Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Sit back, Relax and and enjoy the truly tantalizing tongue mouth experiences. This is where the Island life meets the city style. Wild Rice Restaurant from the outside to the inside cries sophistication and elegance. The first thing you see when walking in the door is a two story wine rack with over 2700 bottles of wine. The dining room had a vaulted ceiling with spaced out tables seating less then 100 people. This spacing gives some privacy between tables. From the dining room you can see into the kitchen.
They are open year around and their busy season starts the end of June. The special treat was the head chef Jim Webster, a four time James Beard semifinalist for the best chef in the Midwest. You can see him in this image giving directions to his staff for the nightly service.
Each month has a new tasting menu that is featured every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night. The three course tasting menu for $35 and a half price bottle of wine is a special treat. There are many different wines to pick from and even the 1/2 price bottles of wine had many to choose from. Wild Rice is known for their wild rice soup made with rice, carrots, chicken and smoked ham. This was the best dish on the tasting menu or any other tasting menu thus far. The soup is a carrot soup with chicken but the added texture of the rice and smoked ham adds just another layer of flavor. Each dish was beautifully placed with an artful eye to delight your mind. Another well known dish is the Wild Rice Cake with pecan and caramel sauce served with cinnamon ice cream.
You can find art thought out the restaurant. On the walkway roof, next to the walkway, on the back of the bar, on the menu, on the dishes, on the grounds and in the lady’s bathroom. And yes the lady’s bathroom was the best treat of all. Walking into the bathroom, it caught me off guard when I saw a old lady holding a plate with towels on it. The three mannequin status are just too funny and are a must see. When talking with Randy Anderson the maître d’, he told us that these two women have been known to show up thought out the restaurant. Once they were trying to take a ride home with him, not something you would want to see late at night in your rear view mirror.
Wild Rice is just minutes from downtown Bayfield or two hours from Duluth or four hours from Minneapolis. Bayfield is connected by a 20 minute ferry ride to Madeline Island.
For more on this restaurant you can visit Wild Rice Restaurant or see more images or see Wild Rice Tasting Menu
Hot Beef and Coleslaw served with mashed potatoes.
Small town values with a warm heart can be found here. This is a church known for helping the community and donating time to improve the lives of others. Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors is their motto. They didn’t even think twice about serving for Ragbrai riders because this is who they are.
Hot Beef with mashed potatoes and coleslaw served with either lemonade or ice tea sounded great to a number of riders. They kept busy thought the night. The top selling pies were the raspberry and then the pumpkin pie. 70 pies were donated by the congregation for the dinner. More than 15 different types of dessert were spread along the table. Blueberry, peach, pecan, strawberry, raspberry, raspberry apple, mulberry, coconut cream, raisin, apple, key-lime, and pumpkin pies.
And how much does it take to feed 350 people or more; a total of 200 pounds of beef, 450 boxes of potatoes, 12 gallons of coleslaw, 25 gallons of lemonade, 15 gallons of ice tea, 160 bags of ice and 70 volunteers. Char Welcome stated what we don’t sell will be donated to Meals for the Heartland. The money raised from this dinner will help to replace the church’s roof and the extra money will be given to Stork’s Nest. “Radical Hospitality” is another of their mottoes
There was so much love in this church from the person yelling on the church steps “Hot Beef w/mash potatoes, many types of pie for only $6 , air conditioning” to the young kid taking your money, to the volunteers serving you, to the Rev Andrea Kraushaar walking around greeting and talking with the guests.
Guests came from all over the world to eat here. Some from their own town and one couple was from Great Britain. And the reason some picked this church over the other churches was location or menu. Too many spaghetti or lasagna dinners at churches and they are looking for something different. Location is a big deal too. They don’t want to walk blocks and blocks to try to find something. Many look for the church steeples or listen for the bells. 60% of riders will eat at a church dinner during Ragbrai. That is a lot of meals and a lot of money that is given back to churches and the community. A lot of the riders say this is one of the reasons why they choose a church rather then one of the street vendors. Being a part of giving back to the community that shows you so much love.
One of the vendors on RagbraiMr Pork started serving back in 1982 when it passed though Paul Bernhard’s hometown of Bancroft. He was asked to serve his pork chops. The next year it passed close to his home town and again he was asked to serve his pork chops. The riders just loved his pork chops and said he should follow the riders and serve the pork chops. So he did. They have been serving Pork Chops ever since that. Paul’s son Matt helped him for many years and then took over the business. Paul has retired but still makes appearances on some of the stops. Paul has been known to yell “Get your po r k chops”, where you can hear it down the road.
You can find Mr Pork Chop everyday on some part of the ride. “Location is everything” says Matt. He tries to find a location on the top of a hill, visible from the road, where you can see and smell the pork chops for miles. Got to have great shade for the riders to want to stop. Matt also tries to find a place near the meeting town. The weather can affect the amount of pork chops sold each day. About 800 pork chops are sold each day on a good day. About 40% of Ragbrai riders stop to eat his pork chops at least once during the week. He loves to hear people talk about his pork chops and how they just had to stop. Out of all of the vendors, Mr Pork Chop is the most known and most talked about on the ride.
Matt talked a little about how they cook the pork chops without giving away all of his secrets. The frozen pork chops are put into a metal grate which has another grate that closes over them so they can flip all of them at one time. They use corn cobs for fuel to cook the frozen pork chops. The cobs burn at a higher temperature to seal in the flavors. You can’t miss the pink pig old school bus parked next to the road. Next to the bus are the grills with big bellowing smoke to catch the bikers eyes. The bus is filled up like a silo full of corn cobs for the whole week.
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Friday, August 05, 2011
Trinity Lutheran Church
Planned to serve 700 meals
250 Pork Chops
250 Chicken Breasts
100 Beef Kabobs
75 Vegetable Kabobs
100 Beef Noodle
66 dozen ears of Peaches & Cream style Corn
120 pies from a local orchard
The Taste of Iowa was organized by Vicki who wanted rider to get a taste of Iowa. From the three types of local meat to the local corn called Peaches & Cream. The number one experience they wanted riders to have was Pork of course. It was also very helpful
that some of the volunters were in the pork business and donated the grill to be used for the dinner. Kevin Westrum, one of these members, stated they got about 15 pork chops per side and 30 pork chops total from one pig. They had 250 pork chops and if you do the math, it’s 9 pigs. Gets you think with all the pork chops eaten on Ragbrai thought out the week, is there a sale on pork products because of the high demand.
Alice Westrum donated 120 pies for this dinner. 12 different types -Apple, peach, apricot, plum, blackberry, grape, gooseberry, current, raspberry, black raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry Rhubarb and Blueberry. Each pie had an imprint on the center on the pie stating what kind it was. A total of 720 pieces of pies. Alice lives about 8 miles north of Boone where almost all of the fruit came from her Orchard. The only thing she had to buy was blackberies do to losing those plants in her orchard. The pies that went first were the Current, Gooseberry and Strawberry Rhubarb. Current and Gooseberry are harder to find on Ragbrai so maybe this is why they went first. I had to try the Plum pie that reminded me of Rhubarb pie but much sweeter.
The corn was cooked in turkey friers, but instead of oil they used water. They used 6 friers at about 14 ears at a time for 10-12 minutes. A total of 66 dozen ears of corn was picked just the day before and they had a shucking party that day. By the end of the night they still had corn left over.
A lot of guests were groups of riders from all over the US. The longest distant guest for dinner was from Hawaii. Only a couple of families came to this dinner. They didn’t get as many guests as they hoped. Because of construction it was hard to get from the main area. But they did sell out of beef and noodle 2 hours into the dinner at 6pm. Vicki said they had a number of great comments and also handed out postcards for guests to send back to the church. She said they got a lot of comments like “this was the best I ever had on Ragbria”
The church goal was to treat the riders to a great meal and use the money to improve their church. Some of their improvements are for the school attached to the church, it needs to have the ceiling and flooring replaced. All the meat was cooked by 7:50 PM and there were still people walking in. They might have not sold all over their food items by the end of the night but they came very close to it. They even started selling whole pies for $10. It is always wonderful to see your money going to a good cause.
Grinnell United Methodist Church Dinner
Chicken and Noodle with Mash Potatoes
This was the church’s 3rd time serving a church dinner for Ragbrai. They were prepared to serve 600-700 riders. There were two dozen people in line at 3:30pm and the dinner started at 4pm. By 5:45 they had already sold 350 tickets. At a certain point of the night they were letting guests know there was the potential of being able to serve more, but they would have to let the already paid guests in first. At about 7:45 pm they sold their last ticket serving 760 plates of food.
Guests were sold tickets and could sit in a very comfortable church sanctuary listening to live Dixie Land music. Numbers were put on the board once a table in the dinning room opened up. 112 guests could be seated at one time in their dinning area. Once the guest’s number showed up on the board they would enter the pie line. Yes, why not pick your piece of pie first. The best part of the dinner… A great selection of 11 different types of desserts. Peach, Raspberry, Apple, Rhubarb, strawberry Rhubarb, Blue Berry, Pecan & Pumpkin Pies, Brownies, Cheese Cake, and Almond Bars. The first pies they ran out of was the Pumpkin and Pecan pie. At the end of the night they had leftover pies that they sold for $2 a slice.
Pastor Len Eberhart stated that their chicken noodle dish was perfected by church members who have done Ragbrai rides before and know what is important to riders. They had a very well thought out system from their 3rd time serving Ragbrai and other big dinners. You could feel the love in so many details. The dinning room had big round tables with a chicken themed center piece. The tables gave you a relaxing area to share with others at your table. It was truly wonderful to open their church sanctuary for the riders to come in and sit and relax, in a air-conditioned area listing to music after a long, hard day riding a bike. Other wonderful hospitality was refilling your glass with water or iced tea often. After a long hot day you need to make sure you are replenishing yourself.
Stop to talk to guest to ask them why they pick this church dinner then the other 3 church dinner being held that night. The top to answers people stated on how they pick a church dinner is location and menu. After a long hard ride most don’t want to walk many blocks to find a place to eat. But some did state if it is for the right type of dinner they will get there. One group happened to have a car so distance didn’t matter, they were just look for the steeples. What was nice about this church was the bells were ring helping you find its location. Some many of the guest stated they didn’t want spaghetti or lasagna and this was what they want to eat.
A special delight was the murals on the wall of the dinning room, the conference room and in the hallway created by Tom Moberg, T.J Moberg and Joe Sciorrotta. The mural in the conference room which is in color depicts the Highway 6 close to Grinnell. You can see two cars on the road. The first electric car was made in Des Moines, Iowa by William Morrison 1890-1891. Not sure if this is one of the cars Morrison invented but Pastor Eberhart stated this was one of the type of car that could be see around here. The dinning mural depicts parts from the bible blending from one scene to another. You can find a bible in a rock, Garden of Eden, the 10 Commandments, and a frog. They were happy to explain and handout more info about this beautiful artwork.