2013 Door County Finds
Now, I’ll spare you for the most part since this is not a travel blog, but y’all, I’m so obsessed with Door County that I could literally devote an entire blog to it (but who has time for that? Not this girl.) Anyway, I’ve spent a bit of time here waxing poetic about the amazingness of Door Co., so if you’re interested you can check out those posts here.
Today I wanted to do a quick rundown of some of my favorite food finds from this year’s excursion. Among the many things I adore about this place, one thing that makes food shopping incredibly easy is that you can sample everything. Just about everywhere you go has food samples out, and it definitely makes me more confident in my purchases. And even though it’s in cheese country, there are so many accidentally vegan items around that I never want for more food to try and/or buy.
I wanted to stay disconnected for the most part while I was away, which also meant no taking photos of my meals. I cheated a couple of times, but for the most part I was good about not pulling my phone out every time we sat down to eat. Since I didn’t take many pictures, I’ll post mini reviews of the places I went as well as a round-up of all the yummy products I brought home with me (or devoured while in the parking lot of the store…not that it happened or anything. Just sayin’.)
Parador – Out of all of the places we went to eat this year, this was by far my favorite. Parador is a new-comer to Egg Harbor and they do tapas-style dining. Even though I’ve had tapas at other restaurants, they really embraced the overall tapas experience, which was incredibly fun and delicious at the same time. They have a menu of about 15 items, some cold, some hot, and they recommended we do 5-6 plates for our group of 4.
Though most of the dishes are not vegan, they were easy to make that way and they had lots of vegetarian options for the other members of my group. Though everything we had was spectacular, I was most impressed by their roasted beet salad (hold the jamon). I literally at the whole plate (I know, not really in the spirit of tapas) – thankfully no one else at the table was a beet fan 🙂 I also quite enjoyed their red sangria – yum!
The Cookery – We ate there last year as well, and I posted a more in-depth review here. This time I had the kale salad for lunch and it was glorious. Some restaurants offer a sad salad as their only veg option, and many times I’ll eat it anyway, but these guys really know how to make a salad a meal. The peanut dressing they used was just the right amount of salty and sweet and the pickled carrots provided the perfect tang to go along with the dressing. So. Good.
The Summer Kitchen – We’ve eaten here every time I’ve been to Door (probably 6 or 7 times now), and it never disappoints. I had a veggie salad this time around, and it was packed with lots of fresh veggies. The little one and husband enjoyed their grilled cheese sandwiches with big heaping cups of fresh tomato soup. They have a huge menu that also includes Mexican food, which I think I’ll have to try next time around!
Al Johnson’s – I want to start off by saying that this restaurant is in no way vegan-friendly for the most part. It’s a Swedish-themed restaurant and they have goats on the roof, which is cool for the little one to see, and their top sellers are fish and Swedish meatballs. However, they had two seasonal salads on the menu and the one I ordered (can no longer remember the name of it) was this masterpiece of spinach, arugula, fresh fruit, dried fruit (including Door County cherries!), and nuts. All it was covered in this unbelievably light and tart lingonberry vinaigrette. I was impressed from just the beauty of the thing and the taste was outrageously good. The husband, who ordered a grilled cheese, was totally jealous.
Cherry Salsa – Cherries are the pride and joy of Door County (the cherry trees were heavy with fruit while we were there and it made for absolutely stunning views of the orchards), and so you can find just about anything you could imagine with cherries at the markets. My mother-in-law has been buying this stuff for as long as I can remember, so we made sure to pick some up this time around. I’m not big on mixing my sweets and spicy/salty treats, but surprisingly this salsa isn’t as sweet as you’d think. The cherries have a wonderful tartness to them that give a little respite from the acidity of the tomatoes – delish!
Maple Praline Syrup – Um, maple, praline, syrup – what else needs to be said? I don’t eat a lot of sweets, but when I do I like to eat more natural forms of sugar such as maple syrup, and this stuff is all kinds of buttery and amazing. Perfect for waffles or pancakes or even in a smoothie!
Roasted Onion Olive Oil – Fat Louie’s Olive Oil and Vinegar are very tasty and you can tell they put a lot of love into what they do. Last year I bought the cinnamon pear balsamic and it is scrumptious on top of a salad or for dipping, but this year I went with an olive oil so I could cook with it more. They had tons of great flavors (they have sampling rooms in several places in Door), but the husband and I were most drawn to the roasted onion one. The flavor is robust and really adds a pop to pasta or salads.
Loose Leaf Green Tea – Green tea is my jam, especially in loose leaf form, so I knew I had to try this. This particular blend has a bit of a sweet note to it, which is nice since some green teas have a bitter aftertaste. The tea is no-doubt high quality and I’ve been drinking it everyday since we’ve been back.
Vidalia Onion Dressing – I honestly couldn’t believe it when I read the ingredients label – no dairy or eggs? I must’ve read it 5 or 6 times before I purchased it just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Though it’s not exactly good for you (like most processed dressings) this stuff is creamy and full of interesting flavors. I’ve never had an onion dressing, but I assure you I will be buying this anytime I see it. It’s very thick too, so you could definitely use it as a dip as well.
We also went a little crazy at all of the wineries in the county and came home with two cases of it! We adore the wine at most of the wineries up there, and a lot of them have begun growing their own grapes as well, which is very cool to see. If you want to know more about the wineries of Door County, here’s a great resource. They even have a winery trail!