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Tastemakers; Christmas Dinner/ Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival

Rick Coates - December 21st, 2009
Christmas Dinner
Bob Dylan was right, the times, they are a-changin’. It started with grocery stores offering pre-made holiday dinners years ago. You could pre-order dinner and simply warm it up and relax and enjoy the holidays. Many hotels for years have been offering meals during the holidays as well for the traveling public.
Now restaurants are joining in and with good reason. More and more families are on the go; and going out to dinner on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day makes sense for many. As one friend told me “it takes the stress out of the day for us and it is less expensive.”
Several restaurants in the region are offering specials dining-out experiences on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. With the fresh blanket of snow, try the Aerie Restaurant at the top of the Grand Traverse Resort for fantastic views of the Traverse area. Chef Ted Cizma is a finalist for Chef of the Year by Chef Magazine and has taken the Resort to new culinary heights. They are offering a Christmas Day Buffet from Noon to 7 pm. The buffet features hot carving stations, with bourbon and peach marmalade glazed ham or horseradish crusted smoked sirloin. Desserts include a triple chocolate buche de noel, black forest cheesecake, raspberry kolacky and more. Reservations are suggested and may be made by calling 231-534-6800.
Stafford’s has long been the benchmark for service and fine dining in Northern Michigan and all of their dining establishments are offering holiday dining options. The beautiful Bay View Inn will host a Christmas Buffet from noon to 4:30 p.m. that will feature their famous crab stuffed whitefish. The Perry Hotel is hosting both a Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Buffet. The Bay View and The Perry are both located in Petoskey and these historic buildings create the perfect setting for that Norman Rockwellian Christmas Dinner.
The Weathervane is Charlevoix and The Pier in Harbor Springs, both Stafford’s properties, will be open on Christmas Eve, with the Weathervane serving off their menu. Try the planked whitefish or the beef cake duo for dinner and their escargot for an appetizer. The Pier will offer a Christmas Eve Buffet with prime rib and a wonderful selection of holiday desserts. To see menus for all of the Stafford’s restaurants check out However you choose to enjoy Christmas, have a Merry one. --Rick Coates

Traverse City Winter Microbrew & Music Festival
A cold tasty brew has always been a great summertime thirst quencher, but how about on a frosty February night? The organizers of the Traverse City Microbrew & Music Festival from this past August are now offering a winter version of their event on February 12.
“After the success of the first-ever TC Microbrew & Music Festival this summer at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, we realized there was a great opportunity to bring the event back in the winter,” said Sam Porter of Porterhouse Productions, which produces the festival. “The Cherry Capital Winter WonderFest and Grand Traverse Resort are the perfect community partners for us to team up with to kick off Friday and support a weekend that draws thousands of visitors to our region.”
Tickets will go on sale December 21 and can be purchased at Oryana, Right Brain Brewery, Old Town Coffee, North Peak and the Resort’s Concierge Desk.
The TC Winter Microbrew & Music Festival will take place outdoors next to the Resort’s Clubhouse and on The Bear golf course. Guests will step out of the lodge into a winter wonderland featuring the main brew tent with live music from Euforquestra (pictured), an eight piece “Afro-Caribbean-Barnyard-Funk” dance band from Fort Collins, CO, the rockabilly honky-tonk of Delilah DeWylde and the Lost Boys, and the bagpipes and drum ensemble of GT Pipes and Drums. Bonfires and free sleigh rides will encircle a frozen winter pond surrounded by three tents showcasing dozens of craft breweries, local and national musicians and creative winter beer games. Activities, special events and prizes will be featured throughout the night.
The Grand Traverse Resort will offer a special weekend package and will host several activities in conjunction with the Cherry Capital Winter WonderFest. There will also be a free shuttle service from downtown Traverse City. Additional details may be found at and --Rick Coates

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