Whenever I hear the city of Escanaba, I and most people, especially from Michigan, think of the play that Jeff Daniels wrote and premiered at his Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea “Escanaba in da Moonlight” which was later made into a film. I remember I was riding shotgun or was I the chauffeur on one of the trips my Bride made to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as part of her job. Escanaba was the first city on her itinerary and I had no idea of what to expect in the way of cuisine. She had made plans to stay two nights in Escanaba and then move to another city after that, the first night we stayed at our hotel and ate there as well, and I was in heaven from the quality of the food and service, but that is for another story. At the moment, I am going to mention our second night, and the dinner we had with one of her contact people up there, and she had suggested not only the hotel, but she also touted Stonehouse for dinner.
The restaurant was not far from where we were staying, and the façade of the restaurant was stone, so Stonehouse was easy to figure out for the name. It was a very comfortable restaurant and lounge, and they were doing a very good business the night we were there. The ambience of the room was such that it could have been situated anywhere in the country and it would have fit in. While my Bride ordered a Caesar Salad, I decided to go “native” and try the Spinach Salad, which I was told was the most popular salad in the Upper Peninsula by her contact person. All I can say is that is was a great salad, and I am not a salad person, but the hot bacon dressing that they made at the Stonehouse was wonderful. After our salads my Bride had a salmon dish, and I was going to go with a fish dish as well, but I was also told that this restaurant made a great plate of Short Ribs, and that is one of my many culinary weaknesses. While I enjoyed tasting her salmon, it was very difficult to share the Short Ribs, they were that great (am I bad, but I did share). We were in Escanaba for two nights and we had two great dinners, I was a very happy camper.
For dinner we had a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, a Santa Rita Reserva 1999. I have had several bottles of wine from this winery, but this was the first Reserva that I had seen or had the pleasure to drink. It was what a good Cabernet Sauvignon should taste like, it had full body and it was a great pairing with my Short Ribs, and thankfully my Bride enjoys a good red wine with her salmon. This wine was from the Maipo Valley, which is the Northern part of the Central Valley of Chile, and some refer to it as the “Bordeaux of South America.” All in all, we had a great dinner that evening, and on another trip that my Bride made to the Upper Peninsula without me, she stopped and had dinner at the Stonehouse again, and she called me that evening to let me know about the great dinner she had without me. What can I say, I guess, some of my traits are rubbing off on her.