Melton Midwest Mosey

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Double Cheeseburger
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Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/11/30 04:49:30 (permalink)
Holy Mackeral, I just randomly brought up the above website, looking for landjaeger, and just noticed they are in Mauston WI, only 80 miles away.  Looks like a little trip is in order.
Speaking of cheese, little Mauston also has a store for this multi award winner:
Speaking of strange cheese, Carr Valley has a chocolate fudge cheese that is different and very good.  They go up to four years on the chedar.
Ralph Melton
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Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/11/30 12:06:55 (permalink)
We actually had landjaeger in New Ulm, Minnesota. I don't know whether it would have qualified as "real" to you; it wasn't two short sticks on a string. But we enjoyed it.
Since this was our first visit to a cheese factory, I can't say whether another site might have made better cheese, but the Beechwood folks were very pleasant to us. And I'm glad to have seen an operation that small; it was a nice contrast to the Cabot Cheese Factory we visited in Vermont in October.
Filet Mignon
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Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2012/11/30 16:10:25 (permalink)
Carr Valley Cheese comes to the Aurora, Illinois farmers market every summer. I look forward to it!
Ralph Melton
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Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2013/01/18 12:02:20 (permalink)
Because we had no breakfast recommendations for Green Bay from Roadfood, we turned to Yelp, which recommended a diner called The Pancake Place.

It seemed like a pleasant restaurant with a friendly family atmosphere, but we ended up disappointed.

Lori ordered the cherry-filled pancakes, because she likes pancakes and because we felt that the name Pancake Place implied that pancakes were a specialty of the house. But these were not good pancakes; these were thick, undercooked dismalities that were not appealing enough to finish.

My Benedict Stuffed Hash Browns were much better. In fact, I liked them much more than the stuffed hash browns from the Roadfood-listed Lange's, because they were much more evenly cooked. But this is only my second experience with stuffed hash browns, and I'm still curious about what role these may play in the breakfast menus of the Midwest.

We left Green Bay and drove on to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I'm not quite sure why I had been so insistent upon making the UP part of our Midwest itinerary - my best idea is that although I'd visited all of the continental United States, the Upper Peninsula seems like such a different place from the Lower Peninsula that it merited a separate box on my mental checklist. But it was a beautiful drive, and I wish we could have lingered there longer.

I chose our lunch destination for three reasons:
- it served pasties, which I have had occasionally but not in any authentic setting
- it served cudighi, a type of Italian sausage native to the Upper Peninsula that I was curious to try
- the point that broke the tie in its favor over other local places: the name was particularly relevant to me.

Lori's cudighi was not an outstanding success for us. It may have had subtle flavors of cinnamon and clove (the Wikipedia entry implies it might), but when served with mustard, ketchup, and onions, all it tasted like was mustard, ketchup, and onions. Lori did not eat the whole thing.

But my pasty was great, in multiple senses of the word "great". It was great in the sense of "very good": nice pie crust was filled with a delicious comfort-food filling of beef, potatoes and onions that straddled the line between stew and hash. It was very tasty, and cohesive enough that with a little care, one could eat it without any spillage. But it was also great in the sense of "massive"; the pasty was the size of a big can of soup, so it probably held more than a pound of filling. And the filling was dense and energy-packed, designed for sustaining miners swinging heavy picks all day in underground coal seams, not for sedentary tourists enjoying a road trip. I ate the whole thing because it was delicious, and it left me feeling completely stuffed, gorged to a degree I rarely reach on Thanksgiving day.

We stopped for a picture of the lake on our way out of Ishpeming, because I thought that it was Lake Superior. (I now think that I was wrong; I think this was Teal Lake.)

After our picture, Lori noticed that we were next to an ice cream shop and asked to go in for ice cream. I then realized that we had unintentionally parked right next to the Roadfood-listed Iron Town Pasties. So of course we went inside. (This was one of two times this year when we ended up at a Roadfood-listed place by accident.)

Iron Town Pasties offered mini pasties, which made us think that we should have come there instead of Ralph's so we could sample several flavors.

But I was too full to think of eating pasties. So Lori got a caramel ice cream, which she quite enjoyed.

I got a cherry turnover, even though I wasn't hungry. Unfortunately, this was not good at all; the dough tasted really unpleasant. It might have been undercooked, or it might have been some other flaw, but I discarded it after only a bite or two.

We were also intrigued by the shelf of products made with Michigan blueberries. We bought blueberry lemonade and blueberry jerky, because those would stay good to be eaten later. But "stay good" is only valid if the products are good to begin with, and these were not. The blueberry lemonade did not taste of blueberries, and its lemon was the artificial lemon of Country Time Lemonade, and the blueberry jerky tasted of nothing but grease. Yuck. Both the cherry turnover and the blueberry jerky are solid contenders for the dubious honor of worst food of the trip.

We did manage to stop on the banks of Lake Superior and give Lori a chance to wade in the water. I'm particularly pleased with this picture; I feel that the abandoned sandal on the fencepost hints at an unknown story.

As we drove through Hiawatha National Forest, we had a bald eagle fly across the road just in front of us. I desperately hoped that the time-lapse camera would take a picture, but unfortunately it did not.

I had forgotten about the time zone change from Wisconsin to Michigan, so we were an hour behind my intended schedule and trying to drive hard to catch up. But we still took a moment for some pictures of Lake Huron:

I had been dithering about whether it was worth a detour to Brevort, MI for another Roadfood stop. But we got a pleasant surprise: Gustafson's Beef Jerky was right on the highway, with no detour at all.

And the stop was perfectly timed to give us an opportunity for pictures of a lovely sunset:

Gustafson's looked like just a convenience store, but it had a wide variety of smoked fish:

The imbalance of lunch made it hard to decide how much to get. Lori was starting to get hungry, but even at 8pm, I was only starting to get to the point of being able to think about food without discomfort. The pasty is the whole reason for that imbalance; it kept me very full through the whole day.

We bought smoked whitefish dip, crackers, and turkey jerky. The smoked whitefish dip was a disappointment; it tasted more of black pepper than of smoke. The turkey jerky was very good, though; it came in thick slabs that reminded me of turkey sliced thick on a Thanksgiving platter.

I had been particularly trying to get to St. Ignace, at the point of the Upper Peninsula nearest the lower peninsula. I thought we could have a nice dinner looking out over the water, perhaps stroll along the boardwalk. My ideas about St. Ignace were wrong, and I don't know what possible reason I had for thinking that way. St. Ignace is much smaller than I had thought, and by the time we arrived at 9:30-10:00, they had rolled up the sidewalks and turned off the lights for the night. Even the bars were no longer open. We did not find a nice dinner; we did not even find a nice place for a picnic of whitefish dip on crackers. We parked briefly, gave up quickly, and drove on across the long bridge to the Lower Peninsula.

We really enjoyed our drive through the Upper Peninsula, and I wish we had had more time to spend there.

Time-lapse video of our travels:

carolina bob
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Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2013/01/18 14:24:34 (permalink)
Nice pictures, Ralph. It's really a pity that you and Lori experienced so many disappointing meals on this leg of the trip ( been there, done that. )
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Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2013/01/18 14:39:02 (permalink)
Ralph, could it be possible that you were so full from the pasty that you were unable to enjoy the foods that came after?  I know that when I'm quite full even things that I really like just don't taste as good.
Ralph Melton
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Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2013/01/18 17:42:50 (permalink)
It is certainly true that when I'm quite full, I don't appreciate things as much. And if I'd been unenthusiastic about the cherry turnover, I would have blamed that effect. But the cherry turnover was pretty nasty to me; I may have judged it a notch or two worse than I otherwise would have, but I judged it about five notches below "good, but not special", and I don't think that being full from the pasty explains all of that.
I don't think that being full from the pasty explains the blueberry jerky, either. I glossed over this in my report, but we didn't eat the blueberry jerky until the next day after we bought it; I had digested the pasty by then.
ann peeples
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Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2013/01/18 19:27:48 (permalink)
Gotta be honest, Ralph-I have never found upper Michigan to be a Roadfood place. Have been there, as my family is from there.I know there are probably great places, but dont know where they are! Same with Green Bay.....
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Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2013/01/19 02:25:36 (permalink)
Ralph, the UP holds special appeal to me also, for reasons I'm not completely sure of. But, one of my week long vacations in the next few years will include this area.

How can a restaurant called Pancake Place serve bad pancakes and stay in business?

Roadfood place by accident? It seems you are underestimating your Roadfood radar!
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Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2013/01/19 03:41:05 (permalink)
I thought it was a beautiful drive on a beautiful day.
Also, if I don't finish pancakes, they must be pretty bad. I love pancakes for breakfast in a restaurant, because someone else makes them and cleans up the mess :-)
ann peeples
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Re:Melton Midwest Mosey 2013/01/19 06:08:17 (permalink)
Dont get me wrong, the UP is gorgeous. And I am sure there are fantastic places to eat.
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