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Monday, September 26, 2011

HARBOR VIEW CAFE, PEPIN, WI

Yesterday, I decided to take a road-trip out to Wisconsin and dine at the Harbor View Cafe, I have been hearing about for a long time now. Myself, husband and dog (of course) loaded up around 10am and set out toward WI-35, the breathtaking highway which runs along Lake Pepin, the widest naturally occurring lake connecting the Mississippi. Lake Pepin travels right along numerous charming towns, namely Bay City, Maiden Rock, Stockholm and Pepin where the Harbor View resides. The leaves are just beginning to change, yet the forests are still lush and saturated with colors of green, yellow and orange. The roads are winding and scenic, well worth the hour and forty-five minute trip for lunch ;). We decide to begin exploring the charming Lakeside town on the way back home, and continue onward toward the infamous Harbor View. The Harbor View Cafe opened in 1980 with the motto, "The Best from Scratch" and continue to live up to their motto of using the best quality local ingredients and changing their menu on a regular basis to keep up with the changing harvest. The Cafe sits across from an old railroad track and a beautiful harbor you can see from my photos above. The views are spectacular and food even better! I was advised by my mother to arrive on off hours as they can be extremely busy. We arrived at around 12:45 and met no line. I would imagine the dinner service is busier than the lunch service. The cafe is small and quaint, with wood surrounding, pressed tin ceiling and blue checkerboard table linens. The atmosphere is casual, almost cabin-like. We are seated immediately at a booth and told by the host to review the chalkboard menu. There are no paper menus in the restaurant and diners must choose from a handful of main dishes which all come with choice of soup or salad. My husband and I were struck by the steep price tag for all of the dishes coming from such a casual atmosphere. We figure the food must be worth the prices and proceed to order. I am a HUGE seafood fan so naturally go for the Pesce, a mixed seafood "soup" with spicy saffron broth. My husband orders the stuffed mushrooms with linguini noodles. After we order, fresh bread is brought out for nibbling. Shortly after, our starter salads arrive which are good and easily decipherable from the bottled dressings. The food arrives and we are both wowed by the large portions and lovely presentations. I dig right into the shell fish, with offerings of mussels, clams, halibut, salmon, crayfish, shrimp and scallops- which makes me feel a little better about spending $28! The broth is tasty, yet not at all spicy as they had suggested. I suppose Wisconsin's version of "spicy" is similar to Minnesotans! My husband Adam loves his meal, but we both agree the portion could have fed 3 other adults! The mushrooms were stuffed with cheese, the linguini was swimming in a hearty cream sauce and what looked like a whole bag of cheese was placed on top for garnish. The meal was delicious and would be great after a hard day of heavy manual labor! Overall, I would be happy to return to the Harbor View, especially if it means taking a drive along Lake Pepin again! On the way home, we stopped along the way to go antiquing and ponder sweet little galleries. I recommend stopping in Stockholm, a few miles before Pepin to visit their galleries and boutiques as well as Bay City, where you can find my new favorite antique store titled, "Old Stuff" Antiques where you can find the best prices. Be sure to post a comment if you plan to take a road-trip out 35 and share your thoughts.








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