and comfortable, with wooden book shelves lining the walls.

No menu here.  Everything is written in small handwriting on a chalkboard behind the bar. 

Despite the fact that we were one of the closer tables to the menuboard, I still had to get up to take a look.  Would hate to make an error in such a big decision, like what to have for lunch!  The friendly, 60ish waitress, who was a real pro, brought Johnny and I our fresh brewed unsweetened iced teas. 

After the first sip, I knew I was in the right place.  We tried to figure out what the flavor was and we overheard the waitress tell another table it was apricot in the tea. I could have drank a gallon of it.
Since we are both big soup lovers, we started out with the Potato Leek soup. 

Hot, creamy, with big chunks of spud, it was very good but not anything special.  Johnny especially enjoyed dunking the warm, fresh, home baked bread into the soup.

Entree-wise, Johnny went with the Stuffed Mushrooms with Linguini.  He was rewarded with this:

According to the Harbor View Cafe website, this dish is "made with several cheeses. lemon zest, garlic and herbs sauteed in cream, sherry and garlic, served with linguine."  We asked and were told there were five different cheeses used in this dish.  All the ingredients blended into some wonderful flavors and this dish was fantastic!
Mine was the Norwegian Meatballs,

which was a pork/veal blend.  The sauce includes sour cream and cardamom and although not as good as the stuffed mushrooms, was still a winner.  As for the side dish of fruit, I was convinced that they were cranberries, but Johnny thought they might have been some kind of cherry.  We meant to ask and forgot.
For dessert, there was no doubt that my choice was going to be the Chocolate Buttercream Pie. 

This thing was thick, sweet, but not overly rich as I thought it would have to be.  Johnny was equally as happy with his Caramel Custard.

Harbor View Cafe actually exceeded our high expectations and going into the last few days, we considered it to be the best meal of the trip.  And this place is no well-guarded secret as all seats were filled by 11:15AM, with a line out the door during the rest of our meal. 
Harbor View Cafe
First and Main
Pepin, WI
Immediately after leaving here, we had another equally outstanding dining experience....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/06/16 14:40:40

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