We are on another adventure, albeit a minor one, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the city of Marquette. We have been there before a couple of times and my Bride even more often, which is quite an achievement considering that it is almost an eight-hour drive and we never left the state. I am just along for the ride as the saying goes, but after a grueling pace last week and I have to admit that I have lost my “retail legs” this is a nice get-away. We were both amazed at the traffic jam at the bridge crossing over from the lower to the upper, but the traffic going south was even worse. Marquette is known for their iron ore and the shipping of it to other points and it has the largest population in the Upper Peninsula and it sits on Lake Superior and I have no desire to ever go swimming in that lake, as I am sure that it barely melts all of its ice floes, before they return for the next season. It has a quaint downtown area and that is where we stayed.
My Bride wanted to dine at Casa Calabria, because it was highly recommended by one of her contact people, so off we went. She wanted to walk there from the hotel, which after a long drive was fine, but there are a couple of steep hills in the downtown area compared to where we live. I also mentioned that she must have wanted to take me on the scenic route as we passed three funeral homes and after the hills, I inquired if my life insurance policy was paid and up to date and I was informed that it was; just checking. Casa Calabria is one of twenty-three restaurants owned by a family and they are scattered throughout the Upper Peninsula and the Milwaukee area. The restaurant was quite packed when we got there, and looking at the food, it was definitely a grade or two above the national chains that claim to sell Italian cuisine. We were both a bit tired and didn’t feel like over-eating and since we are getting to the age of being Senior Citizens we opted to share a fourteen-ounce filet mignon and we ordered a plate of pasta with meat sauce to accompany the meal. My Bride started off with a bowl of Minestrone and I had their Antipasto salad, which I was a little disappointed in, as it was a chopped salad with a couple pieces of salami, pepperoni and some provolone cheese, but it was better than just having a chopped salad. The filet was done to perfection as we had ordered it, though instead of a Zip-sauce there was a pat of butter on the filet, and I guess that worked as well.
Most of the people at the other tables were drinking wine from carafes of the house wine and our server seemed a little surprised that we were ordering a bottle of wine, and the bottle was uncorked at the bar and brought to us, which is OK, but no chance to check on the cork’s condition, so we basically just dived in and tasted the wine. Since we were having filets I passed on the Italian wines and chose a Malbec from Argentina, and even a lighter Malbec would be fine with dinner. The wine was Ruta 22 Malbec Mendoza 2015 and the winery also makes a Ruta 22 Malbec Patagonia, but this was not on the wine list. Ruta 22 is the name of the major route in Mendoza, and the winery was established in 2010, so it is new, but the fruit for this wine came from three different areas of Mendoza, namely Uco Valley, Agrelo and Easter Mendoza and the winery ages the wine up to two years in a mix of French and American Oak depending on the vintage. The wine had some excellent body and flavor and paired very well with our dinner, in fact the wine must have evaporated as there was none left to take home. The winery is part of the much larger umbrella company of Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. Malbec, Mendoza and Argentina are almost synonymous with each other, as Malbec is the leading grape of the area and it has been planted there from the mid-Sixteenth-Century by the Jesuit priest that initially came to the area. We had a nice dinner and I knew that the way home was going to be downhill, so I was safe to pass the funeral homes again, and we could still work off our meal.