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Deep Fried

Deep. Fried, originally uploaded by tomkellyphoto.

There are very few questions to be asked at a Wisconsin fish fry. When our perennial schoolteacher turned waitress Darlene comes by our table at The Waterfront near Hayward, the only thing you have to say is ‘deep fried.’

Friday Fish Fry is a Wisconsin tradition. We schedule entire vacations around it. It’s so popular at spots like The Waterfront on Grindstone Lake, that lines are already forming by opening time of 4:00 p.m. Six hours later, as many as 400 people may pass through the tiny Northwoods bar.

The menu is simple: deep fried cod, french fries, cole slaw and rolls. For the record, you can also choose broiled fish and baked potato (or twice baked). But that would not be in tradition. Nearby Pine Ridge is also now including chicken – sacrilegious yet popular.

There are many legends on the origin of Friday Fish Fry. Being Catholics, we tend to believe that it grew out of the former ritual of no meat on Friday (now observed only during Lent). Friday Fish is a popular church or civic group meal even today.

Each community has its favorites. And those favorites change! When I first arrived in the Northwoods in 1977, my memory is going to fish at Dick-Sy Manor on highway 77. A few years later it was Lost Land Lake Lodge. And we spent many a Friday at Trailways.

In more recent years, our son-in-law’s family’s restaurant, The Waterfront, has led the way in Hayward.

The Friday of our Hayward vacation we thought we would beat the crowds by arriving before 5:00 p.m. There wasn’t a single parking spot in the lot, and boats were arriving like a flotilla. An hour wait – not bad, actually. By 5:30 p.m. there wasn’t a square inch of space on the bar or out on the patio.

In the tiny kitchen, Diane was rolling through the orders while another cook kept the deep fryers going with batch after batch of beer battered cod and fries. As always, Darlene kept one step ahead of us on beers and fish, snaring a plate of extra deep fried fillets for the table to share.

Fish fries are more than just the food. It’s about socializing and sharing stories, watching the kids jump off the dock to swim and relaxing with a Leinies while watching the sun set over the lake. It’s talking about the Badgers and Packers, while trash talking the Vikings and Bears at the expense of the tourists.

You leave stuffed but rejuvenated, with a reminder of the hospitality that made Wisconsin famous.

Wisconsin Fish Fry Resources

Fish Fry Wiki

Classic Wisconsin – Fish Fries

Wisconsin Fish Fry Blog


Fourth of July Cookout

The Fourth of July is perfect for a mid-summer cookout. The beauty for us is that if fireworks are important, we can watch them from the deck after dinner! This year’s cookout was another extravaganza, with more food than you can imagine as Chef Tom and Chef Richard combined for a fine BBQ. Checkout the lineup below. Sorry, too busy cookin’ and eatin’ to get any pix. Thanks to Carey for helping man the grill!

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Salt Lake Gallery Stroll

Salt Lake Gallery Stroll., originally uploaded by tomkellyphoto.

Carole and her friends decided to do the monthly Salt Lake City Gallery Stroll and I volunteered as chauffeur. If you actually get out onto the streets of downtown Salt Lake, it’s actually a pretty interesting place. The girls had a great plan, including Blazing Needles (a bit east of downtown), UTah Hands and more.

The monthly stroll links dozens of downtown galleries. But as I dropped the ladies by the Convention Center, I saw a Facebook post from a friend about a Holga exhibit at a nearby photo gallery.

In today’s digital world, the unassuming Holga is the epitome of a simpler, analog world. It has only a few simple settings, a fixed focal length lens and, yes, it takes film – old fashioned 120 film.

But while today’s digital photographer fine tunes intricate computerized settings, the creative Holga photographer experiments with the simplistic settings to create amazing works on art onto small, square photographic prints.

The exhibit at the Saans Photography on Broadway amazing. And it was clearly the hit of the opening Friday night Broadway Stroll as hundreds and hundreds of Utahns took advantage of a warm summer night (rare) and the Chowtruck around the corner. Third South and Second East was abuzz with activity.

If you get a chance, check out the Friday night Broadway Stroll the third Friday of the month this summer.

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DAY 16: Oh Canada

Tonight was the night we learned there are more than two words to the Canadian national anthem. Tonight was the medals ceremony for John Montgomery, the toast of Canada. Friday night in skeleton at the Whistler Sliding Centre he became the third Canadian to win gold but first in Whistler. You couldn’t even get close to the entrance gates Saturday night at Whistler Medals Plaza, as thousands jammed inside and hundreds more packed the sidewalks of Village Stroll. It was a night to be proud for all of Canada.

After Friday night’s win, Montgomery was paraded through the streets of Whistler as a national hero, full beer mug in hand. On the set of CTV in Skier’s Square, he led a proud nation in its anthem as the world learned his amazing story.

A 30-year-old auctioneer from Manitoba, he is, literally, the Olympic dream. When Vancouver got the nod in 2003, he made a commitment to be there – not as a spectator, but as an athlete. After a short look at speed skating, he found skeleton and set his mind to being in Vancouver to represent his country.

Seven years later, here he was – sliding for Canada, capturing the hearts of a nation, and winning an Olympic gold medal.

I only happened by medals plaza that evening, but knew of his story. And I knew right away this was a special night. I didn’t go in, but watched with hundreds of Canadians who were straining for views of the big screen TVs over the fence.

When his name was called, he swept the podium step clear with his hands and he leaped up onto the box, pumping his fist in the air. With hand over heart, he led a nation in singing its anthem, as adults and children alike – both inside and outside Medals Plaza, and in homes from the Maritimes to the Yukon, joined in with pride in saluting their newest national hero!

Oh, in case you were wondering or wanted to sing along:

Oh Canada (official lyrics)

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide, O Canada,
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

Dining Tip
Best laid plans for a nice dinner of Arctic char and a nice BC chardonnay at home were dashed yet again. But the alternative was quite acceptable, with my first dinner at Whistler’s USA House with our friends at the USOC. Tonight was a night to honor one of America’s greatest heroes, Lindsey Vonn, and her super G bronze.

Cool Stuff
I’ve always found Lush to be a fascinating story, selling strange smelling soaps by the pound. Carole also loves Lush, so it’s a great gifting stop. Lo and behold, it was bubble bath night at Lush with the eager staff luring in customers from the Village Stroll by blowing bubbles in front of the store.

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DAY ONE: Vancouver Bound!

Ships navigate the sound outside Vancouver, on approach to YVR.

Today’s the day I’m Vancouver Bound! It’s always hard to leave for a long trip. But there’s a special excitement about the Olympics. Today I landed in Vancouver for my seventh Olympic Winter Games – something I’m very proud of – dating all the way back to Lake Placid in 1980. And as excited as I am to be in Vancouver, with our best Team ever, it’s sad to be away from home for the entire month.

New Kitchen is Fabulous!


Twas the Night Before Kitchen …

It’s somewhat like Christmas Eve tonight. Santa arrives tomorrow in the form of Shamrock Plumbing and Mountainlands to install the sink, hook up the fridge and dishwasher and put the Wolf range in place. The kitchen is a dream of ours that is becoming a reality. Even with a few major items to go, it dazzles us. Carole did an incredible job in conceiving, designing, negotiating, assembling, cleaning and putting in place an amazing room. When your toes touch the cork floor every one of your senses is triggered. The floor is soft and creamy on your feet as your eyes are drawn to the mountains out the five windows with no cabinets to block your view. Your hand runs across the grain of the butcher block where drinks will be poured and turkeys will be carved. And you can almost smell the spaghetti sauce festering on the range on a winter evening. Tonight, a lone red halogen light shines from the ceiling track, anxious awaiting its brothers from eBay and Craig’s List to arrive.

Zach in the Kitchen

Grandson Zach has joined us in Park City for a while and was excited to checkout the new kitchen. It’s still a few weeks from completion, with countertops now under way. But Carole creatively placed some shelving on the island so we actually have a place to prep. Zach was a big help learning how to make our famous bacon wrapped BBQ shrimp for a dinner party at our friends Gail and Richard’s home that evening.


Stage Set for Burgeroff II

The burger wars will be back this summer! But expect some rules changes for Burgeroff II, the battle of the burgers between Chefs Richard and Tom. The challenge was accepted during a holiday party with dates to be set next summer.

L’Hostaria in Aspen

We’re big fans of Italian food, wine and ambience. In fact, we search it out on every trip. I had the occasion recently during the Audi Aspen World Cup to entertain a dozen VIPs. We were all friends so something intimate was desired to celebrate a special occasion. And we had a few Aspenites in the group, so we wanted something well received by locals. And I had a budget. L’Hostaria was a hit on all fronts.