Sunday, March 18, 2012

Door County Trolley: Progressive Dinner Outing

Speaking of fun activities...

Last weekend we went up to Door County for a few days. We had booked the Progressive Dining Trolley Tour a few months ago and, of course, had no idea it would be so ridiculously gorgeous. It was just stellar weather. A lot of places weren't opened back up for the season yet, but it was kind of nice, just driving around, soaking in the atmosphere.

As for the trolley tour, If you're in the area and have the time I highly recommend you check it out. It was awesome!

The trolley picked us and the other 18 people in the group up at Lautenbach's Orchards and Winery (coincidentally, our favorite winery in the area!) at 5pm. We met everyone, chatted with the driver, and then headed off to appetizers. They advertise them as being at a "surprise location" and they're not kidding. I don't want to ruin it, but it'd be hard to give a review without mentioning where we went.

Appetizers were at the Hands On Art Studio in Fish Creek. We were definitely surprised, but absolutely pleasantly so. This was somewhere we'd been before and had even considered stopping in on this trip too. I invite you to revist Hazel, the adorable pot-bellied pig, and all the other animals from our first trip, in this post. After a mini tour (drawback of nice weather after snow? MUD!) we headed upstairs for some food. Studio-owner Cy is apparently a chef in his spare time and had put together some fabulous flat bread pizzas. I stuck with the blue cheese, pear, and canadian bacon one. There was also an asparagus and bacon, a vegetarian with tomatoes and eggplant, and one other one that I can't even remember. There were also some veggies with the greatest dip ever, shrimp cocktail, and all kinds of beverages. Just a wonderful spread. After eating too much we all set about decorating a wine glass. Yes, you don't just get food, you get a craft project as well!

I made a glass with humor:

(it's a cat and the back says "a Purr-fect glass" - it doesn't photograph well...)

And Adam made a pimp cup:

After the glasses were blown-dry and packed for safe keeping we headed back to the trolley and on to dinner. Now, when we booked the tour the website said that dinner was at Alexander's. At some point they must have changed that and we actually had dinner at The English Inn (which is literally right down the street from Alexander's.) It was wonderful. They had a long table set up for us toward the back of the restaurant so we got to wind our way through all these normal diners and get gawked at. That was cool. We had a choice of seven entrees (and a special) and all kinds of soup/salad/side options. Dinner also came with one glass of beer or wine. I went with the special which was a chicken Wellington and I had the Mandarin salad (greens with mandarin oranges and a really good honey mustard dressing.) Adam chose the Prime Rib and had the clam chowder which he declared excellent. We were seated at one end of the table and our end got a little rowdy at times. We were by two other couples who were great conversationalists. We had more than one uncontrollable laughter sessions... it was a lot of fun.

Given how much we'd consumed at appetizers, a lot of us didn't eat much of the dinner. I took almost all of the chicken Wellington home and I had it for lunch on Monday. Adam made it through his meat but left his potato behind. After we were done with dinner it was off to dessert at the Eagle Harbor Inn in Ephraim. They had three different desserts: A chocolate creme brulee, a cherry crumble of sorts, and a chocolate raspberry tart. I chose the chocolate raspberry, Adam had the cherry crumble. They were delicious. The coffee was pretty good too.

After desserts it was back to the trolley and back to the winery. We collected our glasses, said goodbye to our tour companions and headed back to our hotel in Sturgeon Bay.

This is without doubt a great way to experience a great evening of food and friendship in the area. No stress, no worries about being late, not being able to get in, figuring out a tip (all gratuties are included.) The three venues were top notch, the food was wonderful, I have nothing but superlative adjectives for the whole experience. Our tour guide/trolley driver was a great guy and the trolley itself was cute, cozy, but comfortable, even for Adam and his legs (we did sit in the very front though.) Adam has suggested we make this an annual thing. I wouldn't be opposed to that. It was a uniquely awesome night.

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