Monthly Archives: October 2015

FIVE REASONS B SPOT IS STILL THE BEST

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1. Sauces: Plenty of choice and one of these sauces is just what you are looking for to dress your burger or your fries.

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2. Michael Symon’s New Cookbook: Five in Five for every Season. The new cookbook features quick meals with five ingredients ready in 5 minutes of cooking, organized according to the season. You can get a peak when you stop in for burgers, brats, beer or more. They are on display by the hostess station.

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3. Fries: These are so good. I like mine with no rosemary. I call them the most delicious fries anywhere.

4. Burgers: The burgers taste amazing, juicy and cooked just the way you like them. The beef blend: short ribs, sirloin and brisket. Lots of choices for condiments and add-ons. I like mine plain or with cheese.

5. Outside comes inside: When weather allows, the small space in Royal Oak opens up to the out-of-doors. Last week, fresh fall breeze made my eating experience at B Spot one of the best ever!

Locals, if you haven’t been there in a while, now might be the time. B Spot is also in Rochester. The rest of you can dream of B Spot coming to your town.

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SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE AND WOLF HAVEN INTERNATIONAL

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Smithsonian Magazine October 2015
Volume 46, Number 6
“Shades of Gray” p. 56
Photographs by Annie Marie Musselman
Text by John Vaillant
Smithsonian.com

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Photographer Annie Musselman’s photos of wolves in the essay “Shades of Gray” grab the eye, the mind, the heart; they are intensely interesting. The feature written by Vaillant focuses on Wolf Haven International, a sanctuary in Washington State. This organization rescues captive-born wolves once belonging to breeders, perhaps roadside zoos or some other situation that became untenable. Sometimes abused or neglected, these wolves now need a home and care.

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Canids, especially domesticated dogs, enjoy a close connection to humans. This may explain the intense feelings wolves arouse in humans. To me, her photos of the strong expressions on the wolves’ faces show ambivalence toward humans and the sanctuary environment. Certainly they are alert to their surroundings.

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Vaillant writes “…the wolf functions as a kind of companion consciousness, a wild and stealthy cousin so different from us in appearance and yet so like us in character.” Interestingly, and to my surprise, a human cousin of mine who lives in Washington State is President of the Board of Directors of Wolf Haven. John drew my attention to this article. I’m so glad he did so. See more photos at the Wolf Haven website http://wolfhaven.org/ and at Smithsonian.com/wolf

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This past week-end I visited the Detroit Zoo where there is a fairly new wolf exhibit. The wolves I viewed were mostly quiet on this sunny afternoon.

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One approached the glass enclosure, seemingly obvious to the people staring at her until the last moment when she turned her head at an odd angle.

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Wolves once ranged across much of our country and while the Smithsonian essay calls wolves a close link to prehistoric humans, they are clearly an important part of life in the history of our land. Today, they are seldom without controversy and their numbers in the United States are much reduced when compared to the past.

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This issue of the magazine has many interesting articles including, but not limited to a feature on Ernest Hemingway and ancient discoveries in Egypt. I highly recommend it. You can follow Smithsonian Magazine on Facebook.

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POSTCARDS FROM PETOSKEY

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Petoskey is my new favorite city, lovely place to spend an afternoon or two or three or more. A picturesque view of the bay perks up one’s spirits even on a blustery afternoon. Alas, on the chilly grey afternoon I visited and with my camera phone, I don’t have any pictures of the bay to share with you, except the view at the Twisted Olive.

Back to the Twisted Olive later.

First a visit to McLean and Eakin. Is this the best bookstore ever?

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Don’t miss the red door. It’s the way in and a red door gets me every time!

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How’s this for a comfy place to pour over the cookbook selection?

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The choices here are awesome! Yes, I bought The Secret Chord (and several others). Geraldine Brooks is my favorite author and this book is very recently released.

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What an offering of Michigan books!

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Halloween is just around the corner.

I have featured McLean and Eakin previously on this blog, June, 2013 and June 2015 if you wish to check the archives.

To my absolute joy, I discovered Twisted Olive is located downtown right behind the bookstore. I popped in for lunch of course. A 3 oz wine pour started my leisurely lunch with time to peek at the books I had purchased. The sauvignon blanc was fine indeed.

Then, um yum sweet potato soup, so creamy and flavorful. Yes, I dip my bread in the soup.

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And this same best-ever bread held a white fish sandwich, incredibly fresh with crispy edges. The spread made it even better. Fresh whitefish, perfectly cook is something worth driving across the country to eat. Orzo salad was a perfect accompaniment.

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My pictures do not do this food justice. Even though it may appear to be squishy white bread, it is not. The texture was perfection and the taste perfect for fish.

Ok. I posted about this restaurant on the food page last June after my first visit. Since the post is not longer available, let me see if I can give you a shortened version of that post, so you can understand something about the food and atmosphere at Twisted Olive.

The title Small Space, Big Flavor headed the post. Here are some excerpts.

Friendly greeting, professional service and terrific food add up to a memorable meal. (And so it was on this most recent visit.)

Walk in through the patio, the front door, past the hostess stand, the bar and into the dining room. Your table includes a panoramic view of the garden and Lake Michigan. The space may be small but it is luxurious.

The menu holds many interesting combinations. If I’m not mistaken there are different menus for different times of the day. You will find more information at the website: www. twisted-olive.com and you can follow the restaurant on Facebook and Twitter.

I loved watching the chefs at work in the open kitchen. And in October I add this: They work magic in that small space.

I’ll finish up by saying there is an absolute joy in eating at this restaurant!

I leave reluctantly, but……

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I wouldn’t miss American Spoon and you shouldn’t either.

Purchases included: Cherry Berry Spoonfruit
Apricot Spoon Fruit
Fruit Perfect Sour Cherries for pie
Red Haven Peach Preserves
And a first time purchase, Ketchup, made without high fructose corn syrup.

Here are addresses and websites for these three businesses:

McLean and Eakin Booksellers
307 Lake Street Petoskey MI 49770
MCLEANANDEAKIN.COM
(mail order policy is great)

Twisted Olive
319 Bay Street Petoskey MI 49770
twisted-olive.com

American Spoon Foods
411 East Lake Street
Petoskey MI 49770
spoon.com
Easy ordering online and by phone.

Add these to your rolodex or whatever your modern version of such.

SCENES FROM THE NORTHERN LOWER PENINSULA

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Many of you are familiar with the children’s classic Town Mouse, Country Mouse by Jan Brett.

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This week I had the alluring opportunity to be a country mouse. Like town mouse and his wife in the story, I set off for the country and a visit to one of the most rural areas in MI, Presque Isle County in the Northern Lower Peninsula. I love the quiet countryside, not only the unique spots, the lovely fall color, but the feelings evoked by a less peopled part of the world. Country settles my heart.

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I watched the deer.

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I saw the work of the beaver and their newly built lodge far across the fen.

In nearby Rogers City there’s a park and concrete walkway along Lake Huron. Yes, the wind blustered, and it was cloudy with drizzle. (Seems to be the story of my fall travels.)

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Water churned against the rocks.

Ocqueoc Falls, the place of the crooked river, showed us the most dazzling beauty of fall.

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Here we saw some of the best color in the area.

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I never missed the hustle and bustle of town. Country beauty is undeniable!

My thanks to author Jan Brett. I stole a few words from the mice visiting in the country. And thanks to the friends who provided lodging and a guided tour. My cup of gratitude is filled to the brim.

A MISTAKE! HERE’S WHAT’S HAPPENING

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FOUR entries were missed. I’m not sure how, or it would not have happened. So sorry, I was off traveling, somehow I missed all info. New comments must be approved and I did not see them. New readers who enter, please do not be discouraged from entering the next contest!!!

Here’s what will happen.
The announced winners stand and will receive a cookbook.

There will be another drawing of the entries not included in the first drawing. Two more cookbooks will be awarded. This gives those entries the same chance the first group had. (5 out of 10, 2 out of 4, well as close as I can figure anyway.)

Two new winners will be announced later today.

So sorry! Hope this never happens again.

OCTOBER COOKBOOK WINNERS

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Love these people. They enter readeatlive/blog contests. Thanks to all who entered!!

There is no contest and no blog without readers. This is a Thank-you to all readers!!!

Winners are:

Barb Dean, Michigan

Judy Dawson, Wisconson

Susan Field, Michigan

Susan Carter, California

Karen Oaks, Iowa

Cookbooks should be in the mail in a couple of days.

WIN A COOKBOOK

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YOU CAN WIN A COOKBOOK!

This month I’m giving away five slightly used cookbooks. You can win one.

Please enter by commenting on this post. Click on Replies and you are in business. Please respond by naming your favorite category of recipes or just comment on cookbooks in a way that makes sense to you.

This time the contest will run for only three days. So entries will close Wednesday at midnight. Winning names are drawn from all entries.

Winners will be announced as soon as possible and winners’ cookbooks will be in the mail as soon as I can manage it. (My schedule is uncertain this week) I promise you will not have long to wait.

Please comment! The more the merrier!! Do enter! You may a winner!!!