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Wednesday, September 3,2014

Vintage models

A look at the winners of the 2014 Michigan Wine Competition

by Michael Brenton
The 37th Annual Michigan Wine Competition was held last month at East Lansing’s Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center. It was the most recent iteration of an event whose genesis was the Michigan State Fair Wine Competition in 1977. Back then, wines from the state’s fledgling wine industry were judged at the Detroit fairground’s coliseum adjacent to pigs and cattle. One wonders whether wines in those competitions were notable for barnyard aromas.
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Wednesday, August 13,2014

He ate: Looks great, tastes better

by Mark Nixon
Memo to the owners of Black Cat Bistro: Check to see who prepared the food at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 22. Specifically, who prepared the asparagus tartar, the peanut crusted goat cheese fritters, the Albert Ave. street corn and the avocado crabwich. Seek them out. Praise them. Shake their hands and ask them to recreate these dishes every day, right to the very last drop of balsamic reduction.
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Wednesday, August 13,2014

She ate: Perfection on a plate

by Gabrielle Johnson
First, the bad: The website looks like it’s only half-developed and doesn’t list prices. You’ve got to pay for parking in downtown East Lansing. And it’s pricy — I’m not made of money, a fact I frequently lament. The good: Everything else. Everything we had there during two separate meals was fresh, innovative and worth eating again.
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Wednesday, August 6,2014

Mission: unmissable

Old Mission Peninsula wineries provide world-class vintages

by Michael Brenton
Last month I reviewed recent winery additions on Leelanau Peninsula. A few miles away, across the West Bay, lies the equally picturesque Old Mission Peninsula, a narrow, rolling finger of land: 19 miles long and up to four miles wide. Jutting out into the moderating waters of Grand Traverse Bay, the marine influence, glacial soils and rolling hills make this one of the grape-friendliest places in the state.
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Wednesday, July 30,2014

‘Dark Horse’ rising

Mid-Michigan brewery gets national attention with History Channel reality show

by Allan I. Ross
Spirits were high last Sunday at Dark Horse Brewing Co. in Marshall. Beneath a ceiling full of dangling beer mugs, families ate lunch at the high-top tables and couples sat at the bar quaffing craft beer. Owner/brewer Aaron Morse was nowhere to be seen — he had just wrapped up an appearance at the 17th annual Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti the day before. Otherwise, though, it was business as usual, with one little proviso: In about 48 hours the little brewpub 45 minutes southwest of Lansing would have its national television debut — and with it, lots of curiosity seekers.
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Wednesday, July 16,2014

The gluten challenge

How the rise in gluten-free dining options helps more than just celiac sufferers

by Danielle Welke
You may have noticed the term “gluten-free” sneaking into restaurant menus and choices for the items at the grocery store in the past few years. Given the small percentage of Americans (about 1 percent) who suffer from celiac disease, the condition that causes gluten allergies by preventing the body from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy, you wouldn’t think that gluten-free fare would have such a demand. However, as non-celiac people find that gluten-free diets give them a healthier gut and a sense of better overall well being, gluten-free pastas, breads and other items are on the rise. If you don’t have a gluten allergy, though, what does it mean for you?
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Wednesday, July 9,2014

She ate: Full of color, bursting with flavor

by Gabrielle Johnson
There are few things I like better than a slightly crisped, lightly greasy corn tortilla wrapped around a fragrant, flavorful protein (al pastor, or marinated pork, is my favorite), a pinch of queso fresco (soft, white, crumbly Mexican cheese) and packing a little heat — preferably from a chunky, fresh salsa.
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Wednesday, July 2,2014

Delight of life

The Leelanau wine loop has grown into a world-class attraction

by Michael Brenton
Winery hopping through Leelanau Peninsula is beginning to feel a bit like traveling through Sonoma a couple of decades ago. Lots of scenic beauty, winding roads, friendly tasting room staff, wines achieving international recognition and a rapidly expanding roster of wineries. The Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association (lpwines.com) boasts 25 winery members, with more set to come next year. One can no longer plan to visit all the wineries in just a weekend — rather, plan for several extremely enjoyable weekends on the peninsula.
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Wednesday, June 25,2014

Keeping cool

Bath custard shop offers frozen treats, boating and slices of local history

by Gabrielle Johnson
Ice cream fans have it too easy — if you’re patient enough, a truck will drive right down your street and bring some to you. No, the real white lion of summer confections is frozen custard, the cold (but not too cold), rich (but not too rich) dessert, seemingly custom-made for mid-Michigan summer nights.
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Wednesday, June 18,2014


Farm bill gives mid-Michigan’s agricultural community a boost

by Michelle Bryan
Along a twisty dirt road in Westphalia, about a half hour northwest of Lansing, is K & K Dairy Farm. It’s right out of a Pure Michigan commercial: The rolling grass is a perfect shade of green up against ORGANIC a brightly painted apple red barn, adjacent to a farmhouse where visitors are welcomed by a sandy Labrador and an orderly herd of friendly of cows. Yes, friendly — they follow the farm’s owner Gregg Trierweiler around like giant puppy dogs.
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