Slow down summertime… slow down, please!

Whew…  sometimes I have the hardest time coming up with a good blog subject.  But this week it dawned on me, as I slipped away from my desk at the end of the day, that we only have 10 more days left of August!  This summer is going by so fast, and soon I’ll be back to finding ways to survive the snow, and cold, with plenty of travel to new and interesting places.  But in the meantime, I’m going to look back and remember what is making this summer one of the best ever.

Glamping!  I’ve had my camper set out at Torch Grove Campground this summer (by Torch Lake, of course).  There’s such a fun group of people that spend the weekends here.  The new friends I’ve made are priceless and fun… Cheers to another month and a half of Glamping fun, campfires, and lake fun!  Oh… and I love the term “Glamping”  (Glamour Camping)…  It’s so much better than sleeping on the ground!  My dog agrees too!38693313_10157318141542069_1771094609921835008_o

Boating… Boating… and more boating… and lots of sand bar time on Torch Lake…  with a bit of swimmers itch thrown in.

 

The crew at the Torch River Marine has been a great one once again this year.  It’s almost mesmerizing to watch the boats come and go in and out of rack storage.  (Cheers to my favorites, Sabrina, Marlon, Shelby,  Phillip and Taylor, and of course Rebecca, John, Jason, Sarah, Jim, Rachel, Becky and a whole host of others that make the place hustle.)   I may be prejudice (My brother, John, and his friends, Jim Brewer and Jim Ennis make the place rock), but when I stand back and take a good look, they offer five star service, even under pressure of the busiest season of the year.

 

…  and lets not forget the small town fun, festivals and great friends!  The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City rocked, as usual.  Elk Rapids hosted a great 35th Class Reunion for my fellow alumni, and the Annual Torch Lake fireworks display was amazing, with a fantastic sunset and good fun!

 

All  that, and somehow, I missed my favorite festival of the year, Elk Rapids Harbor Days…  but I had fun with my visiting long lost sand bar siblings from way back in the 1970’s that week anyway…  I love these guys!

 

Ohhhhh… and summer’s not over yet.  I can’t give up on it.  There’s more to come for sure!  But I must admit, I’m looking forward to some fall adventures that I have planned.  Just a few places I have scheduled to travel for work and play…  Elmira, NY, Tunkannock, PA, Tinley Park, IL, Lexington, KY, Fort Lauderdale, FL, and Havana, Cuba… and that’s just for fall.  Who knows what winter holds… but I don’t even want to think about snow!

That’s all for now… keep enjoying those summer days as long as we can!!38422392_10157308032517069_878782731469717504_n

 

Another good dining establishment! Blue Water Bistro and Pizzeria, Alden, MI

Last week, Alden got an addition to its already wonderful cast of businesses.  The Blue Water Bistro and Pizzeria, (formerly Poma’s Pizza, and way back Sonny’s Pizza) opened last Friday night with  good reviews from the locals.

So, OF COURSE, Saturday night we had to venture over for a taste.  The new restaurant has a few bugs they are actively working out, but overall, I think its going to be a hit!

First off, they have a full bar with a nice selection of wine and beers, including some great local craft beers.  Of course, my refreshing favorite choice:  Tito’s and Soda with Orange slices served tall in a jar mug.  img_6562

My favorite part of the evening, was the small plates that were served.  There were five of us at the table, so we ordered a little of everything to sample.

  • Flaming Cheese and Bread…  This is a must have!!!  Tequila lime flamed at tableside… this is a gooey fantastic treat to start with.  I HIGHLY recommend it! It’s on the menu as “Blue Water Cheese Bread”… Don’t miss out!
  • Hot Wings…  These were nicely done as well.   They were just spicy enough to be perfectly flavorful.
  • Bruschetta…  Always one of my favorites where ever I go.  This place does it up very nicely!  Very fresh and flavorable… those are the words I choose to describe this selection.
  • Drunken Mushrooms…  Marinated in a wine/garlic sauce.  Good on its own… great if you add a little of the flaming cheese on top! (Just our tables experimentation… )
  • Shrimp Scampi Fritta…  OK, so I cant review this one, because of my severe seafood allergy.  But it certainly looked good.

img_6559

Oh… and did I mention the amazing bread plate that showed up before dinner?  No words needed… just enjoy the picture.  #honeybutter #yumyum

img_6553

Then dinner was served…

  • Three of us ordered the Blue Water Trio, which included an Olive Garden type combination of Lasagna, Fettucine Alfredo, and Chicken Parmesan.  The Lasagna was good… the Chicken Parmesan was OK (but it’s not always a favorite of mine anyway)…  The alfredo sauce on the fettuccine was delicious, but I wish there would have been more sauce.  The fettucine was sadly lacking moisture.  Overall, it’s an OK choice, but next time I’d try something different.
  • Another diner ordered the Lobster Mac and Cheese…  I heard a few yummy noises being made across the table over this one, so I’d say it was a hit.
  • The almond crusted scallops on a bed of linguine with white wine sauce was another choice at our table.  It looked tasty to me, and I didn’t hear any complaints, so I’d say it’s a keeper on this menu

Next time, I’d love to try the Steak Gorgonzola…  Yes, there will be a next time.

Oh… I cannot forget to mention the wonderful Creme’ Brule’ for dessert… Simply delish!  It was a perfect finish to our meal…  And we all left with full happy bellies.

One last note on the atmosphere of the place… I love the garage doors on the front of the building for outside dining and cocktailing in the summer months.  The place was packed Saturday night, so the tables inside seemed a bit crowded together.  The high top tables were super cool looking, but seemed a bit over tall for a few shorter people in our group.

Of course, keeping in mind that the restaurant just opened, they do have a few service and kitchen issues to work out over time.  But I really have confidence that this place is going to be a big hit in the Torch Lake area.  I will definitely go back!

Check out the rest of their wonderful menu at www.torchlakepizza.com!

 

 

5 Reasons to visit Alden, Michigan this summer!

This little gem of a town in Northern Michigan often goes unnoticed… What people don’t realize is just how adorable Alden, Michigan really is!  Why?  Well, here are just a few of my simple reasons:

  1. Torch Lake!  Yes… this town is located on the east side of Torch Lake.  Beautiful views can be enjoyed from the docks at the boat launch.  You can visit by boat, or by car.  A quick 30 minute drive from Traverse City is all it takes.img_6524
  2. Alden’s Mill house…  This is a must stop for my favorite spice blends and fun kitchen gadgets.  It’s a quaint unique shop with something for the awesome chef in everyone!  Check it out at their website…  https://aldenmillhouse.com/  They ship anywhere as well, so treat your favorite chef to some Miracle Blend, or Big Dave’s Burger and Steak Blend.  No kitchen is complete without it!
  3.  The Alden Bar & Grill.  Burgers, Ice Cold Beer, and friendly locals gather here.  My personal favorite is the Alden Bar Burger.  They even have an outdoor patio for those warm summer evenings.  You just can’t go wrong.
  4. The Alden Depot Park and Museum.  Stop in for a visit and learn about the history of this beautiful little town, relax in the park overlooking Torch Lake, or play a quick game of volleyball in the sand courts. It’s the epitome of “Pure Michigan”.  You can check out all it has to offer at https://www.michigan.org/property/alden-depot-park-museum
  5. The Stroll!  Every Thursday in the summer it’s all about Alden…  Meet up with friends, Stroll the streets, listen to live music, and check out all of the shops.  Alden has so much to offer.

For more details on this great town, check out VisitAlden.com.  Enjoy  your visit… You will want to return for years to come!

Yes… a new favorite in Waverly, NY. Tomasso’s at Chemung Golf Course!

I love finding out of the way places to eat that have all the elements of a good down home eatery! Tomasso’s Restaurant gets my vote for pick of the week, while I’m remotely working from New York’s Southern Tier Region.

What I ate… Bruschetta Chicken Alfredo. The pasta was perfect… the sauce was delightful, mingled with a nice olive oil and balsamic bruschetta layered over the top.

My verdict on this dish… it was a party in my mouth! So I broke the low carb rules, but how could anyone not love this dish. I hear the Marsala is every bit as wonderful. Worth every bite… but no room for dessert.

The view… the drive along the Bluffed banks of the Chemung River offered breathtaking views on the way out to the restaurant. Then sun started going down during dinner, creating an amazing silhouette of the lush golf course. I seriously wish I had my camera with me! Next visit.. I won’t forget that camera.

So… Tomasso’s Restaurant and it’s Italian American menu may just be a great option for our company Christmas party this year!

Check it out at https://www.tomassosrestaurant.com!

Out of Blog Practice! Time to Review another favorite.. McGee’s 72 in Acme, MI

Most Friday’s I don’t feel like cooking… so what’s a girl to do, but cruise on down M-72 to her favorite Friday night happy hour spot.  Namely, McGee’s 72 in Acme, MI!

What’s so great about this place?

  1.  The bartenders…  once they see you, they do remember what your favorite is…  even after just one visit!  Oh, and did I tell you about the “sister bartenders” Hannah and Rebecca?  Pure jolly happy entertainment… always guaranteed to make you laugh.  Make sure you ask them about “Pancakes”.  🙂  Yes, ladies, tonight I will be having my favorite cocktail, Tito’s, Soda, with an Orange Slice, TALL…  🙂  Usually, they are mixing my drink as I walk in the door.  img_6368
  2. The steakburgers are THE BEST!  When you want one, you want one! What’s this blue cheese crusted option???   Medium Rare, please!  Oh… and add those great duck fried truffle fries to cure my carb craving!
  3. Location…  They are located right next to the Grand Traverse Resort.  Dinner on the patio means a great view of one beautiful Jack Nicklaus course!  … and of course, a few novice golfers searching the ponds for that ball that took a wrong turn.
  4. The Chef’s…  These guys come up with some amazing dishes, especially for Sunday Brunches.  It’s a great place to take the family for a wonderful afternoon gathering.  Try a steak (blue cheese crusted of course), or Pulled Pork BBQ/Mac N Cheese combo!
  5. The Locals… sit on the bar side, instead of getting a table for a true local feel of the area.  It’s a favorite local hangout, especially if there’s a good game on!  Large screen TV’s are located throughout “Matty’s Place” so you can get the best view of your favorite team.  So whether you are “Go Green, Go White”, or “Maize and Blue”, chances are, your fellow sports fans are right there with you.  Get to know the locals for lifelong friendships.

Want to check out more about this place?  Check them out at www.mcgees72.com.

… or just get in your car and  check them out in person!

Happy Friday… I think Spring is finally here to stay!

Small Town Saturday night fun!

This weekend, a group of us decided to venture out for a little fun in Elk Rapids, Michigan.  There’s simply nothing to dislike about this place!  So here’s a review of the two places we went!

Dinner and Cocktails:  Siren Hall

Siren Hall has a warm comfortable bar area with cozy seating (couches and coffee tables!) that friends can gather around for predinner drinks.  This makes for a great atmosphere for Happy Hour.  My drink of choice was the Orange Blossom, a refreshing sweet vodka drink that brings back memories of the ice cream truck… Yes, it tastes a lot like an Orange Sherbet Push up!  I’ll be storing that in my memory for this summer for sure.

For dinner, I had an amazing Michigan White Cheddar Salad with local apples, dried, cherries, pecans, and greens, with a wonderful balsamic vinaigrette.  Next time, I will order this for sure… and maybe add some chicken to make it a meal!  It’s a really nice size salad.

My entree…  I was in pasta mode, so I opted for the four cheese penne’ pasta.  This dish was simply delicious with its mix of Gouda, Colby, Mozzarella and Provolone Cheeses, all topped and baked to crisp with herb breadcrumbs.

Bottom line on this dish:  Perfection in comfort food!

Overall, Siren Hall was a bit pricey, but the atmosphere and the food was totally worth it!  I give it 5 stars.  The service was pretty great too.

Local Concert at the Historic Elk Rapids Town Hall:

When I think of the Elk Rapids Town Hall, I think way back to the 6th grade production of the Wizard of Oz, put on by the Class of 1983.  So walking into this beautifully restored 135 year old building did bring back some really fun memories!

The Band:  Chicago/Traverse City Based Stolen Silver.   Levi Britton, Dan Myers, and Christopher Sterr put on a fantastic show!  Their indie/folk sound seems to be influenced by the likes of Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Lionel Ritchie, with a bit of Jimmy Buffet thrown in the mix.  Our group really enjoyed it.  Click on their link in this paragraph to check out their great sound!

Note to self:  Keep an eye on the event schedule for the Elk Rapids Town Hall…  They have great shows coming in the future!

That’s all for today’s lunchtime blog… Enjoy this Northern Michigan Sunshine!

Today’s lunch time blog! One of my favorite local hangouts… A review of Peegeo’s in Traverse City, MI.

Thirsty Thursday… yes, it’s a weekly holiday where the ladies all meet for dinner and drinks.   This week we ended up at one of our favorites, Peegeo’s on High Lake Road in Traverse City.   I realized I have never reviewed this place before!  So here it goes.

This place holds a little piece of my heart.  The minute you walk in the door, it’s like walking into “Cheers”.  Everybody knows your name (No I don’t run a tab like George or Cliffy…).  After one visit, you are considered a local by the owners, George and Susan VanKersen.  Of course, I’ve been a local to this place since 1992.  So my opinion may be a little biased.  But I do believe its general just a fun place to go!  The bar is lined with locals telling stories and spreading cheer, no matter what time of year it is.

My menu picks:

  • Hangar Steak (George does it right!)  It melts in your mouth!
  • Mexican Chicken wings…  One of my favorites!
  • Cherry Chicken Salad… for those times I feel like a need some veggies.  But it’s soooooooo delish!
  • BBQ Ribs… Mmmmmmmmmmm…
  • Mexican Combo Plate…  So much goodness on one plate.
  • Mike’s Sicilian Pizza…  Seriously the best pizza I have ever eaten in my life!
  • The London Broil… Comfort food at its best!

Of course there’s so many options on the menu other than this.  But these are my favorites!  Did I mention the Mike’s Sicilian Pizza is the best ever???  Check out their menu at www.peegeos.com.

Cheer’s to the local’s at Peegeo’s!  Nice job!

P.S.  to my people at McGee’s in Acme, MI… you are next!  You know I love ya’ll!

Restaurant Review: Calypso Mediterranean Grille on the Munson Miracle Mile, Traverse City, MI

 

After passing a few favorites in search of something different, we landed at Calypso, a new Mediterranean Eatery on Munson Avenue.  Here are some of my thoughts on the place:

  1. There’s been a few restaurants located in that particular building throughout the years.  They have all been short lived, with the exception of “The Clock”.  I think Calypso could be around for awhile!  Maybe I’m just partial to Mediterranean food, but I found this place great!
  2. The pricing… well, it may be a little pricey. But the salad’s we ordered with our dinners were enormous!  Next time, we split the salad.  Dinner pick:  Green Tomatillo Chicken Alfredo.  You just can’t go wrong!  This dish is positively wonderful, comforting, and flavorful.  Overall, the price was worth it.
  3. Tempting options: Blue Cheese Crusted Delmonico Steak… This was one of the specials of the evening.  We may have to go back for this!  Oh… and pumpkin cheesecake…  I passed on dessert this time, but, next time may be a different story!
  4. The service was excellent. We had an attentive professional waiter who knew the menu like the back of his hand.
  5. Will we go back??? Oh, by all means, yes we will!  Calypso is a nice addition to the Foodie community of Traverse City.

Looking forward to my next visit to this one!

For more information on this restaurant, please visit their website at www.calypsogrilltc.com.  ENJOY!