Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Fish Boil and Other Door County Treats

White Gull Inn Fish Boil

Karen entering the White Gull Inn

Our Master Boiler, Tom Christianson

White Fish from Lake Michigan

Bringing in the cooked fish for dinner

Let's go eat!

Another one of my favorite parts of this past weekend was experiencing my first fish boil, which has been a Door County tradition for over a hundred years, pioneered by the early Scandinavian settlers of the Peninsula. Many of the local restaurants offer fish boils, but the White Gull Inn's is one of the oldest, and most famous.

A traditional Door County fish boil features freshly caught Lake Michigan whitefish caught by local fishermen and cooked outside over an open fire. The fish is cut in chunks and cooked in boiling water with small red potatoes. Fish oils rise to the surface of the boiling cauldron, and when the fish is perfectly done, the Master Boiler tosses a small amount of kerosene on the flames under the pot. The great burst of flames causes the boilover, spilling the fish oils over the side of the pot and leaving the fish perfectly done, steaming hot and ready to serve.

I loved the fish boil. It was fun and entertaining to watch, and the fish and accompanying dishes were delicious. I love a good fish fry, but doubted that I would enjoy plain, boiled whitefish. But served with a little tarter sauce and a touch of butter, the stuff was to die for. The dinner was also an incredible deal. For $18.95 per person, our dinner included all-you-can-eat fish and potatoes, garden fresh coleslaw, homemade breads and homemade Door County cherry pie for dessert. Of course, there was also the entertainment factor of watching the cooking process and hearing the history first hand from our master boiler. On top of that, there was also a gentleman playing the accordion during dinner. I thought the fish boil would be a "one and done" experience for me, but I loved it and will definitely go back.

After the fish boil, we headed back to our camp site for a nice campfire before turning in for the night. Sunday morning we slept in a bit before heading out on a 14-mile run around the perimeter of the park. The run was very difficult, as most of it was spent in the bluffs of the park, climbing hill after hill. Karen reminded me that it was good training for the hills of the Twin Cities marathon, which we're scheduled to run next weekend. Along the way, we also stopped at the lookout tower, where we enjoyed phenomenal views of Lake Michigan from a very high platform. Towards the end of the run, I was struggling immensely, but pressed on. I was very tired and hungry for breakfast.

Afterwards I told Karen that I was going to eat all day long. She laughed and replied that's my mantra every day. True. Nonetheless, I was ready to eat breakfast. We decided on a cute little breakfast nook in Ephraim named "Good Eggs." Upon entering, I immediately fell in love with the place. They were playing Beck, my favorite musical artist, and their menu featured three simple versions of breakfast omelets, fruit smoothies, scones, and "mountain bars." I loved the vibe, and the food was great, too. Definitely a gem. And very cheap, too.

From there, we did a little shopping in Ephriam, Egg Harbor, and Sister Bay before starting our drive home. We stopped at Orchard Winery on our way out for a little wine tasting and to pick up a pie for the way home. Which, living up to my day's goal, I immediately dug into. It was some damn good apple pie!

1 comment:

kelsey said...

that place looks so cool! what a fun weekend