While looking for Swans We found a New Restaurant

Right now we are involved in the Great Backyard Bird Count. This is a 4 day worldwide birdwatching deal that anyone can participate in. No matter if you don’t know the names of all the birds, just identify and count the ones you know. And yes, you know more than you think. I know you can identify cardinals, sparrows, goldfinches, seagulls, geese…and if you happen to know more so you can say Northern cardinal, House sparrow, Tree sparrow, Lesser goldfinch, Herring gull, Canada geese, well then, all the better. It’s fun, lasts 4 days (Feb 17 -20) and you can do all four days and watch on and off all day or just one day for 15 minutes and then quit. Today is the last day for this year.

We get a bit more into it, so yesterday since it was 50 degrees on February 19th in NE Wisconsin instead of huddling in our house viewing birds from our windows we decided to take a field trip up to Door County, specifically Baileys Harbor where friends of ours reported seeing Tundra Swans.

BUT, this post is not about birds it is about lunch. Once we got to the town in question, about 60 miles north of here, and, finding no swans anywhere, we looked for a lunch place. In the winter not many places are open up there, especially on a Sunday but we did see a restaurant called Chives which had an OPEN sign in the window. We had heard of this restaurant but thought it was on the west side of the bay of Green Bay. And yes it is, same owner. Friends had given it good reviews. So, with not many other options in sight we went in.

Chives, Baileys Harbor, WI

Chives, Baileys Harbor, WI











It was nice looking inside. First room had seating and a bar but we were taken to a second room that had a very nice view of the Lake Michigan. Later we discovered a small room with couches, casual seating and small tables and a dining area that looked like a library.

Looks like a great place for dinner.

Looks like a great place for dinner.

We had a nice corner seat by the window.

We had a nice corner seat by the window.

The waiter brought the menu that was a combination brunch/lunch. It was sweet and savory/ breakfasty and lunchy.

menuLots of good choices. The menu reminded us of a favorite restaurant we frequent in DePere, WI called The Creamery. When he found out it was a charcuterie, Curt ordered the first item called House-made Grilled Sausage. It was composed of a ramp & morel sausage, three aged cheddars: Dunbarton Blue, Hooks 7 year & Blue Mont. A schmear of brown mustard, a mustard seed caviar and two slices of crusty bread. He paired that with a side salad. He said if he ordered it again he would asked for two sausages because it was excellent.charcuterieI decided on The Bistro which was a grilled cheese sandwich ( Muenster and White cheddar on a rustic bread), soup of the day (white bean and smoked ham) and a salad. The salads were already dressed with an interesting vinaigrette. The soup was wonderful and so hearty I really didn’t need the sandwich but it was great cheese combination and I ate it all.

Sorry, didn't remember to take photos until after I had started in

Sorry, didn’t remember to take photos until after I had started in

Service was very good. We didn’t have to wait long at all for our food. Wait staff was attentive but not overly so. It just was a pleasant lunch all around. If you go, hours are limited because it just isn’t super busy in Door County in the winter. Matter of fact, this is the first winter this restaurant has decided to stay open but it is only Th – Sat: 4pm to close ( dinner service) and Sat/Sun: 9 – 2 (lunch/brunch). Well worth the trip. However if you are looking for swans I hope you have better luck than we did. We did see a lot of Herring gulls, Common crows and Red-tailed hawks. Better luck next time.


Garlic Ikebana?

Garlic scapes in the garden

We were having some people over for dinner this past weekend and I wanted to put together a fresh flower arrangement but with the heat and lack of rain, most of the irises were way past their prime and none of the other candidates were ready yet.

I grow garlic and chives in my garden.  Each year I have to deal with removing the garlic scapes and chive blossoms to direct more of the plant’s energy to the bulb instead of the flowers.  Most years I just leave them lying in the garden path.  I’ve tried eating them but I find the garlic scapes to be pretty fibrous and not very palatable to my taste but the chive blossoms are tender and are a welcome addition to stir-fries.

Chive blossoms in the garden

The scapes and blossoms, though, are beautiful.  The scapes emerge as  slender stalk with a stiletto-like blossom at the end and then start to curl into a pig-tail like whip.  The chive blossoms just shoot straight up with a Kremlin “onion-dome” bud at the tip.  They seemed like worthy substitutes for the more usual garden flowers that might go into an arrangement.

Garlic scape and Chive blossom arrangement

So, instead of leaving the scapes and blossoms in the garden path, I tried to do something more aesthetic with them.  Now, I’m not trained as a flower arranger, but I think I have some Japanese inspired impulse in me.  The vase in the photo is a contemporary form from Bizen, Japan intended to hang on a peg rather than stand on a flat surface (although it can do that too).

Garlic/Chive arrangement, detail

Is it ikebana?  Probably not according to any Japanese tradition but for a hot day in New Franken I think it might just pass.