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Friday, October 12, 2012

Midwestin' - Trip to Chicago, Illinois, and Oscoda, Michigan

So I headed back to the good ole midwest for a work trip and shoot.  Some new awesome restaurants and also a little travel review for those who love fishing!

First stop was Chicago where I managed to be there on what must have been the most beautiful day of the year.  The city looked gorgeous.


For our client lunch we hit up a brand new restaurant, Tavernita, which is a Spanish tapas restaurant with a really trendy, chic vibe.  We ate almost the entire menu so I'm just going to recommend my top favorites from the meal. 

Photo Credit: Tavernita Website

Hamachi with avocado, lime, jalapeño and cucumber - The fish was fresh and the toppings added just enough spicy sourness to make me gobble these down.

Corn pudding with shrimp, poblano chile and herb salad (they put the shrimp on the side for me) - I might as well have face planted into this dish.  It was creamy and slightly salty and slightly sweet and oh yeah... DELICIOUS.  Best thing on the menu.

Pork belly sliders with pickled red onion and fruit jam on a brioche bun - a complexity of flavors that resulted in finger-licking meaty goodness.

Lamb sausage with dijon mustard and house giardinera on an east coast roll - much spicier then anticipated but a very unique taste that definitely excited my taste buds.

Beet & artichoke salad with mixed greens, pickled shallot and valdeón blue cheese - again a lot of interesting flavors and also a lot of different consistencies.. soft beets, crumbly cheese, crunchy artichokes, etc.

The rest of the meal was very good to but just didn't meet the expectations built by the first five dishes I mentioned.  You can check out photos of the rest below though.

Chicken a la plancha with escalivada and castillo extra virgin olive oil

Croquetas with fermín serrano ham, saffron aioli

House-made ravioli with artichoke, ricotta, arugula, piquillo peppers, olives, and saffron butter


And then there was dessert which was super tasty.  I would TOTALLY come back here again.  And I heard their cocktails are amazing.


I desperately needed to walk off my giant lunch so I decided to take advantage of the weather and visit the Bean!  The actual name of this sculpture is Cloud Gate and is made of stainless steel plates that have been welded together so seamlessly you can't see the seams.  And then of course it has been highly polished so that it glitters in the sun.  It looks like it's made of liquid mercury and you can stand next to it to take crazy photos.  I planned on stopping by for a minute and ended up there for almost an hour.  You can see my favorite crazy photo below.


Since I was on a roll with checking things off my Chicago bucket list, I decided to hit up the second to last game of the Cubs baseball season.  They are absolutely terrible and were playing the Astros who are also terrible so it wasn't much of a game, but I was there for Wrigley Field to be honest.  The stadium is AWESOME because it is so old-school.  The scoreboard is still manually updated by a person and since the walls are relatively low all the restaurants bordering the field have rooftop decks where you can sit and watch the game from the outfield without actually attending the game.  Definitely the way to go since the food is probably better and the drinks are cheaper! We had fun cheering on the Cubs even though they lost - their terrible record at least guaranteed us great baseline seats for $30 each.  Glad I made it to a game!  Next time it will have to be a Bears game.


With another great trip to Chicago under my belt, I hopped on a plane to Detroit, Michigan, where I picked up a rental car and started my 3.5 hour drive north to Oscoda.  The drive up was gorgeous with all the leaves changing color for fall.  I finally arrived at the AmericInn around 7pm to check in.  The hotel was a rustic, log cabin esk accomodation.  I'd been "upgraded" to the $75/night king bed room with a view.  It was huge and very homey.  The reception was also very kind and friendly.

Photo Credit: AmericInn Website

I met up with the production crew (like I said I was there for a shoot) and we headed to what appears to be the only real restaurant, Wiltse's.  I swear the entire town had turned out to the restaurant because they'd heard we were there.  It was probably the coolest thing that's happened in the past five years.  Everyone was so warm and welcoming though.  It was like being adopted into a new family.  For dinner I had to try the special, Michigan Walleye, pan seared.  It literally melted on my good.  I was very impressed that a restaurant in essentially the middle of nowhere could have such tasty yet simple dishes.


The next morning we woke up at 5am and headed to the Au Sable river to start fishing (the shoot).  It was really dark and somewhat cold that morning but within an hour it was completely light... and unfortunately drizzling.  This drizzling elevated into a full fledged downpour about halfway through our excursion and lasted for about an hour and a half.  We were soaked to the bone.  Towards the end of the afternoon the clouds burst apart and the smiley Michigan sun dried us right up.  Oh and we caught a 17lb King Salmon which really crowned the day as a perfect trip downstream.  I probably never need to come back here now that I've seen it but if you are looking for a place far away from the bustle of the city with breathtaking nature and very friendly people I highly recommend Oscoda.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there!
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Oscoda to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you soon...would love to work with Travel Addict!