Well, John and I ended up going for a drive yesterday, a mini-day trip. We love going for beautiful drives, it’s “our” thing, so yesterday we chose to head south, along the gorgeous St. Croix River Valley down to the Lake Pepin area. We drove down Minnesota Hwy 61 and back up Wisconsin Hwy 35, very slick. I looked up and printed out several dining options, in various picturesque towns along the lake – we’ve eaten at the Harbor View Cafe in Pepin before, which is lovely (I highly recommend it), but we thought we’d try somewhere we could just walk into and sit down. As we drove into Lake City, which has a breathtaking view of Lake Pepin, I noticed a restaurant called The Skyline (not on my list), with a deck perfectly over-looking the lake, so on a whim we swung around and went in. Uh, I should have trusted my gut and hightailed it right back out of there when we saw how grimy the deck was, but there we were, and the view was great, so we took a chance. Big mistake. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Unremarkable, greasy food, filthy bathrooms (that smelled like Raid, not a good sign, shiver…), flies and bees all over our food (and us!), people smoking on both sides of us – basically the whole thing was revolting. We drove away feeling unclean, so I suggested we swing into the first cute coffee shop we saw for a hot cuppa and something sweet. We found the perfect tidy spot on the other side of the lake, in Pepin, and felt so much better afterward (magical, restorative coffee, oh how I love thee!).
As we wound our way home through charming little Wabasha, Pepin, Stockholm, and Maiden Rock, I pointed out some of the quaint little bars and cafes that were on my list of places to eat. John said, “Oh, that’s OK, I was really hungry for crappy food in a filthy little place,” and OMG did we laugh and laugh and laugh. Not our best drive ever, that’s for sure, but hey, it made us mighty glad to be home! And that’s always good, right?
Today, it feels soooo decadent to be eating clean, healthy food. For dinner I’m going to season chicken breasts with lots of parsley, mint, garlic, and olive oil and then grill them alongside pita bread rubbed with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled with coarse salt. Paired with a big Greek salad, full of garden-ripe tomatoes, cukes, dill, onion, olives, and feta…we should be so jamming. And with this break in the humidity, we can eat on our own – clean! smokefree! – deck, thank you very much. (We are incredibly lucky that our umbrella and table are both OK after Friday’s failed leap-to-freedom over the side of our deck…you’re stuck with us for a few more years of grillin’ & chillin’, sorry dudes…)