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Tastemakers: Homemade food on the fly/Dutchess Vodka

Rick Coates - January 18th, 2010
Homemade Food on the Fly
The Flying Bowl is located at the entrance of Centre Ice just off of Hammond Road. It is a tough location because of traffic, so getting in an’ out is somewhat of a challenge (I know, I have been doing it for years taking my son to hockey) as Hammond seems to be the Autobahn bypass for Traverse City. But battling traffic is well worth the trip to The Flying Bowl even if it is just for a bowl of their Sirloin Chili. I do not know if this chili has ever been entered in any local chili competitions but I see it challenging the best chili around.
We all have our favorite dish and mine is pot roast with mash potatoes and gravy. I learned the art of this meal from my grandmothers so when I had it for the first time at The Flying Bowl I was wondering if they too had spent time with my grandmothers in their kitchens.
I did a little research and found out that The Flying Bowl is the brainchild of Keith and Susan Bonner. After retiring from their first careers they decided to start a second one and got into the restaurant business. In this economy and with no restaurant experience (I do not consider dining out restaurant experience) any financial advisor would have advised them not to make this investment. But the Bonner’s had something experience doesn’t give you. Passion, they truly care about the food they make. They have taken their passion as “home chefs” and made it into a successful business and any restaurant that makes it past their first year is successful as more than half do not.
Check out The Flying Bowl, try their nightly homemade comfort dinners, dine in or take out. They also cater. Monday through Friday they offer breakfast and their lunch menu is diverse (be sure to try that sirloin chili) and includes soups, salads and sandwiches. For their menu and additional details: --Rick Coates

Dutchess Vodka
Michigan’s economy may literally be in the “bottom of the barrel.” While the automobile and manufacturing industries are re-tooling, the handcrafted-artisan wine, spirits and microbrew industries are literally brewing, fermenting and distilling the state out of its current economic recession.
One of those successful operations is New Holland Brewery and Distilled Spirits located in Holland, Michigan. This Saturday they come to Northern Michigan to the Loading Dock (see Spirited Life article) for the official release of their new Dutchess Vodka, an artisan micro-distilled vodka made with organic Michigan wheat.
New Holland has been a part of the second wave of craft brewers in the state and their popular brews are found on tap handles and in beer coolers across Michigan. In December of 2008 they launched their spirits line led by their Knickerbocker Gin. This very aromatic style gin became a favorite in several restaurants and bars and helped to launch the rebirth of the classic gin cocktails in Michigan.
Last month they released Dutchess Vodka, which is very neutral in its flavor profile but the organic wheat gives it a hint of sweetness. This vodka is perfect for making a classic martini, (shaken, not stirred) of course and served neat in a well chilled martini glass. Do not taint this vodka with dry vermouth, instead add your favorite olives for some flavor.
The packaging is equally impressive and this is an all around great vodka that will easily impress the Kettel One or Grey Goose drinker. Look for it at retailers who specialize in high-end spirits and expect to see it at bars and restaurants in the region soon. For an opportunity to taste it before you buy check out the Speakeasy Night at the Loading Dock in Traverse City this Saturday as it is the official release party for Dutchess Vodka. Additional details online at or by finding them on Facebook.
--Rick Coates
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