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, September 28, 2009

Tastemakers: National food and drink days

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers
Rick Coates 9/28/09
National Food
and Drink Days

I have always wondered who comes up with all of the days of celebration. for example, Sweetest Day (October 17) is on the horizon. Does some guy who is locked in a greeting card company closet dream up these holidays? Thankfully there are not greeting cards for the hundreds of national food and drink days we throughout the year.
Yes that’s right, everyday, 365 days a year there is some sort of National Eat or Drink. For example, this week on September 28, it is National Drink Beer Day. Seems like the proponents of this day picked the wrong day as October 4 is National Eat Tacos Day and also National Drink Vodka Day. Ever try eating tacos and drinking vodka? they should have switched the vodka with beer.
Okay this week is also National Don’t Eat Salt Week. Now what is the point of this? It is also National Drink Beer Week, salty foods goes best with beer don’t they? Oh yeah, it is also National Eat Chili Week. try making a good chili without some salt. Now next week is National School Lunch Week, isn’t every day the kids are in school a school lunch day?
Monday, September 21, 2009

Tastemakers: Dinner in The Hills/ Oktoberfest

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers
Rick Coates 9/21/09
Dinner in
the Hills

Mt. Holiday Ski & Recreation Area was on its death bed 10 years ago, until a group of families and ski enthusiasts came together and kept the long time ski operation from heading into extinction. Now operated by a non-profit association, Mt. Holiday is a year – round recreation and entertainment facility offering skiing, disc golf, mountain biking, wedding receptions, private parties and banquets. Last year they brought in veteran ski hill operations manager Rick Van Tongeren (Cannonsburg near Grand Rapids) to serve as their new General Manager and a new banquet manager, Michelle Konstanzer. Now Mt. Holiday is enjoying a 12-month operation. Being non-profit they are dependent on fundraising and on Saturday, September 26, they will host their 4th annual dinner.
“We are calling it ’Dinner in the Hills’ as this is the first time the dinner will be here at Mt. Holiday” said Van Tongeren. “We have a lot going on all night including great food, beer, wine, music and silent auction. We expect to draw 160 people.” The evening will feature 10 area chefs preparing a variety of wild game and other speicliaty entrées and appetizers. The gourmet offerings will be paired with wines from seven wineries from the region and four are microbreweries.
Monday, September 21, 2009

The Cook‘s House

Dining Rick Coates Cooking up Something Good

The Cooks’ House finds culinary success in downtown Traverse City

By Rick Coates 9/21/09

When chefs Eric Patterson and Jennifer Blakeslee opened their restaurant The Cooks’ House in downtown Traverse City a year and half ago, they had a vision that they felt would take five years to accomplish, instead they find themselves ahead of schedule and helping to lead a culinary revolution in Northern Michigan.
“We are a lot further along than we expected to be at this point,” said Patterson.
“The area has quickly grasped our mission of using foods from local growers and producers and our vision focusing on the seasonality of what is available to create our menus. We had hoped to release a cookbook after three to five years of being open but have already accomplished that goal as well.”
Monday, September 21, 2009

A taste of Harbor Springs

Dining Kristi Kates A Taste of Harbor Springs
Festival brings out foodies this week

By Kristi Kates 9/21/09

Many people enjoy what’s called a “tasting menu” at fine dining restaurants; a selection of dishes that represent the restaurant’s usual menu, but just in smaller portions so that you can try a little of several different things. Well, foodies, would you like three hours’ worth of tasting menus from some of Harbor Springs’ best restaurants? Then Saturday, September 26 is your lucky day.
Monday, September 21, 2009

Buy local, make a difference

Dining Kristi Kates Buy Local,
Make a Difference
Annual guide helps grow local food movement

By Kristi Kates 9/21/09

The photo on the cover of the 2009 Taste the Local Difference guide says it all.
Shot by photographer Ken Scott, the photo was taken while Scott picked up his “weekly farm share” in Suttons Bay; the photo showcases two varieties of chard, eggs, Tavera green beans, cucumber, Genovese basil, sweet corn, Roma tomatoes, purple scallions, and wild apples.
It reminds us that dining on foods like this is no longer something that should be saved for gourmet dinners, or only enjoyed by the skillful farmers that grow the crops – It can, and should, be a way of life. The aforementioned guide and its wide range of locally grown foods is an example of how the buy-local-foods movement here in Northwest Lower Michigan is making a much-needed impact.
Monday, September 14, 2009

Tastemakers: Community supportd agriculture/ Grand Traverse Distillery Wheat Vodka

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers
Rick Coates 9/14/09
Community Supported Agriculture
During my visits to area farmers markets this summer I have noticed more and more Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms. It seems that CSA are popping up all over, with more than 24 in Northern Michigan and others in the planning stages.
Monday, September 14, 2009

Sammich N‘ Suds

Dining Kristi Kates Sammich N‘ Suds
Offers Stress-Free Dining
By Kristi Kates 9/14/09

Sitting amidst the bright colors of their new restaurant, with its orange and yellow walls, dark cabinetry, and friendly atmosphere, Lora Muethel and Jay Higdon have a mission in mind. “We want to make people forget the stresses of their lives for a moment and enjoy really good food at reasonable prices,” Lora Muethel says. This is the philosophy behind their new Boyne City eclectic sandwich shop, Sammich N’ Sudz.
“Jay and I know that dining out costs a fortune in this economy,” Muethel continues, “and we understand that in a stressful environment like today, people turn to comfort foods. Our ability to understand this has encouraged us to create sandwiches out of the best of those comfort foods.”
Monday, September 7, 2009

Steer a course for Modes

Dining Al Parker Steer a Course for Mode’s
Extended family carries on tradition
at landmark restaurant

By Al Parker 9/7/09

Anita Mode smiles broadly at a customer’s joke, runs a cloth across the already gleaming wooden bar, then greets another visitor to the family’s venerable restaurant, Mode’s Bum Steer located in Traverse City.
“We’ve been here for 34 years now,” she says with pride. “It’s been very good to us.”
Mode’s is very much a comfortable family-run operation. For most of those 34 years Anita ran the front of the house, while husband Bob was a fun-loving fixture in the kitchen. When Bob died two years ago, their daughter Skylar became manager and shares responsibilities with her mother. Son Chris helps out as a bartender.
Monday, September 7, 2009

Tastemakers: Two weekends, two great feastivals

Dining Rick Coates Tastemakers
Rick Coates 9/7/09
Two Weekends
Two Great Festivals
There were skeptics that back-to-back weekends featuring a major wine festival and a beer festival with music and food both weekends would not work in Northern Michigan. After all, these weekends have always been a challenge in the tourism industry as college students are gone, families are preparing for the start of school, and several fall school sports and activities are well underway. Throw in a lagging economy and these events surely were doomed. But organizers of the Traverse City Wine and Art Festival and the Traverse City Microbrew and Music Festival proved all doubters wrong. Both weekends were “home runs” as thousands came out for both festivals.
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.