Fire It Up at Wisconsin's Famous Fish Boil
Traverse City and the rest of Northern Michigan get all the love when it comes to midwest summer destinations, but don't sleep on Door County, the peninsula that sits directly west across Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. Right, we know what you're thinking. The first thing that comes to mind when someone says "Wisconsin" is winter, and you can get cheese in any supermarket, thank you very much.
This mentality is precisely what makes Door County so enjoyable to visit, the fact that it crushes all your preconceived notions of what Wisconsin is as a state and travel destination. What you'll find during the summer is a mellow, bed-and-breakfast paced community on a peninsula that is comprised of a series of small towns tucked in between dairy farms, wineries, and cherry orchards. You might also remember our story last fall about the restaurant with the goats on the roof. That's a novel place and a staple of the city, and foodies will also appreciate another local favorite, the state's traditional fish boil held "backyard style" during the warmer months.
The Wisconsin fish boil is comparable to the low-country boils of the southeast. It was originally developed more than a century ago as a way to mass feed those who worked in the lumber camps. Today, locally caught whitefish is boiled with potatoes and onions in a large pot over an open fire. Boiling the fish causes most of the fat to rise to the top, making the meal healthy and removing the "fishy" taste to the delight of the seafood skeptics among us. The cookout is as delicious as it is a visual show, as you can see in the cover photo.
If you want to experience a boil, the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek hosts them four nights a week throughout the summer months.
[Photos: White Gull Inn/Will McGough]