Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Delicious Sunday Drive

I’ve officially become a Sunday driver.

No, I don’t mean that I’ve taken to driving 37 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone, or 42 in a 65. When I become that kind of Sunday driver, I certainly won’t admit it to the entire internets.

I took my mom out to eat last Sunday for her birthday, and while the final decision was ultimately hers to make, one of the places I suggested was the Grey Rock Mansion Restaurant at the Heidel House Resort along Green Lake, where my parents have raved about the brunch served there on Sundays.

You’d think with gas prices still well north of $3.50 a gallon, we would have found a restaurant halfway between us, and met there. Or perhaps just shared a conversation over speakerphone during meal time, making appropriate “yum!” sound effects while eating grilled cheese sandwiches, and called it dinner “together,” leaving our vehicles parked for the day.

But it didn’t take my mom long to agree to a drive to Green Lake, and Sunday morning we were on our hour and a half, to have breakfast.

And ohhhh, I’ll do it again sometime, even if gas prices hit eight bucks a gallon.

The drive along Highway 23 is filled with pleasant rural scenery: golden fields dotted with round hay bales; an old, rusted, empty corn crib standing guard near the highway; a salvage yard filled with more combines than you can count without veering off into the ditch.

We had our destination firmly in mind, but the sights along the way made for an enjoyable Sunday drive.

I’d never been to Grey Rock before. As we walked in, there was a lounge to our left with a baby grand piano against one wall. The framed certificates awarded by Wine Spectator magazine were evidence of an extensive wine list.

For our brunch, we were led down to the lower level and seated in a glass-walled dining section that held maybe ten tables, and provided a spectacular view of Green Lake and all its water sports enthusiasts already out enjoying the sunny day and the temperatures quickly approaching 90 degrees.

The entrées were as unique as the atmosphere, with everything from Cajun sausage scrambled eggs to alfredo turkey lasagna to amaretto-flamed pancakes to waffles and beef tips and chef-carved pork loin and pit ham. (I could continue, but I’m starting to drool.)

Topped off by a swig of champagne and an assortment of juices, it was one of the most unique dining experiences I’ve had since I’ve been old enough to eat solid food. A thoroughly enjoyable, leisurely brunch.

The dessert table is where I found heaven on earth, however, and that isn’t usually the part of any meal that gets my biggest focus.

One of the specialty desserts the day we were there was bread pudding with a vanilla glaze, which was delicious. But I also took a sliver of cheesecake. And I’m glad I don’t write a food review column for some swanky magazine because the only words I can find to describe what I ate are: Best. Cheesecake. Ever.

If it hadn’t been at the very end of the meal, I might have had two or three slivers. But all I could comfortably hold were about five or six bites. I don’t think I’ll ever find a better cheesecake.

A catamaran for hour-long tours of Green Lake (which we didn't take...this time).

After our brunch, we strolled around the Heidel House grounds, finding all sorts of nooks and crannies to explore...a pumphouse ice cream parlor here, a bungalow for rent there, benches in the shade and benches in the sun, and docks to enjoy a view of the lake.

A pretty fantastic place to walk off a pretty fantastic meal.

And then we drove or slightly above the posted speed limits.

“Too many people just eat
to consume calories.
Try dining for a change.”
—John Walters


  1. I can tell you one Sunday drive you're going to have in about 13 days...

    It will involve 23 oz Miller Lites, wings and with any luck Eagles & Lions victories.

    Kick Off Weekend '08!!! Wooooooo!!!

  2. I don't think my upcoming Sunday drive will have apple-stuffed pancakes, now will it?

    But then again...Green Lake didn't have mango habanero, Caribbean jerk, and (oohboy) Blazin'!

    Kickoff Weekend '08! WOOOOOO!!!