Hurling down 35W from the Twin Cities toward Duluth, through Duluth, past Duluth and on to Lutsen, my girlfriend K and I talked food. We talked about where we’d stop for a late lunch. We talked about what we’d be eating Saturday night at the Lutsen Resort Spring Wine Weekend. We talked about the groceries and wine packed in the trunk. It is good to have a bestie who not only understands your favorite obsession, but shares it.
K’s little white dog sat on my lap and we peered out at the anti-choice billboards, occasional lumps of roadkill and battered Cravaack yardsigns. I was grateful when endless rows of birch and pines and Lake Superior began to edge out the skyline. At Russ Kendall’s we picked up smoked trout and white fish for snacking at the lodge. Russ Kendall’s smells like burned toast and cigarettes in a really good way. A guy at the adjoining bar observed me taking photos. He had the look of amusement that I assume he saves for the goofiest tourists.
The Split Rock Lighthouse was closed for the season so we settled for a quick hike around the island. Appetites whetted, we headed to lunch at Lemon Wolf Cafe especially after reading Rick Nelson’s review of their coconut pie. Bummed that the herring plate was sold out, I asked our server for their most popular dish. She brought me a gorgeous trout and wild rice with vegetables. K ordered a the tomato basil soup which was equally tasty. And the pie. My god the pie.
We unloaded our stuff at the lodge, lit the fireplace, and admired our view of Lake Superior. A Friday night bluegrass festival sounded promising. By 7 PM we were in our pajamas lamenting about lost youth and how just a few years ago we’d have spent the evening dancing to live music rather than enjoying a glass of wine and snacking on smoked trout. K brought out pastries from Pastisserie 46 and the snow began to fall, I poured another glass of wine, and the puffy white dog napped in my lap. I figured we needed to save our strength for Saturday.