Eau Claire may not be on your radar for food options, but let me fill you in on some of the excellent meals I had during my visit there. My first stop was none other than pizza at The Plus. They offer a wide selection of soups, salads and burgers, but their pizza was a must try for me. I opted for the “Plus Supreme,” with Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions, green peppers, black olives and mozzarella all on top of the thinnest, cracker like crust you can imagine. I’m a huge thin crust fan so my mouth was already watering in anticipation. While i’m not the biggest fan of olives, they didn’t overpower here like they usually do. I mostly tasted the beautiful flavors of the juicy italian sausage and the slightly spicy pepperoni. The thin crust held up to all the toppings beautifully and while I tried to finish my small pizza, I sadly couldn’t.
After running around in town during Oxbeaux and Prex Claires, my next meal wasn’t until the next morning at brunch at The Lakely. I was in the mood for something filling and familiar so I went for the Belgian waffle with maple syrup and of course, a mimosa on the side as well as a cold brew. The Belgian waffle… I have no words. How can I explain that this was the best waffle I ever had without looking like a crazy person for raving about how good a simple waffle is. It was indeed the best waffle I ever had, hands down, and the maple syrup on top was divine. The fluffiness to outer crust crunch ratio was wonderful. The cold brew was so perfect without any trace of bitterness that I didn’t add any sugar, milk or cream. And the mimosa was refreshing and exactly what i needed to begin a long day of photography in the hot sun. Combine all of this greatness with the accompaniment of piano and saxophone music and it was the best start to a day that I’ve had in recent times.
After brunch, I was treated to a beautiful tour of the Pablo Center. On the outside the gorgeous glass and copper was like a beacon, welcoming me inside. In the interior, it was a lot more spacious than I had realized. Room for multiple classrooms, office space, 2 full sized venues, various practice spaces, a full recording studio and A/V room was inside, and while construction is still in progress, it’s easy to see how gorgeous the finished space will be. I am definitely making plans to revisit once the space is finished and take in a concert or two… or three.
After the tour, and finally inside the Eaux Claires festival, I usually never have time to eat because I’m usually taking photos, so I only had time to stop for a cheeseburger at one of the vendors with the shortest line, but it was juicy, hot and super meaty. Maybe I was just extremely hungry but it tasted incredible. No regrets that I went back and bought another one later in the day.
Breakfast the next morning was at none other than The Nucleus! I’ve been to the Nucleus before, as well as Racy’s but I had never sat in that particular room before. The wait time was up to an hour and thirty minutes – a testament to how delicious their food is and how popular The Nucleus has become. Again, I ordered a mimosa, and it was the prettiest one I’ve seen yet as well as being downright delicious. Wanting more comfort food this time, I got the scrambled eggs, sausage and 1 pancake. Usually sausage can be hit or miss, but this was perfectly spiced & not dried out. The scrambled eggs were light and fluffy similar to the pancake – so fluffy and moist it was almost cake like.
Getting back from the festival every night after 1am almost tempted me to order late night pizza from Toppers, but heartburn is a staple in my life these days, so I had to pass. But I hear the cheese sticks are a must. I’ll have to try them when I come back for those shows at the Pablo Center.
*This post is sponsored by Travel Wisconsin
Article: Lesley Keller