Apr 28, 2012

Wood Fire Oven used for half the menu!

This place in downtown Dowagiac has great atmosphere. With high tin ceilings, exposed brick walls, curved large front windows, wood floor, open kitchen and art on the walls all giving the Wood Fire Italian Tratorria a great setting. None of that would matter if they couldn't follow it up with food to match. Well, they do. Starting with the bread plate offering three kinds of breads with dipping oil including the usual herbs to which they add balsamic vinaigrette. The wine selection is nice with a page dedicated to Italian whites and reds. We had the quattro formaggio(four cheese) pizza made in their open wood fire oven and we also split a pasta marinara. I added a homemade italian sausage link on the side. Both meals were fantastic. Just bursting with flavor and cooked perfectly. We had some very nice wine by the glass and would both drive the hour to get there anytime! They do offer desserts which we had no room for on this trip. Lots of salads, soups and antipasti. Several other pizzas are offered. They make handmade ravioli which I will try on my next visit. Over half of their offerings are cooked in the wood fire oven. Some other entrees include chicken cacciatore, pork tenderloin, oven roasted salmon or walleye and Italian pot roast. Oh, they also roast ribs in their wood fire oven. This place is fairly pricey but has such a variety and quality I think it is still a good value. Don't miss live music two or three nights a week. Check their website for details. Check the guide for more details and enjoy!

Apr 22, 2012

Italian food with an American flair

This downtown Hastings place is housed in a 100 year old building that used to house the local newspaper. High tin ceilings, brick walls and wood floors give this restaurant an impressive location and atmosphere. The Seasonal Grille is mostly Italian with an American flair. Opened in 2010 with lots of housemade dishes featuring local, seasonal ingredients. Justin Straube likes to change the menu 4-5 times a year. Nightly specials like the pork loin with mango sauce I had or the grilled chicken with citrus sauce my wife had are common. Justin's dad makes an appetizer with homemade andouille, italian sausage and meatballs. Full bar, pizza, sandwiches and seafood make this space complete. Oh, I almost forgot to mention the slice of "mile high" housemade chocolate cake we finished with while listening to live music. This is a very nice, casual place with great atmosphere and food. Check out the guide for more details.

Apr 17, 2012

History and TexMex

This place has a great atmosphere with artifacts from the Alamo. Engravings of Davy Crocket and Jim Bowie are displayed along with a cannon and a bowie knife. Neat pictures and historical decorations throughout make this New Buffalo TexMex place a neat experience. El Rancho Grande also has excellent food. The chips were some of the best I have had. The hot salsa was in my top three and the carne asada was so tender I would compare it to a new york strip steak instead of the skirt steak used. My meal also had very good rice and beans, guacamole, tortillas, roasted mexican onions and cheese quesadillas. Everything was great. My wife really liked her nachos as well. They also have all your usual favorites along with desserts, kids menu and a full bar featuring margaritas and a full line of Mexican beers. I can't wait to return and try the ribs, chili, mole or the bowie garlic chicken. Yes, they have menudo and another less familar soup called pozole which is pork and hominy. Check the guide for more details.