Fall is upon us. Football is in full swing, school is in a routine, and the temperatures are starting to drop (I love sweatshirt weather). It’s my favorite season. Yet, Summer is great too. It’s a time to spend with the family. Since we didn’t go on a trip for our 16th anniversary, Wifey and I decided to get out alone more on “dates”. One of the places we decided to go to for an afternoon was Frankenmuth Michigan.
Frankenmuth holds a special place in my heart. A dark place. My best memory of Frankenmuth is beating their football team in a huge rivalry game as a senior in high school . . . and playing the Chicken Dance song. You see, I grew up near Frankenmuth (otherwise known as Chicken City). They were rivals. They hated us. We hated them. They looked down on us. We called them snobs. They called us hicks. We thought they might secretly be brilliantly disguised aliens with orders to take all of us prisoners and make us their pets. At least that’s what my teammates and I came up with.
It’s funny, you would think that time would erase those feelings. You know, time heals all wounds and such. It may heal wounds with those you are around every day, but those you don’t see anymore? Not so much. One of the things I have noticed being a teacher is that I remember my students as I had them. I get former students that come back to see me and I’m always impressed how they have grown and changed. Much like my former students, I still picture that town like I remember it. Just like in the glory days, the tourists are still lined up like sheep to take a picture of the glockenspiel. The year round Christmas store Bronner’s, and the restaurants Zehnder’s and The Bavarian Inn (hence the nick name Chicken City) are still the heart of the town. My son’s youth football team played Frankenmuth a few years ago and I think I was more pumped than they were!
Well, I found out much has changed in 21 years since I graduated high school. They had an art fair going on. They have a whole new outdoor mall area with some interesting shops (Grand Traverse Distillery and a shop that won an episode of Cupcake Wars, Sugar High). They have a Military and Space Museum. Many of the shops I remember are gone, replaced by new ones. It has grown tremendously. I’m ashamed to say that we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Frankenmuth. I suppose I will take some gruff from my former team mates for this post, but I would return with Wifey.
One of the places that has grown is the Frankenmuth Brewery. They have put in quite a nice restaurant and they give brewery tours. We took the tour and than I tried out one of their brews, a black ale called the Tornado.
On my notes I took:
Taste – Malt beginning and end with a hoppy bitterness in the middle. Slight hint of chocolate in the aftertaste.
Smell – Bitter chocolate, malt, and a hint of floral tones
Mouth Feel – Smooth, full bodied but not thick, feels like a stout, but not as heavy, foam has almost a creamy feel
Look – Great look. Dark with thick, beige foam.
They give you a great beer list and what to look for in their beer (I didn’t use this, just sayin’).
It’s a very satisfying beer. Then again, I do love black ales, but this is one of the better black ale’s I have had. Brewed right on the premises, it was fresh and flavorful. The tour was great. The Brew Pub, sits right on the Cass River, so the scenery was beautiful (we did sit at the bar inside).
The only issue I have with the beer is that it’s only available at the restaurant. It would be a regular of mine if it were available at my local purveyor of fine malted beverages. Are you listening Frankenmuth Brewery? Maybe bottling Tornado would go a long way in putting a bright light in that dark place in my heart.
Ahhhhh . . . Tax Day in our household. No, no, not April 15th, but the day we go to the tax accountant. It’s not a bad day here in Food Good Land. The best part is we get a night out. When I say we, I mean just wifey and myself. No kids. Let me say that again, no kids. The words just roll off the tongue. So, against all fiscal responsibility, we went out to eat. We chose a place we have heard very good things about: The Brick Street Grill in Grand Blanc, Michigan. It was a pretty good choice.
We arrived about 7:00 on a Saturday evening and had a 45 minute wait. We thought about leaving, but saw an opening in the bar and sat down. I had a Bells Beer while wifey had a chocolate martini and an amaretto stone sour. About right on the dot (45 minutes) we were seated in the pub area. Yes, there were sports on TV’s and it was a little loud, but the atmosphere was very pleasant for an evening out. Our meal started out with a nice selection of breads and a delicious honey walnut butter. We ordered their Brick Street Lettuce Wraps and were pleasantly surprised. The spicy sesame ginger sauce was very good. Spicy, but not burning hot. The salad was ok, nothing to write home about. Nothing really different with it.
Now the meal was very good. I ordered the Tender Bricks: saffron lobster ravioli in a red cream vodka sauce served with beef tenderloin medallions covered in a demi glaze (sic) topped with onion hay (fried onion strings). Very good. None of the flavors were over powering and the meal just covered the pallet. I love the initial taste of the saffron ravioli, followed by the fresh tomato mixed with the red vodka cream sauce and finishing with the mild sweetness of the lobster. Now throw in the beef tenderloin and you’ve got a winner. I ordered a Shoofly shiraz to go with the meal. Actually, the wine was the worst part of the meal. Not very full. The middle and the end of the drink were pretty mild and fruity. Not a good combo for me.
In all, the experience of taking my wife out to a nice restaurant was great. The music was great and the service pretty good. I would (and have) recommend this place to others.
Here’s the menu. Look and see what interesting types of things they have there.