After a long week, Jon and I decided to try the new winery that serves wood-fired pizza, Tamarack Farms Winery last Friday night. Wine and pizza are a match made in heaven, going together just like peas and carrots, so we knew we had to try this new place out.
Tamarack Farms is nestled back on an actual farm on Highway B between NN and Round Lake Marina. When you pull in the driveway (is it called that still if you are pulling into a restaurant, or is that term reserved for roads up to houses?), you drive past a house, following the road to the restaurant. It’ll feel sort of like you aren’t supposed to be back there, but I promise, if you stay on the road, you are going to end up at Tamarack.
Once you pull up, you might feel like you are getting to your friend’s garage to hang out, as the restaurant from the outside looks similar to a pull shed. It’d made me feel like I was going to a secret club meeting or hideout, and I’ve rarely felt cooler.
The garage feeling doesn’t stop there, once inside (or you may notice pulling up if you are more observant than I am), you will find that there are 3 or 4 garage doors on two of the walls, which I imagine will be open and provide outdoor seating when the area becomes less artic. There are metal open shelves (think cubbies?) to put your things in near the door, and there is a giant neon fuchsia sign that says, “Sip and Be Happy”. The floors were cement and everything had a clean modern, industrial, farmhouse feel to it (yes, it was all of that at once). To top it off, there’s early 2000’s pop music rocking the place, to cement the idea that you are just hanging out with friends, but in a classy way because wine.
Jon and I were taking all of this in while we waited in line to order our drinks and pizza at the bar. The whole place was buzzing with the energy of lots of people in a new place. It was electric! You could tell that the staff was excited, and they handled the busyness well. They were friendly, welcoming, and very helpful in navigating the wine.
Jon started with a Spotted Cow, and I tried their award winning cranberry wine. It was just the right amount of tart and sweet! The wine was so good I would give it an award too if I had that authority. Aside from their own wines, Tamarack also features small batched artisan wines. We later tried wine that had been aged in a bourbon barrel, and we ended up taking a whole bottle with us! Jon, who’s not much of a wine drinker usually, loved it!
For pizza, Jon and I ordered one pizza with just about everything on it, but with olives only on one side, because Jon can just have all of those to himself. Tamarack’s pizza system is that they have one style of pizza and you get to customize the toppings. It’s a pretty foolproof and efficient system if you ask me. Our pizza was then wood-fired in a giant wood fire oven that was near the middle of the restaurant in a brilliant fierce red mosaic. Though there was some art on the walls, that oven stood out in all of its radiant glory. I couldn’t wait to taste its work.
Our pizza took a while because the place was packed, but once we got it, it didn’t take us too long to finish! It was quite tasty! Jon really enjoyed it, and felt it really brought out the flavors in the wine. What really stole the show for me however were the smoked garlic Parmesan chicken wings. They were smoked and then also cooked in the wood fire oven, and they were so flavorful they just about melted in your mouth. I could’ve eaten probably 3 orders of those chicken wings with zero regrets.
At the end of the night, Jon and I left Tamarack Farms Winery feeling better than when we had gotten there (hungry and wore out from the week), as I believe going out to dinner should make you feel. On the ride home we already discussed going out there again, but with friends. With great energy, great food, and awesome wine, you can bet that we’ll be back again.