Jun 27, 2014

Since 1907. This landmark bar/restaurant sits on historic North Territorial Road which was formerly a horse trail. The historic Inverness Inn sits across from the Inverness Country Club golf course near North Lake not far from Chelsea. The Main dining room is a log cabin with a stone fireplace and a mounted moose head. This bar/restaurant has good food. I liked the burger with homemade potato chips and a Bell's beer. The menu is large with lots of other burgers, appetizers, salads and sandwiches. They also have lots of interesting dinner items like ribs, steak, fish and chicken. They are also known for their south of the border offerings and are reputed to be one of the best places to get pizza in the area. I have lots of things to try on my next visits! They offer a kids menu and some nice desserts, so take the whole family. Live entertainment on Friday and Saturday. They also offer a lighter menu with smaller sized meals. Full bar and neat history make this a must see place. Check out the guide for more details.

May 21, 2014

New in 2014. Peruvians moved to our area to be close to family after retirement. Unable to find any Peruvian restaurants in the entire state of Michigan, they drove to Chicago when they craved their favorite foods from their homeland. Now, they have blessed our corner of the state with El Inka a Peruvian Bistro in Kalamazoo. Nice comfortable space with native decorations on the walls. They had a rotisserie oven shipped from Peru so they could bring pollo a lo brasa to us. The whole chickens are marinated in Peruvian spices and cooked rotisserie style. This is now their signature dish. I had purple corn drink to start which was interesting. We tried aji de gallina which was a creamy yellow sauce over chicken and potatoes and topped with a slice of hard boiled egg. Also, try the ceviche which is raw fish marinated in citrus and chilis and is the most popular dish in Peru. We did try dessert as well which was rice pudding with a little cinnamon and warm fruit compote on top. Very good! I have never heard of most dishes offered here so this will be an adventure as we return to try many other dishes. They have applied for a license to sell alcohol in the future. Check out the guide for more details.

May 16, 2014

This place opened in 2013 in downtown Chelsea. The building for Smokehouse 52 BBQ is really neat with high tin ceilings, hardwood floors and exposed brick. It is the former location of a small grocery store. Inside this historic location is a true original BBQ joint offering real pit smoked BBQ like pulled pork, brisket, ribs, sausage, chicken and even pork chops. They offer a couple of unique soups like smoked chicken corn chowder or their chili made with their brisket. On the table are four different types of BBQ sauce. They offer a unique salad called the "piggy colada" which has pulled pork, pineapple, banana bread croutons and sliced almonds, then covered with house made coconut vinaigrette dressing! Since Chelsea is the home of "Jiffy Mix" the croutons and cornbread are all made from this local iconic company's mixes. Want more? Our grandson had the chicken and waffles. I tasted his fried chicken and would come back to make that my dinner. How about mac and cheese or even cajun mac and cheese? They do offer some fish like cedar plank salmon or bacon wrapped BBQ shrimp. They also have sandwiches and burgers. Kids menu and a bar round out this place for the whole family. Roomy and comfortable. Check out the guide for more details.

May 9, 2014

South Haven has a neat new place called Jonah's Seafood Kitchen. This place just opened in May 2014 and is getting a lot of attention. The broad menu is online and offers lots of shellfish like mussels, oysters, lobster, scallops, shrimp and crawfish. They also offer other fish and will deep fry, grill or broil your tilapia, cod, lake perch and catfish. I had broiled catfish with Cajun seasoning. My sides were asparagus, coleslaw and an excellent hushpuppy. The place is run by a local Pastor who used to be a consultant to restaurants. It is mostly carryout with a few stools and counter space if you want to eat in. They plan to add outdoor seating soon. Give them a little time to get their "sea legs" and I am sure they will become very popular. Nice people. Good food. Check the guide for more details.

Apr 13, 2014

This place is my favorite breakfast place. I have a lot of ones I really like, but this is the one. Most people do not even know about this place. They have never advertised and I didn't know they existed for their first 21 years even though I had walked and driven by many times. A friend with a cottage in Saugatuck asked if I had ever been to Ida Red's Cottage? I thought it was a rental. After he told me, I had to check it out. I have been going every chance I get since then. It is small with limited hours and the wait to get in is usually long. However, if you like everything made from scratch using only the best and freshest ingredients, you have to go get in line. The homemade raspberry muffins are perfect. Especially with a glass of fresh squeezed orange or grapefruit juice. Lots of omelets and other egg dishes. (Check the specials board) Great pancakes and waffles. Everything has a unique twist from Asian, Greek, or Spanish to whatever the cook wants to do that day. My wife loves the potato pancakes which are not a regular item. I would drive a hour just to have breakfast here. As long as I have been going, the same people seem to work there. This is as good as it gets. Check the guide for more details.

Apr 3, 2014

This new place has turned the table on a bank. Building a nice restaurant in a former bank building strikes me as irony. The Vault Coffee House and Wine Bar opened in January in downtown Vicksburg. Not only is it downtown, it is also on part of a lake called sunset pond. Overlooking this pond is their very large outdoor patio which will be fun as the weather warms. The owners are former coffee shop people and I think intended this place to be more of a coffee shop and wine bar. While being that, it has also morphed into a popular restaurant. Nice sandwiches with a twist like the wrap my wife had called the Baja with chicken and avocado. I had their soon to be famous stuffed olive burger. On our second trip I had the soup and sandwich special which offered a very nice seafood bisque and a good deli style ham sandwich. My wife had another wrap. This time it was the Thai wrap with peanut sauce that she liked a lot. They are also getting known for their house made potato chips. They offer breakfast with crepes, French toast and their excellent coffee. Dinner includes the sandwiches described above along with steaks and pasta. The daily specials are always worth checking out. Kid and family friendly. Nice space in front with couches for relaxing with your coffee or wine. Growing wine selection and good craft beer choices. Live music sometimes, so check their facebook page. Nice owners Clint and Michelle with a true desire to offer Vicksburg a special place for food and drink. Check out the guide for more details.

Mar 9, 2014

Since 2013. New to Kalamazoo, a Battle Creek mainstay has opened a second location. Hogzilla BBQ Pit brings real award winning pit BBQ to a new market. This place only has 2 or 3 tables and is mostly carryout. The menu is limited but offers some very good items like pulled pork, pulled chicken, brisket and rib tips. You can also order 1/4 & 1/2 BBQ chicken or 1/4, 1/2 & full racks of spare ribs. They also offer smoked sausage, chicken wings and Friday catfish fry. I liked the sides as well, especially the mac & cheese. They also have coleslaw, potato salad, spaghetti & bbq baked beans. Cornbread is also good. I had the pulled pork which was very tender with their unique bbq sauce which seems more vinegar based than most in the area. I did request a hot bbq sauce which came out thick and it was as hot as I would want. They do offer a couple of salads with one including smoked chicken. I want to try that on my next visit.