The North Shore

It’s true.  I love to eat.  I also enjoy running.  But most of all, I love the North Shore of Lake Superior.  It all started in college.  In an attempt to escape the Cities, Ryan and I journeyed up the Shore to Duluth and beyond.  Every year we made our trip to Grand Superior Lodge, just North of Two Harbors, relaxed in a log cabin, hiked Gooseberry Falls, played endless hours of Scrabble, sipped our wine and listened/watched the waves of Lake Superior crash against the rocky shore.  After several years of these visits, we decided to tie the knot in that exact place.  In 2005, we were married in the Duluth Rose Gardens, took pictures along the Shore and in Gooseberry Falls, and celebrated the night away at Grand Superior Lodge with 125 of our closest friends and family.  And now…almost 5 years later, I decided it was time to head back that way once again but this time, to run in Grandma’s Marathon, one of the area’s largest attractions.  This winter I entered our names, along with my brother-in-law and his girlfriend, in the lottery for Grandma’s Half Marathon…and lucky us, our names were drawn!  I suppose, that makes us winners!  🙂

So last weekend, we made the 8 hour trek to Northern Minnesota.  It was a long drive…but oh-so-worth it!   To begin “carbing up” before our half marathon, we had dinner at Bellisios.  Bellisios is a WONDERFUL little Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar in Canal Park in Duluth.  You should have seen Ryan’s shrimp pasta…it was OVERFLOWING with shrimp.  When was the last time you ordered a shrimp pasta and had to leave some of the shrimp on your plate!?  If you are ever in the Duluth area, I highly recommend it.

The next day, we revisited the Duluth Rose Gardens and took a moment to reflect on our wedding…our marriage…our future.  I remember thinking to myself, we had such a beautiful day on Aug 20, 2005…I wouldn’t have changed a thing!  

Again, if you are ever in the area on a sunny summer day, take the time to stroll through…it is beautiful.  (  I did remind Ryan though, that should we renew our vows…this time we should hit up Bora Bora!  Good idea, right? 


After our walk down memory lane, we headed up to Grand Superior Lodge to meet up with Cory and Kelly and prepare for our run.  The question remained…what’s for dinner?  To keep it easy, we decided on Dole’s Ultimate Ceasar Salad (seriously, it is amazing…try it) and my Pasta Pomodoro.  Honestly, I love this pasta! 

But, the more I make it, the more I learn about making it correctly.  A couple of important notes: first, be sure to add enough garlic, especially if the “Diced Tomatoes with Olive Oil and Garlic” seems bland.  Our local HyVee brand is the BOMB…other brands don’t seem to be as heavy on the olive oil and garlic…so add more of each!    Secondly, make sure the sauce comes to a full boil and allow the sauce to simmer for at least the 20 minutes.  With limited kitchen supplies in our cabin, I tried skipped the full boil and cut the simmer time in half when I made this for Cory & Kelly…withouth question, I was disappointed in the final product.  The flavors just weren’t the same.  Lesson:  be patient.  (Not one of my strongest virtues.)


Serves 4 -6

  • 2 cans (28 oz) whole, peeled, tomatoes.  Drain & Crush by hand.
  • 2 cans petite diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 1 Sweet yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Kosher Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Basil leaves, torn
  • 1 cup Mozzarella, freshly grated
  • Spaghetti noodles, cooked & strained

Start by making the pomodoro sauce.  This will allow for the flavors to meld while you prep the rest of the meal.

In a large saucepan, heat EVOO over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, ~5 minutes.  Add the diced and crushed tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for ~15 minutes.  Bring to a boil, stirring for 2-3 minutes to break up tomatoes.  Reduce heat and simmer for ~20 minutes. 

Stir in the fresh basil.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.

While the sauce is simmering, bring water to a boil.   Cook pasta until al dente.  ~ 9-10 minutes or as indicated on the box.  Strain pasta.  Immediately top with sauce to help retain heat.   Enjoy!

With a system full of carbs and nutrients, a well-hydrated body, and an ambitious spirit, the 4 of us headed to the start line at 445am.  Crazy, yes.  At 630am…we were off to the races!  Kelly and I learned a real quick lesson on trying to run 13.1 miles without training!  HA!  NOT a good idea…but we finished!  Our better halves however, blew us away.  Cory came in just over 2hrs and Ryan, well he “demoralized” all of us with a fast and furious 1 hr and 45 minutes.  No training (hardly)…and his first half marathon…impressive.  Congrats Buddy!  You deserve that “victory” pose!  LOL 


All in all, our weekend on the North Shore was nothing less than spectacular!  With a great atmosphere, great  food, a great run, and great family (Troy, Laurie, Cory & Kelly)…this weekend was one for the record books.  Thank you Cory and Kelly for joining us on this run! 

And a big thank you to both of our brothers and sister for making the celebrations back at the cabin so enjoyable.  We love you!

The North Shore of Lake Superior…just another slice of heaven.

Indulge.  In Life.  In Love.  In Food.


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