Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Vacation Food

My love of food is no secret. And I've decided that my love of travel goes hand in hand with my love of food.

As we were driving to Michigan, Steve and I talked about his upcoming trip to Switzerland and the chocolate he would encounter. We also talked about how we both would like to go to Germany. Steve thought it would be fun to check out Octoberfest there. I thought it would be fun to find spaetzel. It was then that I realized one of the major things I love about traveling is eating yummy things in a new location.

Our trip to Ludington filled this bill as well. On our drive up, we needed to make a stop for dinner. As I tried to find restaurants using the map app on my iPhone, Steve read the billboards passing by. He saw a billboard for Crane's Pie Pantry. I found the "What-not Inn." We decided that Steve's find sounded much tastier, and we were well rewarded.

The place itself was cool. It was like a more authentic Cracker Barrel. We sat in a room that had all kinds of model airplanes hanging from the ceiling. The waitress offered Jack a "booster" seat. It was very similar to the high chair my grandmother had in her house when I was growing up - the wooden kind with beautifully carved spindles.

For dinner, I had a creamy tortilla soup that was awesome. It wasn't too spicy, but it was full of flavor. Steve and Jack had apple cider. After they started drinking it, Steve saw a sign that said the cider was unpasteurized and might not be safe to drink for children or adults with weakened immune systems. Jack was fine. They both enjoyed the cider. Steve also raved about Jack's grilled cheese.

We decided to take dessert to go since it was already getting late and we still had at least two more hours in our drive. We bought an apple pie, hot fudge, and blueberry preserves - all homemade. We have eaten the blueberry preserves every morning for breakfast since. I have also enjoyed the hot fudge every day since. The pie was nothing short of exactly what you would want in an iconic apple pie.


Luckily, Crane's offers online shopping and shipping. I might have to add a budget for this.

Once we got to Ludington, the eating options were mixed. Saturday's lunch was the bummer. We ate at Luciano's in town after someone had written nice things about it in the guest book at the house. We are not sure what those people ate at Luciano's because everything we were served would have made for a great episode of Kitchen Nightmare's with Chef Ramsey.

Luckily, dinner that night was pizza from the Chuck Wagon. While not Lou Malnati's, it certainly renewed our faith in the idea that Ludington can offer a decent restaurant.

Amanda and Kurt had gone shopping, so when we cooked out on Sunday night, we ate well. Hot dogs, bratwurst, corn on the cob, asparagus: it was all fantastic.

Breakfast was also a hit. Kurt and Amanda purchased sugar-cured bacon. So Steve cooked this bacon each morning, and then made eggs cooked in the bacon fat. It tasted as good as sugar-cured bacon sounds. Add toast with the blueberry preserves, and you can see why breakfast was amazing.

Unfortunately, we left the oft-recommended House of Flavors ice cream shop unvisited. Somehow, we did not have time to visit town again for dessert. It could be because we liked our pie so much we just kept eating it. House of Flavors will be on the list of must-dos next time.

So now we are home, and I am back to meal-planning and trying to eat healthy again. Jack and I had a cheese and fruit plate for dinner last night. Tonight was hot dogs and vegetables. Luckily, we still have a little of the preserves and hot fudge left to keep the vacation feeling lingering, but I doubt it will last past tomorrow!

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