This year we decided to spend our summer vacation in South Dakota. I’ll admit when my husband first mentioned South Dakota I was a bit skeptical. I knew there would be plenty to do and that the cooler temperatures would be great but what would we eat?? I’d heard from friends that my options would be slim; that I should expect a lot of meat and potatoes. It all seemed kind of bland and boring. Then my husband reminded me if anyone could find good food in the middle of nowhere it was me.
And off we went. We rented a private cabin/B&B nestled in the Black Hills National Forest; just steps away from a bubbling creek. It had a fridge, a microwave and a table for two. No oven; but it did have a gas grill and a picnic table. It was small and cozy. But what really made it the perfect little retreat was the gourmet breakfast that was delivered to our door each morning by our gracious host.
Every day was something different. We’d wait in anticipation just to see what Joyce would bring. We had eggs Benedict on one morning and stuffed French toast on another. A veggie omelet with a side of chicken sausage came mid-week and the best baked blueberry oatmeal the next day (see recipe below). There was always a bowl of fruit, a pot of coffee and a sweet treat included. The nice thing was with so much food we were able to pack some up for our late afternoon picnic lunches.
We spent our afternoons visiting places like Mt Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument and Custer State Park. Wildlife was in abundance; we saw herds of buffalo, burros and several rams. As I mentioned above we had several picnic lunches; which turned out to be stolen moments by a random creek or a nearby lake.
Finding food in South Dakota was turning out to not be as big an issue as I initially thought; at least for breakfast and lunch. Dinner was a little harder. Let’s just say Rapid City doesn’t have a huge selection of restaurants; but there were a few that looked promising. We enjoyed a night of wine and tapas at The Wine Cellar. Some of the tapas standouts included the duck fat potatoes, the Mediterranean skewers and the cheese plate adorned with house made chutney.
On another night we dined at the Sage Creek Grille in Custer. Since they are known for their fresh buffalo burgers I felt almost obligated to try one. And I am glad I did. It was one of the best buffalo burgers I've had so far.
Our last night of dining out brought us back to Rapid City; to a quaint little place called the Corn Exchange. A true "farm to table" dining experience. The night we were there the restaurant was featuring an Alice Waters recipe for lamb chops; which I thought were great. We also tasted the signature corn soup and the pepper, artichoke heart and mozzarella salad. Each dish equally mouthwatering and delicious.
The true food experience of the trip were our nights we spent in the cabin. Remember I told you there wasn't a stove and there really wasn't much in the way of accessories...but somehow we managed two lovely meals. We purchased all kinds of unique fresh veggies from the Rapid City Farmer's Market, local meats from the grocer and even a fresh baked loaf of bread. All of which we chopped, mixed, grilled and ate.
The motto of this story...don't underestimate a city's food choices until you've been there yourself and go go go to South Dakota.
Joyce's Baked Blueberry Oatmeal
3 C. oatmeal
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. milk
1 C. blueberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in another bowl. Stir the wet and dry ingredients together and add the blueberries. Spread in a 9x9 pan, lightly sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake 30 minutes.
****Linking this to the Happy Post at Family Fresh Cooking*****