Princeton, Wisconsin. is a small town, about 30 miles north of Fond du Lac. I went to Ripon College, in the general vicinity, in the late 80s, and the only reason I ever had to even go through Princeton was to get to a state hunting ground just beyond it. Princeton also, I believe, had the distinction of being the town with the most bars per capita in the world--although I'd take that with a grain of salt. Still, there were a hell a lot of bars there.
This summer, however, I was at my 15 year reunion, and heard that Princeton--boring little Princeton--had undergone quite the rennaissance. Wanting to see this for myself, we went there for lunch.
And it was a great lunch. Really. A great lunch. The restaurant is called Mimi's. I had a steak sandwich, with mozarella, roasted red and yellow peppers, with a balsamic reduction, on a french-type roll. The steak--probably flank or skirt--was outstanding: medium rare, pleasantly charred, with flavorful peppers and a creamy mozarella which after offering a sligh resistance to the tooth, melted in the mouth. The seasoned fries were good--not great--but this sandwich was just so damn good, the fries were superflous anyway. It may have been the best sandwich of my life--certainly the best steak sandwich.
My wife had a steak salad--the same perfectly cooked meat, fresh greens--no iceberg or anything of that ilk--and blue cheese with just enough dressing to bring it all together. Just great.
The total bill, including two Heinikens and two glasses of pinot grigio: $35. A great meal, a great deal.
Princeton is quite close to the resort community of Green Lake--a destination popular with many Chicagoans, which has a number of good restaurants. Still, the next time I'm in Green Lake, I'll be eating in Princeton.
The new revived Princeton also features many boutiques and shops selling what I like to refer to as "stuff that women like." Still, although I rapidly tire of trailing behind my wife as she goes through the stores, even I could tell that the merchandise in most of these shops is unique, and of quite high quality. OK, I admit it, I did buy some cool stone coasters with pictures of salmon and trout on them. And I almost bought a stone pig for my backyard. Actually, I kinda like the shops--just don't want my wife to find out.
THere are a few other restaurants in Princeton as well--including a nice looking coffee shop. And, in case you are worried that the upscaling is gone too far, there are still five or six taverns, most of them sporting Hamms signs--interespersed with the boutiques and restaurants along the two block strech of the main street (FYI, the main drag is called Water Street--there is nothing too interesting on Main Street.)