Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Girls Weekend Part 2

I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of sleet hitting the roof outside of my window, and snuggled deeper into the pillow I brought from home. In the morning we packed up the puffy white dog and headed to Grand Marais for some hiking over miles of icy paths that were covered with fresh snow. As we finished our two-hour hike the snow began again. It was wet and heavy and came down in clumps.

No visit to Grand Marais is complete without a visit to Ben Franklin and lunch at one of the handful of pubs serving pizza and soups. At Gun Flint Tavern although they have a bruschetta of the day, it was their chowder that made us happy. But nothing could compete with what Saturday night promised.

Lutsen Resort's semi-annual wine dinners are becoming hot tickets and the entire reason for our escape Up North was Spring Wine Weekend. Mike DeCamp of La Belle Vie was the guest chef and along with Lutsen's Executive Chef Rob Wells and a host of talented cooks and servers provided six beautiful courses that reminded us spring is not far away. We were impressed with the wine pairings selected by Andrew Beavers. Alone, the wines were fine; paired with the menu they became something remarkable while allowing the flavors on our plates to strut. And strut they did. I cannot choose a favorite course, but the most unique accoutrement was served with the poached sturgeon and morcilla-buckwheat: a pink sponge made from beet juice, flour, and egg, pushed through a cream whipper into ramekins, then microwaved (!). It had a bread-like texture and sweetness from the beet.  

After dinner the snow continued to fall, and we replaced our fancy shoes with snow boots to make the hike back to our lodge. We stomped along the shoreline and K made snow angels on the beach before dipping her toes in the freezing lake. The magical combination of a perfect dinner, good friends, roaring black waves and white landscape was more than we expected.

Sunday morning the snow stopped. It felt like the day after Christmas, when presents are open but the tree is still lit. A quick breakfast at Lockport (and maple syrup and pasties to go), a pit stop along Highway 61 where K ordered Finnish glassware, and we headed home. The little white dog slept on my lap for the entire four hour drive back to The Cities.



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