Monday, April 25, 2011

The Great River Road - Wisconsin

Cruisin' Across America
-The Mighty Mississippi thru WI

I'm a big fan of travel along the Mississippi. Last summer I took a ride up North that brought us from Chicago to Madison where we stayed for the night and then traveled the Wisconsin River all the way to the Mississippi River which we then rode up North towards Minnesota. I was estatic to start my 2010 Great Lakes journey up north with a stop at Pete's Hamburger Stand. Located in Prairie Du Chien which is the largest river community in Wisconsin along the Mississippi and the 2nd oldest town in the state, Pete's was the gold medal winner on this trip for me as far as food stops. So that in itself makes this drive worthy because I eat like a King. This was the day we rode the river up north thru Wisconsin towards Duluth, MN. The month of June will be 'Travel Time' here at chibbqking and you can expect reports like this the entire month. This is the first installment of 'The Great River Road'. More states to come.

Highway 35 along the Mississippi in Wisconsin

I did a little web browsing of places worth stopping at and a spot I found that was getting alot of love, much like Pete's, which had just captivated us, was a place not but a five minute walk from the hamburger stand. Valley Fish & Cheese specializes in smoked meats and fish amongst many other things. It was a really cool looking shop from the outside and that's something you can expect to see a few of on this trip. There's no strip malls and no abundance of franchised places like Burger King along the river, just alot of family owned businesses that have been serving their community for generations. Some places, such as Pete's have been around for over 100 years.

Pete's Hamburger Stand (Prairie Du Chien, WI)

One of the best burgers I have ever had, and I've eaten a few...

Check out my complete report on Pete's RIGHT HERE. Valley Fish & Cheese is a place that's been open for over 25 years now and owned by a family that's been commercial fishing, trapping and hunting their entire lives.

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Valley Fish & Cheese: a treasure along the river (Prairie Du Chien, WI)

They do a unique combination of things including hickory smoked catfish, smoked buffalo fish, snapping turtle jerky, catfish jerky, smoked frog legs, dried beef, buffalo meat, fresh cheese curds, hickory smoked string cheese, mustard's of a wide variety, aged cheddar's, pickled river chub and a bunch of other unique Wisconsin canned and bottled products. You can also get all sorts of gear and items for fishing and hunting along with wooden carved decorations for your yard and all that other good stuff. I thought this place was phenomenal and the jerky was as good as it gets and tasted more like steak than jerky. I thought the smoked carp was unique and interesting and loved the turtle beer stix and carp jerky as well. I wish I had left with alot more than I did. I got some pic's to share and if you want to check out this video I just found on google, its a look into the place with the owner.

Great selection at this shop

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frog and duck legs, pickled prawns and pickled perch, they smoke and pickle it all...

assorted jerky's

Never seen that until I saw it there

The fact that Valley Fish & Cheese is also in Prairie Du Chien along with Pete's and some other places I didn't make it too like an old fashioned soda fountain make it a fun stop on the River Road route and one I would highly recommend.

Onward north we went, there were many historical markers and sites along the way

Our next stop was in Lynxville at a place that popped up and caught my eye so I pulled in since I at least needed a drink since I was thirsty. It was a little festival type food stand bragging about their hot dogs and catfish and looked like a place to get a nice snack even though I wasn't hungry.

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"World Famous Dogs" and fresh fried Mississippi catfish

It wasn't over an hour since I devoured four burgers from Pete's and had plenty of smoked fish and jerky for dessert so I didn't try a dog but they didn't seem to appealing anyway but I did get some catfish and a draft of 1919 Root Beer brewed in New Ulm, MN. The expertly fresh fried catfish nuggets were great loaded with hot sauce and the root beer was really good, I'm a fan of draft root beers and drink them when I see it available and this was a nice brew. Good stuff keeps popping up along the river.

The view from The Dawg Houses parking lot

Mississippi Fried Catfish

and on we pushed northbound...

I think about the halfway point was La Crosse which is the home to City Brewing Company and has also been to the home to many different brewers over the years such as G. Heileman Brewing Company. It's also the home to the worlds largest six pack and a cool place to stop and stretch the legs. Only in Wisconsin does your first stop have an abundant smell of onions everywhere and then the next there's the smell of beer in the air. On this particular trip I didn't go to many of these places in the La Crosse area except the Coney Joint seen below (which was closed on my last visit) but I was there for Labor Day weekend last year and had a good time and enjoyed the area. That trip report can be seen by clicking RIGHT HERE. CHECK IT!!!!!

The World's Largest Six Pack (More on it and La Crosse HERE)

-Coney's Across America

I will usually stop in for a Coney Dog whenever I see a place on the road while traveling and this stop was the first of a few Coneys on my journey North up the river. Usually these stands have been around for a long time and this one said they've been doing them since 1922. Like the rest, they had the hot dogs in the window and lots of old time locals hanging out sitting down at the counter.

La Crosses local Coney Island hot dog stop

I also always try and get one Coney with cheese and one without. I wasn't really thrilled by these Coneys but I'm sure they're different if you grow up on them.

People love them from all over...

Coney with Cheese from Downtown Coney in La Crosse

Perrot State Park is located about 30 minutes up the river from La Crosse in Trempealeau, WI and I had read last year when I visited that it along with Devil's Lake are two of Wisconsin's better state parks. Since I know how great Devil's Lake is having hung out there when I was in Madison for school, I knew that Perrot would be pretty panoramic and a great place to spend a summers day exploring, grilling and enjoying some brews and it was. I would rec a visit there for some exploration and relaxation.

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Perrot State Park...see the complete report from that trip HERE

and on we push...many great little towns to cruise thru for 10-15 minutes

The next stop was the end of the Great Wisconsin River Road in Prescott, WI and the end of our journey up the Mississippi. It was done in a few hours and we made a few stops so a weekend excursion out of it would be very much possible. I'd like to one day ride up the other side and go thru IA and MN, stay tuned and you might just see that I already have. I had a few spots on my radar in Prescott and since we just drove a couple hours we wanted to take in some sun and get a snack and a brew or two and so we stopped into the Point St. Croix Marina's Bar, which is overlooking the river. Beautiful spot on the sunny day we visited.

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Prescott, WI

Still my favorite summertime beer anywhere...and only available in WI :(

The marina bar's jumbo grilled shrimps are $1.65/each

I had read the marina bar does a good jumbo grilled shrimp that go great with a cold one while sitting in the sun looking over the river. They weren't bad and came served with melted butter and cocktail sauce but weren't great either, just Vietnamese jumbo shrimp coated with Louisiana seasoning and grilled. I liked them for what they were. The next stop was to a place called Enrique's that I had read put out a mean burger (handmade and stuffed with pico and queso) and also does deep fried tacos. I had to pass on the burger since it was a monster and we were just 15/20 minutes from Minny/St. Paul and were going to stop for dinner there and get a Juicy Lucy before we pushed onward to Duluth. So I went with the deep fried taco and we all split some fresh fried tortilla chips coated with cinnamon sugar. Not bad but nothing that will me must visit if I'm ever out that way again.

a Mexican/American grill in Prescott, WI

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What the fried tacos lacked in spice and flavor the chips did not and were great

Well I hope you enjoyed this peak into what was an amazing trip last summer, and there were a few. Stay tuned and you'll get to see the rest of this trip and all the fantastic food devoured, as well as some other sweet stops across America. You'll be sure to get some great tips if your planning a trip up North this summer. Plenty more to come. Please stay tuned.

So this is where we end the tour up River Road thru WI

and on we drove to Minneapolis/St. Paul...

Pete's Hamburger Stand (seasonal and wkds only)
118 W Blackhawk Ave
Prairie du Chien, WI 53821

Valley Fish & Cheese
304 South Prairie Street
Prairie Du Chien, WI 53821
(608) 326-4719

The Dawg House (seasonal & wkds only)
Located on Highway 35 near the boat landing
Lynxville, WI

Coney Island Hot Dogs
114 4th Street South
La Crosse, WI 54601
(608) 782-6314

Perrot State Park
W26247 Sullivan Rd Off Rte 1
Trempealeau, WI 54661
(608) 534-6409‎

Point St Croix Marina
101 Front Street
Prescott, WI 54021-1619
(715) 262-3161

Enrique's Mexican and American
310 Lake Street North
Prescott, WI 54021-1766
(715) 262-5566

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In Prescott you went right by Muddy Waters which has great food and a fabulous patio out the back overlooking the confluence of the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers. It was just voted one of the top outdoor patios in the St. Paul area in an online vote. It has great music outside on Sundays.


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