Tag Archives: onion rings

Cherry Wheat!

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Oh how we love sipping on a little Sam Adams Cherry Wheat on tap when we go back to Michigan in the summer! If you are lucky, they’ll put a maraschino cherry or two in the bottom of the glass, too.

018You are probably surprised that I’m drinking a mass-produced beer like Sam Adams. Additionally, it’s not local. And when I’m vacation, I do like to drink local beers. Still, we never find this glorious, glorious beer on tap in Minnesota. So that got us to thinking…

WHY IS THAT?

We find Cherry Wheat on tap many places where we dine in Mid-Michigan. Hmm…

Then, we picked up a six-pack of the to sip on while out on the lake later that week. And we read this on the bottle neck:

Cherry Wheat

So THAT’S why. Using Michigan cherries has to be the reason it is distributed widely in Michigan. Oh, if only, they’d send those kegs just a little bit further west to us… I often forget about buying it in the bottle at home. But tap is so much better anyway.

One of the places where I nearly always order a Cherry Wheat is at the Riverwalk in Gladwin. The Riverwalk is a bit of a higher-end restaurant for the town. And it’s also one of the few places in Gladwin that has an online presence and posts their menu.

One menu that surprised me this year was their Under 500 Calorie Menu!

Riverwalk under 500

While I do appreciate menus like this in any restaurant, I didn’t order from it the duration of the trip. I guess I was just in the mood for other items. And it seemed that the Riverwalk Salad that I loved so dearly in the past was no longer on the menu! {Cue sad face.} But I do like that there is a map of Michigan next to the items that are considered “Pure Michigan.”

Riverwalk

There were some new apps on the menu that intrigued us this year. As Rob is a fan of onion rings, he ordered the Onion Tower:

ONION RING TOWER $8.99 A tower of Beer Battered, Hand Cut Onion Rings served with Signature Sauce.

ONION RING TOWER – $8.99
A tower of Beer Battered, Hand Cut Onion Rings served with Signature Sauce

No, no no. Nine dollars for seven mediocre onion rings is even an abomination in Mpls-St. Paul, where prices tend to be higher. These should have been a TOWER or an The Best Onion Rings Ever. This wasn’t the case. No way would he ever order these again. But we did find an app that we loved:

PRETZEL POPPERS $6.99 Cheddar Cheese Stuffed Pretzel Bites served with Signature Sauce.

PRETZEL POPPERS – $6.99
Cheddar Cheese Stuffed Pretzel Bites served with Signature Sauce

These are genius! This is actually what they should be serving at baseball games {if they aren’t already}! That way, people aren’t trying to juggle their containers of pretzels with cheese sauce and their beers beer while making their way across laps to their seats. When we brought Rob’s parents back to the Riverwalk, we had to get them an order. The dipping sauce is really good, too, but unnecessary. These bites are perfection by themselves.

I’ve never ever seen Rob order potato soup in my life; but he did at lunch and loved it:

Whats the soup of the day joke SOUP DU JOUR CUP $2.99

SOUP DU JOUR (cup) – $2.99

“Soup du Jour” always reminds me of this clip from Dumb and Dumber:

Oh how hard it is to watch that after watching marathons of Newsroom starring Jeff Daniels!

Anyway, there was a special one day and it sounded like it’d hit the spot:

Caesar

Buffalo Chicken Caesar Pizza

This pizza/flatbread {they may have called it a flatbread} was near perfect. The cucumbers, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese with the Caesar dressing and hot sauce just made a great combination. The crust was good, too. The only downfall about this pizza is that reheating is difficult with that romaine lettuce. But is there really a way around that? If you have never had anything like this, I’d highly suggest you attempt to make a version. Biz, do you want to give it a go?! I think it’d be up your alley!

And of course, the Pretzel Burger that won my heart over during last year’s visit is always a satisfying option at the Riverwalk.

Jumping back to the title of this post, I’d say that in some ways Cherry Wheat = Summer for me. Maybe because I’m only drink it on vacation… 😉

Is there a beer or beverage that = summer for you?

What is your favorite one-bite food?

Cheers!~
Carrie

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BBQ – A Confession

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I have a confession to make….

I don’t like barbecue sauce.

I know. Gasp. I live in America. For many Americans, it’s the essence of summer. {Although I’m not feeling very summerish around these parts with snow in May.} And since I write a blog titled Season It Already!, you’d think I’d have the best sauce to recommend!

I could blame it on the fact that I didn’t grow up with it. Our cookouts included hamburgers, hotdogs, potato chips and potato or noodle salad. If we were really lucky, we’d have a yummy steak on the grill.

But that probably isn’t why I don’t like barbecue sauce. I mean, my brother, who grew up in the same household as I did, loves it. And there are plenty of things that I didn’t really grow up eating that I adore now: asparagus, spinach, shrimp, scallops and black beans, just to name a few.

I’d  rather have a burger or fried chicken any day over barbecued chicken, barbecue pulled pork or baby back ribs slathered in the sauce. I don’t detest the stuff completely. I just choose not to order or eat it. I guess it’s kind of like me and ketchup. And that I loved as a kid, but I rarely use it now.

So when pondering why I don’t like the stuff I came up with the following:

  • It’s often too sweet.
  • If not, it’s too tangy. {Likewise, I prefer my cucumbers plain rather than marinated in that vinegary concoction people seem to love.}
  • I don’t like the smokiness. {I don’t like smoky flavors in general. Okay, now I’m really wondering if the title of my blog is appropriate.}

All of that being said…

I found one that I really enjoyed last weekend!

We were lucky to be visiting some friends in Charlotte, North Carolina. Immediately after picking us up from the airport Thursday evening, they took us to one their favorite barbecue joints: Mac’s Speed Shop – Beer, Bikes and BBQ.

First, Rob fell in love with the beer list.

Mac's

Mac’s Speed Shop Draft Beer List – April 2013

While he sipped some beers that he’s never/rarely been able to enjoy on tap {i.e Southern Tier Crème Brûlée Stout!}, I stuck to trying the local ones. {Little did I know that we’d be checking out some of these breweries throughout the weekend! More on that to come.}

While the rest of the crew ordered Pulled Pork BBQ, I chose the Beer Can Chicken:

bEER cAN

Beer Can Chicken (1/4) with collard greens, mac & cheese and Texas toast

This chicken was moist and juicy. I loved it! The sauce on the side was the VTX Chipotle. I chose it because it was said to be spicy, but it was still too smoky for me. The collard greens and mac and cheese here were just an afterthought compared to that perfect chicken.

Little did I know, the Pulled Pork BBQ didn’t actually come with any barbecue sauce on it. Apparently, in Carolina, they like to cook their meats low and slow to infuse a smokiness into the meat and the sauce is added later. If only this photo would have turned out a little clearer. I was more focused on visiting and catching up with our friends than taking stellar photos.

Pulled pork

Pulled Pork BBQ with onion rings, mac & cheese and Texas toast

The pulled pork was excellent. It reminded me of a great one that we get at Costco, but better, of course, because it was just cooked. This is a bit of smokiness that I don’t mind! {Are you confused yet?}

And that photo doesn’t depict the batter/breading on those onion rings well enough. My husband knows that I’m not a fan of onion rings. He always wants me to try his and I decline. They just aren’t worth it to me. I love onions, but I want to taste onion, not just batter with something slimy in the middle.

But I grabbed one of these onion rings off of his plate.

Why? Because you could see the spices in the batter! It looked really good – like the coating on good fried chicken {which he has never had, so he doesn’t know what he is missing!} And that is exactly what these tasted like! These are onion rings I would not only eat, but I would order.

Then there was an accompaniment of sauces on the table that you could pour onto your meat. I tried a couple, and found one that I liked so much that I dumped more and more on my plate for which to dip my chicken!

Mac's

This Carolina BBQ Sauce has won me over!

I texted that photo to my friend Jen, and knowing full well my disdain for the sauce, her response was, “There’s hope for you yet!”

What makes it Carolina BBQ sauce and why I liked it, I have no idea. Okay, so I have some idea. When I google “Carolina BBQ sauce”, it appears that the Carolina stuff is mustard and vinegar based as opposed to many ketchup and molasses based sauces.

However, one of the other sauces we tried at Mac’s was the SC Mustard Sauce, which was very different and much more mustardy. So now I’m a little confuzzled. I think what I liked about this sauce was not only that it was balanced {not too sweet, not too tangy}, but also that it had a little kick at the end! {Or maybe it was just all ambiance and the fact that I was in Carolina!}

I was so turned around by that sauce that while we were out shopping one day around Charlotte, our friend Brendan pointed out this sauce and said that if we are going to take one back with us, we needed to get this one:

I bought a bottle of bbq sauce!

And so I did. Jaw dropping yet? This one looks like it will be different than the one I loved because it is sorghum-based, so I think it’ll be sweeter. Still, this Carolina trip opened my mind. I’m willing to try. When we cook with it, I’ll post the results! Aren’t you proud of me?!

Thanks, Tay and Brendan for a wonderful introduction to Charlotte!

What is your favorite BBQ Sauce?

The sharing of brands, styles and recipes is encouraged!

Cheers~
Carrie