Memorial Day Weekend Camping

Every year Mr. Pea and I travel to Nelson Dewey State Park in Cassville, WI to go camping with our family and friends. It is always a great time, good for some rest and relaxation, good company and good food. This past Memorial Day Weekend camping was so much fun, minus the scary thunderstorms and sticky hot days, and the dreaded mosquitoes that came out after the rain. We still had a great time and did have some really good food this weekend, as we always do. I have never went camping like Mr. Pea’s family goes camping before, they go all out with the food. It’s like going to a fine dining restaurant in the middle of nature, candlesticks and all! I thought I would share with you all some of the food that we had this weekend.

First, I would like to start off talking about our tradition for Memorial Day Camping weekend, stopping in Madison, WI to go to Ella’s Deli. If you have never been to Ella’s Deli, you should visit this top notch kosher style deli, if only just once. This place has been around since 1976, and there is a reason why it is still around today, it is SOO good! They have good matzo ball soup but they also have sweet and sour cabbage soup and chili that are pretty amazing as well. If there is one thing you go to a deli for it is corned beef, and I think you all know my feelings on corned beef, since I declared it my favorite meal on St. Patty’s Day. But this corned beef sandwich piled high on rye bread is one of my favorite things to eat hands down. If you leave room for dessert, which I never can do, they have a twelve page dessert menu to fulfill your sweet tooth! It is not just the food that makes Ella’s one of my favorite places, it is also the atmosphere of all the animated displays, nostalgic trinkets and toys from years past, and the tabletop games to keep you entertained while you wait for food. Also, if you go there during the spring, summer and fall months, no trip to Ella’s is complete without a ride on the 1927 Parker Carousel! So much fun!

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Their burgers are pretty great also and I decided to change it up a bit and get a burger instead this time.

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Until next year Ella’s 🙂

Moving on to our camping trip….

Friday Night

Friday night meal is pretty easy peasy compared to the rest of the meals served the rest of the weekend. Friday night’s dinner used to be a fish fry, but without our fisherman there to prepare the fish fry, we have relied on a camp favorite, hot dogs and brats. Mr. Pea was the hero of the night with his brand new pitch forks, this made grilling up 2 packages of brats and 1 package of delicious Nathan’s hot dogs easy as pie. I have never been a huge fan of hot dogs, until I had a Nathan’s hot dog. Really, they are the only hot dogs I will ever eat, they are the hot dogs that are served on every corner in New York and I think that is why I make an exception for these delightful dogs.

Saturday

Saturday morning started off with a delicious hearty breakfast, but with the terrible thunderstorms the night before, we got a later start then we usually do for making breakfast. We made some eggs with mushrooms, onion and left over brats and cheese with some bacon, and of course a camping breakfast wouldn’t be complete without my homemade banana bread and O & H Kringle.

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Then for lunch, it is the highlight of the camping trip, a trip to the Potosi Brewery Company. This place is delicious, they have some really great brews, my personal favorite being the Heffeweizer, Mr. Pea, being a fan of the darker brews is a huge fan of the Cave Ale. If you aren’t sure what to get there is always the sampler that Mr. Pea’s mom got that lets you try 6 of their different brews. They also have really great food at the Potosi restaurant, my favorite thing they serve is their beer cheese soup, it is hands down the best beer cheese soup I have ever had. They also have some great fish (caught fresh locally), burger, barbeque and salads, anything I have had off their menu has been absolutely delicious! Also, a trip to Potosi wouldn’t be complete without checking out their National Beer Museum and Art gallery across the street. This great place located in the middle of nowhere, is one of my favorite places to visit.

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And if you weren’t full yet from breakfast and lunch, saving room for dinner is a must. Because dinner for Saturday night is grilled tenderloin, steamed asparagus, red potatoes with parsley and my contribution to the food a delicious Crunchy Romaine Toss Salad, of course. Dinners for camping are usually pretty fancy, candles and all, it is like you are fine dining in the middle of nature.

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Crunchy Romaine Toss

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Salad

1 1/2 Cups chopped broccoli

1 bunch of romaine, torn

4 green onions, chopped

1/2 Cup walnuts

1 pkg ramen noodles, broken

2 tablespoons of butter

Discard the seasoning packet for the ramen noodles. In a skillet, saute noodles in butter until golden. In a large bowl combine noodles, walnuts, broccoli, romaine and onions. Drizzle with the dressing before serving.

Dressing

1/2 Cup sugar

1/2 Cup vegetable oil

1/4 Cup cider vinegar

2 teaspoons soy sauce

salt and pepper to taste

In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the sugar, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, sal and pepper and shake well.

Sunday

Sunday’s breakfast was extra special this year, we made some blueberry pancakes, eggs bacon and had some fruit on the side. Blueberry pancakes are my favorite, and these were great!

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We had some left over salad from the night before and snacks for lunch, but for dinner we had Grilled Chicken, Spaghetti with a meat sauce and a tossed salad.

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To beat the rain in the morning we packed up really early and left to go home, but all in all I would say it was a successful camping trip, and I can’t wait to go back next year.

Baltimore Bound

So a couple weekends ago we were in Baltimore, Maryland to visit Mr. Pea’s sister,  and we had a wonderful time and she was a great tour guide. During our visit we went to many great places that had good eats I should tell you about, in case you are ever in the area.

First I should start off by telling you the best place for crab cakes…EVER! I’m serious you will never look at another crab cake the same way, they will all be mediocre compare to these delectable cakes. Anyways, the place you want to go is the The World’s Famous Lexington Market located at 400 West Lexington Street in Baltimore, in the market there is a place called J.W. Faidleys Award Winning Crab Cakes & Seafood. These guys  are world famous for a reason, they really know what they are doing  and have been doing it since 1886! Make sure you get the award winning Lump crab cake, you can thank me later. In the market there is a bakery called Berger’s Bakery, and what are they famous for well the Baltimore classic Berger cookies of course. What is a Berger cookie did you say? I will tell you, Berger cookies are a kind of cookie made of a vanilla wafer topped with a thick layer of chocolate fudge that derives from a German recipe, and are a cultural icon of Baltimore. If your in Baltimore you must try one, they will melt in your mouth.

Another neat place we went to for dinner one night was  The Point located in Fells Point at 1738 Thames Street. This restaurant is  nice if you sit upstairs in the beautiful vaulted ceiling dining area, the decor and atmosphere was rustic and beautifully done. The food described as New American all sounded very good, but I was still a little full from the crab cakes and Berger cookies from lunch so  I was looking for  something on the lighter side. Once I saw that one of the specials happened to be one my favorite things fried green tomatoes, my tummy began rumbling with joy. The food was very good and they had a list of decadent desserts, but unfortunately I was too full to try.

The next day for brunch, Mr. Pea’s sister  took us to a great place called the Golden West Cafe located in the Hampden neighborhood at 1105 West 36th Street Baltimore.  This casual family friendly cafe menu is rooted in New Mexican specialties, imagine different combinations of eggs, beans, meats, and tortillas smothered in rich, spicy green chile sauce. The food was really great, but I am not a fan of  the bloody mary’s with Old Bay Seasoning, I know it is a Baltimore thing to put that stuff on just about anything, but I think I will pass.

Later in the day, I was craving some crab bisque before I headed home to the land where fresh seafood is hard to come by.  So  Mr. Pea’s sister suggested a place called Ale Mary’s. This restaurant and tavern is located on the corner of Fleet and Washington Street in Fell’s Point. I don’t know if  it was the day drinking that had taken place that day or the fact that I haven’t had fresh seafood in a while, but that cream of crab soup definitely hit the spot. Also, apparently tater tots are a big thing in Baltimore,  their menu had  eight different kinds of tots on it! So I had to try them, I got the sweet tots, which were sweet potato tots with a tangy dipping sauce. Mr. Pea’s sister got plain ol tater tots,  but  both we really great. The bartender  even gave us this other really good horseradish dipping sauce  to try with both the tots, she said she liked it better then the tangy sauce and she’s right.

Another place I don’t want to forget to mention, that was really great, is this little market, deli and cafe called Milk & Honey Market. What’s really great is that they focus on locally produced goods and high quality products and produce fresh, local and seasonal ingredient food.  I didn’t have much to eat there but their chai tea was probably  the best I have ever had, sorry Alterra.  Also, they had some really great fluffy buttermilk biscuits that tasted like cake, I kid you not.  If I find myself back in Baltimore I am definitely going back there to check out their deli and other menu options.

Needless to say it was a very great trip, I feel like I really got to see some of the great places Baltimore has to offer. There were other places we had stopped for drinks along the way that great and worth mentioning like this brewery and restaurant  called Brewer’s Art, where they had great brews and cocktails. Also, Max’s Taphouse, is Maryland’s largest selection of local and imported beer, that made America’s Top 100 Best Beer Bar list, with 140 rotating drafts,5 hand-pumped cask ales, and a world spanning collection of 1200  bottled beers in stock, it is no question why they made the list. Baltimore was a great place, definitely a  big city  and different from Milwaukee. It was a great experience and I had fun, but Milwaukee is where my heart is, and I never thought I would say that!

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Madison Bound

One of the things Mr. Pea and I love to do is go on road trips.  I love road trips! I don’t really care where we go, it is just exciting to visit a new place  or even a place you have been before.  Every year, Mr. Pea and I  travel out to the East coast to Ocean City, New Jersey.  Mr. Pea has been taking road trips out to New Jersey every  year since he was born. Mr. Pea’s mom and family were born and raised in New Jersey and have since past on this tradition to Mr. Pea to go back to Ocean City to be beach bums for a week every summer. The first time we went on a road trip to New Jersey, I didn’t really know what to expect, because I had not been to the East coast before.  I spent most of my childhood visiting my family in Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico had been the only “ocean” I had been to. But the second I got to Ocean City I was in love,  if there is a happiest place on earth for me and Mr. Pea  this place is it. Last year we were unable to go and I know Mr. Pea and  myself were heartbroken. We are going back this year and am so excited to be going back! I will have to share all my favorite things about Ocean City, New Jersey with you all! Mostly to prove that not every place on the Jersey Shore is like that show ‘Jersey Shore’.

Anyways, this past weekend Mr. Pea and I were itching to take a road trip, even if it was a small one. Probably  because the weekend before we spent the weekend in Baltimore   visiting Mr. Pea’s sister and it was good to sort of get away for a little while. So we decided to take a short trip to Madison, WI.  I love it there, I used to go there a lot more often then I do now to visit friends that lived there, but looks like I am getting old because those friends have all since graduated and moved out of Madison. Now, we only stop in Madison on our way out to Memorial Day camping every year. It is another tradition of ours to stop at Ella’s Deli on our way out to Nelson Dewey State Park in Cassville, Wisconsin. If you have never been to Ella’s Deli,  you should visit this top notch kosher style deli, if only just once. It is a neat place and has tons to look at, the restaurant is covered floor to ceiling with animated displays, even the glass top tables contain everything from model trains chugging though tiny towns to marble maze races to test your dexterity. The food is great and is a treat for adults and kids alike.

Ella’s  Deli is great, but it is something that we look forward to every year and I didn’t want to go there with Memorial Day just around the corner. So a friend of mine, Halley,  gave us the suggestion for a place called Daisy’s Cafe and Cupcakery located at 2827 Atwood Avenue, Madison.  Halley and I love cupcakes  and love tying new places to see if they are better then the last place we had been to. Holding on strong as the winner had been Milwaukee Cupcake Company, until she said  that Daisy’s cupcakes were better, well  if that was true, I had to see for myself then.

So Mr. Pea and I got there around 11:30 or so and the place was packed for Sunday brunch. Whoopsie! I didn’t mind waiting  though, it gave me a chance to check out the cupcake display. When I walked in there was a display of delicious looking cupcakes, in variety of different flavors, it was hard to choose which one I wanted.  I told Mr. Pea to just wait until we were seated to make a decision about the cupcakes, even though he had already  picked out the one he wanted.  I should have listened to him though, because  by the time we sat down ordered and were waiting for our food, I told Mr. Pea to just go order the cupcakes to go  so we could eat them later. By the time he got to the counter  the delicious looking display was pretty sparse.  I couldn’t believe all those  cupcakes were gone already, in fact the one Mr. Pea wanted, a banana walnut  cupcake was gone already. He was pretty sad about it, poor guy! I decided on a lemon-blueberry cupcake which was a lemon cake with blueberry butter cream frosting. Mr. Pea decided on a  deluxe chocolate cake filled with with chocolate ganache and topped with chocolate butter cream frosting, I know  poor guy indeed! Both were very delicious and I think I would say  it is a tie for first place as the best cupcake for me.

As for the food that they served there, it was pretty good. I got the egg sandwich which was a  fried egg, avacado,tomato, purple onion and cream cheese on grilled rosemary bread. the sandwich was served with oven-roasted potatoes and fresh fruit. I enjoyed it, the potatoes were very flavorful and I liked everything about the sandwich except for the cream cheese. I guess I am just not a fan of cream cheese on sandwich.  Mr. Pea got Huevos Rancheros de la Daisy which was  chorizo, black beans, seasoned roasted vegetables, fried eggs, pepper jack cheese, and tomatillo-avocado salsa on tortillas with a side of fresh fruit.  Mr. Pea’s only complaint was that he could not pick up and eat his tacos, but I say it probably would have been too messy to do so anyway.

After brunch and devouring delicious cupcakes we walked up and down State Street for old times sakes and headed home. It was a short trip, but it felt good to just get away, if even just for the day.

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