Tag Archives: nachos

Gladwin Menus

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It’s finally time for me to recap our Restaurant Impressions of our Michigan travels this past July when I felt like a kid again. A couple may be repeats from last year – but with a twist. And if you don’t live in Michigan or don’t plan on going anytime soon, please… stick with me these next couple weeks while I throw these posts in here and there.

You just may be inspired to do or make something!

Or you just might find our experiences funny.

Laugh if you want, but many people find my blog by searching for a menu of restaurants in Gladwin, Michigan. Why? Many restaurants in Gladwin County do not post their menus online. Some don’t even have a website or online presence! It seems sooooo 1980s. But it some ways, it’s refreshing. In other ways, it’s just darn annoying when you want to remember what you ate there or what was in a dish you had when you are trying to blog about it. {Oh wait, am I am the only one?}

But for those looking, you may have come to the right place today!

If you live in Gladwin, you can actually find a whole slew of menus in the local Buyers Guide!

Menu

While I tried to photograph as many menus as I could before ordering without being looked at too strangely, I felt like this guide was a good supplement to anything I may have missed.

And so we begin…

Mr. M’s.

Mr. M’s is a restaurant we visit at least once each time we are in Gladwin. The food is comforting. You can’t really go wrong. But their menu is HUGE!

Menu3Yeah. A bit hard to read in that photo of the Buyers Guide menu. Here are some closeup photos:

Although, for some reason, I didn’t take a photo of the pizza menu! We love the Mini Pizzas here. They remind me of the Personal Pan pizzas I’d get for free as a kid from Pizza Hut during the Book It! program. The crust and topping ratios are perfect. So is the size!

Finally got photos of those pizzas because I didn’t last year. However, I didn’t get a photo of that salad I love there because we didn’t go back this time. But I did find a description of the contents! It’s the Mr. M’s Chicken Signature. Yum!

Menu - M's Salad

And they have a nice pile of nachos!

Plug for the Gladwin County Carriage Festival! Woot! Woot!

Plug for the Gladwin County Carriage Festival! Woot! Woot!

Despite this note on the menu below, we don’t go to Mr. M’s for the drinks. Read more about why here from last year.

Mr M's Menu2We did stop for drink for fun one afternoon… on the bar side. Which also seems stuck in the 80s and still reeks of smoke despite the fact that smoking has been banned in restaurants in Michigan for a few years now. At the bar, I saw a sign that kind of confused me:

Pale-

Pale-o Beer?

With all of the Paleo-hype these days, I was thinking that this was a Paleo-friendly beer, which I did not know existed. And it actually sounded strange to me in a small town where you hardly even see things advertised as gluten-free. Then I realized what they were trying to advertise…

A PAIL o’ beer!

A bucket of five bottles of beer for just $10. It’s a deal, but it’s funny how a little spelling error can confuse little old moi. I told you that you’d see some funnies if you kept on reading!

Instead, I think we’ll cross the road for a beer

Which restaurant do you prefer to dine, but not really drink?

Cheers~
Carrie

Chino Latino – Minneapolis

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Trying to get my husband to Chino Latino is like {insert the most difficult thing you’ve ever done here}.

We’d only been there once before, but not for food. I remember walking in and it being packed and hard to push through the crowds to get near the bar. Despite this, it still felt like a pretentious poser hang-out. I don’t even think anyone in the group stopped to get a drink. We just walked around the place (or squished our way through) and left to find another hotspot in Uptown.

But I still wanted to try the food.

When I saw a Groupon offer for Chino Latino, I knew it was the only chance that I could get Rob there. He hates crowded places and any place where you have to stand and wait. As we neared the Groupon’s expiration date (for the discounted value), I chose a beautiful Sunday afternoon this past Aguust to take drag my husband there. I figured that this would be a “safe” time to go.

Other people have told me that the portion sizes here are tiny and that food is only mediocre. So we went in expecting this. Still, the menu really intrigued me:

Street Food from the Hot Zones

I mean, who has heard of that before? From their website:

Chino Latino serves Street Food from the Hot Zones – the tropical belt that extends from the Caribbean to the Americas to Polynesia, on to Southeast Asia, India, Africa and back again. There’s no fusion cooking here. What unites our offerings is the power of their flavors, the emphasis on freshness and their embrace of ingredients and cooking styles common to the Hot Zones.

Uh… yeah. Sounds like my kinda place. Flavor, flavor, flavor!

We walked in to find the place was lit like we were in a nightclub – on a Sunday afternoon. {You’ll see below by the hues of the photos!} We sat at the bar, which we tend to do when it’s just the two of us, making sure we could use our Groupon there. We’ve never had a problem, but it’s always good to check. The restrictions read:

Limit 1 per person, may buy 1 additional as a gift. Limit 1 per table. Valid only for option purchased. Dine-in only. Not valid for happy hour. Bar Abliene option not valid on weekends; valid only for food. Bryant Lake Bowl option not valid for tickets.

The manager said that we could only use it for food. This Groupon included a list of Uptown Restaurants to choose from including Bar Abilene and Bryant Lake Bowl. Wouldn’t you get the impression with the semi-colon above that the “valid only for food” portion was just for Bar Abilene? Whatever. We had a late lunch, so I wasn’t sure we could spend $30 on all food. We definitely had to over-order. I was secretly hoping that the portion sizes were indeed as small as everyone claimed them to be!

Despite the fact that drinks were not included in our Groupon, we couldn’t pass them up:

cap

CRACK HO MOJITO – Don Q Limon rum, blackberry, raspberry & passion fruit purees – $13

This was one of the best mojitos I’ve ever had! The viles of purées were a fun little novelty and the twist that probably justifies the fact that it’s a $13 drink. Honestly, though, I tried the mojito by itself first without the purées and it didn’t need them at all! I did order a classic mojito afterward, not even realizing it was $10. Is that high? I feel like it is.

Rob’s drink:

crispin

Crispin Hard Apple Cider with sake yeast & organic rice syrup

We aren’t fans of Crispin Hard Cider in general. However, the sake aspect intrigued Rob. After he tasted it, he described it as “Cloudy, tasteless yeast beasties in a bottle.”

As for the food… We just  had to start with the following for an appetizer because Kat once recommended it:

pp

Popocatepe – fries erupting with black beans, queso fresco, guacamole, chile de arbol and pico de gallo – $10

This appetizer was no small portion! We barely put a dent in it. Though, it was more my thing than Rob’s. I adore black beans, guacamole and fresh tomatoes. Though our top nachos {if you’d put this in that category} still remain at Beaverton Tavern in Gladwin, Michigan and The Public House in Las Vegas, Nevada!

Then for me:

skewers

Jerk Chicken Skewers – with mango salsa and screaming gringo sauce – $8

There is a really unique kick to these! When I couldn’t decide on a skewer, they were recommended by the bartender. Talk about flavor, baby!

And for Rob:

barba

Beef Barbacoa Taco – tender oaxacan style chile-braised beef topped with pickled jalapeno and cabbage – $4

I just asked Rob what he thought of this and it must not have been memorable because he said, “No clue.” Although we did have an excellent takeout $1.75 barbacoa taco this week, so he probably had thoughts of that. Or maybe he just can’t think past this:

queso fun

Queso Fundido with Chorizo – molten cheese with sauteed mushrooms, pico de gallo, chile de arbol and chips – $15

Rob sent those chips swimming:

swimming

Rob’s chips taking a dip…

on the plate

…until they ended up on his plate.

Rob’s comment:

“I want this every day for the rest of my life.”

Okay, so I wouldn’t go that far. I personally preferred the fundido that we had at T & T in Las Vegas. But it doesn’t matter. It’s going to take my husband back to Chino Latino. That’s a win for me.

And as for the portion sizes… It depends on what you get. If you order a couple of the $4 tacos or one order of $8 skewers, you’ll be disappointed. My recommendation: Get a bunch of different things and split amongst a group.

What restaurant or food were you reluctant to try, but then fell in love with once you did?

P.S. Don’t forget to enter yesterday’s giveaway!

Cheers~
Carrie

Piper’s Pub – Gladwin, MI

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If you aren’t from Michigan, please stick with me anyway on this one!

You still may learn a thing or two from this Restaurant Impression

Piper’s Pub hasn’t always been around since I’ve been going back to Michigan to visit Rob’s (and now my!) family. When it landed on the map, we were excited to have another option for dining out and supporting the local economy in Gladwin! We do go there about once a year now.

That being said, I really don’t know if I have a whole lot to say about it. We dined there twice this trip, but I didn’t take any photos. One of the reasons I recount our dining experiences on this blog is so that when we go back, I know what I adored and will satisfy me if I order again and what really wasn’t worth it. There really is no use in making the same mistake twice! I’ve done that more than my fair share of times.

But looking back, I wish I would have taken more notes this trip. I really only have a few and will share with you what I remember. But having an experience that isn’t really memorable is, perhaps, a little telling in and of itself.

I’m still looking for something I really enjoy at Piper’s Pub.

Overall, I have not been impressed with the food I’ve tried here. But I’m always willing to support a local joint, so we will keep returning in search of something new. I regret not taking a photo of the menu, because like Mr. M’s, there is no menu online. However, there is one thing that I do love here:

The fries.

The golden, crispy, well-seasoned, perfectly-potato-y fries at Piper’s Pub are exceptional.

We will get them every time.

Bleus Burger

I believe that is what they call their blue cheeseburger. {More notes, Carrie, more notes!} It’s a burger on a ciabatta {Yum! Okay, extra points for that one!} smothered with a blue cheese sauce. Rob adores this burger, so we split one on a visit when we both knew we needed lunch, but weren’t particularly famished.

Can I just say how much I love ciabatta bread, especially for a burger?! The blue cheese sauce was uberflavorful, too, but not enough to cover up the flavor of the meat. While Rob, the burger guru, didn’t notice it at all, I thought the meat tasted weird. I ended up not eating the rest of the meat, just my half of the ciabatta bun smothered in blue sauce and fries. I know. Healthy lunch, right? In any case, I don’t know if it was the meat that was “off” or just me. Freezer burn, maybe?

Nachos

I’m not sure why on our second visit to Piper’s later in our vacation, I was in a nachos kind of mood. I mean we just had our fill earlier in the week at the Beaverton Tavern. Rob and I decided to split an order.

What were we thinking!!!? 

After having the most delectable nachos at the BT, why would we order them anywhere else on vacation, just days later? The downfalls of the nachos at Pipers:

  1. They used the cheap, almost-stale chips out of a bag. {Think generic brand of Tostitos.} Maybe I just have had too many a tortilla chip in my day, that I know the good ones.
  2. They were huge. {Okay, so I agree. This is a problem with most plates of nachos. So, it’s not a huge offense here.} 
  3. The toppings were piled in the middle and it took us forever just to get to the meat. {Maybe that’s why the size of the nachos was more troublesome.}

Even though the nachos weren’t good, I kept eating them in hopes that I’d get to the “good stuff.” It never happened. *Sigh*

Fried Green Beans

Like Mr. M’s {and many other dining establishments in Michigan for that matter}, Piper’s has their own version of Fried Green Beans – in an onion batter. They tasted just fine. But by this time on our vacation, I was thinking, “Oy with the fried food already!”

Other Food

When we dined with friends they said that they wings  were good, but the sauces are better at Buffalo Wild Wings. Our friend that only likes coleslaw at KFC, enjoyed it at Piper’s. Everyone else seemed to be “fine” with their food.

Beer

The folks at Piper’s seem to pride themselves with the fact that they have the “coldest beer in town”. How do they know? Do they check the temperatures of the refrigeration at all other establishments serving beer and go one degree lower?

If you are a beer snob, like I am, you know that many beers are served too cold. Chill a beer too much and it’ll lose its flavor. {But maybe that’s the point with a light beer?} But, yes, I get it. On a hot day, a nice cold beverage just sounds refreshing.

Piper’s doesn’t have much on tap. For specialties, we find our usual Bell’s Oberon this time of year and that’s about it. However, I will commend them for their bottled beer selection. Rob likes to order the Dirty Bastard Scotch Style Ale from Founders Brewing Company out of Grand Rapids, Michigan:

My mission next year at Piper’s? To find something healthy on their menu that I really like. They do have salads listed but I fear chunky iceberg lettuce and mealy tomatoes. But I’m determined!

Do you have a go-to dish at a particular restaurant?

What do you do when a menu has limited healthy options?

Cheers~
Carrie

Beaverton Tavern – Beaverton, MI

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Who would have guessed that when traveling in Michigan, you can get some of the best-tasting Mexican food in a little tavern in a small town?

I’m using the term “Mexican food” loosely because frankly, in the Midwest, you don’t often find authentic Mexican food, even in many restaurants owned and operated by Mexicans. And I don’t think Tex-Mex is quite accurate as a label either. I’m reading a cookbook titled The Homesick Texan thanks to Kat. By what I’m learning, I don’t think we can truly call all Mexican-American food Tex-Mex. The flavors and cooking techniques in Tex-Mex cuisine are a specialty all their own.

In general, Midwesterners make their Mexican food a little more simply. And while I do like spicy food {hey, this blog isn’t called Season It Already! for nothing}, “Minnesota Spicy” is something quite different. It’s used to refer to mildly spicy food that Minnesotas tend to think are SPICY. Now, I didn’t grow up in this state, but over the years, I’ve come to learn that if spice is on a 5-point scale where 1 = mild, 3 = medium and 5 = hot; Minnesota spicy would probably be equal to a 1.5. 😉 Minnesotans, do I have that one right?

I digress.

This post isn’t about spice or Minnesota.

It’s about nachos… in Michigan.

Nachos have become an American staple in any bar-and-grill-type restaurant in the United States. Wouldn’t you agree? They have evolved into a type of food that has become almost as classically American as a hot dog. {Don’t you see nachos on the menu at every baseball game?}

In any case, every time we go to back to Michigan to visit friends and family, we have to go the The Beaverton Tavern.  We affectionately call it “The BT”. {I have no idea if locals call it this, but we do!}. And we nearly always order the same thing:

Shredded Beef Nachos

Oh how I wish that my pictures turned out better here… But it’s a little dark inside. {Have you ever been in a brightly lit tavern? I didn’t think so.} And apparently I didn’t have my flash on, nor was I paying attention. I was probably too anxious to eat the dang things. You’ll just have to take my word on this one:

These nachos are perfect.

I am not sure that I have ever had better!  No wonder they were voted Mid-Michigan’s Best Nachos & Burritos by WNEM TV 5 Viewers.

The topping-to-tortilla chip ratio is unmatched. I even think nacho guru Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats would approve.

They use real cheese. When it comes to nachos, Rob and I disagree on this one: real cheese vs. cheese sauce. I’m a Wisconsin girl, so I want the real, melty thing. Plus, it’s just better quality! And while Rob argues that the cheese sauce is better and makes true nachos, somehow he can overlook this at The BT. Otherwise, he’d order something else, right? And usually, he won’t share these nachoswith me. But I talked him into it this time around.

Here’s how:

On my very first visit to The BT back in 2004, not knowing about the nacho perfection, I ordered this:

Puerco Flautas: Shredded pork & cheese in flour tortillas, deep fried, covered with a sour cream sauce and served with picante rice & refried beans

Um yeah. There really is nothing healthy going on here, but oh-so-good. That’s why, on this visit, I convinced Rob to split it with me. {Or actually, I ended up having only a couple of bites and he stole the rest… At least he shared the nachos!} It was at the end of that meal that we agreed that all future annual visits will require the splitting of the puerco flautas and the shredded beef nachos at The BT. You know, big life-altering plans and such. I still wonder how they make and keep their shredded pork and beef so juicy! {Maybe I don’t want to know. Naiveté does have its virtues.}

Here’s just another note on Mexican food in Michigan restaurants. You can laugh at me all you want, but I had never heard of the term “Wet Burrito” until I came to Michigan. But they are a common menu item at restaurants I’ve visited throughout the state!

While I assumed that a wet burrito is one that is smothered with a sauce like an enchilada, it wasn’t until I started writing this post that I actually looked it up to be sure. 😉

And one last, completely unrelated sidebar about The BT: They have excellent croutons. My father-in-law likes to ask for an extra side dish of these highly seasoned, saturated pieces of crunchy goodness.

Where have you found the best nachos?

What’s your preference on nachos – real cheese or cheese sauce?

Cheers~
Carrie