After a long flight and long commute from the airport, I didn’t feel like venturing out for dinner. The Blue Harbor Resort & Conference Center has a few on-site dining options. The only one that was open when I arrived was the On The Rocks Bar & Grill. Although the sun had set, this place had tableside views of Lake Michigan. The restaurant has a rustic lodge, boathouse feel to it with paddles above the bar and a stonework fireplace. Their menu is actually The Beacon Restaurant’s menu with the inclusion of specialty drinks, wine, and beer.
I didn’t feel like a large dinner, just something light so I could get to bed. Here are some tasty bites you can try:
Citrus Mojito is made with rum, clementine, ginger, and mint. I wanted something to calm my nerves and I LOVE mojitos. It looked great with its orange color and mint leaves on top. I am not sure what kind of rum is used with this but it tasted a bit off with a heavy hit in bitter flavor department. This one may need a remix. Papa’s Pilar Rum would help even out the flavor for a smoother sip. Rating: 3/5
Spotted Cow Curds ($9) is locally-sourced cheddar curds hand-dipped in a New Glarus Brewing Company Spotted Cow (only available in Wisconsin) beer batter, deep-fried, and served with house-made jalapeño ranch dressing. If you have been following me, you know that I love cheese and I love, love, love cheese curds. This is the first time I have had cheese curds with a beer batter. The ale added a yeasty and slight fruity flavor to the batter which paired well with the gooey, salty cheese curd inside. I would leave them in the fryer for a little longer as some of them had a little bit of uncooked batter on the inside. Also, when removing them from the fryer, I would drain the curds a little longer to get more of the excess oil off. Other than that, these were great fried cheese curds. Rating: 4/5
The Wedge ($9) is a wedge of iceberg lettuce served with cherry tomato, smoked bacon lardons, Roth Kase Buttermilk Blue Cheese, julienne red onions, and house-made ranch dressing. This salad is more than just a starter, it is a meal! I wanted a salad to contrast the richness of the fried cheese curds, but was not expecting it to be this robust. I was amazed at how fresh everything tasted since it was so cold and snowing outside – crisp iceberg lettuce, sweet sun-ripen cherry tomatoes, and zingy red onion. The Roth Kase Buttermilk Blue Cheese is to die for! It has a nice creamy and silky texture with pungent bleu cheese flavor which works perfectly with the house-made ranch dressing. But what takes the cake is the smoked bacon lardons. They are what turns this salad into a meal with rich, smoky flavor with beautifully crispy edges with tender pork and juicy fat. I LOVE this salad! Rating: 5/5
With my tummy full, it was time to head to the room, get some sleep, and dream about bacon lardon as it gently snowed outside.. Stay tuned for a look inside The Blue Harbor Resort & Conference Center in the daylight.
Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 stars
Service: 4 out of 5 stars
Décor: 4 out of 5 stars
Food: 4 out of 5 stars
For more information:
(inside The Blue Harbor Resort & Conference Center)
725 Blue Harbor Dr
Sheboygan, WI 53081
Hours: Daily from 11 a.m. to close
Seating: InteriorReservations: First come, first serve
Who knew that an email sitting in my inbox could be one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me. The title of the email: “Casting Call for the Greatest Game Day Recipe”. I am a big fan of Johnsonville and like any fan, I subscribe to their newsletter to find out about new products that are coming out and recipes. My whole foodie career is the one spent behind the scenes – started by working in restaurants learning about food and cooking techniques, expanding my foodie knowledge with the written word to let the world know about new restaurants and food products, developing recipes for some of my favorite stores and products, and becoming a professional food judge to analyze food entries at food competitions across the country. I have competed in smaller recipe competitions in which your family, friends, and fans get to vote. It is taxing on everyone and the fun seems to end right when it starts. But there was something in this Johnsonville email that just made me say to myself, “Chelsea, you can do this!”
The specs were that your recipe had to have a Big Game taste and utilize Johnsonville sausage. It could be any recipe that I wanted it to be, but since there was a big graphic logo for “The Sausage Dome”, I figured it needed to be themed for a game day party. I took into consideration where you might make the recipe. If you are home, you have an oven, range, other cooking elements. If you are tailgating, you might have a grill and maybe a propane cooktop for making dishes like chili or soup. I wanted to make sure it was versatile and easy to make. And I also knew that the judges would be workers from Johnsonville and wanted to appease their palate. I only had 11 days until the submission deadline which was also right before the start of World Food Championships. I needed to get the recipe finalized and then shoot a short video introducing myself and my sausage dish. Since the hubby and I have been working on a YouTube channel for my OC Food Diva blog, he could edit down the introduction and cook to a minute-long snippet. It is almost like we trained for it! Depending on the day, I can get very nervous on camera, so it did take a while to get my intro out in one swoop. I uploaded my submission and flew to Orange Beach, AL for the World Food Championships the next morning.
On the last day of the World Food Championships, I finished up some writing assignments in the hotel and checked my email. I see an email titled, “Welcome to the Sausage Dome!” At first, I was a little nervous to open the email, but told myself, “It says “welcome” so it has to be good news.” And it was! I was picked as one of the competitors for Johnsonville’s The Sausage Dome food competition reality series. I was bouncing around the room like a bunny rabbit. I needed to calm down since I still had to be professional for a media interview at a restaurant within the hour. After my World Food Championships trip, I would have a couple of weeks to unwind before flying out for the taping of Johnsonville’s The Sausage Dome.
On a cold December morning (at least for Southern California), I headed up to Los Angeles International Airport to catch a flight to Milwaukee, WI with a short stop in Dallas along the way. I arrived at General Mitchell International Airport in the late afternoon. As the plane glided its way to the terminal, snow was falling big time. It was my second time landing at an airport with snow but it still seemed magical to me! The terminal was warm so I didn’t think much about putting my jacket on. I got my luggage and proceeded outside to wait for my ride. OMG! I love it when it is cold, but it was freezing! Keep in mind, I live in Southern California and originally from Hawaii. I was literally freezing my òkole off!!! I am so glad that my mom nagged me about bringing Papa Dave’s heavy jacket. Mahalo, Mama! Along with it being my first time seeing a snow plow going through an airport, this was also my first time in Wisconsin!
We had a long car ride to Sheboygan, WI and got to know one of my competitors. His name is Mason Partak, a 13-year old cooking prodigy. He started baking with his mom when he was two years old. No stranger to reality food competitions, Mason is a Season 1 Food Network’s Chopped Junior Champion! I was excited to see what he was going to make for The Sausage Dome. But just meeting him indicated that there would be some fierce competition ahead. He was clearly a natural! Now, I could feel my nerves kick in. I was getting super nervous!!!
The competitors received amazing accommodations at the Blue Harbor Resort and Conference Center. I went up to the room to drop off my bags and it was time to for dinner! Stay tuned for more about the Blue Harbor Resort and the On The Rocks Bar & Grill.
As a corporate event & meeting planner, I am always on the lookout for event spaces and services on my travels. While on the media circuit for the World Food Championships at The Wharf in Orange Beach, AL, I found one company in particular that would be great for my rolodex.
Tillie Pan’s love of hosting parties and event planning plus David Pan’s drive and desire to be the best at his culinary craft equals Orange Beach Concierge. Tillie came from the aesthetics and medical device sales and marketing world. When you are dealing with doctors, it takes talent, finesse, organization, and knowledge of your product inside and out to be a success. Her 8-year career in that field demonstrates her drive. Chef David graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Mendota Heights and worked his way from Washington on the Pacific Coast all the way to Alabama on the Gulf Coast. He knows his craft well utilizing French techniques and refreshes palates with the latest trends in the foodie world.
Orange Beach Concierge has been in business for three years and just found a space of their own a few months ago at The Wharf. They now have a space to meet clients, cook in their own kitchen space, and entertain. They offer a wide range of personalized services including catering, concierge, corporate retreats, event designing, personal chef, private dining, and staging services supporting individuals, businesses, vacationers, and property owners alike. This service will be great for the World Food Championships with so many corporate sponsors descending upon Orange Beach this November.
Here is a sample menu that you could have at your next event:
Bruschetta made with a balsamic reduction, tomatoes, basil, and garlic atop crostini. Fresh, juicy tomatoes burst with sweetness along with pungent garlic. The sweetness and acidity of the balsamic add another layer of flavor and fresh basil turns it up with herbaceous flair. Rating: 4.5/5
Brie and Marmalade Bites starts with a phyllo cup filled with orange marmalade, brie, and herbs. It is a light bite and would be great as a passed hors d’oeuvre for a wedding or corporate event. The creamy brie combined with the sweetness and citrus flavor of the marmalade pair perfectly together. Rating: 5/5
Caesar Salad is made with fresh romaine lettuce tossed with house-made Caesar dressing with anchovy. I love Caesar salad but it is very hard to find a place that makes it correctly. If you do not like anchovies, do not order a Caesar salad. It is just not a Caesar salad without it. Chef David makes a great Caesar salad dressing, not too thin and not too thick. The perfect viscosity to cling to the lettuce. I love that Chef David makes a crostini seasoned with butter, salt, and pepper instead of chunky, clunky croutons. It’s easier to eat and elevates the salad as well. Chef David, you need to bottle and sell that dressing! Rating: 5/5
Chicken Marsala is made with mushrooms, shallots, garlic, and parsley served over angel hair pasta. Chef David showed me how he gets the perfect gloss and sheen to his sauce by adding butter at the end and whisking it in sauce off heat. You could actually see the change in the sauce which was amazing!
The chicken gently bathes in the sauce and really infuses the flavors into the chicken. It is tender and unlike any chicken marsala I’ve ever had. But that sauce is like liquid gold. It clings to the angel hair pasta like silk sheets. You can’t help but lick the plate afterwards. I could see this on a fine dining establishment’s menu. It is so refined and delicious! Rating: 5/5
Chocolate Fondant (Americans refer to this as a chocolate lava cake or molten chocolate cake) is basically a bi-product of a flourless chocolate cake and a soufflé. Chef David served his with macerated strawberries and strawberry coulis. If you go to my Instagram, I have a video of the chocolate “lava” flowing from the cake. I have tried many of these in my lifetime, but I think this was the best. I don’t know if it was because I had right out of the oven but it was just amazing! The perfect ending to a perfect meal! Rating: 5/5
If you are a resident and/or planning a wedding or event in Orange Beach, contact Orange Beach Concierge and get ready for an amazing event!
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 4 out of 5 stars
For more information:
4790 Wharf Pkwy Ste F206
Orange Beach, AL 36561
Melissa’s Deluxe Pantry Box in this post was provided by Melissa’s Produce but the opinions expressed here are my own.