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Tastemakers: Amical‘s Duck Breast w/Cherry Stout/ Short‘s Brewery Huma-Luma-Licious IPA

Rick Coates - July 26th, 2010
Amical’s Duck Breast w/Cherry Stout
One of the really cool things about the Traverse City Film Festival are the impromptu post film discussions that take place around town. Either with friends or total strangers, lively discussions take place over cocktails or dinner, and one of many great gathering places is Amical right next to the State Theatre.
I stopped in last week to catch the buzz on the Film Festival. since I was dining alone, I sat at the bar. Seated next to me was a producer in town working with Carter Oosterhouse (the sexy handyman from the HGTV show Carter Can and a model for numerous commercials). Also next to me was a recent transplant to the region from Texas as a result of growth in the oil and gas industry in Northern Michigan. While both were interested in the Film Festival, conversation quickly turned to their frustrations on how early stores closed in downtown TC (that is an article for another issue).
As has been the case since Dave Dennison opened Amical 16 years ago, my dining experience was exceptional. It started with my server/bartender Erica; new to town and only in her second week on the job, she handled herself as if she had been at Amical since the place opened. Amical was packed and Erica never missed a beat, making drinks and waiting on those in the bar area by herself. She was very knowledgeable of the menu and was able to guide myself and those around me in making our selections.
I ordered the Duck Breast w/Cherry Stout; it was pan-seared sealing the flavors and topped with local tart cherries and a Cherry Stout sauce using beer from Right Brain Brewery in Traverse CIty. It was laid on top of creamy polenta and the plate was finished off with sauteed vegetables. This was tasty, and even if you have been scared off by duck in the past, give this dish a try, it is neither oily or gamey in taste.
The wine list is exceptional with a nice selection of local wines though I opted for Lake Michigan on the rocks and a glass of Dalwhinie 15-year-old Scotch (served neat) from their impressive single malt collection. Certainly no stop to Amical is complete without a visit to their dessert case, where their caramel apples are legendary. I went for the raspberry chocolate torte, but my sense is one would not go wrong with any of the homemade offerings.
Amical is a popular hangout for Michael Moore and many of the visiting filmmakers as well. If you are visiting or plan to hang out in downtown Traverse City all week, check out the following: Red Ginger, Phil’s on Front, Catch Island Grill, Hanna, Fire Fly, Bubba’s, Minerva’s at the Park Place and if you can get a reservation, The Cook’s House. Pubs to hang at include the U&I, Mackinaw Brewing Company, Union Street, Dillinger’s and the Loading Dock. For a complete look at the menu at Amical, check out --Rick Coates

Shorts Brewery
Huma-Lupa-Licious IPA

ast week I took a brief jaunt downstate and stopped into a local watering hole and much to my surprise found they had two beers from Short’s Brewery out of Bellaire on tap. I asked the bartender and she responded “Huma-Lupa-Licious is our number one seller; we have a hard time keeping it in stock.” In fact, the keg ran out while I was there and they didn’t have a backup.
The success of Short’s Brewery doesn’t surprise me, I have been covering the breweries growth since its inception when Joe Short, who was in his mid-20s at the time, launched his microbrewery in downtown Bellaire in 2004. Short’s was one of the first businesses to get behind the Traverse City Film Festival when it started six year ago.. For the first couple of years Short’s was essentially the “official, unofficial beer of the Film Festival,” as several Short’s beers were served at the parties and the volunteer thank you bash as a result of a generous financial contribution from the young entrepreneur. While larger beer companies have come forward with sponsorships as a result of the Film Fest’s success, Short’s and Right Brain Brewery (located in TC’s Warehouse District) are sought out by craftbrew enthusiasts during the Festival.
A handful of Short’s beers are now available in the bottle and many also are available in kegs or 1/6 barrels for home parties. Named after the hop flower, Humulus Lupulus, this India pale ale epitomizes what the American craftbrew drinker is looking for in an IPA. Huma-Lupa-Licious is “a complex malt and hop theme park in your mouth” according to brewer Joe Short.
Huma is a refreshing, food friendly ale with citrus and herbal notes pairing perfectly with these hot summer days as well as with seafood dishes.
Look for Short’s ever,ywhere and be sure to ask for it on tap while hanging out this week at the FIlm Festival. For details on all Short’s brews go to --Rick Coates

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