Food Traveler Magazine Winter 2016 - Page 132

Midwest Elkhart Lake WISCONSIN SMALL VILLAGE, BIG VOICE Culinary Sophistication in Wisconsin’s Elkhart Lake This is one hidden gem that the foodies who devotedly visit would prefer stay hidden. Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, sparkles with one jewel after another – a pristine lake, a European-style race track known as Road America, a leg of the Ice Age National Scenic Trail, destination spa Aspira. And food. Chicagoans have long made a beeline here to escape the hustle and the bustle of the city without having to compromise on culinary and style standards. It’s just two-and-a-half hours north of the Windy City. The restaurant draw is quite astonishing. Some 20 acclaimed gastro pubs, supper clubs, taverns and tiki bars all within walking distance of one another. Not exactly what you’d expect from an easy-as-you-go resort burg in the middle of a glaciated forest. Restaurants here pay homage to the farming way of life in Wisconsin in a big way. Take the one acre-plus garden plot on the grounds of The Osthoff Resort that provides fresh produce to the resort’s two main restaurants – Lola’s on the Lake, the finest of fine dining, and Otto’s, a prime spot for a.m. specialties – along with the resort’s spa café and cooking school. At the Paddock Club, the culinary staffers are all on a first-name basis with farmers and loyal purveyors, resulting in exquisite farm-totable dishes. The historic Elkhart Inn specializes in wild fish and game. Lake Street Café has been a Wine Spectator award winner since 2003, info that pairs nicely with the tenderloin shiraz. Speaking of wine, Vintage wine shop and tasting bar is run by one of the country’s top sommeliers. For kitschy deliciousness, there’s Off the Rail, part coffeehouse, part diner. For quirky, Brown Baer is the hands-down winner, where nothing is deep-fried and the live music is always hot. Coziest fireplace honors go to Back Porch Bistro, with dessert a near mandatory course here. Food travelers, add this to your Midwest must-visit list. 130 FoodTraveler l Winter 2016