The mission: Hearne Family Road Trip.
The destination: La Crosse, Wisconsin.
The takeaway: Authentic Belgian Waffles and other delightful things can be found in the most unexpected of places.
We arrived in La Crosse early Saturday afternoon to visit our friends. We met these fine folks through Mike’s former employer Land O’Lakes. While only one Land O’Laker remains, we continue to share activities like brunch, trivia nights and ice fishing with this group that is affectionately referred to as “The Beer Club.”
Shortly after arriving at her gorgeous 1950s Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home in La Crosse, Teresa Westrich mentioned to me that La Crosse is a food desert. Teresa and Andrew Westrich are among the most knowledgeable and passionate foodies I know. Andrew has heavily influenced the growth and sophistication of Mike’s beer collection, and the Westrich clan single-handedly introduced me to wonders like clafoutis and Beaujolais. Teresa told me that they often import ingredients from the Twin Cities that they can’t get in La Crosse, and that they miss the quantity and variety of restaurants available in Minneapolis.
If La Crosse is a food desert, we visited its oasis. In between activities like taking in the view from Grandad Bluff, enjoying the fire pit and rebuffing unwanted bedtime advances from Habanero the cat, here are a few of the things we consumed in La Crosse:
Olive Tapenade: Andrew made this incredibly flavorful Olive Tapenade that accompanied some Red Table meats we imported from Minneapolis for lunch.
Dairy, Dairy and More Dairy: Andrew and Jim Jarman both moved from the Twin Cities to La Crosse to work for Organic Valley, and the dairy flowed freely all weekend. We enjoyed Organic Valley grass fed milk, yogurt, and a variety of cheeses. Sam and Hannah were in heaven.
Apple Pancakes: At our Sunday Brunch at the Jarman residence, we enjoyed some seriously good apple pancakes that will soon be making it into our rotation. Yum.
And the finale…Belgian Waffles: There are the kind of delicious Belgian Waffles that you encounter at places like IHOP, and then there are next level, authentic Belgian waffles. These fall into the second category. Andrew made these with pearl sugar and a yeast dough on a special, heavy-duty waffle iron under cover as an attache. I mean, come on…
In conclusion, I am ready to move to the food desert of La Crosse if it means I get to eat like this every day. The Jarmans and Westriches reminded me that good things can be found anywhere as long as you know how to cook up your own amusements. Thank you to our friends for such an enjoyable weekend!
Until We Eat Again,
Two Happy Cooks