The Weekly Whisk - 9/20/22

Musings from a foodie…

As many of my readers know, I’ve been traveling across the USA for the last two (yes, 2) months in a 24 foot recreational vehicle (RV) touring the Upper Midwest as we visit old friends and colleagues. It’s been a wonderful experience – one that makes you stop and thinking about how and what you spend your time on? Whether or not you’re still making a difference in your chosen field? Why you went the directions you did? Did they all work out? If not, why and what could you have done differently? And, if you had it to do all over again – would you approach life the way it has come about for you, your family, your friends, your colleagues and those in the world for whom you have a care instilled in your soul…

It has been a trip of a lifetime – not to some exotic area but to all of the places where I lived, grew up and became what I am today. It’s been quite a journey – and, it’s not over yet. There is more to do!! But, in the meantime, let’s get back to food or, one of my favorite topics. As we crisscrossed the Upper States, the number of front door & back door restaurants we’ve experienced have been many. Here are just a few of my favorites from the last couple of weeks.

  • Cows & Co. – [ * * * * * * ] This farmstead is located in central North Dakota just east of Bismarck, the state capitol. It was started by a nurse five years ago as a “part-time project”. When asked, Why? She told me that her parents were from The Netherlands and moved to the USA when she was five years old. Growing up on the farm, their family regretted the lack of good quality and available gelato as well as gouda cheese – two products that almost always rate a “superior” on any taste testing. So, she set about with her Dad’s set of cattle to create the tasty gelatos and wonderful gouda cheese that have come to serve as a central feature of Cows & Co. The gelatos (on the date of our visit) featured 20-some different flavors (Blueberry, Chocolate with dark chocolate chips, and Cherry are my favorites) AND, gouda cheese in four different aged categories ranging from young, medium, aged on to ultra-aged. We purchased one from each category and the gouda cheeses did not make it out of North Dakota. The gelatos made it to South Dakota but we had purchased five different flavors. BTW – the owner is a nurse and up until this year was working full- or part-time at area hospitals and clinics. Due to the success of Cows & Co., however, she’s set aside her health care career and is now focused solely on the products. Finally, they still do not have a delivery service in place. However, when we spoke with her about the need for such capability she indicated her awareness and intends to make it a higher priority in the coming months. So, check ‘em out!! It’s some of the best Gouda cheese this side of the Atlantic and the gelatos make going to bed a lot easier… BTW – I’m giving Cows & Co a “six star” rating because of the entrepreneurial spirit of the young woman who started the company BUT ALSO for the taste of their gouda = the best I’ve ever had!!
  • State Game Lodge – [ * * * * ] If you’re interested in a more exotic menu with an upscale thrust AND you happen to be out in South Dakota for a visit to “The Faces” or “The Crazy Horse Monument”, you definitely will want to check the State Game Lodge in Custer State Park. We did a bit of sharing at this one and it was an ooh la la experience. I started with a Caesar Salad and aged parm and crispy truffles. It was the type of salad that prepares one for the next step! I followed that order with the Elk Osso Bucco which I was a bit reluctant to consider at first since elk has a meaty taste different that most other primes. But, it was cooked to perfection with a traditional Osso Bucco sauce. It was accompanied by an even better dish, the Buffalo ravioli. The ravioli were cooked and the accompanying truffle cream sauce were perfect additions. To meet my quote of “6 cups of fruits and vegetables” a day quota which has been mandated by Suzanne, I also ordered sauteed spinach with cranberry and pecans (Darn, I missed the quota that day 😊). She order the Buffalo Tenderloin which was fabulous and cooked to perfection as a “medium-rare” along with a bevy of mixed sliced vegetables and a mushroom risotto side dish. All-in-all, it was a wonderful meal outside the traditions of the Midwest norm. It you get to SoDak and are touring out west – you will definitely want to consider a stop at the State Game Lodge in Custer State Park.
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