Wednesday, May 31, 2017

There's more than burgers at Schoop's

We're winding up National Burger Month and one of my favorite local spots for a burger is Schoop's. They serve a thinner patty, but a large one that hangs over the bun with a crispy edge. And they serve it up in locations that offer a taste of nostalgia with barstools and juke boxes. It's just a fun place to hang and enjoy a burger - like the way Marty McFly may have back in the 50s. 

However, if burgers aren't your thing (which I can't quite fathom), there are alternatives. I don't think I've ever gone there an not ordered a burger, but from time to time my kids and my parents have ordered other things. 

Grilled cheese has been a frequent choice of my kids over the years and my parents are fond of the egg salad. I can't tell you how they taste, because, yeah, they serve burgers. :) But according to those in my family who can somehow pass up a burger, their other sandwiches get an A+. To find a Schoop's location, go to

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Prosecco Seminar at Eataly

As I catch up blog posts, I realized that although I shared tons of photos from a visit to Eataly on social media a few months back, I never created a blog post on the prosecco seminar I attended. As you can imagine, it was a lovely afternoon learning about prosecco and doing some tasting.

As champagne originates from the Champagne region of France, prosecco is a specific variation from the Prosecco DOC (controlled designation of origin) in Italy. It's a white wine made from Glera grapes. And...prosecco happens to be the main ingredient in one of my favorite cocktails, the Bellini.

A few other things I learned about prosecco at the event:

- The US consumes about 17% of the prosecco produced.

- Production of prosecco has quickly increased with an additional 48 million bottles sold in 2015 over 2014.

- 30% of the prosecco produced stays in Italy.

- There are 3 styles of prosecco: brut, extra dry and dry - differentiated by the residual sugar content.

- 2016 was a great growing season for glera grapes with ideal weather conditions and a high crop yield.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Moerlein Lager House in Cincinnati

While doing a college visit with my son this past spring to southern Ohio, we also extended our trip and spent a couple days in the Cincinnati area. We had some delicious meals while we were there, including one at the Moerlin Lager House. It was a Saturday warm Saturday night and the area was busy. 

We ate overlooking the Roebling Bridge. The restaurant is right across the street the street from Great American Ballpark, but unfortunately the season hadn't started yet, so we didn't have the opportunity to see a game. I loved Cincinnati, though, and would love to make a return trip to the area and would love to take in a game - especially if they're playing the Cubs. :)

Although it was a busy place, we had a reservation and were seated immediately. The staff was very helpful in making selections and super friendly. I was there with two of my sons and they both gobbled up dinner with zero complaints. In fact, I think they both would have gobbled up another serving. They really, really, really liked the pretzel sticks with beer cheese (how could you not love those?)

I decided on a flight of the most popular beers and sampled them from mildest to darker and more robust. They were all good middle-of-the-road beers that I could easily sit and enjoy a pint of.

I started off with a bowl of creamy, rich beer cheese soup that was amazing and managed to wrangle a couple bites of the pretzel sticks from my kids. I, too, could have easily eaten a pile of those.

One of the boys has fried fish while the other opted for ribs. I got the braised spork shank, which were delicious, served up with cheddar mashed potatoes and sautéed green beans.

The menu had an ample list of foods that are great paired with beer - poutines, cheese boards, flatbread pizzas and small bites along with classic sandwiches and burgers to entrees ranging from steaks to chicken to seafood. I wish it was closer to home because there were a handful of items I really wanted to try - narrowing it down was a difficult task.

There was also convenient, reasonably-priced parking below Smale Riverfront Park where the restaurant is situated - that's always a plus when dining in a large city.

Should you find yourself on the road near Cincy, plan for a evening out at Moerlein with great people, great views and great food.

Moerlein Lager House
115 Joe Nuxall Way
Cincinnati, Ohio
(513) 421-2337

Pizza at Bohemian Joe's

I was really happy when a building on Torrence Avenue in Lansing was resurrected as a trendy new eatery. It had long been a well-loved pizzeria and family restaurant called Poplano's. And when the next generation of the family decided to open a restaurant, they planned to modernize it and introduce new menu items that weren't common on the list of Italian dishes that the former restaurant offered.

One thing they did continue with was pizza and it's a bit different than what was served up when it was Popolano's. With a distinctly different crust that's browned and crispy, with different sauce and drizzle options, it's a more elevated and non-traditional pizza pie. Besides the sweet tomato sauce, you can order garlic alfredo, olive oil and bbq sauce. Besides the typical pepperoni, sausage, green pepper, mushroom and onion choices, you can select from ingredients such as jalapeño, pulled pork, bacon, bleu cheese crumbles, pineapple and chopped celery. Buffalo, balsamic and bbq drizzles are available.

Customize your own pizza or choose from one of eight specialty pizzas. I've tried the BBQ chicken and oinker pizzas, as well as my favorite, the pizza margherita which I could eat pretty much every day of my life and never tire of it.

Pizzas don't come in small, medium, large and extra large, but rather in 12" and 16" sizes as well as a 10" gluten free version. Prices are pretty reasonable with a 12" starting at $12.99 and a 16" starting at $17.99. Specialty pizzas are $15.99 for 12" and $21.99 for 16".

So, if you are a diehard Popolano's fan who isn't quite sure that Bo Joe's can win you over in the pizza department, give them a try. Sometimes trying new things can have delicious results. Visit for more on the menu and on specials and upcoming events.

BrewFest Partners Summer Line-up of Brewfests and Beer Cruises

Summer unofficially kicks off this weekend - and the summer festival season is now underway. So, that means it's time to look at your calendar from now through Labor Day (and beyond) and map out the delicious celebrations. 

Each season, BrewFest Partners hosts a number of fun and well-organized events for beer lovers in the Midwest. I've been to several of them and never tire of attending a new one or heading back to a favorite venue to get some tastes of the best craft brew out there.

Click here for the full schedule of the 2017 events by BrewFest Partners. Coming up this month is the Barrel-Aged Brews Cruise, one of several brew cruises this season aboard the Mystic Blue out of Navy Pier. 

I attended one of the beer cruises last year and really I can't think of a better way to spend a weekend afternoon than sipping craft brews on Lake Michigan. It makes for such a relaxing time and you cannot beat the views. This one happens to be on Father's Day, so if you are looking for a gift for your father, hubby or another guy in your're welcome. It's a gift they will definitely enjoy.

Among the other beer festivals this summer and early fall are Great Lakes Brew Fest in Racine, Wisconsin, South Loop Beer & Cider Fest, Border War Beefest in Kenosha, Munster Ale Fest, Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Firkin Fest. For more information, visit

Gourmet Gift Baskets Offers An Abundance of Baskets, Buckets, Gift Boxes for Dad (with discount code)

That special day where we recognize how important dads are in our lives is coming up soon. Our friends at Gourmet Gift Baskets shared this list of some of the top gifts for dads this year. You can also see the full selection here.

My hubby has been the recipient of some of their gift items (he especially likes the ones that include craft beers!) and ordering a gift for dad couldn't be easier than ordering from

When you find something that dad will love, be sure to use the code FDAY10 for 10 percent off of your Father's Day purchases.
The Father's Day Beer-B-Q Bucket 

2017's Top Five Foodie Father's Day Favorites -- For Dads, By Dads

1. NEW for 2017 -- 19th Hole In One Gift Basket, $69.99, SKU 4322
If the Dad in your life prefers a mini-golf bag (that doubles as a cooler) to a tin, then this is the ideal choice for him.
19th Hole In One Gift Basket
The 19th Hole is loaded with everything your favorite golfer needs for a day on the green, including four refreshing beers, a sleeve of golf balls, and a range of gourmet snacks like cheese and artisan crackers, hickory maple bacon popcorn, and zesty pretzel pieces. (If my kids are reading this now, this is what I want).

2. NEW for 2017 -- Father's Day Beer-B-Q Bucket, $59.99, SKU 4658
Now, if the Dad on your list cares more about barbecues and less about golf, this gift has his name all over it.
This reusable stainless steel bucket is stocked with everything Dad needs to create a gourmet barbecue meal. It includes three refreshing beers (first things first, right?), along with three gourmet spice rubs, buffalo wing flavored gourmet popcorn, and more. (Another option for beer lovers is the very popular Spring Seasonal Beer Bucket). 

3. A FREQUENT FATHER FAVORITE with a fresh, 2017 flavor combo -- Father's Day Backyard BBQ Popcorn, $34.99, SKU 7402
Look no further than your own backyard to find your Dad’s most cherished memories. It’s where he helped perfect your pitch, showed you how to play badminton, or helped set up your first volleyball spike.

Pay homage to those times with this delicious popcorn sampler that perfectly unites Dad’s most prized memories with his favorite tastes. Comprised of's Honey Mustard, Hickory Maple Bacon, BBQ Ribs, Chipotle BBQ, Cajun, Buttered Corn On The Cob, Dill Pickle, Zesty Ranch, Sun Dried Tomato, and Watermelon popcorn flavors, this sampler helps you flawlessly celebrate your father on his special day.

4. NEW DESIGN FOR 2017 -- Father's Day Gift Tower, $39.99, SKU 6870
Looking for an impressive gift that makes a big impression (on a budget)? This newly designed Father's Day Gift Tower fits the bill.
A mouth-watering selection of sweet and salty treats can be found inside this impressive four-tiered tower. These include crisp handcrafted popcorn, sweet candies, gently roasted honey peanuts, and more. (By the way, gift towers are a big hit with Dads and their kids, as he usually needs to share the goodies with the entire family).

5. For The Health-Focused Dad -- Orchard's Abundance, $79.99, SKU 4404
Some Dads are in a very health-oriented phase of life.  Those fathers would surely appreciate this woven basket filled with juicy pears, oranges, and crisp apples, along with an assortment of Vermont cheddar cheese, premium Virginia peanuts, and a salted caramel dip.

A look back at Baconfest Chicago

This event is one that I really look forward to each year - Baconfest Chicago. It's a weekend of meaty paradise with three sessions - over 50 participants at each - serving up anything and everything containing bacon. 

There's appetizers. There's side dishes. There's soups. There's pizza. There's entrees. There's desserts. There's bacon everywhere...much to the delight of bacon aficionados like myself. It's just like they say....EVERYTHING IS BETTER WITH BACON. And it couldn't be more true than at this fest dedicated to the salty, smoky pork treat that raises thousands for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Here's a look at what went down this year.