Sunday, September 06, 2009

Food and Flora Weekend in Galena

Behind the front-row-center Main Street scene in Galena, Illinois, lie some hidden treasures worth unveiling. Linmar Gardens high on the hill next to the clocktower high school coverted lofts is a lavish meander through thoughtful gardens, unusual sculptures and high and low waterfalls. A visit to the owner/artist Harold Martin's onsite workshop reveals his skilled penchant for the surreal. Worth the visit alone -- are the unearthed and lavishly converted ruins of African/American church, part of the original underground railway. See photo.

Next day, Ann Dougherty of Learn Great Foods took my husband and I on a three-hour city food tour which started at the The Great Galena Peddlery (which also offers cooking classes), included a mini-hike through a local sustainable blueberry farm Wooded Wonderland and back in town for an absolutely outstanding tasting menu meal at One Eleven Main, personally presented by chef Ryan Boughton.

The restaurant is committed to using locally grown foods from nearby small farms, and also butchers its own beef. The menu included a caprese salad using One Eleven Main's homemade fresh mozzarella, as well as basil and local heirloom tomatoes. Boughton then served a trout spread caviar style with toast crackers, crumbled egg yolk & whites, chopped red onion and capers. Medium rare grass-fed rib eye steak slices topped golden beet and pattypan squash wedges. Finished with a key lime tart accented with fresh blueberries from Wooded Wonderland on hazelnut crust. Meanwhile, we picked Two Brothers Prairie Path Ale beer from the restaurant's wide selection. Everything was over-the-top good.

Also had a fine lunch at Fritz & Frites bistro at the the north end of Main Street. Small and intimate with a decor that so reminded me of Galatoire's in New Orleans. Offers both French and German foods and a lush array of wines. My husband loved the salmon sandwich as did I the salmon salad with spinach, grapefruit and sliced red onion. French music in the background gave special accent to the experience.

Low point in the trip? Our B&B. The Pine Hollow Inn. Watch your head!


1 comment:

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