Sunday, August 23, 2009

Chez Jude

Last weekend I went camping with my husband and son near the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota. When we go up there, we like to go eat at really nice places - hey, we're saving so much money camping, why not? We have chosen our camping clothes to be dirt resistant, wrinkle free, and stylish so that we don't look like total bums walking into these fine dining establishments - although we have found that if they feel like you can pay, they aren't too choosy as to what you look like. Especially in outdoor rec areas; they are used to getting people straight out of the woods.

And we were finally there and hungry when Chez Jude was actually open, so we decided to give it a try.

The place was as beautiful on the inside as the outside. The waitress was friendly and let us pick our own seating - nice. It was chilly, so I grabbed a table next to the fireplace. The fire wasn't burning, unfortunately, but it was the furthest away from the door.

The bread plate we got with our meal was fabulous. Fresh baked bread with mixed olives and what tasted like freshly made butter. I would have been satisfied with just that.

But then I got these spring rolls. They were light and delicious, but it was the pickled salad accompaniment that was really fascinating. It was their version of bread and butter pickles on arugula and possibly fresh tarragon as well. The flavors were a fantastic mix, definitely something I would like to try to recreate.

My son got the fish and chips. The chips are tucked in a spiral wire vase. What a fun presentation. The fish was not greasy. It tasted like it had been flash fried then baked. The tartar sauce was light and flavorful. Not the best that I've ever had, but far superior to most.

My husband got the side salad. My goodness! He said that if that was the side salad, he was so glad that he didn't order the full order! This was a fantastic salad. The cheese was a blue, I believe; very flavorful. He made the mistake of mixing it all into his salad only to find out that this was too much for him. He spent much of the rest of the meal picking most of it out. I would recommend taking a small bit of the cheese and crumbling it into fine particles over the salad and setting the rest aside or it overwhelms the delicate variety of tastes that this fine salad has to offer.

They offer their coffee by the cup or French press. We chose French press (2 cups worth). I was a little nervous because they only had French roast which is normally too dark for me (a.k.a. burnt), but this coffee was wonderful. It tasted like mocha. I wanted to sit there drinking that coffee, looking out onto the lake all day (did I mention that their restaurant has beautiful views of Lake Superior?), but we had to be off to set up camp.

They get a little nit-picky about splitting plates and take outs, but their afternoon tea sounds intriguing.

We may be back, Chez Jude.


Blackswamp_Girl said...

Okay, now I'm going through all of your foodie posts... and I have to say that I HIGHLY advocate making coffee via French press. I love French press coffee so much that I don't even have a regular coffeemaker anymore.

Yes, it's a little more labor-intensive, but I kind of like the deliberateness of it and the feeling of being connected with what I'm consuming.

Basically, here's what you do: Boil water. When it starts to boil, turn off the heat. Then grind your beans and put them in the bottom of the press--that will make sure the beans are fresh AND allow the water to cool just enough. Add the water, trying to evenly moisten the grounds as you go, and give a quick stir or two. Put the top on and let it steep for 2-3 minutes before you push the plunger down to "press" the coffee grounds to the bottom. Pour. Enjoy. :)

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Forgot to say that I often require sugar in my coffee... but never with a French press! And here's a good site with more technical directions than mine:

Sylvana said...

Blackswamp Girl, now I'm starting to believe that you ARE my long-lost sister! "I kind of like the deliberateness of it and the feeling of being connected with what I'm consuming" -- I totally feel the same way! I even have a manual burr grinder for that very reason. And, yes, I, like you, gave up the electric coffee pot for a French press (years ago, I actually have three of them!). The coffee is SO MUCH BETTER!

If you haven't tried the Italian espresso pot yet, I highly recommend it for making handcrafted espresso. I don't require any cream or sugar in that but a little chocolate is always welcome :)