Happy Hour

A weekly snapshot of Happy Hours around the region…

Everyday, open-7 p.m., $1.75 highballs, $2.50 house chardonnay, $2.00 drafts, $1.00 off everything else.
310 Cass St., Traverse City

Sunday-Thursday, 3-6 p.m., $1 off all drinks.
422 North 5th St., Roscommon

Lulu's Bistro
Thursdays, 5-9 p.m., $3 wells, $2 off drafts, select $5 wines.
213 N. Bridge St., Bellaire

Boyne River Inn
Everyday, 3-6 p.m., 1/4 off drinks.
229 Water St., Boyne City
Rendezvous Lounge, Odawa Casino
Thursday & Friday, $2.25 domestic drafts, $3.25 well drinks, $3.25 house wine.
1760 Lears Rd., Petoskey

Choice Bits!

Round-the-region snapshots of the dining scene. 

RUTHIE'S CHICKEN & DAIRY TWIST: Roasted chicken and ice cream, malts and shakes.
201 N. Bridge Ln., Bellaire. 213­-533­-8538.

Practically an Up North institution, the place to find out the latest fishing or snowmobile news from the locals and visitors who gather for their hearty breakfasts, steaks, burgers, soup & salad bar, & homemade desserts.
10921 Main St., Honor. 231­ 352­6585.

When you've worked up an appetite from all the bowling and karaoke that Boyne City Lanes has to offer, you'll find a selection of hearty fare to choose from, including homemade soups & desserts. Cocktails are served at the Lanes,with live entertainment and glow ­bowling nights.
1199 West Boyne Road, 231-­582­-6353.

Open 7 days a week for lunch & dinner. Full Chinese menu, as well as Hunan & Szechuan entrees.  Daily specials, special combination plates,  a lunch & dinner All You Can Eat Buffet. 
616 S. Mitchell St., Cadillac, 231­-876­-8888.

Take a trip back to the '50s where chili dogs & frosted mugs of root beer are still served up by carhops at this All ­American institution. Elvis has been known to make an appearance during their annual summer “A&W Cruise Night” in August, as do cars from the 50’s and 60’s that we remember well.
At the bottom of the hill, 21 Lake St., Frankfort,  231-­352-­9021.

From Antler Ale to Wolverine Wheat, Big Buck specializes in microbrewed beers. Offering the usual beef and buffalo burgers, steaks, and ribs, plus more unusual fare, like their portabella sandwich with red onion marmalade and provolone cheese.
550 S. Wisconsin Avenue, Gaylord, 989­-732-­5781.

A refined atmosphere, subdued lighting, and an appetizing selection of epicurean treats awaits the diner at this Harbor Springs corner landmark. Menu selections range from their smoked whitefish ravioli appetizer to their Atlantic salmon, baked polenta and eggplant, tomato basil fettuccine, or filet mignon ­ and their brunches include one of the best versions of Eggs Benedict around.
101 State Street, downtown across from Bar Harbor, 231­-526-­1904.

Pool tables, a full bar, friendly service and a varied menu make the Village Inn popular with families and locals.  Dinners include Lamb Skewers, Blue Corn Enchiladas, Charbroiled Whitefish, Lasagna and Ribeye.  Also burgers, sandwiches, salads, appetizers and pizza.  Lunch and Dinner.
Just north of the blinking light 116601 Lacorre Ave. on M­22,  Empire. 231-326­-5101.

One of Petoskey's first restaurants, Jesperson's is famous for homemade pies and fresh turkey. Breakfast and lunch.
312 Howard, Petoskey, 231­-347­-3601.
Located in Building 50, grilled panini's, soups, wraps, baked goods, specialty coffees and teas.
1200 W. 11th St., Traverse City, 231-­947­-7740.

Home · Articles · News · Dining · To wine or not to wine
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To wine or not to wine

Kristi Kates - May 25th, 2009
To Wine or not to Wine

By Kristi Kates 5/25/09

“Wine makes a man more pleased with himself; I do not say it makes him more pleasing to others.” - Samuel Johnson

It might seem quite romantic and summer-like to take a bottle of something luxurious - and usually alcoholic - with you on your picnic, lawn-concert evening, or other Northern Michigan outdoor jaunt. But what if you can’t drink alcohol for health reasons, you’re fighting the good fight against alcoholism, or you simply aren’t interested in drinking alcohol? That doesn’t mean you have to be deprived of the flavor, the ritual, the refreshment, or the sparkle of grape in your glass - you’ve simply got to do a little legwork.

The trick in Northern Michigan, at least, might be in the search itself. In our ongoing interest in keeping things local, we placed calls to half a dozen popular local wineries - Left Foot Charley, Peninsula Cellars, Chateau Grand Traverse Winery, Bowers Harbor Vineyards, Mission Orchards and Vineyards, and Chateau Chantal. Of those, Chateau Chantal was the only one that even offered any sort of a non-alcoholic wine alternative, which is their three varieties of sparkling grape juices.
“We offer white grape, raspberry-grape, and cherry-grape, with no sugar added,” explains Bill Autenreith, Chateau Chantal’s tasting room manager.
Part of the problem in locating high-quality wine alternatives lies -- for starters -- in the stereotype. Perpetuated in large part by popular culture in the movies and on TV, romance, glamour, and good times in general are supposedly far more often accompanied by a bottle of Pinot Noir than a bottle of Welch’s Concord Grape.
The other part of the problem is that many wineries don’t want to put effort into products that aren’t alcoholic (and thereby sellable with more cachet at a loftier price). Some scoff at the notion of non-alcoholic wine, thinking of it as “Kool-Aid,” as opposed to a viable, delicious beverage that can stand on its own.

Making a dealcoholized wine isn’t that difficult, although perfecting the flavor, body, and richness of it may be a bit more of a challenge.
Generally, non-alcoholic wine is made by extracting the alcohol through a filtering process that leaves the other components of the wine intact. This is usually done by either vacuum distillation, which utilizes a vacuum-focused atmospheric pressure change to boil the liquids at a lower temperature and distill off the alcohol; or reverse osmosis, which is the same method often used to purify drinking water.
As far as removing the alcohol itself, it’s true that non-alcoholic wines still contain some alcohol - beverages termed “non-alcoholic” can contain up to half a percent of alcohol by volume, according to federal law - but keep in mind that less than half a percent of alcohol is actually about the same as what you’ll get in... a glass of orange juice. So it’s something of a non-entity.
In order to match the body of alcoholic wine, non-alcoholic wines are also often allowed a residual two percent or so sugar content to give that slightly weighty, heavier element to the wine. Most of the best non-alcoholic wines are aged in small oak barrels and filtered according to the same traditional methods used for alcoholic wine, simply adding the distillation or osmosis step.

But what about the flavor? Well, keep in mind that non-alcoholic wine isn’t just grape juice in a pretty bottle. It’s real wine that’s been fermented per usual - then had its alcohol removed. So the general consensus is that the taste of well-crafted non-alcoholic wine can be pretty much the same as other wines - but without the alcohol aftertaste, or, obviously, the alcohol side effects.
Most of the flavor of alcoholic wine - and beer, for that matter - is from the grapes or the grain and the yeast, plus other flavors that arrive courtesy of the fermentation and aging process. The three things that most affect the flavor of wine are the winemaking process, the climate where the grapes are grown, and the grapes themselves.
One company revered for its non-alcoholic wines is Ariel, which utilizes the same premium grapes as those used in “regular” wine - cabernet grapes from the Napa Valley as well as other grape varietals from Monterey and Sonoma - and they make their sparkling non-alcoholic wines from the same grapes used for alcoholic champagnes, chardonnay and pinot blanc grapes. Ariel also carries the distinction of having produced the only dealcoholized wine to win a gold medal at a formal competition against regular wines.
Non-alcoholic wines, with their fruitiness, are even said to often replicate the ideal taste of white Zinfandels and sparkling wines better than their alcoholic counterparts. And many popular wine-based cocktails can be made just as well with non-alcoholic wines - for instance, champagne cocktails, mimosas, wine spritzers, kir royales, and even picnic-perfect punch bowls of sangria.
Non-alcoholic wines can be paired with foods just as well as alcoholic wines, too.
And there’s yet another bonus to choosing non-alcoholic wines over their pricey cousins; you can expect to pay around $6-15 per bottle for non-alcoholic wines, as opposed to a much higher price range for the traditional alcoholic versions.

Alcohol-free wine also has other advantages over its alcohol-laden counterparts. While it’s been proven that there are health benefits from moderate wine consumption, the same antioxidants found in regular wine also exist in alcohol-free wine, provided the same quality of grapes were used; and alcohol-free wine carries about 15-25 calories for a four-oz. glass, compared to around 90-100 calories for the alcoholic version. Removing the alcohol component is also said to actually be a plus, as the alcohol itself not only increases your calorie intake, but also raises your blood pressure and possibly your risk for cancer.
So if all of this sounds like a good idea to you, and you’d like to find some non-alcoholic wine choices of your own, you’ll have to - at least for the time being - shop online.
One good online place to start is the aforementioned Ariel Vineyards (www.arielvineyards.com), which produces a dozen different non-alcoholic wines, including a Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles and a Chardonnay from Monterey.
Another is Draper Valley Vineyard (www.drapervalleyvineyard.com), a vineyard that is “dedicated to the production” of non-alcoholic wines, which are listed as “made from the finest wine varietal grapes, selected and picked at the precise peak of their flavor.”
And the largest American brand of non-alcoholic wine is Fré, from Trinchero Valley Estates (www.frewines.com). Crafted in their million-dollar “spinning cone” low-temperature still, the Fré line of wines includes a white Zinfandel, red and white table wines, a Merlot, a Chardonnay, and both Brut and Spumante sparkling wines.
Or - perhaps even better - you could politely encourage your favorite local Northern Michigan vineyard to add a few non-alcoholic varieties to their list of wine selections.

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