Our summer of 2011 is sadly getting shorter every day so to take advantage of what is remaining I recommend you hop in your car or boat and tour the lower St. Croix River Valley. Beginning near Stillwater and running its course south to Prescott WI, this is truly a hidden gem! Midway through your journey you will fi nd Afton, a small, diverse and unique city with a downtown that spans about three blocks and includes two marinas, several artsy stores and a few interesting dining options.
My favorite is the newly opened Current Restaurant. Current is home of the former Catfish Saloon which is the same ownership but with substantial upgrades to interior finishes and most significantly to the menu. I am pleased to say that I have had breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner at Current all without a thing to complain about. If you arrive by car, parking is available in a dedicated lot and if by boat, docking is available at Windmill Marina.
A full breakfast menu is available on Saturday but Sunday is all about brunch. My two breakfast favorites are the Huevos Rancheros (green chili pork, beans borracho, tortilla, eggs, queso fresco and tomato salsa) and Fingerling Potato + Short Rib Hash with onion peppers, eggs and Eichten’s gouda fondue. The lunch and dinner offerings are diverse and interesting with Small Plates, Entrée Salads, Soup + Starter Salads, Flatbreads, Sandwiches, Burgers, Entrees and Desserts. Menu items that I’ve tried and love include the Spicy Chicken Drops (sriracha cream, fried leeks, garden greens and sesame seeds); Braised Pork Tacos (street cart style, salsa verde, poblano, corn tortillas, queso fresco); Shrimp “Boom Boom” fl atbread (bacon, shrimp, peppers, onion, mozzarella and creole sauce); the Hot Muffuletta sandwich (genoa salami, mortadella, provolone cheese, olive+artichoke relish on ciabatta); the Green Chili Burger (angus beef, green chili pork and queso fresco); the Winner Winner Chicken Dinner (pan seared, crispy polenta, smokey tomato coulis, skinny beans oven fi nished with truffl e oil); and lastly what else but a summer favorite, the Banana Split (Spumoni ice cream, pineapple, cherry, chocolate and a wafer cookie). Ask to see the specialty drink menu for some interesting craft cocktails which you can enjoy during happy hour on their patio Monday through Friday 3-6 and/ or Sunday through Thursday 9-11. Invite a friend as I did a few weeks ago. I was thrilled to watch my St. Croix River neighbor Terry Kingston educate me on the economic tangles of the US and beyond with some fi nely tuned graphic depictions. I really can’t think of a better way to spend a day or evening, enjoy!!
Bill’s Beverage of the Month
Another fine seasonal offering from Lagunitas Brewing Company, Lucky 13. (Can you tell I’m a fan of the Lagunitas varieties?) If you’re lucky it’s available on tap at your favorite ale house or in a 22 ounce bomber at the beer store. “Plenty of light roasted malt to keep it rich and mega-dosed with loads of hoppy-sweet and spicy amarillo goodness to keep it on the edge… We lightened up the color on our favorite gal! Do you like Betty or Veronica?”