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

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!