For dinner we drove to Muskegon, greeted by a plant’s smokestack at city limits. The Hearthstone restaurant is a destination worth the scenic ride in. Despite being in operation for over thirty five years, the menu was current- Etta’s strawberry basil mojito was served in a modern stemless glass. The cheese both in my soup and in potato gratin was good. That the cheese soup is garnished with cheese balls and cheesy popcorn is the best. Despite high standards the kitchen does not take itself too seriously. I had the walleye with in season succotash and mashed potato. Etta had the steak and cake. I even liked the crab cake, despite the ocean being so far. A restaurant has to do a lot of things right to stay in business for thirty five years- the Hearthstone does details. The beer and wine list changed just two days before our dinner. Patio was well shielded from highway by plants. The service was on point and casual. For dessert Etta got a Tuaca and I got Michigan blueberry bread pudding with vanilla ice cream. And a chocolate mousse pyramid.
Archive for July, 2012
Before getting out of town for the beach, we stopped at the fish ladder on the Grand river. There a family of ducks lingered close to man’s waterfall, a picnic table was set out in the water, and there was a sign that disallowed fishing. I hope the fish know how to use a ladder.
We went to P.J. Hoffmaster state park for the beach- named for the founder of much of Michigan’s state parks. The water was clear and there were many people, whom we walked far from. Etta floated and I read the Sunday paper, which I usually get around to reading a few days later, like on a Wednesday. It occurred to me later that what I had read in the news was current, from today.
I learned that Grand Rapids is the second biggest city in Michigan and home to the arts. The twenty year old female server at the Mediterranean restaurant of much garlic mentioned the apple store. I paid a visit to the apple store on Sunday morning at the Woodland mall.
There was orchestral music and families mallwalking their children. The Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, and apple store were all open. I bought a new charger and a Sunday nyt.
Afterwards we went to chucks for mole chile, chicago wings, jalapeño cornbread and carne asada. Chuck used to work at frontera. His menu said banana cream pie is from Sinoloa.
Lake waves come in succession faster than their ocean counterparts. There is no sandy beach at promontory point in hyde park- the waves slam into the break and roll back. When riding one in you feel the waves before yours rolling back out to the lake.
The three of us went to Hyde park. The plan was for me to read on the shore while Etta and Meghan floated on tubes. There was a southwest wind forming giant lake waves. I had been smoking mj in the car and the lake waves frightened me. I begged Etta and Meghan not to go in on the tubes.
They went in anyway. Meghan slammed her leg on a rock. The rocks were covered in clouds of wet lake weed. I saw a small child and a dog enter the water where it was shallow and I followed them in and I bodysurfed. Two women talked to me- they liked how I rode the lake waves.
Etta and I drove up to wisconsin on a Sunday to lake Winnebago. We passed the neighbors on the stoop and they said they’d been to Green lake the deepest lake in Wisconsin. I defended lake Winnebago as its the states second largest. I thought it would be similar to torch lake but instead it’s more dumpy. The water is dirty and there’s no swimming but the limestone cliffs in the area are part of the same rock we saw in the upper peninsula.
The getaway has me feeling more firmly that michigans natural beauty is hard to match in the Midwest. But the foods a lot better in wisconsin.
The Red Ox may be highlighting the steak and seafood in its name these days, and it’s still a supper club. I did not spend time at the curving elegant bar but my date had a bloody mary. It was spicy, strong, rimmed with oregano, chile and celery salt, garnished with a seven inch sausage. I had a diet coke. I ordered the muffuletta tenderloin, a newer menu item (the restaurant has been open since 1971, although a fire had them move) and my date got the princess cut prime rib. She’s my little princess and my little riblet so it was a perfect order for her. We got the salads with blue cheese dressing and she opted for a blue cheese crust on her prime rib. We like blue cheese. The warm bread was served with honey butter. She ended up taking home much of her prime rib mashed potato and bread.
She said she would make me a prime rib mashed potato blue cheese sandwich later. I ate all of my muffuletta tenderloin and twice baked potato which also came with the vegetable of the day and that was eggplant parmesan. The server brought out the dessert plate and I ordered a caramel cream slice for here and a slice of cheesecake to go. The frosting was thick and buttery, the caramel salty, a layer of crunch gave it a beautiful texture. I would call satisfying, to say the least. When a restaurant has been around so many years they must be doing a lot of things right and here they are.
A note on the experience I left off yelp- In anticipation for the rush of meat and butter I got really stoned before going in to dinner. The early bird crowd, read blueheads, were conversing on heart attacks and I was there for meat and butter. By the end of all that rich eating I was stone sober.
Based on Jane and michaels sterns suggestion on the road food website, I made a stop here on a drive up north. I placed my order for pickup and regretted that decision once I got there. The interior has a lot of character. It’s a double u shaped lunch counter fronting the open kitchen. I would have loved to watch the ladies cook up my cheese butter burger and whip my banana shake.
Instead I ate those items in the car. The burger was cheesy and buttery with sweet onion perfection. The shake was full of banana and ice cream. The total meal introduced my palate to the natural flavors of Wisconsin. I would call it satisfying, to say the least.
Someone said that Monti’s is expensive. I dont think so. As someone who works in river north, I know there’s a difference between Al’s beef and Xoco’s beef- a difference rightly reflected in price. There is a time for Al’s- at night, when I can’t really see what I’m eating. And there is a time for Xoco- during the day, when I see the craftsmanship and fresh ingredients. It’s definitely the right time for the north side to have a Philly cheesesteak place that uses choice meats serves craft beer and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s not chocolate and churros, it’s cheesesteak, but cheesesteak that elevates the cheesesteak craft.
I ate three courses here in 90 degree weather. Pretzel nuggets were like large gnocchi (my girlfriend scoffed at me when I said this) with two sauces. The mustard is not bad but not my thing- its kind of sweet fancy mustard. The cheese sauce was superior- melty, smooth not grainy like Superdawg, cheesy. That brings me to the cheesesteak which I got with white American. The meat was salty and the fat had been rendered into juices which mixed with the melty cheesy white American and white mayo. The bread was crisp and light- it let the beef shine. I had a Diet Coke which came in a Coca Cola glass. My girlfriend said “I’m not hungry” and ate forty percent of the cheesesteak. She had a sumpin sumpin that came in a bottle with a beer glass. The beer was a dollar off because it was Monday. Both the server and the chef checked on the cheesesteak. The cheesesteak was real good. For dessert I had an ice cream sandwich covered with whipped cream hot fudge and maraschino cherries it came in a metal ice cream dish. Hours later I feel my cheesesteak turning from potential to kinetic energy and surprisingly still satisfied.
-the past 2 posts taken from my elite yelp reviews