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Tastemakers: Hash Brown Pizza - Fife Lake Inn/ 2 Copas

Rick Coates - December 14th, 2009
Hash Brown Pizza - Fife Lake Inn
Growing up in East Lansing I learned to appreciate “pizza for
breakfast” from my classmate Dave Marriage. His parents would order us
pizza during the many sleepovers he hosted and then the next morning
we would eat leftover cold pizza for breakfast.
Now pizza typically does not find its way on the breakfast menu, I
have had pizza soup, dessert pizza, pizza sandwich and a pizza salad
in my travels. So imagine my surprise during a recent visit to the
Fife Lake Inn when I discovered their Hash Brown Pizza. While not on
their breakfast menu (they do not serve breakfast), this is a
brilliant idea.
Pizza ranks among the top five most consumed foods in America (in our
family we enjoy it at least a half dozen times a month). So a
breakfast pizza makes sense. I ordered the Hash Brown Pizza for dinner
and it was loaded with hash browns, bacon, onions and assorted cheeses
and the Fife Lake Inn “Special Sauce.”
This was a tasty treat in a nice setting. The Fife Lake Inn overlooks
the lake (located between Kalkaska and Cadillac) and has a woodsy feel
to it. Pizza is just one of the specialties on their menu; the Fife
Lake Inn is a popular haunt with locals (450 year-round residents) and
the many summertime and winter visitors (via snowmobile). The menu is
“All-American” with burgers, steaks, seafood, poultry, “south of the
border” and pasta dishes.
Yes, I did enjoy the leftover Hash Brown Pizza for breakfast the next
morning, and wondered where my elementary school buddy is today. I
also wondered why pizza is not on the breakfast menu of other
restaurants. Anyway, the Fife Lake Inn is a great spot and worth a
trip. ---Rick Coates

2 Copas

As Michigan continues to make its mark in the world of wine, we are
not alone. In fact, all 50 states are now producing wine and with the
exception of the North and South Poles, so is just about every other
region in the world. A couple of regions that have come to the world’s
attention recently include South America -- in particular Chile and
Argentina -- and South Africa.
Winemaking in both Chile and Argentina dates back to the 1560s when
French missionaries brought various varietals to the region. With a
500-year history of wine-making, places like Mendoza (Argentina), one
of the most famous wine regions in South America, have mastered the
art of grape growing. Rooted in the heart of Mendoza are two lesser
known (by American standards) varietals, Malbec and Tempranillo
(pronounced “tem-pra-nee-yo”).
Now as these two varietals are being sought out by wine drinkers in
the United States some wine critics have been quick to make
comparisons such as, “Malbec will give Cabernet a run for its money.”
Why must we make comparisons? Cab is Cab -- it is the granddaddy of
red grapes and if you want to drink Cab then go and buy a good Cab.
Malbec is not some Cab knockoff; this varietal stands alone and should
be celebrated, not compared. Malbec has found a second home in
Argentina. Its origins are from the Bordeaux region, where it has lost
favor for the most part and is primarily just a blending grape. In
Mendoza, Malbec rules and in acreage of vineyards is number one,
followed by Tempranillo, Cabernet and Chardonnay.
Tempranillo (critics love to compare with Pinot Noir) is of Hispanic
heritage and remains “the noble” grape in Spain, but has found a
second home in South America. It comes from the word “temprano” which
means ripens early. It is a wine that may be enjoyed in its youthful
stages and it also cellars well.
Many wineries offer a Malbec/Tempranillo blend. One great example is 2
Copas from Bodega Hinojosa Winery in Mendoza. Translated, 2 Copas
means “2 wine glasses,” suggesting that this wine made of 20% Malbec
and 80% Tempranillo should be enjoyed with a friend. At $7 to $8 a
bottle (I have found it on sale for $6) this is a great everyday wine
that pairs with everything from burgers to pasta and poultry dishes.
The popularity of South American wines is not only rooted in their
quality but also in their affordability. Seek them out at your
favorite wine shops where you will discover some great finds in the $5
to $15 a bottle range.---Rick Coates

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