HighGrain Brewing is a welcome addition to our cities vast brewery options. My family and I arrived early on a Saturday. The inside space was rather spacious. We decided to sit at a high-top table near the bar.

Inside

Inside

A brunch menu was available, but my family was ready for lunch (also available). I ordered the grilled chicken sandwich with chipotle honey marinated grilled chicken, apple onion jam, herb goat cheese, bacon pickled red onion, and 80 Acres greens ($14 with fries). This was a very good sandwich and I especially loved the combination of the apple onion jam and herb goat cheese. It had a great and unique combination of flavors.

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

My wife had the veggie burger made with smoked cauliflower, carrots, onions, celery & shiitakes bonded with black beans & northern white beans on a brioche bun with herb aioli, romaine & pickled red onions ($11 with fries). She really enjoyed this house-made patty that was full of veggies rather than simply black beans.

Veggie Burger

Veggie Burger

Our kids enjoyed the cheeseburger ($6 with fries), as well as the beer cheese pretzels ($10), served with house-made Saison honey mustard and white American beer cheese. A wide variety of beer is available. I enjoyed the Titan, West Coast IPA, while my wife liked the Monarch, Juicy IPA. We look forward to a return visit soon.

My family and I recently visited our friends and old neighbors at their new home in Saline, Michigan. For lunch, we stopped in at the Salt Spring Brewery in downtown Saline, housed in a former historic church building.

Outside

Outside

To start our experience, I had a glass of their Cashmere Zeppelin IPA, brewed with 100% Michigan cashmere hops, giving a citrus fruit flavor, and overall a solid brew. The Ryepalicous IPA was also tasty.

Southern Style Pork Sandwich

Southern Style Pork Sandwich

For lunch, I ordered the southern-style pork sandwich with house-smoked pork shoulder, sharp cheddar, bread & butter pickles, stout BBQ sauce, and coleslaw on a challah bun ($13.50 with fries on the side). Overall this was pretty good, though I wish that the pork had more smoke flavor. The pickles were fantastic and their BBQ sauce was solid.

Michigan Chicken Sandwich

Michigan Chicken Sandwich

My wife had the Michigan chicken sandwich with a smoked chicken breast, crispy bacon, sweet pepper chutney, arugula, and chevre on a potato bun ($13.59 with fries). Overall I liked this sandwich better than the pork sandwich. The chicken was well seasoned and the chutney and creamy chevre complimented it well.

Salt Springs Brewery is well worth a visit with the entire family. Our kids enjoyed large servings from the kids’ menu included mac-n-cheese, cheese pizza, and cheeseburger ($7 each).

Salt Springs Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Happy New Year! Below is the list of cities that I visited in 2021 with at least one night spent in each place. We were able to travel more this year, mostly all through road trips. Michigan has quickly become one of our favorite destinations.

  • LaFollette, Tennessee *
  • Cincinnati, Ohio *
  • Holmes Beach, Florida
  • Williamstown, Kentucky *
  • Boyne Falls, Michigan *
  • Asheville, North Carolina
  • Penrose, North Carolina
  • Broad Ripple, Indiana
  • Frankenmuth, Michigan
  • Mackinaw City, Michigan
  • Munising, Michigan
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Santa Rosa Beach, Florida
  • Saline, Michigan
  • Oregon, Ohio
  • Portage, Michigan

* Those cities marked with an asterisk were visited multiple times on non-consecutive days.

See also: 20202019 | 2018 | 2017 | 201620152014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

The Oakley Kitchen Food Hall opened earlier this year. It houses eight different kitchens, a bar, a market, and a private event space in a former antique mall on Madison Road.

Mural

Mural

The first booth I visited was home to Loakley, a locally sourced and chef-driven concept from Chris Davis. They offer high-quality farm-to-table food and an ever-changing menu featuring classics with a modern twist.

Counter

Counter

Their BLT was very good and featured thick-sliced bacon with gem lettuce, tomato, and aioli on house focaccia bread ($12). The bread was light and fluffy and the other ingredients were of top quality and taste. I added a side of hand-cut fries with house ketchup ($5) which were also delicious. The serving was more than enough to share with another person or two, making the price tag not seem so high. Overall the food was great and I will definitely be back.

BLT & Fries

BLT & Fries

With the world slowly opening back up again, my wife and I had our first date night in a long while at Red Feather Kitchen. They claim to be an upscale casual dining experience, so pretty much anything goes. Some tables are white table cloth while others are not. Some customers were dressed more formally, while I was pretty casual. Reservations aren’t necessary on a weeknight but are available online.

Inside

Inside

We started with a wonderful dish of whipped ricotta served with grilled baguette slices. This was recommended by our server and it did not disappoint. It was served to our table quickly and was more than enough for two. The ricotta has some truffle oil and chives, but the ricotta itself really stood out to me.

Whipped Ricotta

Whipped Ricotta

My wife enjoyed some chicken tacos. These were each small in size, but five made up the serving so it was quite plentiful for the price. The shell itself was lightly fried to a bit off a puff. These were not very easy to pick up and eat without making a mess, more of a fork and knife taco.

Tacos

Tacos

I enjoyed the BBQ chicken sando with Alabama white BBQ, cheddar cheese curds, and onion straws. The $19 price tag was a little high for a sandwich that doesn’t include a side dish. However, with that said, I did enjoy the sandwich and the flavors it offered.

BBQ Chicken Sando

BBQ Chicken Sando

We also had a side of asparagus, but probably should have skipped this. At this point, we had more than enough food on the table and could not finish it all.

Asparagus

Asparagus

Red Feather is a good spot for a date night regardless of what the occasion. There is something on the menu for nearly every palate and at all different price levels.

Red Feather Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Continuing on our road trip through Michigan, our next stop was to see the Pictured Rock National Lakeshore. We stayed a couple of nights in a yurt and had a lovely time seeing the sights. We also enjoyed lunch at the Driftwood Deli in Munising.

Outside

Outside

One awesome thing about this deli is it is actually connected to the ByGeorge Brewing Co! They had an awesome patio where we were able to enjoy a couple of beers and some tasty food.

Chicken Bacon Panini

Chicken Bacon Panini

My wife had the chicken bacon panini topped with garlic aioli, spinach, aroma tomato, red onion, muenster, and mozzarella cheese on a ciabatta bun ($11). This was an outstanding sandwich and it was served with some housemade flavored pretzels and dip.

Hot Dog

Hot Dog

Our kids enjoyed the hot dog and the grilled cheese (both $7). These were nearly the same serving size as an adult sandwich, so plenty of food for the little ones.

Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese

I really enjoyed the chicken Milanese grinder, with breaded chicken, fresh mozzarella, tomato basil salad, arugula, and a lemon mayo sauce ($13). The Cuban bread was very tasty and pressed on the panini maker as well.

Chicken Milanese Grinder

Chicken Milanese Grinder

This was a wonderful stop after a busy morning of kayaking on Lake Superior. Highly recommended!

Continuing on with our tour of Michigan, our next stop was in Mackinaw City where we stayed the night and the next day toured Mackinac Island. While in the area we had dinner at Rusted Spoke Brewing. The parking lot was packed, but this is a pretty big place. We were told it would be a short wait for a table, and by the time we could order a couple of beers at the bar, our table was ready.

Inside

Inside

In addition to serving their own beers, they also serve a variety of other beers with a focus on the Michigan area. I enjoyed the Arbor Buzzsaw from Ann Arbor.

Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork

For dinner, I went with the pulled pork sandwich which is topped with BBQ sauce and crispy onions. Overall the serving size was small, especially for the $13.50 price tag. I would have appreciated an overflowing amount of pork. The smoky flavor was good though. And their onion rings were great!

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

My wife had the chicken pot pie, which was like nothing I have ever seen before. It wasn’t actually a pie at all. The traditional filling occupied the bottom of a bowl and it was topped with a few biscuits. The flavors were actually really good, but it was not at all what was expected. This was not a highlight of our trip but wasn’t necessarily bad either. It’s suitable for a fairly quick meal with your family.

Another adventure we had over the summer was through Michigan. The first stop of our trip was to Frankenmuth to allow the kids time to play at a water park, which was a hit. We didn’t spend a lot of time in the downtown Frankenmuth area, as it sort of reminded me of a German Gatlinburg. With that said we did spend some time seeing the historic Bavarian Inn and having lunch there at their Michigan on Main bar & grill.

Outside

Outside

The entire area of Frankenmuth was very busy when we arrived on Sunday, but it was pretty quiet and enjoyable the next day. We tried to get a table on the small patio of Michigan on Main, but it was one of few crowded things we ran into that day. So instead we sat at a booth in the mostly empty inside dining room.

Inside

Inside

If you didn’t already know, Frankenmuth is famous for its chicken dinners. I wanted to get a sample of this fried chicken and went with their chicken club sandwich ($13.50). This sandwich is topped with gouda, mixed greens, tomato, and a creamy basil pesto dressing served on a ciabatta bun. Overall a solid sandwich, though I’m not sure there was anything special about the chicken. Perhaps you have to order the family-style chicken dinner to get the full experience.

Chicken Club

Chicken Club

My wife enjoyed the Michigan southwestern style black bean burger topped with mixed greens, guacamole, corn & black bean salsa, and smoked gouda cheese on a pretzel bun ($13). This was a very good homemade burger. Both sandwiches are served with Michigan potato chips, or fries can be added for an upcharge.

Black Bean Burger

Black Bean Burger

Michigan on Main was a very pleasant dining experience. Also of note are the 18 beers on tap, something for everyone!

Michigan on Main Bar & Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Our last stop on our Asheville trip was to the Pisgah Inn, high on the Blue Ridge Parkway overlooking the Pisgah National Forest. I made a reservation for lunch, as currently reservations are required and accepted up to 30 days in advance. We arrived to a well-spaced dining room and a table in the middle waiting for us.

Monte Cristo

Monte Cristo

For lunch, I had the Monte Cristo sandwich with fries and a pickle ($13.95). The presentation was great with the sandwich cut into fourths and neatly arranged on the plate. No powdered sugar on this one, but orange marmalade is on the side for dipping. The sandwich was large and filling and I would easily order it again.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

My wife ordered the chicken pot pie ($16.50 with a choice of 2 sides). The pastry on top was amazingly rich and fluffy and the sauce was very rich. This is a must-order dish! Our kids enjoyed penne pasta and the burger ($7.50 with a choice of fruit, rice, fries, or vegetable). All of our food was good, our service was great, and the view was really amazing! Don’t miss this stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

View

View

Pisgah Inn Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We stopped into Big Mike’s in Brevard, NC for an early lunch during our trip to the Asheville area. We were the first customers of the day, but the quaint restaurant dining room quickly filled as our visit went on and a number of carryout orders were fulfilled.

Epic Knots

Epic Knots

My family and I started with an order of 12 epic knots ($8). These knots were so large that we should have just ordered 6 knots. That would be plenty for a family of four. The dough was tasty and cooked perfectly with plenty of cheese and garlic flavor on top. We were off to a good start.

Calzone

Calzone

I ordered a baked calzone stuffed with ricotta, romano, provolone, mozzarella, as well as peppers and onions ($12). This was gigantic! I think it was the size of a 10″ pizza folded in half and stuffed full. The flavor was good and the sauce tasted fresh and well seasoned. My wife enjoyed a very large salad ($6.50) and the spaghetti with garlic bread ($6) my daughter had from the kids’ menu was large enough for an adult. My point being that servings are large so come with a big appetite!

Big Mike's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato