Sitting here now at Arlanda International Airport, in Stockholm after a nine hour flight, knowing I have a six hour wait until my next flight to Landvetta Airport, in Gothenburg, I cannot help but allow my thoughts to drift back over the past six weeks. Leaving America hasn’t been easy for me. Knowing I will meet my son very soon certainly lessens the burden, but America has become a very important part of my life. I am tired, so tired and yet at the same time, I am burning with new ideas as well as the urge to see more of that amazing country to the west.
I wrote a post a while back entitled, ‘Searching for that Special Café’. Anybody who follows my posts knows just how coffee crazy I am. Hot, strong, black and without sugar…the real deal, nothing more and nothing less. It’s hardly surprising then that I am sitting here with the hottest, strongest, blackest coffee you can imagine. I knew there was something I should have brought back with me from America. It’s much cooler here in Sweden as well, so I opted to sit indoors and write. I really should have brought the wonderful weather with me.
As much as I enjoy a super-strong cup of coffee though, I enjoy a good meal and the occasional drink. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge drinker, although there’s nothing like a noble pint or glass of wine with your meal. I am not a lager-man, preferring something darker. That’s like my coffee, I wonder if there isn’t a somewhat predictable theme going on here. A pale ale, a brown ale, a stout; I really enjoy a frothy-capped, Guinness. As long as it’s dark, I am a happy-camper.
You have no idea how many restaurants, cafés and bars I have eaten at during the past six weeks. Rosie and I have been on the road, stopping here and there in between events and book-signings. I’m not really fussy with food, will eat pretty much anything. Some places though deserve honorable mention.
I have told you before about Peter’s on Lake Ripley, in Litchfield Minnesota. The ribs there are to die for. I had ribs for my last meal before heading to Minneapolis International Airport. When Rosie and I were down south in Kentucky and Tennessee, she took me to Cracker Barrel. What a place and I wonder just how many of these places there are in America. Down south they appeared to be on every corner, which is just as well really because I made a point at eating there as often as possible. The interior of each place is pretty much the same wherever you go. It’s a little like taking a trip down memory lane, old signs and advertisements on each and every, dark wood wall. Each Cracker Barrel has an enormous, stone fireplace. To say it is spectacular is somewhat an understatement.
The service was fantastic and as for the food, what can I say… divine. If you have never eaten at a Cracker Barrel; let me tell you, you really should.
There’s a little eatery in Cold Springs, Minnesota. It’s called The Great Blue Heron. Now, I was there a couple of weeks ago with Rosie. We pulled up outside one early evening and entered the building. Have you ever gone somewhere totally new and felt as if it’s the only place you would want to be at that particular point in time? That’s how it felt for us. It’s a really beautiful establishment, set in dark mahogany with lighting that doesn’t blind you. You Americans seems to be TV fanatics, so you might be happy to know there are four of them there, all four silently flashing the latest sport results.
It doesn’t matter what the place looks like though if the food and service is terrible. Let me assure you, both are fantastic. It was so good that I quite simply had to return before leaving America. It was just the same this time as well. The service was wonderful; the food was well-cooked and well-served. The waiter/barman was more than polite, coming by every now and then to check on us. I like that personal touch. It’s what keeps me coming back.
There was something else at The Great Blue Heron though. I discovered the nectar of the gods. Cool and tantalizingly refreshing, surely what I tasted at The Great Blue Heron was a slice of heaven. They have three incredibly good beers there. Bitter Neighbor Black IPA, Lost Trout Brown Ale and Rise To The Top Cream Ale. These three beers are brewed by the Third Street Brewery. You can find out more about Third Street Brewery by hitting www.thirdstreetbrewhouse.com and more about The Great Blue Heron by hitting www.blueheronsupperclub.com
I spent a while speaking with Nic Stang, who is the Owner of the eatery and head Chef. I had my photo taken with him as well. I will tell you exactly what I told Nic. The food, the service, the beer and the whole feel of the place is magnificent. I will make a point of coming back on my next visit, cannot wait.
Those beers are brewed to perfection!
Nic and Gavin at the Great Blue Heron in Cold Springs, MN
We also welcome Nic as our newest member to the Gavin Hill Fan Club on Face Book.
That’s all for now