A couple of weeks ago we decided that we just needed to get out of town for a few days. Being stuck at home with two kids without being able to go anywhere was starting to take its toll.
We didn’t want to travel far and we didn’t want to be around a lot of other people, for obvious reasons, so we decided to see if we could find any houses for rent within 2 hours of the Chicago area… that had a pool.
That basically proved to be impossible on such short notice.
With our vacation dreams looking less and less likely, we decided to expand our group and see if our good friends, who are among a select few people we’ve been ok seeing during this pandemic, wanted to join us. By adding them we were able to expand our search a little bit because we would be splitting the cost of the house.
We still had no luck finding a place with a full pool, but we did manage to find a rental house up in Lake Geneva, WI that had a “sitting pool”. The sitting pool was basically a concrete backyard pond that was made for you to… sit in.
Without seeing that pool in person it was hard to judge how big it would be, or if the kids would like it, so we also brought a couple inflatable pools just in case.
So now we had the house, and it was time to figure out the food situation.
Vacation Food – Next Door Pub & Pizzeria
We knew we weren’t going to leave the house, except to get groceries on that first day, so we made sure to plan out our meals for the week before we left.
The check-in time for the house was 4pm, so we knew we were just going to do something easy/order food that first night. And based on the recommendations we got from some other friends, and what we read online, Next Door Pub & Pizzeria was the place in Lake Geneva if you were looking for good pizza.
Of course, when you’re with Iman, you know you’re going to end up trying all the good food they have, so I think we ended up with 4 or 5 pizzas and like 8 appetizers. There was so much food for four adults and three kids that I don’t even remember everything we got, but I do remember that the Geneva Meat Monster pizza was absolutely incredible. It came with cheese, sausage, pepperoni, ham and bacon.
Mozzarella sticks wrapped in wantons, bacon mac & cheese bites, and wings are the only appetizers I can remember, but nothing stood out as much as that pizza. If you’re up in Lake Geneva for any reason, we would definitely recommend Next Door Pub & Pizzeria and their Geneva Meat Monster pizza.
For the rest of the week we were eating leftovers from that first night, in addition to all of the food we had gotten at the grocery store that first day, but the real treat was on the last night when the personal chef showed up after the kids went to bed.
Celebration on Wells – Personal Chef
The folks that we rented the house from have a few rental properties in and around Lake Geneva and offer a few different, optional, amenities you can take advantage of. One of those amenities is a personal chef that will come to the house and prepare and serve you a meal.
Unfortunately that personal chef didn’t meet the standards for what some of us were looking for (and I’m not talking about me). Apparently that option was more of a charcuterie board type of chef as opposed to someone that would come in and cook us filet covered in lobster with a tuna tartar appetizer…
And that’s how Celebration on Wells was found.
Celebration on Wells is a local event catering company that focuses a lot on private events, weddings, as well as home personal chefs. Iman spoke with them and determined that they would be a better fit for what we were looking for, and we were not disappointed.
Two of the owners of the company, Kyle and Henry, showed up at the house shortly after the kids went to bed and started setting up. They removed all the excess chairs from the table, set the table for 4, swept the floor and got everything ready for our meal.
They explained everything that came to the table in detail, were great to make small talk with throughout dinner, and were just genuinely nice guys.
Oh, and the food was incredible. Exactly what we were looking for.
I’m obviously the pickiest eater out of the entire group, but I wasn’t about to make anyone limit the menu just because I don’t think I like a lot of foods… that’s my problem, nobody else’s. And it’s part of the reason I started this site, so I could document my attempts to broaden my food horizons. So I did eat everything that was presented to us, with the only exception being that I did not have my lobster on top of my filet, it was on the side, but I still tried it.
And unfortunately I cannot remember everything that went into all of the dishes, but I will try my best to recall what it was.
Appetizer – Tuna Tartar
The first dish that came out was a tuna tartar dish with avocado and maybe a ginger(?) sauce. I’m not a seafood person, so I’ve never had tuna tartar in my life, but as I said before, I was going to try everything.
I was surprised by how much I actually liked this. The tuna was very fresh, didn’t taste super fishy, and had great texture. The avocado and the sauce added a nice little tang to the dish which was great. Overall I was expecting not to like this as much as I did, and I know I might have had quite a few drinks that evening, which could have contributed to it, but I would definitely try this again.
Pork Belly with Kimchi
I don’t like kimchi, I know this. I’ve tried it before on fries, burritos, and on its own… I’m just not a fan. So when the chef mentioned that this pork belly had some sort of kimchi elements in it, I was a little put off.
Until I tasted it.
This was probably my favorite dish of the whole meal. I honestly didn’t taste anything kimchi related and the pork belly was absolutely perfect. From the way it was cooked to the flavor, there was nothing bad about this dish. Definitely a hard one to beat.
Main Course – King Crab Legs, Filet Mignon, Lobster
The goal for this vacation was to do a surf ‘n turf night on one of the nights. We were going to buy some steaks and lobster and grill them up for the adults. But when the idea of a personal chef was brought into the mix, it was decided that we should leave that meal up to the professionals.
While not a traditional surf ‘n turf, we got the steak and lobster everyone wanted, and it was delicious.
The filet was cooked perfectly and seasoned to perfection, which, since I don’t care for seafood, was most important to me. Although I did try the king crab leg and the lobster sauce (that was poured over the filet for everyone else) and they were both pretty good, but not something I would have ordered on my own. I’m pretty sure Iman finished the rest of my lobster sauce, but I finished the king crab leg myself.
Dessert – Chocolate Mousse and Fresh Fruit
For dessert we were served chocolate mousse along with a plate of fresh fruit. Nothing super fancy, but it hit the spot after the delicious meal we had just eaten. If I could complain about anything during the entire meal/experience it would have been the chocolate mousse. I just tend to like my desserts a bit more on the sweet side, and this wasn’t quite as sweet as I was expecting.
But calling that a complaint is a ridiculous stretch since everything was perfect.
Kyle and Henry from Celebration on Wells were absolutely wonderful. The food was delicious, the service was great, the guys were super friendly and informative, great to talk with.
If you’re looking to do something similar for a small, intimate group, or a larger party, we can’t recommend these guys enough.
We certainly were not disappointed with our experience. And as much as we’re sure the personal chef that comes recommended from the owners of the rental house, would have been fine, it just wasn’t what we were looking for this time.