Sunday, August 21, 2011

No soup for you!

This was a great weekend, spent with Deirdre at our cottage on Lake Huron. Before we left down state on Friday after work, the weather forecast for Saturday was "Mostly sunny, high temperatures on the low 80s." As we have learned this summer that the forecasts that the weatherguessers make for Oscoda are rarely correct. When we got up on Saturday morning it was overcast, and the temperature was in the upper 60s. We decided to take a stroll north up the beach, but we quickly turned around as we saw dark rain clouds heading from the north. That was a good decision because a short time later the skies opened up and we were deluged by rain.

So instead of spending the day at the beach, we decided to go north to Harrisville for lunch at the Old Place Inn. Harrisville is a small town about 15 miles north of Oscoda with a couple of quirky restaurants and shops, as well as an beautiful harbor and marina. The restaurant we went to for lunch is called the Old Place Inn. The Inn is a small, family run restaurant with some of the best soups made on the planet. The Old Place Inn is so small they do not have a website... or even a Facebook Page. Such modern expressions of the place just don't seem to fit it well.

Back to the soups served at the Inn. We arrived at the Inn a little after noon on Saturday. We were the only patrons when we arrived. The Inn seats about 50 people. Did I tell you that we were the only patrons when we arrived? Anyway, we were seated and Karen, a waitress who has served us many times, told us that the soups today were, "Vegetable, Corn and Mushroom Chowder, Cheese and Broccoli, and Chili." I ordered a cup of the Cheese and Broccoli soup and a BLT. Deirdre asked for the Corn and Mushroom Chowder and a Canadian Bacon sandwich. Karen took our order and promptly went back to the kitchen.

We waited for what seemed like a while for our soups. I even said to Deirdre, "I wonder if they are milking the cows to make the cheese." Soon after I said that, Karen walks out of the kitchen with our sandwiches... and no soup. When Karen arrived at our table Deirdre said to her, "We also ordered soup." Karen's face fell and she said to us, "Oh my! I did not even write down your soup orders. Sometimes my brain does not get up with my body." She quickly retreated to the kitchen and a few minutes later our soups were served. Needless to say, the soup and the chowder were fantastic. But the story does not end there.

Deirdre and I chuckled at this as the reason why we go to this folksy little restaurant is because of the soup they make there. I was also thinking that perhaps the Soup Nazi was working there and we would be forever denied one of the restaurant's wonderful creations. At least the Cook did not come out of the kitchen at that moment and say to us, "No soup for you!."All in all it was a good laugh for us.

While we were eating (and recall that at the time we were the only clients in the restaurant) the Cook (who is also the owner of the Inn) came out from the kitchen to talk to us. Why, we might never know, but regardless, Deirdre struck up a conversation with him about how much we liked his soup. The Cook was beaming and said, "You know, I used asparagus stock as the base for the Cheddar and Broccoli Soup." He then told us how he had asparagus left over from last night's dinner menu and how he made the stock. Deirdre then suggested to the Cook that he should consider getting a webpage or at the very least a Facebook Page to advertise the Inn and the daily soup menu. The look on his face when Deirdre suggested an Internet presence for his business was as if we were green aliens from the planet Voltron and that we were asking him to surrender his liver to us for our meal. Clearly, the Cook was not a big believer in the Internet and its possibilities.

The Cook politely excused himself from our conversation and Karen returned and she seemed a little more interested in the idea of a Facebook page for the restaurant. Karen then said to us, "I do not have a Facebook page, nor do I engage in any social media. My name cannot be found on the Internet. I have been in hiding from my ex for the past 13 years and I do not want him to track me down." Really? You work and live openly in an out of the way restaurant in a small city on the northeastern shores of Michigan, trying to conceal your whereabouts, yet you will tell two perfect strangers that you are in hiding? What if we had been sent by the ex to snuff her out?

Yep, living in northern Michigan is always full of surprises. If you are ever driving northbound on US-23 and you get to the only stoplight in Harrisville, turn right and the Old Place Inn will be in your left. Stop in for some soup. And some interesting conversation.

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