Monday, June 8, 2009

Wining and Dining on Michigan's West Coast

A year ago today, Jen and Nate got married. The next week, they started their first-ever farm share. 51 weeks later, for some unknown reason, they boarded a plane to Grand Rapids, Michigan. When they got there this is what they saw:

From Grand Rapids it was a quick 45 minute drive to Saugatuck, a scenic little community on Lake Michigan.

The house we rented was awesome! I'm pretty sure this is the house they used on Growing Pains and we were lucky enough to stay in the converted apartment above the garage, just like Mike Seaver! Unfortunately Richard Milhous Stabone didn't hang out with us. We'll pass that feedback on to the people we rented from.

At 1:00PM this afternoon a gentleman named Rocky, from Fruitful Vine Wine Tours came and picked us up for a five hour tour of local wineries. Who knew they had wine in Michigan? Rocky did, apparently. He took us to Karma Vista Vineyards, Contessa Wine, Tabor Hill Winery, and The Round Barn Winery & Brewery. Over the course of the afternoon we tasted dozens of wines, beers, and even a locally distilled vodka made from grapes!

This Michigan place was shaping up to be a whole lot more exciting than expected. At least the mitten-shaped portion.

Round Hill was probably my favorite of the bunch. It could have had to do with it being at the tail end of consuming vast amounts of wine. It also could have been due to the fact that they had a great brewery, amazing vodka, and sausages made from venison, buffalo, and elk. Expect more to follow about the sausages.

Back at home, after a twenty-minute downpour, we were able to enjoy our first of what I expect to be many grilled meals. Tonight's obvious starter: burgers, potato salad, and grilled corn. Jen's father did all the cooking. I carefully helped put plates on the table with the help of another son-in-law. I could not do this unassisted for I am but one man.

Jen's mother made this fantastic lemon meringue pie, a dessert that is not usually tops on my list, but her crust is superb and her ability to make a lemon pie that does not taste like Pledge is something I have only encountered in a small handful of lemon meringue pies over the years. A+ for the pie.

Jen's mother also made this fruitcake, however, she made it over a year ago. Today was our one year wedding anniversary so we (meaning I) packaged up this twenty pound fruitcake and carried it in a backpack from New York. The fruitcake was delicious. The buttercream had not even been freezer burned in the least. That being said I fear that serious damage has been done to my back and shoulder, mostly due to the ten minute walk from the parking garage at LaGuardia to the Delta terminal last night.

The fruitcake top option did not slice quite as delicately as the base of the cake had sliced last year but, it was fantastic. The most exciting part was knowing that our freezer space back home has now increased by 33%. Just think of what we'll be able to do with all that extra room. My guess: let it fill up, get out of control, then try to plod through emptying it again.

Not even God can stop us now.

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