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 · Michelle Bommarito takes the...
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Michelle Bommarito takes the cake

Rick Coates - April 20th, 2009
Michelle Bommarito Takes the Cake

By Rick Coates

Food Network celebrity chef and world-renowned wedding cake designer and pastry chef Michelle Bommarito is a ball of energy. Her friends, family and colleagues find it hard to keep up with her. So what is Bommarito’s secret to what seems to be endless amounts of energy?
“I consume ‘super power foods,’ and I eat five to six small meals a day,” said Bommarito. “I also learned some life lessons along the way that the secret to healthy living is moderation in all things, including work.”
Bommarito will be making several appearances this weekend at the Chef’s Challenge at Shanty Creek Resort. On Friday, April, 24 she will be giving a free seminar, “Eat Well, Move Your Body & Watch What Happens.” Bommarito also expects have several impromptu discussions throughout the weekend on wellness and eating healthy.
While Bommarito is most known for celebrity chef appearances on the Food Network by winning the first wedding cake challenge and finishing second twice, and most recently appearing on a new show, Last Cake Standing, she is now focusing her talents and energy on helping people learn to live and eat right by offering seminars all over the country.
“I am still making wedding cakes and other pastries but I’m being more selective on what a take on. The wedding cakes I make require me to be on location for three days as I have to put the cake together,” said Bommarito. “I have always had a passion for eating right, but at first I didn’t understand the moderation aspect of it all. I took things to the extreme.”

She chuckles as she recalls why she went off to culinary school in the first place after receiving a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Michigan.
“I thought if I went to culinary school it would make me a better wife and mother someday,” said Bommarito. “But what I found was a career and a passion for food.”
On the surface, being a pastry chef does not seem to be the perfect segue into a career as chef who promotes the virtues of healthy eating.
“I went to culinary arts school and am a fully-trained chef in several disciplines. After graduating, I landed a job in the kitchen at the famed Waldorf Astoria. Well the chef had me make some desserts and I seemed to be good at it and before I knew it I became the pastry chef,” said Bommarito. “Before I knew it I was making wedding cakes, and I returned home to Detroit and opened my business.”
Bommarito’s flair for creative cakes quickly caught the attention of Martha Stewart, who hired her to be a freelance design artist for her company. Stewart had Bommarito join her on TV as well to make cakes. When Michael Jordan came to Detroit for a week to watch the Ryder Cup he hired Bommarito to be his personal chef.
“It is among my most cherished memories in my culinary career,” said Bommarito. “He was great; it ranks right up there with being on the Food Network.”

She has become the “darling” of the Food Network winning the Wedding Cake Challenge and Holiday Bake Off, though her most recent outing, “The Last Cake Standing,” did not have the same results.
“The concept seemed to be really cool, sort of an American Culinary Idol with five pastry chefs competing for $50,000. Well I felt pretty good that I would not be voted off in the first round by the judges,” said Bommarito. “But at the end of the show they threw all of us a curveball and told us that we (the chefs) were going to vote the person who would go off the show. It was very emotional because the competition had been friendly till this moment and now the show had become like ‘Survivor.’ Well I was the one voted off.”
Critics of the show have pointed out that Bommarito was selected by the others because she was considered the front runner to win and was the biggest threat.
“For the most part I have received a lot of support and encouragement from people and have received positive e-mails from all over telling me to keep at it,” said Bommarito. “Though one woman wrote a real nasty e-mail wondering when I was going to quit entering these cooking competitions since I always lose (she has a few wins and a couple seconds).” At first it bothered me, but I have taken a different direction in my life and I stay focused on the positive.”
She is currently being considered for a major food show on another network but details have not been released as of yet. Bommarito is also happy with the place she is in life right now and is happy to share her experiences and knowledge with others.

“I took everything to the extreme starting back in high school when I was borderline anorexic. Then I went off to college and put on the ‘freshman 15’ -- those 15 pounds girls seem to gain in college. Well, I am short, and putting on that kind of weight really showed,” said Bommarito. “So I started teaching aerobics to lose weight and I became so addicted I was teaching several classes a day.”
Bommarito kept up her “extreme” pace after school into her work life until the day she just shut down.
“I was diagnosed with Yuppie Syndrome. My body just shut down from exhaustion -- I basically slept for weeks,” said Bommarito. “What I learned was your body gives you signals. It tells you what you need to do. I have learned to read my body and that is part of the approach I take with those I work with. I help to teach them to read their bodies.”
She finds it very rewarding working with those who want to change their lifestyles.
“What I do is actually take people to the store and show them what to buy and then go to their homes and show them how to prepare meals,” said Bommarito. “It is fun to watch people transform in just a matter of days. Eating right has immediate benefits, especially with energy. People think I am wired on caffeine. But I only drink one good strong cup a day. My secret is that I sit down and savor that cup for 15 minutes versus drinking coffee on the run. I encourage people who like coffee to take that approach. It all gets back to everything in moderation. I attribute my energy level to eating right, sleeping right and exercising right.”

Bommarito chuckles over all the diet fads that never work.
“What I do in my seminars is not a diet, it is a lifestyle,” said Bommarito. “It is about making right choices and once you start eating healthy your body enjoys it. You find that you are not missing out when it comes to all those pre-packaged items and the junk food.”
So what attracted Bommarito, who is waving her personal appearance fees, to the Chef’s Challenge this weekend?
“It is a great concept and it is going to keep getting bigger and I like the focus on Michigan products and Michigan chefs from all over the state competing,” said Bommarito. “But the final factor for me to do this, because I have such a busy schedule, was Challenge Mountain of Walloon Lake. This is a fundraiser for them. I had never heard of them before and the work that they do to provide recreational opportunities for those with disabilities is outstanding. I came last summer and did some cooking classes with them. It was a wonderful experience. I am so excited to be back this year and last year’s event was so much fun.”

Celebrity Chef Michelle Bommarito will appear this weekend at the Chef’s Challenge event at Shanty Creek. On Friday she will teach a class on healthy eating and the super power foods. On Saturday she will judge the afternoon cook off and tasting as 14 chefs from around Michigan prepare a dish with ingredients from Michigan and compete to participate in the evening Iron Chef Challenge. The afternoon tasting will include a sampling of Michigan wines, beers and spirits. The weekend will also include a high school BBQ competition and several classes on wine and food pairings, morels and more at no charge. For reception and Iron Chef tickets visit chefs-challenge.com or call 231-535-2227.

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