July 14, 2004
Door County, Part 2 - Mars, Goats, and a Muppet

When we crossed the Wisconsin state line on the way up to Door County this last weekend, we stopped at one of my favorite places in the Midwest, the Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha, where we had the good fortune to speak to the owner, Mario J. Venturi, Jr.

Mario made us try some of the best cheddar I've ever had, and gave us a bit of advice on our trip up to Door County. He advised we not miss the breakfast at Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant in Sister Bay.

What Mario left out was the most notorious aspect of Al Johnson's - the goats on the roof.

The roof is covered in sod and grass, and the grass is kept under control by a small group of goats who are led up a ladder to the peaked roofs in the morning and who munch away the rest of the day oblivious to the noise of the crowds who watch them. I didn't get any pictures, but here are some links to pictures elsewhere of the goat infestation. There's even a children's book about the roof ruminants, The Little Goat on the Roof.

There are no goat dishes on the menu, so I'm pretty sure the sure-footed beasties manage not to fall off. The various fish dishes we had at Al Johnson's for lunch were pretty good, if not exceptional. They serve Swedish lingonberries with everything.

Meg tells me that I have to mention Ann Sather's here and make a joke about the Swedish chef. Ann Sather's is a Swedish tradition in Chicago and is currently owned by Chicago's first and only openly gay alderman, and all-around good guy, Tom Tunney. Ann Sather's is where most Chicagoans are introduced to mild, sweet, filling Swedish food. Among its best goods are the sweet sticky cinnamon rolls that hungry Chicagoans line up to buy by the dozens. Definitely worth a visit if you come to our fair city.

Oh, the Swedish chef? Um... OK, a frog, a pig, and a Swedish chef walk into a bar... No, that won't work. So... What's the Swedish Chef's favorite singer? Bjork, Bjork, Bjork! What villain on Star Trek does the Swedish Chef fear the most? The Borg, Borg, Borg! Would you like to see my extensive collection of Scandanavian credit cards?

(Pic swiped from CNN)

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at July 14, 2004 9:36 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version
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