On one of the coldest days in January, I caught up with Rachel Lohman, owner and chief bottle washer of Drink Coffee, located in Sister Bay. This time of year Drink Coffee is closed, but that doesn’t mean Rachel isn’t in the Drink frame of mind. She’s busy reading cookbooks, researching sandwiches and bakery goodies for the 2014 busy season. To welcome her as both a chef and a baker to Door County Chefs ‘Ask a Chef’ features, I wanted to ask her a few questions about Drink Coffee and the Cookie Lady herself…
Where is she from and how did she get here? Rachel Lohman grew up in Iowa, attended UWGB, worked at Drink Coffee, and then in 2006—bought the coffee shop. In 2013 she and her husband bought the building next door and relocated to their current shop. Says Lohman, “We’re not moving again!”
Door County is full of creative types, including chefs and bakers, and of course, all creative people are inspired by something. Lohman is no different.
RL: “Travel is my main inspiration. I eat while I travel and many of my new ideas come from the many places I’ve been—such as China, France and Italy. I make sure to tone down some of the wild dishes I’ve tested for Drink.”
Like most of Door County’s chefs, she has her favorites, but knows her customer’s favorites as well: Number one at Drink are her home-made croissants, especially the Almond Croissants. For breakfast it’s her awesome Paninis, and an Oatmeal with Cherries that must be eaten to believed (balsamic vinegar is involved).
So many people have asked for gluten-free dishes and bakery and Sarah has that covered too. The most popular are her Monster Cookies, made with a peanut butter base, with oatmeal, chocolate chips, and M&Ms.
To satisfy my own sweet-toothed curiosity, I also wanted to know what her favorite desert was. With a delighted laugh, she confessed that it was a flour-less chocolate cake called: The Black Beast. (Don’t worry, we’ll share the recipe too!)
RL: “You can add a sauce like a salted caramel or a fruit sauce. There’s a ganache over it. It’s the only desert I want for my birthday, or any special occasion.”
Door County’s seasons also play a big part of what and when you will find certain foods at Drink Coffee. Spring and summer diners will enjoy the fresh veggies grown in Rachel’s garden at home: think rhubarb in the spring and tomatoes in the height of summer. The fall, of course, embraces the flavors and aromas of cinnamon and pumpkin and apples, and you can find her famous Pumpkin Pie in a Cup during Sister Bay’s Fall Festival each October.
For herself, Lohman tries to eat mostly fresh and homemade at home, and that principal is carried into her work. Fresh is best, it just tastes better. Using fresh cherries and apples from Door County food producers is a given at Drink Coffee.
Door County offers fabulous locations for events, including weddings, and as a baker, Lohman responds to what customers want. Right now, she specializes in Cookie Bouquets and desert tables for small weddings and other, perhaps more informal, special events.
Drink Coffee plans to open for the season on May 1st, 2014, contingent on the road construction being completed in Sister Bay.
~ By Diane McNeil
FIND WHAT YOU’RE HUNGRY FOR!