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

We stopped in Hendersonville on our way from Chimney Rock to our cabin outside of Brevard. We had hoped to see the Aquarium & Shark Lab By Team ECCO, but they had closed at 4. Instead, we ended up at Brooks Tavern for an early dinner. We grabbed the table in the window and the bartender was quickly over to take our order.

Candied Bacon

Candied Bacon

To start my daughter and I insisted that we try the pint of candied bacon ($6.95). It is literally a pint glass full of thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon. And it was delicious!

Fried Chicken Sandwich

Fried Chicken Sandwich

I went with the southern fried chicken sandwich for my meal ($9.95 with a choice of side). This chicken breast is marinated in pickle juice for 24 hours, breaded, and fried golden. This was a really good chicken sandwich. It was served with pickles and I needed some mayo to complete the sandwich.

Turkey, Apple & Brie

Turkey, Apple & Brie

My wife enjoyed the turkey, apple, and brie sandwich ($10.95) served on grilled sourdough with cranberry relish and a caramel dipping sauce. Wow, this was good too! It’s a really great combination of flavors. Overall the food was great and our service was excellent!

After a few days in Asheville, we traveled down to Brevard for the rest of our stay. We took the scenic route and toured Chimney Rock State Park. But before climbing to the top of Chimney Rock we stopped for a light lunch at Hickory Nut Gorge Brewery. Right outside the entrance to the park, sits a number of small shops and restaurants. The brewery is right there off of the main road through town. Orders are placed at a window (though that might just be a COVID protocol). From there you grab a seat at any of a number of tables that overlook the Broad River. Food was quickly delivered to our table.

Pulled Pork Nachos

Pulled Pork Nachos

My wife and I split the pulled pork nachos topped with slow-smoked pork, bacon, beer cheese, sour cream, spring onions, and your choice of BBQ sauce ($12). These were delicious! The pork was well-flavored and combined well with the beer cheese and sauce. Our kids enjoyed the cheddar and mozzarella cheese quesadilla ($8) and the Bavarian pretzels with beer cheese ($7).

Beer With View

Beer With View

The beer was pretty good, the only IPA’s available during our visit were the English IPA and the Hazy IPA. I went with the English, and while not my preferred style, it was a good beer, malty and a bit of hops. But the view that I had while I enjoyed this beer was top-notch! The kids also enjoyed getting their feet wet in the river before and after their meals. So much that my wife and I were able to enjoy a second round of beers!

Our first vacation of the summer took us to the Asheville, North Carolina area. We have been to Asheville several times, most of the time as we were passing through on our way to the beach. This time Asheville was our main destination. While there we enjoyed lunch at White Duck Taco Shop, the River Arts District location.

Zorba & Jerk Chicken

Zorba & Jerk Chicken

I selected 2 different tacos for my lunch. The Zorba featured hummus, falafel, tzatziki, cucumber, pico, lettuce, and feta cheese. This was a solid vegetarian choice, and the falafel was great. My other taco was the jerk chicken with purple slaw and pineapple. The chicken tacos feature an entire whole chicken tender inside, which was really unique. The jerk seasoning was good and I liked the slaw a lot.

Queso & Chips

Queso & Chips

We all shared some queso and chips. The chips were a little smashed up, but the queso was really good.

Thai Peanut Chicken & Bangkok Shrimp

Thai Peanut Chicken & Bangkok Shrimp

My wife had the Thai peanut chicken taco with cabbage and tropical slaw and the Bangkok shrimp with cucumber and chili aioli sesame glaze. She seemed to really enjoy these choices.

Kids Taco

Kids Taco

My daughter had the jammin’ kids taco filled with beef, cheese, lettuce, pico, and crema. This was right up her alley! And since the tacos are all served double wrapped with corn tortillas, she ended up making two smaller tacos with the large amount of fillings.

Quesadilla

Quesadilla

My son was happy to hear that they would make him a plain cheese quesadilla. No complaints out of him and I’m glad they are able to accommodate even the pickiest eaters. Great food and wonderful service!

White Duck Taco Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

On our spring break ski trip to Boyne Mountain, our favorite spot to eat was easily Forty Acres Tavern. They are located slopeside at the base of the Hemlock lift. They had plenty of tables set up outside and the weather was ideal for this!

Entrance

Entrance

Happy hour runs 4-6 everyday but Friday and Saturday, featuring $5 craft beers. I recommend Petoskey Brewing Everett’s IPA.

Beer

Beer

As far as food goes, their fried chicken sandwich was very good. It a large panko fried breast topped with provolone, coleslaw, spicy pickles, and lemon sriracha aioli on a brioche bun ($17). Their onion rings are also very good.

Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

I would also recommend the loaded grilled cheese, which actually has cheese grilled to the outside and inside of the sandwich. It is stuffed with aged cheddar, provolone, feta, applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onion, avocado, and tomato aioli on Texas toast ($16). Their sweet potato fries are also very good and go well with this sandwich.

Loaded Grilled Cheese

Loaded Grilled Cheese

Our service was great. Prices are high, but as to be expected on the slopes. I would definitely go back for more!

The Fifty West Burger Bar has been our go-to spot recently. It’s a genius concept, especially during the pandemic. They have repurposed their sand volleyball courts to create socially distanced outdoor dining opportunities. This gives families with kids a great option so they kids can play in the sand while waiting for food orders, or for mom and dad to finish a bonus beer before departing.

Sand Volleyball Courts Repurposed

Sand Volleyball Courts Repurposed

The burger bar is a pretty simple concept. First select the burger, single house-ground patty for $6 or a double for $10. They also have beyond burgers for $9, organic grilled chicken for $7, or even a flat top beef hotdog for $4.50. From there you pick your style, ranging in price from free for the classic up to $2 extra for the Missouri or the Utah. All styles are names after states along U.S. Route 50 and feature flavors from each state.

Kansas Chicken

Kansas Chicken

On our first visit, I tried the Nevada with chicken ($8) which adds buffalo bleu cheese sauce, crispy onion straws, and pickle. My wife had the Kansas with chicken ($8.50) with smokey bbq, American cheese, bacon, coleslaw, and pickle. Both were great and on other visits, we have also enjoyed the Colorado with spicy green chile salsa, ghost pepper jack cheese, and jalapeno as well as the West Virginia with apple butter, American cheese, bacon, and carmelized onion.

Nevada Chicken

Nevada Chicken

Crinkle cut fries are served on the side ($2.50) and a side of their fry sauce can be added for 50 cents. Trust me and just go ahead and order the fry sauce!

Crinkle Cut Fries

Crinkle-Cut Fries

There is a kids menu ($5 each) with a burger, chicken sandwich, flattop dog, or chicken tenders. Our daughter also enjoyed the pita plate ($8) which has pita bread, carrots, celery, cucumber served with hummus, guacamole, and fresh corn salad. And she also loves their shakes (kids for $4, regular for $5).

Pita Plate

Pita Plate

While the weather is fantastic outside, be sure to stop by the Fifty West Burger Bar and enjoy some great food in a wonderful setting.

Fifty West Brewing Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I think my favorite restaurant experience during our recent Florida vacation was the New Pass Grill & Bait Shop. My family and I stopped in for lunch after a visit to the nearby Mote Aquarium. This is a great spot for outdoor dining, with a desk and beach overlooking Sarasota Bay. Orders are placed at the counter and your name is announced over the speaker when your order is ready for pickup.

Waterfront

Waterfront

My wife ordered the New Pass Stuffed Tomato with chicken salad ($9.99). Choice of homemade chicken or tuna salad stuffed in a fresh ripe tomato served on a bed of lettuce, onions, pickles, and greek peppers. Once you start slicing this up, it is essentially a salad topped with chicken salad. The chicken salad was tasty and no dressing was required for the salad.

New Pass Stuffed Tomato

New Pass Stuffed Tomato

I ordered the chicken salad sub ($8.99) and onion rings ($4.99). As you can see in my photos, the servings are plentiful! The sub was really good, and again a quality traditional chicken salad with celery and mayo. Our kids enjoyed the grilled cheese with fries ($6.99).

Chicken Salad Sub

Chicken Salad Sub

The food at New Pass Grill & Bait Shop is simple, but serving sizes are large, and the view is spectacular. Worth a visit!

New Pass Grill & Bait Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

My family and I are spending some time in the beautiful Anna Maria Island, Florida weather while kids are doing their distance learning. The first house we stayed in was very close to Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe, which sits on the public Manatee Beach. We headed that way for breakfast our first morning on the island. Orders are placed at a window and a number given to place on any of the well-spaced out tables in the sand. The food comes quickly and is surprisingly good! So good we had lunch at the same spot later that same day.

Island Wrap

Island Wrap

For lunch, I ordered the Island Wrap with blackened chicken ($7.99). The wrap was packed with delicious blackened chicken and the chutney added some sweetness to compliment the spicy seasoning. I also ordered onion rings ($6.99) which seemed a little pricey upon ordering, but the serving size was so generous that it was enough for our entire family!

Onion Rings

Onion Rings

We also had carryout one other afternoon last week. This time I had a solid chicken salad wrap ($7.99) and sweet potato fries ($7.99). Again the serving of sweet potato fries was huge. These fries were more like curly chips, thinly spiral sliced potatoes. I didn’t like these as much as the onion rings, but the marshmallow dipping sauce was interesting. My wife liked the blackened fish tacos ($9.99) so much she ordered them both times. The kids were huge fans of the grilled cheese ($4.99) with fruit or fries. Overall the food was good, the service was fast, and their outdoor dining space is very nice!

Anna Maria Island Beach Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato