This is our favorite place to eat. This may be surprising to you who know how many places we have lived and traveled. Yet it is. There are many reasons. But nothing will convince you until you get in your car and drive to Harrisville, Michigan. And eat there. Then you will understand.
That sounds ludicrous I know. This Inn has the best soup that I have ever had, anywhere, ever. I have been a lot of places. I have had a lot of soup. It is better than any of the finest restaurants, bars, kitchens. Yup, you read this correctly.
We ate there again on Wednesday. We were up in Oscoda to finalize the winterization of the cottage, normally this is a sad time. But we infuse this ending with great eats and visits, always one stop at the Old Place Inn.
The soups were insane. Wild Mushroom soup (yeah, it has sherry). Chicken and Rice. Senate Bean. Black bean and grains. (That doesn't do it justice). We couldn't decide so we got the soup and salad bar that comes with unlimited soup. I don't even know why I bother with the salad bar. Well, I bother because there is homemade carrot salad. Cauliflower, carrot and banana peppers. This incredible potato salad. And you can always get lettuce with toppings but that's so boring, comparatively.
Don came out to greet us, as he does with many of his patrons. He mentioned that at times he might have other soups, "in the back." So today I just happened to ask, "whatcha got back there, in the back? " He smiled and disappeared for a few minutes. When he returned, he had two steaming bowls of yellow heaven. At first I thought it was cheese. Then I tasted nutmeg. And ginger.
I was totally wrong. It was Paul who guessed butternut squash. It was the most heavenly bowl of butternut squash soup that I have ever tasted. So I asked him how he did it. He tells me. I am scribbling furiously on the back of his business card. I might have missed things.
Here is what I wrote.
Peeled butternut squash sprinkled with olive oil, cubed.
Cook in the oven (350-400 - he uses a convection oven). I asked how long. He grinned and said, til it's done. Ha. Stick a fork in it.
The stock is chicken stock . There may be other ingredients but I don't remember. My mouth was reeling. And yes, it was better than the BLT soup. And that was one tough act to follow.
Go visit. He is open on most holidays. Just call before you head up. Ask what the soups are and, if you are really hungry, the sandwich of the day. Or the homemade pie, in the summer using berries from the garden. It's all just amazing. Thank goodness it's a four hour drive for me.
Donald Humes Chef and Owner
The Old Place Inn
309 E Mail Street
Harrisville, MI 48740