By Featured Blogger Mary Lovstad of Farm Girl Cookn’
One of my favorite Irish proverbs is “Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is.” We bond around food, whether it is around the family dinner table, a campfire, a potluck, an elegant restaurant or the local truck stop. Food brings us together; it not only nourishes the body, but the soul.
Part of planning a trip for me is finding those local spots that not only have great food, but give me the essence of the place that I am visiting. Clear Lake, Iowa is a charming, lake town that has just those kinds of places that can create warm memories and lots of laughs.
Lunch’n with the Ladies
Taking time to connect with your girlfriends or maybe a nice lunch with your daughter home from college is a special treat. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Starboard Market – A darling, little deli with scrumptious selections – really wonderful soups, sandwiches that you can build as you like or try their signature combinations, pasta and fruit salads and decedent desserts. This is the perfect place to sit with your bestie, laugh and savor the flavors. Come early or after the rush if you want a seat and time to chat!
- Cabin Coffee – A local coffee shop, turned local chain, that not only has excellent coffee, but a nice assortment of breakfast and lunch options. I really appreciate the warm cabin appeal and sipping a light raspberry latte by the fire with my posse.
- The Lady Bug Cafe – A grand place to gather, giggle and eat the daily special. Not only is it a café, but a greenhouse, bakery, wellness center and spa. The fork to table experience and sitting outside in the screened in rooms on a sunny day really is hard to beat.
- Sevens by Rookies – On a cold winter day, a pub lunch experience, maybe fish and chips, or a sweet chili chicken wrap is just the ticket. Its inviting atmosphere fosters great conversation.
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Family Night Out
Finding something that everyone in the family agrees on can be a challenge and maybe even more so when you are away from home. Camping food is fun, but sometimes you just need someone else to do the work! Unlike my mom, who used to go into a restaurant and ask them to say they only had orange pop and hamburgers before she took our crew in – today’s families are used to choices. Here are a few that I’m sure will please:
- The Other Place – Italian, Mexican & American Fare
- Fiesta Cancun – Mexican
- Shao Ting Guo – Chinese
- The Barrel Drive-In – Broasted Chicken, Ice Cream
- Back Yard Deli and Ice Cream – American
I don’t think there is anything more romantic than dinner with my handsome husband by the lake. My two favorite places in the summer are The Landing – On the Lake and The Tiki Bar. Both have great food and an enchanted summer setting. Sunset on the lake, a glass of wine with someone you love – magic! Winter visitors will find these nice choices for an evening out:
- Ge-Jo’s by the Lake – Italian
- Anchor Inn – American
- SIPs North Shore Kitchen & Bar – Contemporary American, Cocktails
Favorites of the Locals
- For dinner, I like the Anchor Inn. They have a great menu and I do like the atmosphere.
- The Landing in the summer, mostly because of the outdoor, lakeside deck atmosphere, as well as PM Park.
- For lunch right now, I do like Seven’s many different types of sandwiches & Back yard Deli.
- One of my favorites is Starboard Market. Fun names for their signature sandwiches, great variety of salads, and scrumptious desserts (with zero calories, I’m sure).
- My daughter and her friends like Shao Ting Guo. She loves the egg-drop soup.
- Cabin Coffee because it serves yummy coffee, great sandwiches, and soup. I really love the atmosphere at Cabin Coffee. Especially the area back by the fireplace.
- I like Cancun for my Mexican fix. It’s not too expense and I always get full. Free chips and salsa is always a bonus.
- Azzolina’s Hole in Wall – Grinder on Garlic Bread….YUM!!
So whatever reason you find yourself in Clear Lake, I hope you find that the “Laughter is brightest in the place where the food is.” For links to the restaurants and their menus,visit the Clear Lake Convention & Visitor’s Bureau here.
Visit Mary’s blog: http://farmgirlcookn.com. Connect with her on Twitter: @farmgirlcookn