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Tastemakers: Boathouse Restaurant Wild Game Dinner/ Taste the Passion

Rick Coates - February 1st, 2010
Boathouse Restaurant Wild Game Dinner
In Northern Michigan “wild game” dinners are somewhat common fare in many homes. Venison, duck and fresh fish from area lakes make their way to my table at home on somewhat of a regular basis. Several restaurants in the region offer entrées featuring game from local fields and streams. Now the Boathouse Restaurant located at Bowers Harbor (the actual harbor, not the restaurant) on the Old Mission Peninsula puts the “wild” in their game dinner, hosting their sixth annual dinner this Friday night.
Chef Eric Nittolo and proprietor Doug Kosch have outdone themselves in creating an impressive menu of wild game “oddities” that will give most in attendance a first time opportunity to taste lion, yak, zebra and even piranha. Sourcing such exotic meats is challenging as much research goes into verifying these game items come from legitimate and legal sources. Kosch and Nittolo went to great lengths to insure all menu items came from lawful suppliers.
The evening begins with “Reception and Intimidation” featuring African Lion burgers and Wild Boar on a stick followed by a second round of “oddities”: the Wild Game Charcuterie Plate with Zebra Pate, Alligator Sausage, Smoked Yak Jerky and Curried Camel Kabobs. The fish course includes Piranha with tempura fried bananas and the meat course features Black Bear Ribs with a Short’s Brewery Soft Parade Berry-BBQ Sauce. For dessert, Lion Scat Fosters (flambéed) that Chef Nittolo is simply describing as “flaming balls of love.”
The evening includes wine and cocktail pairings as well as a wild game museum with some pretty impressive mounts including a giraffe, elephant, zebra and lots more. The Boathouse Restaurant offers an assortment of interesting dinners throughout the year including locally themed wine dinners and a fly-fishing dinner that is served streamside (Dining on the Fly) during the summer months.
While dining at the Boathouse in the summer months is a given, it is equally impressive during the wintertime as West Grand Traverse Bay takes on a whole different personality as the winds and cold temperatures and swirling snow create a picturesque setting. For details check out or call for reservations at 231-223-4030.
--Rick Coates

Taste the Passion
The Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association is celebrating its 10th year of hosting wine trail events. These popular weekend events typically sell out with each one offering a unique way to experience the wineries on the Leelanau Peninsula. Taste the Passion takes place this Saturday and Sunday at member wineries. Participants receive a souvenir wine glass at their first stop and a wine and chocolate pairing at each stop along the trail (though while some would argue there is no such thing as too much chocolate, some wineries offer non-chocolate pairings).
Each winery offers a variety of activities from snowshoeing to crafts, as well. Taste the Passion is a great way to experience the charm of the Leelanau Peninsula and the 17 member wineries. The secret to a successful tour experience is to select just a handful of wineries each of the two days and incorporate other activities on the peninsula during your tour including dinner.
On Friday night, at Mountain Flowers Lodge, from 6-8pm, the Homestead Resort and Glen Arbor Artists will be hosting “Art from Michigan’s Wine Coast.” Art will be on display and for sale from local artists. The price is $20 at the door, which includes two glasses of wine and small plates (additional wine available for $4/glass or three for $10). $5 from every ticket will be donated to the Glen Arbor Artists scholarship and free after-school art program for students.
Tickets for “Taste the Passion” are just $30 each. As with all LPVA events, attendance is limited to give participants an opportunity to become better acquainted with the wine and wineries. Additional details for both events are available at
--Rick Coates

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