Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hawk's View And More October 15th-November 15th, 2008

I know it has been some time since my last entry, so I have decided to “kill several birds with one stone,”

and combine events from the past month in one entry. There is an evolution to the entry though, as will become evident, hopefully, as the events unfold. I originally thought I would keep this as a log of trips with our camper, but “conversations” with Lisa have convinced me to broaden my scope, even though it takes me a long time to put these entries together.

I am not as prolific a writer as Lisa. Do you read her blog? If you don’t, you should, as it is most enjoyable. And, Suzanne’s as well, although she is so busy she rarely has time to update. But, when she does add an entry, you will love to read what she has to say. You can find their blog addresses in my list of websites. Remember the journal we kept in Dad’s room so we could communicate about our visits with him? I think these blogs are a 21st century version of ‘keeping posted’ with the family. So, here goes. You may want to get a cup of coffee.

On October 15th, we set out with Jayne and Tom
on a trip to Fountain City, Wisconsin
for a stay at Hawk’s View Cottages and Lodges.
We drove through southwestern Wisconsin

along Highway 35,
also known as the Great River Road.
The fall colors were absolutely gorgeous and the weather was warm and sunny.

The cottages are tucked up into the bluffs, providing beautiful views from every window.

The driveway up to the parking area is quite challenging and we wondered what it would be like in the snowy winter. Our cottage was 117 steps up from the parking lot.
Even if it posed a bit of a challenge to get our luggage up there,
it was worth every step.

We had so much fun, as we always do when we travel with Jayne and Tom.
We spent two days there and saw the sights of the area,
including a drive through the beautiful countryside,
lunch at the historic Trempealeau Hotel,
a visit to the Minnesota Marine Art Museum
with the Leo Smith exhibit, which was my favorite part of the museum and a walk around the very peculiar “Rock in the House,”
located right there in Fountain City. We had a chance to get in some good laughs as we played Spinner
and Farkel
in the evenings.

On our drive home back up the river, we stopped for lunch at the Harbor View Café
in Pepin, Wisconsin. We have wanted to experience this award winning restaurant for years and the visit was every bit(e) worth the anticipation.
In fact, I enjoyed my meal of pork goulash so much I made the decision right there to develop a similar menu for our upcoming dinner club event in November.
I would highly recommend all of you make an effort to see this part of the state of Wisconsin and definitely put the Harbor View on your list of “Must Experiences During My Life.” In fact, give us a call and we hopefully will be able to join you!!!

We got home, unpacked our suitcases and repacked for a trip to Bob and Peggy Rantanen’s, who have a beautiful lake home on Big Cormorant Lake in Becker County. We spent two nights with them and had a fun time catching up. Bob and Peggy are also newly retired from their teaching jobs, so we are definitely “kindred” spirits. Coincidentally, many of Peggy’s relatives are from Kindred!!!!

We spent an incredibly beautiful fall day at the nearby Tamarac Wildlife Refuge. Someplace in that vicinity we stopped at this small restaurant and had one of the best lunches I have ever eaten anywhere. I couldn't tell you where this restaurant is, but if I lived in the Fargo area, I would drive around until I found it. It is fantastic, right down to the homemade bread and cookies.

That evening Bob twisted Paul's arm to go out fishing and showed him where one can pull in walleye in less than an hour!
We left Big Cormorant on the 22nd and headed to Fargo. It was cold and very dreary and the rain stayed with us the entire day. On our way to Fargo we drove through Buffalo River State Park and decided it would be a good place to camp in the future. We also made a stop at West Acres, which neither of us recognized. Where is DeLendrecie’s?

Damn progress.....
After a fun get together at Buffalo Wild Wings with the family, which afforded us an opportunity to hold our new beautiful grand niece Meredith Suzanne, daughter of Jessie and James,

we were off to the Fargo Dome to watch Fargo North versus some obscure Fargo high school to see Al's son, our youngest nephew, Jeffrey, play football.

That's Jeff, the guy with the football!!!
I guess there were some other players on the field that night, and we may be slightly biased, but Jeff (or JD as the rest of the world knows him) is one exceptional kid.

And, if I must say, thank heavens for indoor football.

Back from Fargo after an overnight stay at Beth and Gary’s, we finally are home to stay until after the holidays. As one can probably imagine, we found it impossible to avoid being consumed with the unfolding events in the world over the past few weeks.

Without digressing too much, I will just say we thought it was an amazing election night.

Since we have been home, I have cooked up a storm and have subjected Paul and anyone else who has wandered through the kitchen (Suzanne and Nick) to numerous versions of Eastern European recipes as I have sifted through my vast store of to develop the menu for our November 15th dinner club party. Here is the final version. Remember, way back at the beginning I mentioned that wonderful meal at Harbor View?

Geier’s Goulash Gathering
November 15, 2008

Course I
Cocktail - Northwood #2
Liptauer Schmirkasch - Spiced Cheese Spread
Baklazhannaya Ikra - Eggplant Cavier
Course II
Gribnoi Sup - Wild Mushroom and Pearl Barley
Clean Slate Reisling

Course III
Beet Carpaccio with Mint Vinaigrette
Marqués de Cácares Rioja Crianza

Course IV
Beef Goulash a´la Alton
Roasted Root Vegetables

Czechvar Lager
Zywiec Lager
Byskovské Pivo Pilsner

Course V
Pumpkin Cheesecake with Bourbon Sour Cream Topping
Austin Nichols Wild Turkey Bourbon

We ended up making quite a few adjustments to that meal I raved about at the Harbor View and we were very pleased with our finished product. This dinner group is such a great gathering of dear friends who all, obviously, share a common interest in cooking. I thoroughly enjoy these endeavors, especially now that I have the time to put the menus together. I will share any recipes you request. I didn’t have the nerve to stop everyone on Saturday night so we could take pictures of each course, so sorry I don’t have photos to share. It took me several attempts to tweak the dishes, so let’s just say the word “obsessed” has been floated around the house in my direction on more than one occasion in the past month. Well deserved.
We now turn our sights to Thanksgiving,
which we will host here with the Geier clan. That meal is all about tradition, right down to the cranberry sauce presentation.
I messed this dish up one of my first holidays with the family!!! Linda has promised she will help me to make sure it pulls off correctly. Whew!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. That weekend will also find us hosting the traditional “boys” dinner. Nick’s circle of friends from high school, a pretty tight group whom we love dearly, has been congregating here during Thanksgiving for quite some time now, long enough to be considered a tradition. This year the request from them is brisket. And freshly baked bread......many loaves of bread.
And, I find myself looking forward to Christmas more than I have in a long, long time.
Even though the pile of presents under the tree will be smaller this year, I have lost the feeling of stress that wells up inside as I try to figure out how to get everything prepared. It will be an interesting experience!

We will be in touch! Happy Thanksgiving!