Dec 23, 2009

New place added in Texas Corners

I had heard that chef Shane Sheldon was opening his own place and looked forward to its opening. It is here and it is called BOLD Restaurant & Catering. Self described "simple foods...big flavors". Shane is not the chef but brings his food philosophy to the menu. This is a casual fine dining place with a nice selection of "small plates" and "big plates" which are full dinners. Very nice place with a neat concept. Everything has that chefs touch with a little something extra. They have a neat wine concept that allows you to try a different wine with each course by buying it in 3oz segments. Check the guide for more details and description of our dining experience there.

Dec 21, 2009

Did you ever go to Emilio's?

Emilio's closed in 1992 and was located on Michigan Ave. in the Wattles Park area of Battle Creek. It was very unique and had a very loyal clientele. We drove from Kalamazoo to Emilio's at least once every two weeks just for lunch! The man, the food, the atmosphere were unmatched. However, his lead cook for 23 years opened her own joint in Marshall in 1993 on the east end of downtown and calls it Oye' Amigo's. She even has a tribute to Emilio in her restaurant and is serving all my old favorites from the original recipes. The best hot sauce I have ever had. Great guacamole (try a spoon for only two dollars)! I order the tortilla shells dry, but they are good with butter as well. I was a young man going to Emilio's and I still love going to Oye' Amigo's every chance I get. Check it out even if you never heard of Emilio's.

Dec 1, 2009

Out of the area, but worth talking about!

Most of you have heard of Ann Arbor's famous Zingerman's Deli. Many are not aware of their other restaurant out near I94 at Jackson Rd. This one is called Zingerman's Roadhouse and is a large, nice, sitdown and be waited on place. Bon Appetit calls the Roadhouse one of the "top 10 new barbecue restaurants". Chef Alex Young and staff offer "really good american food!" as it says in their self description. Regional dishes are served using the best and freshest ingredients possible. Well known products like Nueske's applewood bacon, Pasolivo olive oil, American Spoon and of course corned beef from Zingerman's deli. These products or others like them go into their Tennessee Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Texas Beef Brisket or Chesapeake Bay crab cakes. Don't miss their mac and cheese with vermont cheddar or their burger which is ground fresh twice a day. They have daily specials and a full bar however, be prepared for higher prices than you are used to. Check out the guide for more details. Very good food!!

Nov 22, 2009

Chicago comes to Kalamazoo!

If you like the great sandwich joints in Chicago that serve italian beef, italian sausage and chicago dogs. You have to check out Pops Italian Beef & Sausage at the Campus Point Mall in Kalamazoo. Since 1980 in Chicago. Now with 10 locations including 2 in Indiana and now Kalamazoo. The beef and sausage is cooked and cut right on location. They also have burgers, gyros and chicken sandwiches available. You no longer have to do a "road trip" to get an authentic Chicago style italian beef. However, you could do a late light run since they are open till 3am Thursday-Saturday. More details in the guide.

Nov 15, 2009

New place added in Sumnerville

Since 1835. I am not kidding. This is the oldest business in Michigan. Andrew Jackson was President when the Old Tavern Inn opened in this tiny town. Not only is this a place worth finding because it opened during our 7th President (Lincoln was number 16), they also have very good food. Known for their goulash, fried chicken and burgers. They also have fish, soups and sandwiches. Full bar and menu for the whole family. Check out the guide for more details.

Nov 10, 2009

New place in Manitou Beach near Jackson

How about a log cabin built in 1950 near beautiful devils lake. Lyons Family Dining and Tavern is very nice and features a large stone fireplace. Soups made from scratch, nice choice of fish such as whitefish lightly breaded and deep fried or pan fried perch. Steaks, chops and chicken are all offered along with many appetizers, salads and sandwiches. Known also for their tavern burger and some nice pastas. While this is a place to take the whole family, they do have a nice drink selection including a made in Michigan wine list. Nightly specials such as Thursday burger night or Saturday prime rib. Take a drive along the lake and enjoy this fine out of the way restaurant. Check out the guide for more details.

Nov 5, 2009

New restaurant added in Kalamazoo

This place is a nice addition to the Kalamazoo dining scene. The Mandwee brothers who brought you Tiffany's Wine Shop have opened an authentic middle eastern restaurant they have named Zooroona Restaurant and Lounge. In arabic zooroona means "come visit us". Nice atmosphere with a large menu offering many chicken, beef, fish and lamb dishes. Add a great salad selection, wraps, soups and desserts and you have a winner! Try the turkish coffee or the iraqi cardamon tea. No alcohol. Check out the guide for more details.

Oct 30, 2009

New place added in Allen

Step back in time to a place that feels like going to grandma's for dinner. The Outpost Grille in Allen is old country style with mismatched furniture and antiques everywhere. That makes sense since it is in the center of Michigan's "antique capitol". If you like antiques, you will love it here and if you don't care about them try this restaurant anyway. Home cooking with a nice menu of comfort foods for the whole family. You may not see your grandma here, but you will see someone's grandma. Mostly lunch type offerings like sandwiches, burgers and soups along with ice cream, shakes and desserts. They are only open during the day, so don't go at dinner time. Great place for Sunday dinner buffet. Check the guide for hours and other details.

Oct 25, 2009

New place added in Harbert

This place is a rare treat for Southwest Michigan. We have an upscale Middle Eastern dining spot called Cafe' Gulistan which means "the land of the Roses". With a Kurdish cuisine, this place has some unique offerings and is the only place in the area serving beers and wines from the Mideast. It is the only place in Michigan carrying Turkish wines! The atmosphere is cozy and exotic at the same time. In the summer months you can enjoy outdoor seating in their very nice garden area. They have nightly specials and prices range from $10-$30. The Hummus has a nice twist with olives on top. I liked the Antepli Yahnisi served with basmati rice. Nice lamb, chicken and shrimp dishes. The baklava for dessert is made in their kitchen. Check out the guide for details.

Oct 13, 2009

New place added in Coloma

You will think I am kidding when I tell you about the great broasted chicken at the Hot Spot Cafe in Coloma. What is so surprising is not just how good it is, but their amazing Sunday special. A friendly down home cafe with homemade food. It is about the fried chicken, but they have lots of other homemade dishes on their large menu. Even if you can't get in on Sunday after 4pm because of the line out the door...try their food any other time at regular price and it is still a great bargain! Check the review in the guide for the "deal" I am referring to.


Oct 5, 2009

The oldest Inn in America!

Middleburg, VA is the center of fox hunt country and horse country for the state as well as sitting in the richest county (Loudon) in America. It also boasts the oldest Inn in the U.S. Built in 1728 it was originally called Chinn's Ordinary after the owner Joseph Chinn. It was part of the vast estate of Thomas, sixth Lord of Fairfax and Baron of Cameron. This place was visited by George Washington around 1748. He became president in 1789! Later it was called the Beveridge House. The Inn served as a hospital during the civil war. In 1887, the Inn was renamed the Middleburg Inn and in 1937 renamed the The Red Fox Inn. This is a top Inn Nationally with a great restaurant. The dinner we had was all from local farm raised organic beef, lamb and chicken. Excellent wine list and a truly memorable dining experience. I know this is not in Southwest Michigan however, some experiences outside the area are worth sharing! Check out this amazing find at If you like horses, mansions, history, vineyards and fine shopping go to Middleburg and The Red Fox Inn.

Sep 30, 2009

New place added in Paw Paw

How about a place where the chef is the owner and used to be the chef at the Black Swan? Go to Paw Paw and try Cafe' 237. Bill Sutcliffe does a great job with farm to table cooking. He even makes the thousand island dressing from scratch for his top selling reuben sandwich. The corned beef is cooked and cured inhouse. I liked the goulash (not what you think). Chalkboard menu changes frequently with lots of new ideas. Lunch and dinner except weekends when breakfast is available. Check out the guide for a full review and details.

Sep 20, 2009

Two places added in Battle Creek

How about a place that has been in Downtown Battle Creek since 1932! I just made my first visit?? Old fashioned good food, cafeteria style at Shrank's Cafeteria. This place closes at 6pm and is not open on the weekends, however catch them when they are. The place looks pretty plain and old fashioned but the food is very good!

I was pleasantly surprised to find one more good Mexican place in Battle Creek. Antonio's is small but has a nice atmosphere, good service and very good food. Starting with the made from scratch quacamole and homemade chips. They have nice nightly specials and are easy to get to on Columbia just off M-66.

Check the guide for details on both places.

Sep 14, 2009

New place added in Sister Lakes

My favorite breakfast spots usually have a bakery attached or at least some homemade baked goods on the menu. If you try The Wright Place in Sister Lakes leave room for a homemade muffin, cinnamon roll or pecan roll. Famous for giant european style pancakes that hang over the edge of your plate. Full menu with lunch items as well. Very good food! Check the guide for more details.

Sep 1, 2009

Open air waterfront or waterview places for Labor Day!

Make it to Saugatuck's Red Dock Cafe' this weekend or you will wait till next Memorial Day! Located next to the S.S. Keewatin Maritime Museum this is a must stop on the water bar with good sandwiches. Live music and one of a kind Key West type atmosphere.

Outdoor seating at a very nice place in Holland is Boatwerks Waterfront Restaurant overlooking lake Macatawa.

A great view of the boats, drawbridge and tall ship is available at The Idler Riverboat in South Haven. Nice drinks and some food. Try the South Haven Ice Tea!

If you happen into New Buffalo, try the rooftop of the Stray Dog Bar & Grill for a terrific view of Big Blue and all the boats going in and out. Nice bar with good food.

Aug 26, 2009

This Creamery makes their own Ice Cream-watch them!

I hope you will make the trip to this special place near Nashville, MI. A real dairy farm creamery called Moo-Ville Creamery. They even have a pipeline from the farm to the creamery. Very nice Ice Cream parlour with restaurant/store. Indoor and outdoor seating. We liked sitting outside while watching the kids in the petting zoo. This is especially nice for young children with all the farm animals! Check the guide for some of the 67 flavors and other details.

Aug 19, 2009

New Restaurant added in South Haven

A great new addition to South Haven's dining scene is the second location of Fennville's famous Su Casa Restaurante. This location is much smaller, but with many of the mexican favorites from the parent location. Fresh homemade ingredients is what they are known for (they own a mercado). No alcohol yet, but nice drink selection with smoothies and shakes. Also, serving Palazzolo's famous gelato in and takeout. Burrito's are great and so are the tortilla chips. Located next to the movie theatre. Check out the guide for more details.

Aug 9, 2009

Know of a great Fish place? I do!

If you like fish, you have to go to Captain Luey's Calabash Seafood! Located on Columbia Ave. in Battle Creek, just west of Hwy. 66 in a former Russ' Restaurant building. Real North Carolina Calabash style fish offerings. Their new menu has many steamed and broiled features to go with their Calabash favorites. I like the deviled crab with (salt and pepper breaded) catfish. Or the blue gill with (original breaded) shrimp. Clam chowder and hush puppies are very good as well. Check the guide for more details.

Jul 29, 2009

Take a drive in the country to this Great Restaurant

This place is really in the "sticks". However, the drive and risk of getting lost is worth it. The River Lake Inn Restaurant and Nature Trails has been around since 1976! We walked the nature trails, saw the hummingbirds, the coi and the butterfly gardens. Then we had a great meal from chef Mark. Check it out!

Jul 22, 2009

New Drive-In added

If you like driving around lakes and the Lake Michigan shoreline during the summer evenings and weekends like I do you may run across some neat places. Check out Eddies Drive-In near Paw Paw lake and Coloma. They make some pretty big claims....then back them up! Great olive burgers and they claim to have the best Ribs on the planet...GUARANTEED! Check the guide for hours and days they serve ribs. Big menu and roller skating carhops. Check it out!

Jul 1, 2009

Looking for some BBQ takeout for this weekend?

Check out some great takeout BBQ to go with your camping, beach or cookouts this weekend! One of my favorites is Hog Wild BBQ in Holland. I also like Ranch House BBQ in South Haven. Good pulled pork at The Walldorf in Hastings and Arcadia Brewery in Battle Creek as well. Nice addition to burgers and dogs! Check them out in the guide.

Jun 19, 2009

Going out for Father's day?

Try someplace new!

How about breakfast at Ida Red's Cottage, Frona's or Crow's Nest?
Check them out in the guide.

Going out for Dinner? How about some fish at Capt. Luey's Calabash or maybe some fried chicken at the Riverview Tavern. Maybe Steak, ribs or BBQ at one of many good places! Enjoy some fine eating.

Jun 11, 2009

Saugatuck this weekend!

Are you attending the Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck this weekend? Starts Thursday at 6pm-Sunday at 9pm. While there, try one of my favorite places for a sandwich and drink while sitting out on the water at the Red Dock Cafe'. They even have live music Sunday's from 4pm-8pm. Also, go to the guide and just enter Saugatuck under the "city" section and read about my other favorites like Phil's or Ida Reds Cottage. Also, check Douglas, Holland, South Haven etc. for other nearby places. More details in the guide.

May 19, 2009

We do have Cajun food in Southwest Michigan!

Do you like Cajun food? Then go to Pasche's Seafood Kitchen next to the new Firekeeper's casino between Battle Creek and Marshall. When was the last time you had jambalaya, crawfish e'toufee, fried oysters, gumbo, blackened catfish or a po'boy sandwich? Try the crawfish bisque with some cornbread. How about some cajun shrimp, crabcakes or some alligator tail meat! Or do you like dirty rice or red beans and rice? Bread pudding for dessert and you have all the makings of several great meals. Don't miss this one. Do not let the attachment to the hotel fool you. This is a very good restaurant

May 14, 2009

That time of year! Great burgers!

Portage has a great treasure in the West Lake Drive-In. Some say they have the best burgers around. My favorite is the olive burger. I also like the perch sandwich. Get a milk shake and a burger and watch the sun set over West Lake. They are now open for the season and are packed most nice days. My wife likes the unique grilled cheese which is on an inside out hamburger bun. They have real onion rings and good fries. Take the whole family. They do have a picnic table if you want to get out of the car. Check the guide for details and get there early! Also, let me know what you think of the burgers.

May 12, 2009

Best Burger? Best Mexican Food?

Some say this is the best burger around! You have to try the North Shore Inn in Benton Harbor. Others say they have the best mexican food. I have never had a better chile relleno anywhere. I have even gone here for a lunch burger, went to play golf and came back for a mexican dinner after golf. This place is hard to find, but worth it. They also have limited hours and do not have the mexican food all the time. Check the guide for details. If you go for the food rather than the decor, this place will be a favorite. They also have Old Style on tap.

Apr 24, 2009

New addition in Hastings!

Pasta's, steaks, seafood and gourmet pizza's? How about most of them with a unique twist. You will not be disappointed if you try Fall Creek Restaurant in Hastings. Appetizers like blackened sirloin dippers served with mild wasabi aoili. How about blue crab cakes topped with orange chipotle sauce. Ribeye steak for dinner is very popular as well as their Chicken Roulade stuffed with crab and topped with basil cream sauce. Don't miss the pasta dishes like fettuccine trio or chicken marsala. Lunch could be any special that day or the regular favorites like pulled pork on ciabatta bread or the corned beef rueben cooked for five hours! Check the guide for more details on desserts etc.

Also, if you use the guide and try some of our suggestions, please comment and let me know what your experience was.



Apr 7, 2009

New addition-Real Polish Food!

I did not expect Maria's Lone Star Restaurant to have authentic Polish food. Maria is a polish woman who only uses real Polish sausage purchased from Chicago's Polish community meat markets. This place is just east of Bangor and is a bar with very good food. Thursday is Polish night and it is worth a drive if you like the real thing. She also has a large menu of other items such as her popular friday fish fry. Add steaks and burgers and you have something for everyone. Prices are very reasonable. Check the guide for more details.

Mar 17, 2009

I had great Corned Beef and Cabbage at.....

I ended up at the Walldorff Brewpub & Bistro in Hastings for St. Patrick's day lunch. That was probably the most tender corned beef I ever had. They also have a great beer called the State Street Oatmeal Stout. Lunch included potatoes, carrots, cabbage and raisin bread. This is my second visit and both have been great. I hope you had a meal as good! When it is not St. Patrick's day, try the wood fired pizza's or the slow roasted barbeque items like ribs, brisket or pulled pork. This is a full restaurant and brewpub with many beer choices along with sandwiches, appetizers, soups, fish and steaks. Check out more details in the guide.

Mar 16, 2009

St. Patrick's Day let's eat Irish food!

We have several Irish/English style pubs in the guide. Make sure you
Visit one tomorrow for some corned beef and maybe a guinness?? There
are at least five located in Kalamazoo area. One in Plainwell, one in
Saugatuck, one in Sawyer. There are some I have not yet reviewed
such as JR Mcgonigle's in Otsego and Mcgonigle's in Battle Creek.
Not to mention all the other places that go "Irish" for the day. I like
many of the brewpubs and Microbreweries. Olde Peninsula brewpub
has a special Irish menu for tomorrow. Check them out and have fun!!

Feb 23, 2009

New Addition to the Guide.

This new restaurant in Sawyer is a great addition to a great independent restaurant area along the shoreline. Fitzgerald's in downtown Sawyer is modeled after "Public Houses" or "pubs" as we know them from the British Isles. This one even has a feeling of a "speak easy" since you enter thru curtains. Great atmosphere with a nice menu. For lunch you can get the daily "pub roast" which varies in selection choices of beef, pork or turkey. They always have french onion soup. Also, try the fish & chips or the shepherd's pie. For dessert try the sticky toffee pudding. Great selection of Michigan microbrew beers and Michigan wines among others. Most are available by the glass. The knowledgeable bartender Carry can help with pairings if needed. For dinner you can still have the fish & chips and shepherd's pie or try the roasted chicken, country cassoulet (french) or cherry pork madeira. They make a strong effort to use local ingredients as much as possible. Many from local farmer's markets. Same desserts as well as some special things baked up by the inhouse baker (Carry again). I had warm from the oven apple turnovers the day I was there. They also have special events and live jazz music on Thursday evenings. Don't miss this one.

Feb 16, 2009

New Addition to the guide. I finally tried this place.

I finally tried this place after several people highly recommended it. Chinn-Chinn in Mattawan may be the best Asian restaurant I have experienced. I really like lettuce wraps, theirs are very good. My favorite chinese meal is Kung Pao Beef. They give you a choice for heat from 1-10. Their food is fantastic! My wife had the My Little Hibachi chicken which was flame broiled with pineapple soy glaze which she really liked. For dessert we had the homemade chocolate won tons. The place is small and you can expect to wait for a table, but it is worth the wait! If you like P. F. Chang's this is better. I would consider this a destination place worth the drive from anywhere in southwest Michigan. This restaurant is owned by the former Peking Palace people, but I think this is far better. Check the guide for details and hours.

Feb 2, 2009

New "made from scratch" place added in Plainwell

I like places where everything is made from scratch! If you feel the same way, you have to try Nancy's Kitchen Kafe in Plainwell next to Plainwell Ice Cream. Nancy started with catering and box lunches, however this last spring opened up a restaurant in the back. Small but nice. The prices are more than fair and the food is great! I had the the Cran-Turk Cheese for $6.75. This was a whole wheat wrap with real roasted turkey, cream cheese and some amazing cranberry chutney that Nancy found and will eventually run out of till next year. One of the best sandwiches I have had! I also warmed up with her Chicken Gumbo soup which was very good. She has a different homemade soup every day. Dinner specials are ever changing as well. For January it was Chicken and Dumplings every Thursday! This place also serves breakfast on Saturdays. Check the guide for more details, such as hours and web address.

Jan 21, 2009

New Addition, a 50's Style Diner in Kalamazoo

A new 50's style diner with great barbeque in Kalamazoo. Check out the Metro Diner & 411 Blues Club. We went on a Thursday evening around 8pm. The diner is in between a large bar and a smaller Blues Club. I had a great 1/2 rack of ribs with their homemade bbq sauce along with a baked potato and coleslaw for only $7. My wife had an omlet (served till 2am) with hashbrowns and toast for only $3.50. While we were eating the blues music started up next door which was open to us thru large cutouts so we could watch as well as listen. We had a couple of drinks and stayed till 10:30pm. Blues is Thursday-Sunday nights. Check the guide for more details. Great place...especially if you like barbeque and blues!