Every pizza at Gruzy's Italian Beef House & Pub starts with housemade dough and sauce, but the end results hardly ever look the same. That's not only because Gruzy's culinary team crafts both Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas and crispy thin-crust pies, but also because each can be crowned with more than 15 topping selections ranging from capicola and Italian beef to mushrooms and sporty peppers. Deep-dish pans and fiery peppers aren't the only Windy City staples to appear on Gruzy's menu. Spicy giardiniera smothers sandwiches already piled high with Vienna Italian beef and sausage, and traditional fixings top classic Chicago dogs served on poppyseed buns as opposed to old Chicago Bulls stat sheets. The rest of Gruzy's menu showcases Italian and pub favorites, such as three-cheese tortellini with chicken and alfredo sauce or shrimp battered in Red Hook Ale.
For more than 30 years, Quiznos has toasted its submarine sandwiches to bring out the hidden flavors found in butcher-quality meats, cheese, and artisan breads. Its classic and signature subs take on a variety of shapes, sizes, and styles ranging from the prime rib mushroom and swiss to the classic italian donning black olives, mozzarella, red-wine vinaigrette, and plentiful sliced meats. Those closely monitoring their waistlines can take unabashed bites of sandwiches that have fewer than 500 calories, such as the pork-cuban, Baja-chicken, and veggie-caprese subs. Quiznos' Sub Sliders offer slimmer versions of sub fare and flaunt supreme aerodynamics when shot out of T-shirt cannons and into mouths. A selection of Flatbreads, soups, and salads round out Quiznos' varied menu.
The story of Wineries and Grille in St Croix Falls began at a picturesque Wisconsin orchard. Former owners Linda and Mike Welch were busy crafting delicious apple wines from the fall’s harvest when the phone rang. "I’ve got 20 pails of ripe grapes,” the voice on the other end of the line said. “What do I do with them?" Out of the goodness of their hearts, Mike and Linda sprung into action, blending the grapes with their apples to create unique local wines. Their process evolved, as did their humble orchard, which now encompasses Wineries and Grille. Though they have since sold the orchard, they continue to produce apple and grape wines. They also market and sell wines from other local makers who have a talent for making outstanding vintages but struggle with the vagaries of marketing, sales, or convincing customers that some bottles contain genies.
Linda and Mike have a knack for tracking down Wisconsin’s best wines, partnering with producers such as Seven Hawks Vineyards to spread forward-thinking drinks. They sell new wines crafted from cold-weather hardy grapes at the University of Minnesota. They also carry national labels, such as Canyon Road from California, which is specially crafted for dining, and international labels from Spain, South Africa, and elsewhere. But even stronger than Linda and Mike's love for ambrosials is their love for St. Croix Falls and its local produce and game. Their son Greg uses these local ingredients to create hearty entrees with elk, rainbow trout, and hand-cut steaks. They pair smoked pork chops and crisp salads with bricks of homemade fudge and cheesecake, for meals that highlight the subtle flavors in their wines and leave diners yearning for more.
After the lodge's two award-winning golf courses close in late October, skiers and boarders ride on natural snow at Giants Ridge for the winter, with snowmakers enlisted to outsource Mother Nature's surplus work. Warmer weather excursions in nearby Superior National Forest include more than 1,500 miles of canoe routes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness, as well as hiking and biking among old-growth boreal forests.About an hour's drive south in Duluth lies Glensheen, a 39-room Jacobean Revival mansion whose original 1908 interior remains largely intact, offering an imitable glimpse into early 20th-century midwestern culture. Down the shoreline, belly-flopping river otters and black-crowned night herons entertain at the Great Lakes Aquarium, which hosts 15 exhibits' worth of amphibians, birds, aquatic animals, and sofas that have sprouted fins.
Inspired by their love of Germany's Rhine Valley, the Shimek family shares the joy of their days abroad with their European-style vineyard without having to hurl their fellow countrymen across the Atlantic. Chateau St. Croix Winery & Vineyard, a 55-acre plot, is complete with stables, a fishing pond, and an art gallery. The heart of the vineyard, though, is its 2.5 acres of grapes, nearly five tons of which are grown in six varieties for use in their award-winning wines. Visitors can sample Chateau St. Croix's sundry varietals and blends after a half-hour tour, pairing each sip with chocolates, cheeses, and crackers.
Inspired by a vacation to Tuscany, executive chef Justin Grecco conducts a symphony of locally sourced ingredients to create authentic Italian fare. After acclimating to the eatery's red walls and checkered tablecloths, diners can begin culinary sojourns with arugula salad ($11) or crispy calamari ($9), the crunchiest thing to emerge from the sea since Poseidon's jam band last toured. Roman Anthony's dinner menu features shapely noodle formations such as the pappardelle pasta, which is tossed with braised beef, wild mushrooms, and basil-infused San Marzano tomato sauce ($25), and the cream-sauce-coated stuffed lobster ravioli ($25). Grilled pork bistecca comes bathed in balsamic reduction and strawberry demi glace, nestled next to a jumble of farm fresh veggies ($22). Roman Anthony's also dispenses an array of fine wines and spirits from behind a granite bar that seats 35 people upright, or 25 if they insist on leaning like their favorite Italian tower.