Friday, September 12, 2008


Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,
"ENJOY THE CUISINE-SAVOR THE SETTING" is the motto that you will find on the menu at Stout's Island Lodge restaurant. The setting is just about perfect and so is the lunch or dinner you will enjoy at this quaint turn of the century lodge in Birchwood, Wi on Red Cedar Lake.

Last weekend, Bob and I made the journey by car and ferry for lunch with some friends on a beautiful late summer Sunday and had a wonderful culinary experience. Leaving Spooner after Mass, we drove about 30 minutes to the landing at Red Cedar Lake where we picked up the ferry that took us to the island. Reservations are required in order to board the ferry, for lunch, dinner or the weekend.

Stout's Island Lodge is on the National Register of Historic Places and is accessible only by ferry which runs hourly. Guests go to unwind and get away from the busy high tech world. There are 39 guest rooms in the main lodge and several rustic cabins. But we went for the food.

After the lovely 10 minute ferry ride we arrived on the nicely maintained grounds of the lodge and had a little stroll around before our lunch. It was a near perfect day, just warm enough, sunny and bright and the flowers were in full bloom. We even saw a few people playing croquet on the perfectly manicured lawn over looking the lake and then of course there were those who were just napping and relaxing the day away in a cozy lawn chair.

On the menu are several salads, soups and sandwiches for lunch. I ordered the New Orleans Style Muffaletta which was very tasty with layers of Italian Meats and Cheeses served warm and Bob went for the Stout's Club Sandwich and was I ever glad that we had agreed before we were served that we would split the sandwiches. His was the better of the two with a nicely roasted chicken breast, applewood smoked bacon and Tillamook Cheddar. The cibatta bread that it was served on was slathered with a rich lemon aioli. YUMMY!

But the highlight of the meal was the white chocolate and polenta pudding with fresh berries. I thought it sounded very interesting and was I glad that I ordered it. I licked the plate clean, but I did allow each of my companions a taste. I of course asked the waitress if the chef gave out the recipe? Her reply was that you never ask a chef for the recipe! Which was a huge surprise to me, as I get asked for recipes constantly and am always happy to share!

So now I am out to replicate this delicious, creamy and comforting dessert. I thought that it seemed like something Giada would make, but I have searched through her recipes, and can't seem to find it. Some weekend soon, I will be hard at work in my cucina trying to come up with this unusual and tasty spin on polenta. And if any of you out there have some ideas for me or a recipe, please, please fill me in. And if I ever perfect it, I will be happy to share.

Even though I was a little put off by the waitress and her response, an afternoon outing at this wonderful step back in time is worth it. Go to to make a reservation. But do it soon, their final day this season is Oct. 23, 2008.

Buon appetito,

Carmela Tursi Hobbins

1 comment:

Johnny Blue said...

Well Miss Carmela, I'm sorry to hear you didn't love the service but glad to hear you enjoyed my Polenta. My name is Justin and was the Chef at the Island. You won't find the recipe in a book. It was definitely my own creation. I stumbled on your blog here and find it exciting that people enjoy my food. It is the greatest compliment. I will try to write the recipe down (it's just in my head) and I'll e-mail it as soon as i can. Thanks again for the compliments on a thrown together dessert that stayed on my menu for most of the season. Justin Emil