Monday, March 28

The Ghost Guest Travels: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

I'm back from my unintentional blogging hiatus! Life has been pretty hectic as of late and I've been doing a lot of traveling, including a weekend trip up to Lake Geneva, WI that I wanted to share with you.

The BF and I decided to spend a relaxing weekend away in Lake Geneva, and with the help of the awesome people at General Motors, they let me borrow a brand new Chevy Equinox to take for a spin. The BF sold his car two years ago and since then, we've been getting by without one. I will say, once you have a car again. it's REALLY nice. The 1.5 hour drive to Lake Geneva was a breeze in the comfort of our fully-equipped Equinox. It was easy to drive, came with a ton of safety features, and was easy to park, despite it's size.

Chevy Equinox
Chevy Equinox
Photo Credit: Chevrolet
Chevy Equinox
Driving to Lake Geneva
We decided to stay at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa, an award-winning resort in Lake Geneva. The Grand Geneva originally opened in 1968 as the Lake Geneva Playboy Club Hotel...yes, that Playboy. Several of our friends had stayed there and enjoyed it, so we knew we'd have a great time. The resort has 335 guest rooms, a spa and salon, two championship golf courses, skiing, snowboarding, a convention center, fitness center, and three restaurants. Yes, it's that big.

We checked into our room overlooking the resort's lake and golf course and both commented on how quiet it was. It was so nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. One of the coolest features of our room was the TV built into the bathroom mirror, ensuring we wouldn't miss a second of Keeping Up With the Kardashians :)

Lake Geneva
Our Room
Lake Geneva
TV in the Bathroom
Lake Geneva
View From the Room
We enjoyed some handmade truffles in the room, including lime, cherry, caramel and bacon varieties that were as beautiful as they were delicious.

Lake Geneva
Handmade Truffles
Simple Cafe
Simple. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The BF and I took a quick drive into town for lunch at Simple Cafe. The restaurant is a welcoming and bright way to start your day. They also have a bakery and market next door with beautiful breads, pastries, and coffee for purchase.

Simple Cafe
Simple Bakery & Market
The restaurant is definitely a brunch spot, but it was lunch time when we arrived. The BF and I both ordered the chicken sandwich with roasted red onion, fontina, garlic aioli, and greens on fresh ciabatta bread, with a side of house potatoes. Delicious (despite my mediocre photo)!

Lake Geneva
Chicken Sandwich
The food was fresh and the space was inviting, but our service was pretty bad so I'm giving Simple Cafe 3.5 ghosts out of 5.






After lunch, we walked around downtown, stopping into shops and walking along the lakefront. I was used to seeing crowds of people everywhere during summers spent visiting Lake Geneva, but March is definitely an off-peak time to visit. That's not necessarily a bad thing...you can go anywhere you want, and get into any restaurant!

Lake Geneva
Lakefront
Geneva ChopHouse
Geneva Chophouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

That evening, we had reservations at Geneva ChopHouse, located at the Grand Geneva Resort. It was great to be able to walk down the hall from our hotel room to dinner. The restaurant is a traditional steakhouse with a variety of steaks, chops, seafood, and sides. The place was jam-packed the night we dined there, resulting in a 30 minute wait for our table past our reservation.

We started with the ChopHouse salad and farmers market salad. The ChopHouse was a traditional chopped salad with chopped greens, blue cheese, bacon, tomatoes, eggs, cucumber and champagne-chive vinaigrette. I thought the salad was way too soggy and tasted like someone had pre-tossed the salad well before it was served to us. The farmers market salad was much better, featuring baby greens, beets, green beans, goat cheese, walnuts, diced tomatoes, and a tangy mustard vinaigrette. It had more of a fresh and crisp taste.

Lake Geneva
ChopHouse Salad
Lake Geneva
Farmers Market Salad
The BF and I both ordered steaks and split two sides. He had the New York strip, while I had the filet. Our sides included a twice baked potato, and Brussels sprouts. The steaks were both well seasoned and cooked to our liking, while the sides were lacking in flavor. The potato was dull and lukewarm, while the Brussels sprouts could have used some more roasting time.

Lake Geneva
New York Strip
Lake Geneva
Filet 
 Lake Geneva
Twice Baked Potato
Lake Geneva
Brussels Sprouts
Geneva ChopHouse definitely has the prices of a Chicago steakhouse, but the food is not the same caliber. Was I expecting a Chicago steakhouse experience? No. But I was expecting a little bit more oomph from the food. I will say, our server was excellent and our food arrived promptly. I do think there are other restaurants where you could spend the same amount of money and have an overall better experience though.

I'm giving Geneva ChopHouse 3.5 ghosts out of 5.





Egg Harbor Cafe
Egg Harbor Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

For breakfast the next morning, we stopped by an old-favorite, Egg Harbor Cafe. Egg Harbor has locations in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Georgia, and I grew up going to their locations in the Chicago suburbs. The BF on the other hand, had never been, so it was a must-visit! Their Lake Geneva location is in the heart of downtown Lake Geneva and its menu and aesthetic match all of the other locations.

Growing up, my go-to order was the banana bread French toast topped with sliced bananas and powdered sugar. I couldn't eat an entire plate of the sweet stuff, so I ordered a combo with one slice of French toast, and a veggie skillet with eggs, sweet potatoes, peppers, avocado and zucchini.

Lake Geneva
Banana Bread French Toast & Veggie Skillet
The BF had a create-your-own scrambler with tomato and jalapenos. He thinks those two ingredients qualify as "healthy vegetables" ;)

Lake Geneva
Create Your Own Scrambler
Egg Harbor Cafe is such a part of my upbringing and always yummy, so I'm giving them 4 ghosts out of 5. The service there is fantastic too.






After brunch, the rain hit, and it did not stop for the rest of the day. We knew we'd have to stay inside, so we headed to the fitness center. The fitness center is huge and features a gym, fitness studio with daily classes, tennis, basketball courts, rock climbing wall, and a pool. The BF and I played one on one basketball, and indoor tennis, and checked out the connected spa. We didn't go for any treatments but I could have used a massage after playing basketball and tennis!

After working up a sweat, we took the time to relax by the fireplace in the Grand Geneva's main lobby which was super cozy.

Lake Geneva
Grand Geneva Lobby
Lake Geneva
Grand Geneva Lobby
Sopra Bistro
Sopra Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fast forward to dinner, which was our last meal in town. Sopra Bistro is a cute bistro in downtown Lake Geneva that came recommended to me by a coworker. The space is warm, the service is friendly, and the menu is eclectic.

We started with baby arugula salad with tomatoes, blanched garlic, cucumbers, red onion, feta, golden raisin vinaigrette, and duck bacon. Yes, duck bacon! It was one of the best salads I've had in awhile, effectively combining acidic and sweet flavors, and crisp and chewy textures.

Lake Geneva
Arugula Salad
Sopra's menu includes eight pastas, and a variety of other entrees featuring a range of proteins from pork and pheasant, to steak, lamb or fish. With the dreary weather upon us, we were up for some major carb loading and ordered two pastas. Big mistake. The portions were GIGANTIC. I'm not lying when I tell you we had three separate meals out of our pasta leftovers. The first was an orecchiette with Italian sausage, chorizo, peas, a tomato sauce, and creme fraiche. The sauce soaked up a little bit of the spice from the chorizo and it was an all-around carb-party.

Lake Geneva
Orecchiete
Our second pasta dish was a cavatappi with chorizo, lobster, cilantro, black beans, jalapenos, white wine, tomato puree, and queso fresco. I loved how the huge chunks of lobster claw meat were studded throughout the layers of curly pasta. What a unique combo of lobster, black beans, jalapenos and queso fresco!

Lake Geneva
Cavatappi
Our meal at Sopra Bistro was the best we had while in Lake Geneva, so I'd highly recommend it for dinner the next time you're in town!

I'm giving Sopra Bistro 4 ghosts out of 5!






Have you been to Lake Geneva before? What are some of your favorite restaurants?

Note: Chevy provided me with a loaner vehicle to test drive; however all opinions are my own. 

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