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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Monday, August 31, 2009

Taco House

Dining Al Parker Staying Power
The Taco House has popularity that’s built to last
By Al Parker 8/31/09

Restaurants open and restaurants close, but veteran restaurateur John Coscarelli knows exactly what’s made his Taco House prosper for some 28 years.
“The reason we’re successful, and continue to have success, is the people I’m working with,” explains Coscarelli, the soft-spoken hands-on owner of the popular Mexican fast food eatery in Traverse City.
“We have good chemistry working together. My head manager has been with us 28 years, two others over 20 years, five or six people between 15 and 20 years. People come here and they see familiar faces. That’s a big part of our success – that and the quality and consistency of our food.”
Located on Garfield Road just north of bustling South Airport Road, the area was much less congested when Coscarelli opened Taco House in 1981. “Bill Marsh was just starting his auto dealerships and the Cherryland Mall was there, but the rest of the area just built up around us,” he recalls.
Coscarelli took an empty building that once housed another Mexican restaurant and converted it into a comfortable dining atmosphere. The red-tiled floor and gray-and-white walled interior are clean and inviting.
Monday, August 31, 2009

Tastemakers: Michigan potatoes/ New Holland Artisan Spirits Knickerbocker Gin

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers
Rick Coates 8/31/09
Michigan Potatoes
In part due to several diet fades in recent years, the potato has received a bad rap. But that has not kept the Michigan potato industry from thriving. In fact, in volume and sales dollars potatoes are Michigan’s leading produce commodity. Michigan leads the nation in potatoes raised for potato chip production.
Despite the negative publicity, potatoes remain popular and are a staple item at all three meals a day. The Michigan Department of Agriculture reports that potatoes are a great source of nutrition too. A medium potato, weighing between 5 and 10 ounces, has 76 calories—no more than an apple. Potatoes are fat-free, rich in potassium and an excellent source of fiber. A potato contains one-half the daily requirement of vitamin C, 15 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B6, and 10 percent of the niacin requirements.
Worldwide, potatoes are the fourth most important agricultural crop and are grown in 130 countries. The average American eats about 124 pounds of potatoes per year while Germans eat about twice as much. Thomas Jefferson gets the credit for introducing “french fries” to America when he served them at a White House dinner. Mr. Potato Head was the first toy to be advertised on American television and is now 60 years old, (he made a cameo in the Toy Story movies).
Monday, August 31, 2009

At Stafford‘s Pier

Dining Kristi Kates At Stafford’s Pier:
The Pointer Boat Offers a Taste of Harbor Springs History

By Kristi Kates 8/31/09

The image of the Pointer Boat is one that is iconic to Harbor Springs residents and visitors alike. Most often seen either docked next to Stafford’s Pier restaurant on Little Traverse Bay, or puttering around in the town’s natural harbor, the Pointer Boat is both a little piece of town history... and also the subject of plenty of misconceptions.
“People have a hard time understanding that the boat is not for rent or does not charge,” Stafford’s Dudley Marvin says, “I tell many folks that we operate much like a hotel shuttle that might take folks to area attractions, area transportation hubs or do a complimentary city tour.”
Monday, August 24, 2009

Tastemakers: You don‘t have to be a diabetic to love this cookbook/Wild Pony Saloon Battle of the Bartenders

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers
Rick Coates 8/24/09
You Don’t Have to
Be Diabetic to Love This Cookbook

Chef and New York restaurateur Tom Valenti will be in Northern Michigan this week at several locations signing copies of his new book “You Don’t Have to Be Diabetic to Love This Cookbook.” Valenti was diagnosed with diabetes over 15 years ago and started creating diabetic cuisine that doesn’t skimp on flavor and he has been showcasing those recipes at his acclaimed restaurant, Ouest, and the recently opened West Branch both, in New York City. His new book features 250 of his favorite recipes and as the title suggests you don’t have to be diabetic to appreciate this cookbook.
“People with diabetes and anyone looking for a healthy lifestyle will rejoice in Valenti’s signature cuisine,” said Mario Batali. “This book he has written and the recipes have made me one of his biggest fans.”
While this cookbook is a blessing for the more than 23 million Americans with diabetes, Valenti also intended it for everyone. “You know that a simple lifestyle intervention can reduce the development of diabetes in high-risk cases 58 percent of the time,” said Valenti. “When I was first diagnosed I thought my good-eating days were over, what I found out was they were just beginning.”
Monday, August 24, 2009

Mead: Tha ale of wine

Dining Danielle Horvath Mead: The “Ale of Wine”
combines honey & cherries

By Danielle Horvath 8/24/09

Mead -- made from local honey and cherries and formulated with green tea, hops and spices -- is making its debut at several area establishments. Hand-crafted in Lake Ann, it is like a wine cooler, but not as sweet or artificial tasting, and packs more punch.
Bruce Grossman, Acoustic Brewing Company owner, musician and zymurgist (one who takes care of fermentation), landed on the product after years of brewing beer and decided to experiment with mead, or honey-wine. Grossman began with small batches over the past several years. He has a small circle of friends and family that tried it and understood what he was going for.
The end result is Acoustic Cherry Draft Mead, a honey-cherry wine that is fermented and flavored with natural fruit and spices, carbonated and served chilled. “I wanted something quaffable like a beer but made out of wine. It’s the closest I could come to making beer under a wine license. I call it ‘the ale of wine.’”
Grossman originally was going to pursue opening a small microbrewery but along the way saw the advantage of a wine maker’s license as opposed to a brewery. He purchased brewing equipment a few years ago and went about converting his garage into a home-based business.
Monday, August 17, 2009

Raise a glass to TC‘s new Art & Wine Fair

Dining Rick Coates Raise a Glass
to TC’s New Art & Wine Festival

By Rick Coates 8/17/09

After a five-year stint in Traverse City, the popular Epicurean Classic has moved to St. Joseph, Michigan (90 miles east of Chicago) along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Festival organizers were wooed by sponsors who wanted the event closer to a major metropolitan area. The departure of the Epicurean Classic has opened the door for others to try and fill the void.
The first “replacement” event will take place this Saturday in the form of the Traverse City Wine & Art Festival. It will take place on the spacious grounds of the Grand Traverse Commons in front of Building 50 under a large tent from 5 to 10 p.m.
Monday, August 17, 2009

Tastemakers: Trattoria Stella/ Right Brain Brewery: Tall Ship Manitou Cruise

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers
Rick Coates 8/17/09
Trattoria Stella
Trattoria Stella opened their doors five years ago in the lower level of Building 50 at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. They have built their success and reputation on using local products, keeping their menu fresh and putting an emphasis on service. Founded by Paul and Amanda Danielson, the couple entrusted their future on Chef Myles Anton and he has not let them down. Anton remains at the helm of the culinary team that continues to knock out amazing wine and beer dinners as well as a top notch menu of Italian inspired entrees and appetizers.
Despite tough economic times, the Danielsons are reporting their best year yet. They attribute their success to not only fresh and local products but, “seeking out like-minded, dedicated passionate people” to work with them.
Monday, August 17, 2009


Dining Kristi Kates Two Cornichons in One: European Dining in Harbor Springs
By Kristi Kates 8/17/09

Diana and Ed Throckmorton had already conquered the antiques market in Harbor Springs with their L’Esprit Antiques, for which they’d spend many purchasing trips abroad. But whenever they returned to Northern Michigan, they found themselves missing the food experiences that they’d had in France - in their own words, “the perfect baguette, great patè, artisan cheese and such.”
The solution? Open their own European market and cafe, of course. It didn’t matter that the Throckmortons, in their own words, are more “lookers” than chefs - their antiquing experience combined with their willingness to try new things served them perfectly when putting together their new venture.
Monday, August 10, 2009

Slabtown Burgers

Dining Al Parker Bag It!
Burger in a bag recipe is a hit for Slabtown Burgers

By Al Parker 8/10/09

So what does a property owner do when his tenant, a restaurant, falls victim to hard times and has to close its doors?
For longtime Traverse City realtor Jeff Pownall the answer was to roll up his sleeves, remodel the building and open yet another restaurant, Slabtown Burgers.
“I’ve been in the real estate business for years, but I’ve never run a restaurant,” says Pownall. “I was real nervous.”
That nervousness subsided when Slabtown Burgers drew an out-the-door line of customers at its April opening.
“We went through 700 pounds of beef and 1,000 pounds of potatoes in six days,” recalls the affable Pownall, who once tended bar at Dill’s Olde Town Saloon, a Traverse City landmark.
Known at various times as Baghdad, Little Bohemia or Slabtown, during Traverse City’s formative years, the west side was home to hard-working mill workers and skilled woodcarvers who built tidy cottages for themselves out of scraps or “slabs” from the sawmills.
Monday, August 10, 2009

Tastemakers: Grilled Michigan sweet corn/ Michigan Wine Competion

Dining Rick Coates Grilled Michigan Sweet Corn
After getting off to a slow start, Michigan sweet corn is now starting to be harvested. The first roadside stands in North Central Michigan are starting to pop up and fresh sweet corn is now making its way to area farmers’ markets. No summer is complete without enjoying several ears of fresh Michigan sweet corn. While there are several ways to prepare corn on the cob, grilled is the best.
There is essentially three ways to grill corn on the cob: in their husks, just a layer of the inner silk, or fully husked. There are several schools of thought on whether to soak corn before grilling; I find that a 30-minute soak works best. As for husk or no husk, it depends on how much else you have going on. Fully husked corn requires less attention while on the grill. My preference is to remove the husks to the final layer and grill that way.
It takes about 15 minutes. turn a few times until tender and simply lightly butter, add fresh ground salt and pepper and it is hard to find a better side dish this time of the year. Of course that depends on who you are as I like to have three ears of grilled corn as my main dish and four ounces of grilled salmon with a cherry BBQ glaze for my side dish.
As for pairing wine with grilled corn, try the Chardonnay from Chateau Fontaine or the 2008 Best of Show Pinot Blanc from Left Foot Charley. As for beer, pick up a growler from your favorite microbrewer; try a pale ale. --Rick Coates

Monday, August 3, 2009

Tastemakers: Wellington Street Market - Kurry Guru/ Traverse City Wine & Art Festival

Dining Rick Coates Wellington Street Market
Kurry Guru
Rick Coates 8/3/09

Eric Patterson and Jennifer Blakeslee opened The Cooks House in Traverse
City 15 months ago and through hard work and word of mouth they have
created quite the buzz among foodies in the region. So last fall as the
economy was crumbling, they launched a second venture, the Wellington
Street Market (the former House of Doggs location next to Jack’s) right
around the corner from their Front Street location.
Monday, August 3, 2009

A pancake bonanza in Bay Harbor

Dining Kristi Kates A Pancake Bonanza
in Bay Harbor

By Kristi Kates 8/3/09

Detroiters are well familiar with The Original Pancake House. Founded in Portland, Oregon way back in 1953 by Les Highet and Erma Hueneke, The Original Pancake House’s Detroit locales are legendary, and are regularly voted “Best Breakfast” in newspaper, magazine, and web polls.
With so many Detroiters frequenting the Northern Michigan area, it was only a matter of time before The Original Pancake House found its way Up North; and it’s now one of the most popular spots in Bay Harbor, where it resides on the far end of Main Street.
Monday, July 27, 2009

The Cabbage Shed

Dining Danielle Horvath The Cabbage Shed
New concert series & menu upgrade an Elberta tradition

By Danielle Horvath 7/27/09

A summer tradition for visitors and affectionately known as “the Shed” by
the locals, the Cabbage Shed in Elberta has hosted some of the best in
Northern Michigan entertainment during its 26-year history. Over the
years, owner Jim Clapp has offered just about every kind of live music,
from rock & roll to blues and country to swing and Cajun.
Monday, July 27, 2009

Flavorful Fustini‘s

Dining Nancy Krcek Allen Flavorful Fustinis
Oil & vinegar specialists tempt TC & Petoskey

By Nancy Krcek Allen 7/27/09

Lane and Jim Milligan want you to come and have fun with them in their new venture, Fustini’s. If you dream about a certain Iron Chef, read cookbooks instead of novels, talk about dinner before you’ve finished lunch or just like to eat, drop by their downtown Traverse City or Petoskey Gaslight District stores. You’re guaranteed a good time.
The Milligans sell oils and vinegars housed in stainless steel containers from Italy called fustini (or the singular fustino).
Monday, July 27, 2009

Tastesmakers: National Mustard Day/ Short‘s in a bottle

Dining Rick Coates Tastesmakers: National Mustard Day/ Short‘s in a bottle
Rick Coates 7/27/09
Often referred to as the “king of condiments,” mustard now has its own day. Yes, the first Saturday in August is known as National Mustard Day. It was created in 1991 by the National Mustard Museum in Mount Horeb, WI, and yes, they have a big festival with a parade honoring this sandwich and sausage staple.