Menu Planning Inspiration

We’re on vacation. Well, Denise is on vacation. I am working too…but enjoying most of the perks of vacation. We’re in Door County, WI. It is off season for tourism here. Even in season, Door County isn’t a bustling metropolis. Grocery stores are small, few, and far from being the sorts of places we shop in Chicagoland.

When Denise picked Door County for our getaway, I wasn’t sure. I have a love affair with Wisconsin. I love cheese. A brat reminiscent of the good old days would be good. Fish fry or fish boil, also a trip down memory lane. But…food wasn’t really a selling point for this trip other than the opportunity to pick up some of the famous Door County cherries.

Well, I was proven wrong. From a stop in Sheboygan–for not brats but a nifty art museum and a wonderful farm to fork restaurant that I may daydream about for years to a homey breakfast/lunch cafe to  dinner at a B & B Inn in Sturgeon Bay, this trip has been full of surprises. We’ve eaten at vegetarian places, a serious tavern food place, an elegant dinner. None of the food was thinly disguised pre-fab food. The people working at these places MAKE the food. They start like I do with picking ingredients and then creating a meal. They have limited access to ingredients and tight budgets. It is off season and most of them are working another job to support their businesses. But, out of that they’ve created menus and meals to remember.

The thing about this that not only did we enjoy some great food–but we ENJOYED the food. Since I was sick (and even before that), I had lost interest in what we have in the house. We don’t eat out often, but I have been relying on a lot of very basic meals and very well…mass produced foods. I’ve not felt like eating. (see sick) That means I just throw something together and can take it or leave it…and a lot of leaving it.

I really hadn’t thought up a menu in forever. I know what works and what doesn’t work. Boring.

The menus at these places have been inspiring. Solid ingredients that can turn into something amazing. We’ve purchased some preserves, vinegars, and oils. The inspiration though–the best part. Sitting at a meal and thinking “I wish I could order that too” and then realizing “Wait! I can do that too.” The rest and relaxation and not HAVING to feed anyone is also a big factor in the inspiration. It cleans the slate for a new palate as we head into spring. We’ll be home in hours and back to real life. Stay tuned though! I am hoping this will totally restore the family table!


  1. I’ve enjoyed since the photos of what you guys have ordered on vacation. They’ve made me very hungry.

  2. I love your new blackboard design for you blog! I’ve been to Door County but never this time of year. The pictures I’ve seen of your trip makes it look like just what the doctor ordered. An off season getaway with wholesome, tasty food that YOU don’t have to cook, just enjoy. I have felt so uninspired the past few months where cooking is concerned. This has NEVER happened to me before. I’m so tired ALL THE TIME that just the thought of preparing a meal feels like drudgery. I used to love trying several new recipes a day. I hope I can snap out of this. It sounds like your trip has revitalized you! 🙂

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