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.

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Tastemakers: Croft Chestnuts/Northern Michigan Red Wine

Rick Coates - October 19th, 2009
Tastemakers: Croft Chestnuts/Northern Michigan Red Wine
Rick Coates 10/19/09

Croft Chestnuts
In 1904, diseased Asian chestnut trees were planted in New York City, resulting in the destruction of the American chestnut industry. Only a few groves of trees out west survived. For the past 100 years most of the chestnuts sold in America have been imported.
But now American farmers are trying to revitalize the chestnut industry including Croft Orchards of the Old Mission Peninsula. According to Ella Cooper-Froehlich, project manager the orchards at Croft LLC, “We are seeing a resurgence in this industry and we have 1,600 trees collectively at three locations in the area. We started harvesting this past weekend and we have orders to fill all over the country.”
According to Froehlich: “Chestnuts are a delicious health food rich in nutrition. Just a handful of other foods can match the nutritional value of a chestnut. As opposed to most other nuts, chestnuts have a high water content and very little oil, thus making them virtually fat free. They are high in complex carbohydrates, contain high quality protein comparable to eggs, but are gluten free, cholesterol free, and are very low in fat (1-2 percent while other nuts can be over 50 percent fat).”
In many countries chestnuts are used as a potato substitute, and while they are tasty just roasted and served as is, they are also wonderful ingredients in several recipes. Here are a few tasty ones (just google for a recipe): Chestnut Squash Soup, Chestnut Stuffing, and for dessert, Chocolate Chestnut Bourbon Torte.
To learn more about Croft Chestnuts go to croftchestnuts.com or call them at 231-633-1277 to purchase. --Rick Coates

Northern Michigan Red Wine
One of my favorite hobbies is opening a bottle of red wine from Northern Michigan and sharing it with friends that are self-proclaimed “wine snobs.” Recently, I was at a dinner and opened a bottle of 1999 Tempesta from the Bel Lago on the Leelanau Peninsula. Wow, my friends were convinced they were drinking something from France and one guessed that, “this must be a $75 bottle from California, definitely a Bordeaux blend.”
They were shocked when I pulled the bottle from the bag to see that they were drinking a Northern Michigan red.
I have been touting the virtues of Northern Michigan wines for years in this column and have received some critical letters whenever I start suggesting Michigan has the ability to make great reds. Just two weeks ago on ABC World News with Charlie Gibson a three-minute segment on winemaking in Northern Michigan aired. Chicago Tribune food and wine critic Bill Daley was interviewed, touting the greatness of wines from Northern Michigan. While sipping on a red from Two Lads winery on the Old Mission Peninsula he said: “This is good -- I poured it at a dinner party and everyone thought it was French. They (Michigan winemakers) see their wines’ being someday as good as the wines from all the great regions and they are going to do it.”
Bill Daley reviews wines from all over the world; his work as a wine and restaurant critic is respected throughout the country. So if someone with his palate tastes the greatness of these wines, maybe it is time for those of us who live right here to do the same. The secret is to taste potential of these youthful reds and cellar them.
I recently hosted an event of 300 wine drinkers and pulled out four cases of Northern Michigan reds from my cellar. All of these wines were from 2001 or earlier vintages, and boy was I rewarded for my patience. In particular the reds from 1998 were spectacular.
Even restaurants such as Stella in Traverse City are touting reds from the region. My server during a recent visit suggested that I try the 2006 Villa Mari Vineyards (Old Mission) red wine. It was exceptional and among the best youthful reds from the region I have tasted. She was quick to point out they were eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Gill’s Pier Cabernet Franc. When servers at fine restaurants are recommending Northern Michigan red wines with confidence, then take their word for it not mine -- after all, they are banking their tip on it. Go to abcnews.go.com and type in Michigan wine to view the segement. --Rick Coates

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