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Tastemakers: The OTC sandwich at Old Town Coffee & Eatery

Rick Coates - November 16th, 2009
The OTC sandwich at Old Town Coffee & Eatery
Mark Fowler has built a reputation over the past 15 years as being the “Maestro of the Sandwich.” For several years he owned a couple of popular luncheon eateries in Cadillac, most recently The Bistro, where he perfected the art of a tasty sandwich prepared quickly. He has brought his talents to the Old Town Coffee & Eatery (located on Union Street in Traverse City in the “Old Town District”) as general manager, barista and maestro of the sandwich.
Old Town Coffee opened in early summer of 2008 and was the brainchild of professional drummer Sterling Hill, who was looking for a business that would take him off the road and keep him close to his family. Hill knew Fowler from Cadillac and quickly hired him to run the operation and create an appetizing menu to attract a lunch business.
Fowler has succeeded and Old Town Coffee has quickly grown as a favorite lunchtime spot for people who work in the area. Word has spread and they now are the lunch providers at Pathfinder School.
One of their best sellers is the OTC, a nicely balanced blend of smoked turkey, bacon, Swiss cheese, baby spinach, marinated tomatoes, topped with garlic aioli and grilled on sourdough. Of course Fowler seeks out the finest ingredients, using fresh baked breads from Bay Bread Company in Traverse City. Old Town Coffee also uses items from Brownwood Farms, and their coffee is fresh roasted locally by Higher Grounds.
The menu is solid and there is definitely something for everyone, from salads to homemade soups and plenty of vegetarian choices. They open at 7 a.m. and serve breakfast. Try the Grateful Deli breakfast sandwich or the You Make The Call Egg Sammy with all sorts of options and they also offer fresh baked goods daily.
In addition to dining in or take out, Fowler and Old Town Coffee find themselves busy catering parties in homes and offices and they even offer a personal chef service. There are no shortages of great places to eat lunch in Northern Michigan if you have yet to make it to Old Town Coffee you have been shorting yourself. For menu and other info or call 231-933-4200. ---Rick Coates

Georges Duboeuf 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau

Each year the third Thursday of November has become a special day in the French wine world. It is the day that the first release of the 2009 vintage takes place. “Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé! As it has become known is celebrated all over at restaurants, wine tasting bars and even wine shops that are allowed to serve tastes. While far from the best that France has to offer, Beaujolais Nouveau wines are more about the celebration than anything else. Some believe that these wines offer a sneak peak to the vintage in the other regions of France.
Regardless of how you view it or taste it, Beaujolais Nouveau
is about having fun. These wines are meant to be consumed
young (typically within the first few months of their release). It
makes for a great turkey wine and it finds itself on many Thanksgiving tables.
The top producer of Beaujolais Nouveau is Georges Duboeuf. Here is what he has to say about this year’s harvest: “We have had perfect weather with 50,000 grape pickers hard at work across the 3,000 vineyards of Beaujolais since September 4. The grape bunches are small with a fine purplish black color, and are exceptionally rich in sugar. The berries are thick, and the seeds are a gorgeous amber color, a sign of perfect phenolic maturity. Their brightness, intensity, and above all, their perfect health are something to behold. We have not seen anything like this for a long time.”
When I asked him to translate all of that in simple terms for the everyday wine drinker he responded, “It tastes great, buy more than one bottle.” Okay, seek out Georges Duboeuf 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau at local wine retailers this Thursday and be sure to seek out any Nouveau wine dinners in the region.
---Rick Coates
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