Salted with Sharks

Archive for the ‘The Mess Deck’ Category

Near Beer, Cont’d: Frankfort Beer Week

In Agriculture, Calendar, Community Alert, Culture Bluffs, GOOD NEWS, On and off the Apron, Open Season, The Mess Deck on September 18, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Frankfort holds its first-ever Beer Week the second week of Hoptober, Monday through Saturday, celebrating our new deeply local beer scene (thank you, Stormcloud Brewing Company). More than a dozen restaurants will be participating, creating unique items just for this event, made with Michigan beer. Stormcloud will tap their annual Harvest Tripel, a Belgian-style libation made from fresh Empire Hops Farm hops; then at Saturday’s wrapup they’ll debut a Belgian-German Oktoberfest batch. On Tuesday come feast at Coho Café’s Beer Dinner with New Holland Brewing Company brews. On Thursday the 9th, the Garden Theater hosts The Michigan Beer Film, a documentary about Michigan’s geysering craft beer industry. Paul Starr, of “I’m a Beer Hound” fame, will be in Frankfort to provide three nights of beer-tasting instruction; you’ll learn how to drink beer with Michigan-made Mindo Chocolate, Hilltop Ice Cream, and locally smoked bacon. And if you’re all, “I make my own beer,” enter the homebrew competition. The winner gets a chance to use the Stormcloud facility, and the knowledge of brewmaster Brian Confer, to brew their beer and have it there on tap. Don’t forget to check out the selection of beer-related books and novelties across the street at Frankfort Bookstore. If you’re not from here, sign on for the Frankfort Beer Week Package at Harbor Lights Resort, including a welcome basket with a growler fill at Stormcloud. With Fall Fest activities taking place every weekend, Frankfort Beer Week is just one more reason to stick around, or get here, this October. http://www.facebook/fbwEmily Votruba


Bayview Grille Celebrates 4 Years on the Bay

In Culture Bluffs, On and off the Apron, The Mess Deck on May 20, 2014 at 10:08 am

By Ann Sinclair

Located on beautiful Betsie Bay in Frankfort, Bayview Grille has earned its reputation as a popular destination for great made-from-scratch home-style food and Michigan-made beers and wine. Located in the building that once housed Celia’s by the Bay, Bayview Grille is the pride and joy of Dale Evans and Jill Weide, both Michigan natives who, after spending 20 years in the hustle and bustle of Washington, DC, returned to their home state to seek a more relaxed and friendly lifestyle.

Part of Bayview Grille’s staff, from left: co-owner Dale Evans, Matthew Evans, co-owner Jill Weide, and Kadie Smith. Photo by Ann Sinclair

Part of Bayview Grille’s staff, from left: co-owner Dale Evans, Matthew Evans, co-owner Jill Weide, and Kadie Smith. Photo by Ann Sinclair

Since opening Bayview Grille in 2010, Dale, Jill and their staff have been learning how to best deliver their creations to their increasingly loyal customers. Both great amateur cooks, Dale and Jill were new to the food business. “Our customers and staff were great, and helped us develop our signature service, which emphasizes customer comfort and great food. Everyone who dines with us enjoys the fruits of the lessons we’ve learned,” Dale says.

Bayview smokes its own meats and poultry in the smoker that sits in front of the restaurant during the summer season. It makes its own jams, sauces, salad dressings and soups, including its popular corn and clam chowders. In addition, locally grown ingredients are used in its recipes whenever possible. Dale and Jill cook in their kitchen alongside some of Benzie County’s top talent. “Our staff is so pleased to be able to really cook from scratch and get away from simply opening a package or deep frying something that came in frozen,” Dale says. “They work hard to prepare fresh and delicious foods for our customers.”

During its first three years in the community, Bayview offered breakfast, lunch and dinner year-round. Now both Dale and Jill have decided to scale back their work hours so they have more time to enjoy northern Michigan. Starting this May, Bayview is open 7am to 4pm, focusing on breakfast and lunch.

“It’s the best breakfast on the Bay,” says Marilyn Maslo, a frequent morning customer. “Bayview serves organic coffee from Higher Grounds [the Traverse City–based coffee roaster], and prepares its Eggs Benedict for me with avocado instead of ham, all with homemade hollandaise sauce on a gluten-free bun. I can’t get that service anywhere else, and I love it!”

In addition to great breakfast offerings, like the popular beignet, a light, fritter-like pastry dusted with powdered sugar, Bayview is bringing back some of its exclusive lunch items, like the smoked turkey club made with house-smoked turkey, the smoked-turkey Reuben, and its unique grilled tuna sandwich. “We take fresh grilled yellow fin tuna, chop it, and mix it with our homemade sauce,” says Dale, “then serve it on a very special bread. It’s one of our most popular lunch items.” Innovative menu additions are on deck for June, Dale says. “We are excited to offer new foods that aren’t available elsewhere in northern Michigan.”

Also getting a fresh look will be Bayview’s cocktail, beer, and wine menu. “It’s been a bit of a secret that we have a liquor license, but those who know are definitely enjoying our offerings,” says Jill. A variation of their popular Bayview Bloody Mary, the “Crabby Mary” will feature a full crab claw as a garnish. “The claw is full of sweet meat, and it goes deliciously with our Bloody Mary. We think it will be a hit!” Jill says. And not to worry, Bayview will continue to offer a range of craft beers, Michigan wines, Spanish Sangria, Bud Light, and traditional mixed drinks. “If you enjoy it, we will do our best to provide it,” says Jill.

With all the great changes coming, Bayview Grille will continue to be the place to enjoy a hearty, healthy breakfast or lunch, or linger over an afternoon cocktail on their porch overlooking the bay on a warm day. Dale and Jill always strive to deliver something special to their guests. As Dale says, “Sometimes it takes a little longer, but our success shows that it’s worth it.”

Bayview Grille, 727 Main Street, Frankfort, (231) 352-8050. Open 7 days, 7 am to 4 pm.




Gourmet Community Dinners Taunt Winter Storms

In Agriculture, Calendar, The Mess Deck on February 4, 2014 at 6:28 pm

The Northern Michigan Culinary Arts Community makes a second attempt to kick off its community dinner series at Grow Benzie on Sunday, February 9 at 5 pm.

As with all NMCAC events, menus are volunteer-made from scratch and feature locally produced ingredients. Dinner is served at 5 and runs until everyone is fed or the food runs out. Your (suggested) donation of $8 goes toward NMCAC’s 2014 Culinary Scholarship fund for Benzie County students. But the real benefit is immediate: tasty, healthy, soul satisfying meals shared with friends and neighbors.

Join NMCAC at Grow Benzie’s building at 5885 Frankfort Highway (M-115) in Benzonia February 9, 25; March 9, 25; and April 8.

2014 NMCAC Winter Series

Wine and Song: Trina Hamlin Performs at Conundrum Café Aug. 16

In Calendar, Culture Bluffs, On and off the Apron, The Mess Deck on August 11, 2013 at 12:30 pm

On August 16, percussionist and harmonica player Trina Hamlin will fill the Conundrum Café with her passionate ballads and bluesy sounds. An hour prior to the 8 PM concert, St. Ambrose Cellars, known locally for their delicious meads, will be offering a tastings of their meads, red and white wines for $5. Tickets are available at Conundrum Café or Oryana’s Food Co-op for $15 and will be $20 the day of the concert. A variety of homemade desserts, as well as Hilltop ice cream will be available after the concert to complement the wines and melodies.— Sarah Parlette, Alert reporter and part of the summer team at the Conundrum Café

Conundrum Music Event

The May Farm: Greener Pastures

In Agriculture, Community Alert, Green Elbertians, On and off the Apron, The Mess Deck on August 5, 2013 at 11:17 pm

During my three years in Ithaca, New York (which must have one of the premier farmers’ markets in the country), I was spoiled by delicious organically raised dairy delivered to a porch around the block from where I lived every week, in addition to abundant options for nitrite-free, free-range, organic, pastured meats. When I first came to Benzie County and Elberta, I was encouraged by the Elberta Farmers’ Market and the variety of nearby local food producers. When I finally decided to make Elberta my home, the May Farm was a key factor. Knowing that I could find sustainably and humanely produced meat, dairy, and eggs within a couple of miles of my house made all the difference for me as I contemplated my decision. I think Paul May was actually one of the first Benzie people I talked to the winter after I bought my house in the Village. I didn’t even know any of my neighbors yet, but I knew I wanted to sign up for shares of some good wholesome food as soon as possible.

Seven years later, “community supported agriculture” is taking on a whole new meaning for me and for everyone who loves the May Farm and what they do. Paul May was recently diagnosed with bladder cancer. With treatments and surgery, the family is relying heavily on the help of friends, neighbors and customers to keep the farm running. To volunteer for a weekly farm chore shift or to pitch in at an upcoming work bee (August 10 & 17th from 10-12), call Sharron May at 352-3966. Or consider attending the Trinity Lutheran Church Praise Band Concert in the Park on August 27th. Dinner is at 6 pm, the concert starts at 7 pm and the proceeds will help offset medical expenses.

The following is a great article by Ann Sinclair that explains in some scientific detail exactly what’s special about Paul May’s grazing technique, and why it is truly revolutionary. It’s not the kind of farming you do if you want to get rich (not that many kinds of farming really are); it’s what you do when you’re thinking seven or more generations down the line and you want to do it right. As Annie writes, the May Farm’s work not only keeps the animals optimally healthy, it preserves and enhances the land—and that benefits us all. —Emily Votruba


11th Annual Solstice Festival on Saturday!

In Calendar, Culture Bluffs, E Beach, Kid Stuff, Open Season, The Mess Deck on June 20, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Elberta Solstice Festival 2013 Poster

Each June since 2002, the Elberta Solstice Festival has brought masses of people to this tiny village nestled amid the dune bluffs on the shores of the Betsie Bay and Lake Michigan for a free festival of local food, beer, games, crafts, and fantastic live music, all capped off with one of the best fireworks displays in the region. Benzie County’s beloved free music festival is family friendly, quirky, cutting edge, and ecologically minded, with some of the best bands, craft beverages and artisanal food around—as always, drinking water is available for free. This year we have all new acts, including the GRAND TRAVERSE PIPES AND DRUMS, DIRT NOIR, THE NORTHERN STARLETS VAUDEVILLE troupe, BLUE DIRT, MEDICINAL GROOVE, E MINOR, K. JONES & THE BENZIE PLAYBOYS, COUSIN CURTISS, and late at night, G SNACKS. The popular dunk tank (this year run jointly by the Benzie Democrats and Republicans—look for Sheriff Schendel, Ray Franz, and newly announced 101st District candidate Tom Stobie to get wet), the bounce house, bike trials, Gross Food Eating Contest, kids games and teen music pavilion will amuse you all day. Come for the incredible comestibles and tunes, and stay late into the beautiful bayside night for the awesome fireworks display. The little village that can is doing it again! 12 noon to 2 am, Saturday June 22nd, at Elberta’s Historic Waterfront Park on old M-168. See the full lineup, times, and map on the program below. Thanks to Jennifer Wilkins, Chip Marks, and Amanda Fast for their work on the 2nd annual festival program!

SolsticeFestProgram2013_Page_2 SolsticeFestProgram2013_Page_1

7 Questions for Stormcloud Brewing Company Kitchen Master John Snyder

In Culture Bluffs, GOOD NEWS, On and off the Apron, The Mess Deck on June 5, 2013 at 9:46 pm
John Snyder, chef, in the beer garden of the soon to be open Stormcloud Brewing Company

John Snyder, chef, in the beer garden of the soon to be open Stormcloud Brewing Company

1. So you’re the new chef at Stormcloud Brewing, and you’re a 1999 Kalamazoo College English major with a music minor. Does your cooking have a deep structure to it? And how does that relate to a universal grammar, if such exists, of breweries?

Well, I am heading up the Storm kitchen, though I don’t claim the title of chef— maybe sometime I’ll deserve that, just not yet. The structure of my cooking is a combination of influences I’ve gleaned through years of eating the good, the bad, and the ugly and reacting to what I’ve eaten. To me that means that I’ve tried to emulate different techniques, and spurn others. I am very interested in all kinds of different culinary kung fu.

As far as a universal grammar of brewery fare, Read the rest of this entry »

Petals & Perks: The Europification of Main Street Continues

In Culture Bluffs, On and off the Apron, The Mess Deck on May 29, 2013 at 9:48 am

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Alert reporter Chip Marks spoke with Chris and Victoria Mekas about their new combination coffee and flower shop, which opened for business May 15 in the old Java 429 spot on Main Street. Chip got this response and some great photos.

We took occupancy of the commercial space at 429 Main Street in January of 2013. Victoria has been wanting to open a flower shop in Frankfort for a few years, but there has not been any prime retail space available until this year. We received a phone call when the space became available. After pondering the pros and cons Read the rest of this entry »

Psst…Party at Juliet’s House

In Culture Bluffs, Kid Stuff, Lakeside Shakespeare, The Mess Deck on May 22, 2013 at 2:26 pm

By Emily Votruba

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On May 25 at 7 pm, Frankfort–Elberta’s very own Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre company will transform Oliver Art Center into the House of Capulet for “An Evening in Verona”—a fun theatrical party with a purpose.

Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door, which gets you local food and wine as well as entertainment. But just as important, says Amy Daniels-Moehle, Lakeside’s new director of community development, is that the company wants us all to get to know each other better. “They come every year and they’re here and gone so quickly. The rehearsals start in Chicago during the second week in June. They practice like crazy until they arrive July 20, they stay until August 2 and then they go back to their other jobs.”

Lakeside Shakespeare has been coming here every summer since 2003, just for us.

On May 15 the troupe Read the rest of this entry »

Next Thursday! Very Delicious Free Food!

In Calendar, Community Alert, GOOD NEWS, The Mess Deck on March 14, 2013 at 4:37 pm

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