Archive for the ‘Bright’s 2010 Restaurant Blog’ Category

Free Golf! Chippewa Bar & Grill at Coffee Mill Golf Course

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

If you are ever in Wabasha, Mn, visiting the National Eagle Center or Lark’s Toys in Kellogg, Mn, a nice place to stop for delicious eats and one of the most spectacular views in the country is the Chippewa Bar & Grill. The golf club and grill are located 1300ft high on a Mississippi River bluff and the view is unencumbered in any direction. Very much worth the thirty minute trip down historic US Hwy 61 from Red Wing.

We strolled in unannounced around 4:15 for an early dinner. We are in the process of moving down that way, and got hungry early. We looked at their website and noted the winter hours. Always a good idea. We were greeted by a super guy named Craig who made us feel so welcomed and comfortable, we knew we must make the Chippewa our new hang out for food.

Craig told us about the $5.95 specials, Popcorn Chicken or Shrimp with Wisconsin Cheese Soup or French Fries and served with a lovely lightly garlic buttered multi-grain bread Dh got the chicken and fries and I got the shrimp and soup. Everything was delicious and with a decidedly fresh approach to each item. Even the ice tea was super unique. The ambiance was really nice, clean and very new. Bring your camera!

I have to send out a big ‘Hooray!’ for the golfer we saw putting away with as little natural light as is possible to be available just before complete darkness!

Another wonderful part of it all, is that if you go up there for the first time, you will get a full 18 hole golf game for FREE!

Coffee Mill Golf Course
(651) 565-4332
180 Coffee Mill Dr, Wabasha, MN

Schumacher’s Hotel and Grill 212

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Dh and I finally made it out to Schumacher’s Grill today. It was a gorgeous day, with little traffic and lots of sunshine on Hwy 19. It takes about 34 minutes to get there, but it’s a sweet way to catch the last colors of fall, see the textures that have been hidden all summer long and to get a few minutes to listen to some classical jams on the radio while discussing the new home situation with the dh sitting next to you.

Most of the old timers around here know of John Schumacher, the super chef. There’s a long history here, but I won’t go into that. Suffice to say that he is back at the old hotel, which is lovely and decidedly Czech, mixed with Americana here and there in the form of wall art.

Now, to the important part…the food. I had a Grilled tea salmon sandwich with Swiss cheese, pineapple, craisin compote, and tartar sauce, and lettuce on a ciabatta bun that was the best I ever had. I had a vegetable soup called Vomacka, which had green beans, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, dill, cream and ??? (here is a recipe, but not the recipe link; It was very, very good. Quite delectable, would go back for more, yummy and nothing bad to say about it good. I had no room for dessert, but we brought home a few apricot kolaches, which were super delicious at four for five dollars. Iced tea, which was too strong for me, but better than the local water they serve. Ick.

My dh had the Hotel Burger with American cheese, a pile of grilled onions, bacon, dill pickle and lettuce on Ciabatta bun, with French fries. He said it was as good as the Northfield Golf Club’s burger and he thinks those are the best in the state, as far as he can tell.

The service was good, and the servers were many. I think we had three. No music, but we sat by a window and we were entertained by all the people going to Wells Fargo drive thru ATM on a Saturday afternoon. Some even walked up.

I don’t know if there is easy handicap access. The front had several stairs, but there may be a back way or ‘rear entrance’ as some people call this architectural function. I am from Chicago and we have alleys and the back ways. Call first.

Reservations are a good idea, and call for hours as well. Good luck to the Schumachers! Your food is worth driving for.

Monte’s Closed AGAIN!, Boston’s Gourmet Pizza, Faribault

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

We went yet again to Boston’s because Monte’s is closed again. Dang. They put too much salt in their food
and that is a big mistake these days. Salt swells up cells, and inflammation is now found to be the stuff what kills ya and ages us earlier. Plus, I think people think these types of restaurants are too expensive, when, in fact, they usually have a decently priced lunch fare.

At Boston’s, we didn’t try the pizza, we did order up a tuna melt and a steak wrap in bacon appetizer, plus a dessert. We’ll get to that later. For the first item, the tuna melt, which is something I have always loved to order from franchise type restaurants, just didn’t cut it, becuz, I would have had to cut it to keep it from sliding all over the place. It tasted good, but I felt like I was in a rodeo trying to lasso a fish. The toasted layer of cheese stuck to the thin slices of tomato slid one way, while the tuna slithered off and oozed the other way. While the combo of bread, tuna and cheese-tomato was tasty, with the lovely chewiness you can only find in restaurant quality buns, it was pretty messy and made me think I should invent a take a long bib.

I tried a small bit of D’s steak wrap appetizer, and I don’t eat red meat, so this isn’t exactly unbias, but the bacon was too fatty, and the steak was bitter so I didn’t really eat any. D liked it okay though.

The dessert was tortilla cheese cake, raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream. The cheese cake was warm, and just the perfect compliment to the ice cream which was not warm. We enjoyed that quite a bit.

We had iced tea, which kept coming, as the service was very good, but we were the only ones in there at 3PM for most of the time we were there. All in all, I’d say, go if you are not too fussy, becuz they have a lot on their menu
and some items are bound to be good, right?

125 1st Ave NE
Faribault, MN 55021
(507) 331-3255

The Cheese Cave, Faribault

Saturday, June 26th, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I said I would blog the Cheese Cave, and today we headed down there for an afternoon trek.  I was delighted upon entry at seeing a well organized shop with several layers of fun, food and festive ware.   Small, but very cute and filled with lots of surprises, dh and I were entertained from the moment we stopped and smelled the cheeses.

We sat down after a short browse of all manner of cheese related dishes and a few kitchen items, an open fridge with salads, sandwiches and super pops.  There is a nice bar with high end liquor, beers to bring the connoisseur to their knees and wise wine to mingle over.

We ordered up a couple of individual pizzas, one with tomato, fresh mozzarella and the best basil pesto I have ever had called the Capre’se.  The  12 year old balsamic vinegar and Italian parmesan cheese did nothing to dissuade my appetite for it.  We loved it as much as the Blue Pear pizza with Amablu Gorgonzola and sweet pears with honey and chopped pecans.  I was beside myself,  and regular readers know how rarely I have used that term…like never.

We truly enjoyed the three people who served us with such friendliness and complete openness.  I cannot say enough how much that means to me as I am a wanderer always away from my home, and d enjoys the interaction, too.  He was too busy eating the larger part of our splitting the pizzas to say anymore than that, and I said that for him.  He’s a guy, you know.  A nod and a smile is about the best I’m going to get out of him 9 times out of 10, but it’s all good.

Anyway, after the pizzas,  we ordered a piece of Grand Royal Vanilla Cheesecake.  First, let me say, it was a piece big enough for two.  Then I have to say it was so good, sprinkled with a crunchy toffee topping,  I have never tasted anything better, and because it was so huge, in the end, I had to help dh eat it, so I went way off my intent to keep my girlish figure intact by about 400 more calories which is a quarter pound…like eating a Big Mac, only more delicious and not as many calories, only the same actual weight.

So then, of course I had to bring home some stuff, so I got a sandwich, some gourmet pop, some buffalo sticks for dh, and some St. Mary’s gouda cheese, the best in the world and brother, sister, I am gonna give out an amen on that tip.  Mmmmmhmmmm.  Watch out now, cuz Jill will come running from the backroom if she hears you enjoying food.  That’s her thing, watching you love the food.  And I think the shop is like the dairy equivalent of the movie ‘Chocolat’ where the lady’ love goes into and infects the chocolate shop’s customers who eat the chocolate with that very same love.

So, then, after a real treat, oh and I asked them to put on the World Cup Soccer game between the USA and Gnana, and they did…so then, we paid for everthing, oh and  a pickle, don’t forget the pickel, and they can put you on a bonus point list for a gift after so many points.  Sign up for that, name only needed.

One point to remember, through an oversight, they did not get a tip line put on their receipts for  credit cards, so don’t forget to tip, okay?  Enjoy this place, it’s a real treasure.

Hooray for Butler’s

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Butler’s Steak & Ale


620  Water Street South, in the strip mall just south of Just Foods in Northfield

Well, Norm struck a home run for me today when I and  my friend and hubby went for a tasting of Butler’s Italian Pasta Buffet for $9.95. It was good.  We all agreed.  The pasta, a thick curly noodle type with red and white sauces, a fresh mixed greens salad with onions and baby green beans, a red pepper and potato soup that was light and delicious, easy on the salt, thank the stars! and a nice flat bread with a couple of cheeses and marinara.  There was also bread sticks, big and soft and chewy and meat balls.  I didn’t care for the meat balls, but the others liked them well enough.  I don’t eat much red meat, but I will imbibe once  in awhile.  I did love the soup and will make that at home sometime or eat some more at Butler’s.

Oh, the new thing, for me at least, is to combine the red and white sauces, or marinara and alfredo sauces,so you get Campbell’s Tomato Soup colored sauce, if you’d added milk.   It’s delicious!

The service was more that adequate, very polite and just the right amount of happy.

The ambiance is developing nicely with some new bluish lovely light fixtures and the old English leather style booths, which are new, not old.  We did not try out the new deck outside because it was starting to get a bit hot and I don’t do well in hot anymore.

As for handicap access, in front, you will find the handicap curb some 40 or 50 feet to the north and south of Butler’s, or there may be back door access. sorry, I didn’t check that.

Three buffet lunches with 3 soft drinks and tax came to $35.00 plus a tip.  Not bad for all that.

All in all in was a good experience for me and I hope Butler’s stays around a long time.  We here in Northfield love a good eating establishment.  Don’t we?

Bright’s Flashes

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

We’ve been doing so much lately,  we don’t have time for a full blown one subject blog, so we’re keeping with what we started recently and that is just a few thoughts, brilliant flashes or ill thought out  dribble, whatever comes up and is relevant, important, or just plain cool or stupid.  You be the judge.

First, I’d like to give a shout out to the owner of Aquatic Pets at 414 S. Division Street in Northfield.  Why?  She said she would take a slightly broken aquarium that was left here when we bought our home…this is saving me a $20 fee at the landfill, as it is the last of stuff I am clearing out, recycling and giving away.  Aquatic Pets will sell the slightly broken aquarium to someone who will use it as a terrarium, fix it, or some great art experiment and then turn the money over to the animal shelter!  How cool is that?

Then, I ‘d like to say that Kurry Kabob is a very good place to eat, the food is fresh, and like homemade the owners tell me they use no prepackaged herbs or anything.  It is always good food and oh, if you are a little afraid of herbs or spices in your tum tum, they will cook you some plain dishes so you can go with the people who love the spice, like me.  It’s so good for you, and the tumeric spice which is in every curry sauce is said to stave off Alzeimer’s by cleaning out the arteries…you see, there is no such disease in India.  You have to eat it a lot, not just one trip to Kurry Kabobs.   At least that is what I have heard lately…andnot meant to be medical advice.  I am not a doctor, nurse or anything like that, but I go to one or two!

We got some super herbs and flowers over at the Northfield’s farmers market a couple of weeks ago, and they are doing very well.  Now I found out that Dundas has a Farmer’s Market, too.  Mon and Wed from 3 to 8pm and on Saturday, hours unknown.  It’s nice because a lot of people cannot make the Northfield hours during the week.  I haven’t been to Dundas yet,  but I will go soon and tell you all about it.

Went to Applebee’s and had the sampler plate,  well, I had one third there, dh had one third and I took a third home.  Gained 3 pounds.  No lie.  That stuff tastes great, but whew, talk about calories.  D had the bbq ribs, which were pretty decent for a chain restaurant.  The waitstaff has improved considerably, imho, and the prices are low enough.  Don’t park in the pick up spots though. I didn’t know servers came out to get the orders!  We just pulled in for a minute to see if they had a spot for us, and out comes the woman ready to take my order!  Fast.

Recently I decided to eat out less, and I have been taking home half my restaurant meals for some time now, but still struggling with the five or six pounds I would love to loose.  Not working. I have decided to stop eating at home as much.  I lost two pounds with this plan, real weight.  Seems like I think my home cooked food is less fattening, so I eat more of it.   Hope this plan sticks and the food I eat doesn’t.

Monte’s in Faribault  is still good, if not better with nicely priced lunches.  Depot in the same city, not to be confused with Home Depot, is under new ownership.  The food was pretty good when we visited last week and the three trains roaring by made it super fun for us sitting next to the window! Monte’s is closed again.

Gotto try the Cheese Cave in Faribault,  a new store on the 300 block of Central Avenue, west side of the street.  Mmmmm.  The cheese is aged right back of Depot restaurant in a cave.  Wow.  Right here in Minnesota.  Whodah thunk it?

Bon Voyage for now and Ciao, ciao, good bye!

Tour D’ Pig

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

These are my notes from Northfield Golf Club Chef’s Tour of  the Pig and Wine Tasting.    I didn’t want to do the whole blog thing with it because it’s not fair…I am not a gourmand,  or a foodie, or anything, I just like to talk about eating.  So, some of what Chef Rahael offered was not to my uneducated pallet, but I do like to experiment and take a chance from time to time.  Overall, I was not happy with the suckling pig parts and I wasn’t crazy about the wines, save one.  So, read on to get a snapshot of an idea and know that the Chef is holding tastings on Saturdays until further notice, I heard through the grapevine.
Consumme’ from the Rear End – just okay for me,dog,  to borrow a phrase from Randy of American Idol.

Ham from the Middle,partly okay, partly rubbery and unpalatable.

Head Cheese from the Other End, Keep your head on and don’t serve it to me again. Ick.

Bacon Ice Cream with Chocolate Covered Bacon!  Now you’re talking my ay anguage lay, piglutin!

Topper was Cherry stored in Pork for 15 years…dh says I didn’t hear that right, but who gives a…..!
Oh My God, that was cherry flavor elevated to platinum gold!  Give me 15 more of those, please!

Paired with these 3  wines.
1. Crane Lake Sparkling Wine Champagne made from real Crane feathers,
I loved this one completely.
2. Malvec? – too oily for me…use it to grease up
the pig and then go try to catch it.
3. Call me a Cabernet! I want to go
home now.

We Did It Again!

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

We usually go twice a year, but the last couple of years we only made it as far as Cannon Falls.   This last couple of weeks we made it all the way to Red Wing and beyond twice.  Today, as usual, out on the road, one of us, me, usually gets hungry.  So we eyed the new Norton Restaurant and Lucky Cat Bar in downtown Red Wing on our trip down to Wabasha and decided to hit it on the way back.

We did and we liked it quite a bit.  We had blogged Norton’s several years ago in it’s older location, but this place is much snappier, looks very posh and the food is quite good.  We weren’t hungry enough for a big dinner, so we just got sandwiches, dh the lamb burger done medium with swiss cheese and chips, and I tried the Saigon Sub with ham, pate, cheese, onion, cucumber,spinach and a side of the special fish sauce, see the website for more details on that, which I sent back cuz I couldn’t bare to smell it on the table.  I ordered up horse radish instead, which I love and which was freshly cut, and for which I got the tiniest weird look from the waitress.  No problem.

I understand, when you have blended all those subtle flavors to build for a nice,  lovely palate, you don’t want to crush it with horseradish, but I know what I am doing and I don’t crush, I just smoosh a little. it turned out beautifully for me.

We also tried the bowl of mac and cheese, because it is of great interest to me the varied and many different ways that become mac and cheese.  This one was served at the proper temperature to make it taste like manna from heaven above.  I asked to be told about the recipe, and the word was nothing more than white cheddar on penne.  This must have been the most pure cow and artful human handiwork on the planet.

However, I must say that I let some of mine cool down while I ate my sub, and when I came back to it, it seemed gloppy and boring.   This is testament to the ever important fact that food must be served at the proper temperature to be all that it can be.  And it is both the easiest and hardest part of cooking, imho.

We then went all the way and got the Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry Sauce.  This is the kind of food I will not recommend.  It makes you eat it.  How maddening is that.  I did do very well in sharing with dh and allowing him to mostly devour it, but I had to slap my own hand to quit taking just a little bit more.

We heard good jazz playing, the lively kind and the place is clean as a whistle.   Great red chairs and small tables.  Looks like serious fun.  Some nice pieces on the wall.  Black cloth napkins.All in all lunch at Norton’s was much better this time than the last time, mostly because the people were nicer to us and that made everything taste better.

OMGoodness! NGC

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

If you miss dinner at the golf club this evening, 4-2-10, you missed something to write home about.

Raphael outdid himself again.  My goodness.  Even dh said the pan roasted filet mignon which was served with a courvoisier and tarragon cream sauce, baby asparagas, and savory mashed potatoes was like he already had desert.  Yeah.  That’s something coming from him.

I ordered the pan roasted walleye with tomato and caper butter sauce and I have to say the crust on the walleye was the most delicious thing under the tanning bed!  OMGoodness, I said, again and again.    The  walleye meat was very good indeed.  Just about as fresh and sweet as you can get in Northfield. I also had the asparagas and mashed potatoes.

Both meals came with salad buffet and cream of clam soup.  Good enough on that note.

We later had the new molten chocolate desert with raspberry sauce, carmel sauce, blueberries,raspberries, a dash of whipped cream and a hot chocolate cupcake brownie sort of thing.  Delish.  Everyone who sees it drools.  I just came home and did an extra long spin on my bike.

We only had one iced tea, so the bill came out at just over $50.  A nice little splurge for us, but one we truly enjoyed.  Kudos to the staff at NGC as well.  They are always top notch with us and everyone and the same basic crew has been there for a few years at least.

Don’t forget to see my greeting card site for your Mother’s Day cards;

I have a nice selection now and a bunch of funny cards to boot.  Know a nurse?  Nurses Day is coming up pretty soon.  Yes, it is Nurses Day and not Nurse’s Day.  Very confusing, but then ‘they’  do like to keep us off balance. :)

May 6-12th is the entire week dedicated to nurses in the USA.  May 6th is National Nurses Day and May 8th is National Student Nurse Day.

Should One Count Calories When Eating Out?

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Last weekend, dh and I headed to Winona to meet with a friend and have a day with the bluffs, the eagles, the winding roads and the river, the big river.  You may remember, it was a perfect day.

The sun was shining, the wind was slight, the buds are blooming, the birds are singing, the insects have not yet shown up to bite sweet me.  Hooray, and many thanks for such a lovely day.  But, alas and alack, we began to become hungry after leaving our friend.

We decided to go to Perkins in Winona.  I had a marvelous breakfast scrambler with potatoes, bacon,eggs, cheese in one dish and a cup of melons, and a blueberry mammoth muffin, with extra mammoth, as dh always tells the waitress and always gets a laugh. Dh had the usual bacon double cheeseburger and fries…pushing 1300 calories.

I was smart though, I had the waiter put the muffin in a bag even before I started eating.   This muffin was destined to be Monday morning’s breakfast.   While I didn’t know how many calories this meal was going to put on my frame, I knew it was pretty hefty.

Now, I had heard recently that we shouldn’t count calories, but should pay attention to our activity levels much more.  I agree, but then I start eating like a football player and am getting old enough to where it sticks more and more.

Well,  now I am home and thought, I am gonna blog the Perkins in Winona, so I look up the nutrition and calorie info at  and find out that my choice was not too bad at 790 for the scrambler and fruit cup, minus the mammoth blueberry muffin at 510 calories.  Together they would have topped 1300 calories with my iced tea, unsweetened and with lemon.  That’s almost a whole day’s intake for me when I am not toodling around.  But because I didn’t eat too much for breakfast, and brought along a cheese sandwich on Italian light wheat bread, which came in under 200 calories, I actually lost a half pound for the day, even if it was only water weight, I still count it for psychological reasons. :)

Stick with the Turkey Dinner, forget about the roll, and stay under 800 calories, if you are counting.   If you are serious, get a 100 calorie cup of chicken noodle soup and hope you don’t pass out from low blood sugar on the way home.

So, it was a great meal, all in all, and a very nice Perkins it was, except for one little thing.    I went to wash my hands but you have to go to the Quality Inn which is attached to Perkins.  So, that I did, and there was this woman in the rest room, completely naked.  Now I can hear a few of the male readers saying, “why doesn’t this stuff happen to me?” already, but I wish it didn’t happen to me because this woman was obviously disturbed (by the way she was acting toward me)and might have been a danger to herself or young children.  My point here is please don’t send your children alone to any rest rooms and go inside with them and check them out thoroughly before you leave them in there alone.  Nuff said.

I let the manager know about the situation.  The rest rooms there are just around the corner from an entrance and anyone can mosey in there, where there are no cameras.   Now, I think the situation will be different.  Even in Winona, weird things happen.  Oh, and I didn’t get to wash my hands as I did a pretty fast about face and hightailed it out of there, wiki wiki.