Monday, February 25, 2013

Food Dance Welcomes Artist Conrad Kaufman to March ArtHop for Live Painting Demonstration

On the first Friday of each month, the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo hosts a popular Art Hop at dozens of venues thorughout the downtown area. On Friday March 1, renowned artist Conrad Kaufman – and six of his studio artists – will be set up in the private dining room at Food Dance for live painting demonstrations from 5-9pm. The studio artists include Jodi Arnett, Eric Klein, Susan McBain, Patti Sholler-Barber, Sharon Strazdas and Brian Walters.

Throughout the evening, guests will have the chance to talk to the artists and see their work in progress. This piece of art will be auction off that evening with proceeds will going to Fair Food Matters – a local non profit focused on educating and empowering the community around local food. The artwork, however, will remain on display at Food Dance throughout the month of March.

“Not many places in Kalamazoo have artists paint live,” says Michelle Miller, marketing director for Food Dance. “It’s such a great experience for the guests to support the community through the art and the art of food.”

Kaufman’s work can be seen throughout Food Dance – in the shape of corn fields, fairies and pumpkins that make up the unique décor. A graduate of Western Michigan University, Kaufman – a native of Bangor – has ties to the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts and teaches weekly classes at his Fence Rows Studio in Galesburg. With more than 17 years experience in painting murals in the Kalamazoo area and throughout Michigan, many of his murals are outdoors, on public and private buildings, and some have involved large groups of volunteers in their creation.

When Food Dance moved to its current location in 2007, Kaufman was contracted to create the larger-than-life farm-influenced décor – including floor to ceiling corn stalks which house a collection of fairies and a vibrant orange pumpkin that adorn the walls of the marketplace. Those who had visited the original Food Dance location may recall Kaufman’s work adorning the walls there as well.

“We wanted to keep the Food Dance décor and feel and he recreated it bigger and better at our current location” Miller says. “The pumpkin and vines in the market were actually transported a few blocks to its new home at 401 Michigan Avenue.”

Kaufman’s demonstration during Art Hop is free and light hor d’ouevres will be served. A slide show will also run on the large-screen HDTV featuring the artists work and the community work that Fair Food Matters focuses on. Food Dance will also be open until 11 pm for those wishing to enjoy dinner, dessert or drinks.

As one of the original West Michigan farm-to-fork restaurants dedicated to using locally-produced food, the culinary team at Food Dance works to provide a positive environmental impact and educates its staff and guests on the importance that this mindset has to the culture and community in which we live. Food Dance also supports the belief that we are all mutually-accountable to obtain excellence, by providing opportunities that create community engagement through great food and great service.

401 E. Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo MI 49007

Monday, February 18, 2013

Greenbush To Distribute Bottled Beer in Michigan

The first deliveries of Greenbush Brewing Company bottles are now on the way to retail establishments throughout Michigan. Imperial Beverage, the company’s distributor in the state, received its first shipment of bottled beer from the 18-month old brewery at the end of last week. Until now, the brewery has only distributed kegs for draft accounts.

“We’ve been building toward distributing bottles since opening and now with the dedicated work of our staff, it’s happening,” said Greenbush co-owner Scott Sullivan. “The demand for bottles has continued to grow, especially since we started distributing kegs statewide through Imperial Beverage last summer.”

Greenbush is first entering the retail market with five brands available in either four or six packs: Closure, Dunegräs, Distorter, Anger and Brother Benjamin.

Closure is a 6% ABV pale ale that is single-hopped with citrusy Apollo hops for a bitterness of 40 IBUs (international bittering units). Dunegräs is the brewery’s 6.7% ABV India pale ale (IPA) with 67 IBUs, while Distorter is a full-bodied 7.2% porter. One of Greenbush’s signature styles is its black IPA, Anger, which rates at 7.6% ABV and 85 IBUs. The last of the brands headed to market is Brother Benjamin, a 10.1% ABV/115 IBU imperial IPA with local honey from FloraLia farms in Baroda, MI.

“It was crucial to us to send our most demanded beers out to retail markets first,” said co-owner and “Ambassador of Everything” Jill Sites. “We look forward to adding seasonal beers as well as more staples and specialties in the future.”
Greenbush bottles will be available to customers of select retailers throughout the state beginning midweek.

About Greenbush Brewing Co.
Prior to summer 2011, Scott Sullivan, Justin Heckathorn and Jill Sites handed out more than 9,000 bottles of homebrewed beer to everyone they could think of, and Greenbush Brewing Company was born. Opened in June 2011 in Sawyer, Michigan, the burgeoning brewery creates beer with names like Anger, Closure, Mammoth and Doomslayer—and with nothing under 6% ABV, the monikers are indicative of the styles. The brewery serves beer and food out of its Sawyer taproom seven days a week and currently distributes throughout the state of Michigan, in metro Chicago and Northern Indiana.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Snowshoes Meet Microbrews at Timber Ridge Resort's 7th Annual Suds & Snow (Sat, March 2)

Michigan has a growing interest in two major areas – snowshoeing and craft beer. These two worlds collide, in the best possible way, during the 7th Annual Suds & Snow planned for Saturday, March 2 (1:30-6:30pm) at Timber Ridge RV & Recreation Resort in Traverse City.

The cost to participate in Suds & Snow is $20 per person in advance ($30 the day of) – with $5 from every ticket being donated to Child & Family Services of Northwestern Michigan.

“In the past six years, we have donated more than $30,000 to help local organizations – including several adoption and foster care groups, TART Trails and the Father Fred Foundation,” says Kristin Levesque.

Admission includes a commemorative pint glass for the first 500 ticket purchasers, 1 drink ticket for a 16 ounce pour, trail pass and live music. Additional drink and food tickets are available for $4 each. Admission tickets can be purchased online here. The nonrefundable ticket (event proceeds rain, shine, or blizzard).

Those needing to rent snowshoes can do so by contacting Brick Wheels (231-947-4247) or Timber Ridge (213-947-2770). Snowshoes are available on a first come, first served basis, for $10 per pair.

In past years, as many as 800 people gather each year to trek along some 5km of trails that link to the note Vasa Pathway, followed by a the chance to sample handcrafted beers from some of Michigan’s most noted breweries – including Bell’s, Greenbush, Right Brain, Saugatuck, Schmohz and Short’s. Participating restaurants offer small plates.

Live entertainment will be provided by the band Jason and Nick, as well as Levi Britton & Chris Sterr, with special guest Jonny Tornga.

New for 2013 is the addition of Disc Golf – creating something fun for participants to do between the trail station and the main event hall. Whether new to the sport or an experienced player, this added recreational feature is sure to entertain. Give it a try – with our without your snowshoes! Bring your own disc or rent one at the resort.

Celtic Transportation, ever mindful of the need for transportation at an event of this nature, will be offering rides to and from downtown Traverse City and several hotels for Suds & Snow participants. There is no charge for this service, so guests are asked to please take advantage of this much needed safe shuttle.

For those traveling to Traverse City from afar, local hotels are offering special savings on lodging packages for the event. Check out Traverse Bay Inn (800-968-2646); Grand Beach Resort (800-968-1992); Sugar Beach Resort (800-509-1995); Grand Traverse Resort and Spa (800-236-1577) and Cherry Tree Inn and Suites (800-439-3093).

Timber Ridge RV & Recreation Resort, located at 4050 Hammond Rd. East in Traverse City, is an all-season recreation resort featuring seasonal RV camping and cottage rentals; family oriented activities; banquet facilities and various-sized reception tents for weddings, events, reunions, family gatherings, and meetings; access to the popular VASA hiking, biking, and xc ski trail system; direct access to miles of powersports trails; park model sales; and renowned events like the North American VASA, Iceman Cometh Challenge mountain bike race, Bigfoot Snowshoe Race and Timber Ridge’s own Suds & Snow.

Visit or call (231) 947-2770 for more information.

American Waste | KLT 97.5 / 98.9 The Rock Station | Brick Wheels | Events to Remember | Carly's Playground

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Reserve Wine & Food to Host CRUSH Fundraiser for Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan

In order to better address the growing needs of West Michigan families, Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan is opening a regional office in Grand Rapids on April 1.

The new office will serve as a West Michigan base for the non-profit, which provides information, financial assistance and emotional support to Michigan families affected by leukemia, lymphoma and related blood cancers. Each year, CLF provides programs and services to more than 4,400 families throughout the state, approximately 20 percent of them from West Michigan – the organization’s highest concentration of patients and families outside of Southeast Michigan.

CLF will host CRUSH Grand Rapids Wine and Food Classic, its first West Michigan fundraiser, on Saturday, March 9 at Reserve Wine & Food in downtown Grand Rapids. The event, which is made possible by Dick and Betsy DeVos, will feature nine culinary masters from leading Chicago, West and Northern Michigan restaurants and honorary winemakers Celani Family Vineyards who will create an elegant and extraordinary evening for guests.

CRUSH Grand Rapids begins with a private patron reception at 6:30 p.m., followed by wine-food pairing stations and dessert. The event concludes at 10 p.m. after the awards ceremony, which will honor Dr. James B. Fahner, the director of pediatric hematology and oncology at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital with its 2013 Pioneers in Medicine Award, and Varnum LLP with its Corporate Leadership Award.

“For the past 60 years, CLF has worked to serve the practical and emotional needs of West Michigan families as they navigate their cancer journey – from diagnosis through treatment and beyond,” said William Seklar, president and CEO. “Our new office underscores the commitment of CLF to have a stronger presence in West Michigan to support our works with nearly 800 families in the region.

“We are also very excited to host our first CRUSH event in Grand Rapids. Since the series was launched in 2008, CRUSH has focused on creating world-class regional fundraising events that benefit CLF. CRUSH Grand Rapids joins very successful annual events in Birmingham and Northern Michigan that will showcase some of the leading chefs and sommeliers across Michigan. All funds raised at CRUSH Grand Rapids will stay in West Michigan to benefit patients and their families.”

A grassroots organization to its core, CLF was founded in Detroit in 1952 by a group of families who had each lost a child to leukemia. They were determined no other Michigan family should have to face such a diagnosis alone.

CLF programs and services fall into three categories:

• Casework support, which connects a social worker with the family to provide access to emotional support, information and referral sources. The CLF resource room provides print, audio, video and electronic information to help families learn more about cancer, the treatments available and the issues surrounding the disease;

• Financial assistance, which provides travel assistance, prescription drugs, treatment-related expenses and more, to ensure clients have access to the best medical care;

• Respite and recreational programs, which offer patients and families a peer support network, therapeutic arts, holiday toys and tickets to entertainment and sporting events to underscore patients and families are not alone.

“A cancer diagnosis affects the whole family,” Seklar explains. “More than half the clients CLF serves are at or below the poverty level, requiring them to make tough decisions about how to allocate already-stretched financial resources. At CLF, all our programs and services are free – and no patient is ever turned away.

“That makes our fundraising efforts like CRUSH and our other events extremely important. We strive to be good stewards with the donations we receive. For every $1 donated, approximately 83 cents goes directly to patient and family programs and services.”

CRUSH Grand Rapids joins the CLF series featuring world-renowned wine experts and culinary masters who create unparalleled of degustation events for their guests. Culinary masters for the event will include the following executive chefs:

• Paul Virant, Vie and Perennial, Chicago who will serve at the 2013 Honorary Executive Chef and Restaurateur
• Matt Millar, Reserve Wine & Food, who will serve as the 2013 Honorary Culinary Director
• Myles Anton, Trattoria Stella in Traverse City
• Mathew Green, Reserve
• Guillaume Hazaël-Massieux, La Bécasse in Maple City
• Josef Huber, Amway Hotel Corp. in Grand Rapids
• John Korycki, Zazio’s in Kalamazoo
• Colin McPhee, Bar Divani in Grand Rapids
• Matt Peitsch, Salt of the Earth in Fennville
• Joel Wabeke, Trillium Haven in Grand Rapids

Tom and Vicki Celani, proprietors of Celani Family Vineyards in Napa, Calif., will serve as the 2013 Honorary Winemaking Family.

Ron Edwards, a master sommelier, consultant and educator, will serve as the 2013 Honorary Wine Director for CRUSH Grand Rapids. He will be joined by Peter Marantette, a certified sommelier and general manager of Reserve Wine & Food.

The event is sponsored by Celani Family Vineyards, Dom Perignon, Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, Remy Cointreau USA, Reserve Wine & Food, Scott Shuptrine Interiors and Soaring Eagle Casino.

Since its inception, CRUSH has raised more than $1 million to benefit CLF. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

About Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan
Children’s Leukemia Foundation of Michigan is a non-profit organization that provides information, financial assistance and emotional support to Michigan families affected by leukemia, lymphoma and related blood cancers. Each year, CLF provides programs and services to more than 4,400 families throughout the state, approximately 20 percent of them from West Michigan – our highest concentration of patients and families outside of Southeast Michigan. For more information, visit

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Homestead Unveils Newly Remodeled Snowsports School

What do you get when you combine gently rolling terrain, perfectly groomed slopes, and a friendly team of ski instructors with a couple lifetimes worth of experience? The answer: One of the greatest places in northern Michigan to learn how to ski and snowboard.

While thousands have mastered the “snowplow” and cut their first stem-christie turn gliding down one of Bay Mountain’s 15 beautiful runs, many thousands more have spent idle hours waiting in the wings for The Homestead’s master staff of instructors to work their magic.

That waiting promises to be a little easier at The Homestead this season, thanks to the newly remodeled Snowsports School, located in The Village, at the base of Bay Mountain.

“Signing up for ski and snowboard lessons on the spot can be hectic and uncomfortable if the space isn’t laid out just right,” says Jamie Jewell, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Our goal was to create an inviting, convenient, and classy place for people to learn about and purchase our lesson programs. With windows facing the slopes, comfortable seating, and complimentary coffee and treats, it’s also a great place for parents to take a break and hang while their children tackle the slopes.”

Guests are invited to stop in and check out the newly remodeled Snowsports School even if they don’t need a lesson. Have a coffee and take a break from the chill. With cold temperatures, fresh snow falling almost daily, and new ski packages and family-friendly offers like the “kids 17 years old and under ski FREE” deal,” the 2013 ski season is shaping up to be a great one for visitors to The Homestead.

The Homestead is Northern Michigan’s largest waterfront resort community located in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, an area voted by viewers of ABC’s Good Morning America as the “Most Beautiful Place in America”. Along with its unmatched natural setting and miles of frontage on Lake Michigan and the Crystal River, the resort offers guest pools, tennis and golf in the summer; downhill and cross country skiing in the winter; and shops, restaurants, meeting and banquet centers, and luxurious spa and salon throughout all four seasons.

For more information, visit or call 231.334.5100. “Like” The Homestead on Facebook: and follow on Twitter at @TheHomesteadMI.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Vander Mill Cider Mill Plans Series of February Events in Chicago

Michigan’s largest craft cider producer – Vander Mill Cider & Winery of Spring Lake – will take on the Windy City this February with a series of public events.

Join owner Paul Vander Heide for multi-tap events at each of the below venues – featuring this year’s release of Chapman’s Blend (6.8% ABV) – named after John Chapman (aka Johnny Appleseed), the American pioneer and nurseryman who is credited with bringing apple trees to the Midwest in the early 1800s, thus starting cider’s early introduction in this country. Also on tap will be Totally Roasted, Blue Gold (formerly Apple Blueberry), Founders Keepers, and “Dirty Jim” – a very limited wild yeast-fermented English-style cider).

Wednesday, February 6 (7:30pm)
3258 N Sheffield Ave.

Thursday, February 7 (7:30pm)
1670 W Division St.

Friday, February 8 (7:30pm)
950 W. Wolfram

At both the Sheffield’s and Bangers & Lace events, the culinary team will be providing a specialty-menu to compliment the ciders featured during the evening.

Featured Ciders

• Chapman’s Blend (6.8% ABV) – Made from a variety of American heritage apples that all come from Michigan and boast over 200 years of history in the U.S., including Winesap, Baldwin, Northern Spy and Jonathan. These apples offer subtleties to cider that are not possible with more dessert-like varieties. They are often more acidic and carry more tannin through to the juice. This is a semi-dry cider with a clean fruit flavor and slight carbonation, pouring a light gold color. The aroma has rich apple notes, slightly tart –, with the flavor of ripe apple front and a bit of tartness on the finish.

• Totally Roasted (6.9% ABV) – Beginning with our traditional hard apple cider we then steep candied pecans. We make our own cinnamon roasted pecans that bring vanilla, cinnamon, and a nuttyness to this product that makes it a truly unique cider. Totally Roasted is semi-sweet with a tart finish.

• Blue Gold (6.9% ABV) – This semi-sweet cider has a very well balance of sweetness and acidity. We use our traditional cider as a base and blend in blueberries. This gives Blue Gold its deep and rich color. A very approachable cider for the novice, and refreshing for all. Made… Formerly known as Apple Blueberry.

• Founders Keepers (8.5% ABV) – Founders Keepers is a cyser which is technically a mead. We ferment Michigan wild flower honey with cider to create a rich and complex product. The cyser then ages in Founders Backwoods Bastard barrels for 8-10 months giving it additional barrel complexity.

• Dirty Jim (6.9% ABV) – True to English style guidelines, this cider was fermented with wild yeast. The nose is unmistakably that of a barnyard, with a more complex mouthfeel than other American ciders. The apples used provide more tannin to the pallet. The funk on this one is an acquired taste. A limited release wild yeast-fermented English-style cider.

Saturday, February 9 (11am-7pm)
Vander Mill will be among more than three dozen companies showcasing more than 60 artisanal ciders at the inaugural Cider Summit Chicago. The day-long event will be held in the Lakeview Terrace Room at Navy Pier and benefits The Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association, WBEZ Public radio and Heartland Alliance.

Vander Heide will be among the owners and cidermakers from companies throughout the United States, England, Scotland, France, Spain and New Zealand on hand to inform and guide guests through the samplings, which will be available in 3-ounce and 6-ounce portions. The event will also feature specially-selected food pairings from Fortune Gourmet.

Tickets for Cider Summit Chicago are $20 in advance via Brown Paper tickets ( and at the Hotel Palomar concierge desk or $25 at the door (cash only). Admission includes a tasting glass and 10 drink tickets. Additional drink tickets will be available for sale onsite at $2 per ticket. The event is 21 and over, only.

Thursday, February 21
OAK & IRON II: A Bounty of Barrel-Aged Beer
Held at Jerry’s Sandwiches in Wicker Park, this night features the magic, myth and epic heroism with an array of fantasy-inspired programs, dungeon synth and assorted metals. You’ll also be regaled with tales from forgotten sword-wielding cinema on a ten-foot screen. Costumes are encouraged as you sample brews and ciders from more than a dozen producers – including Vander Mill (featuring Finders Keepers and Sweet 73).

Vander Mill began operation in West Michigan in 2006 and boasts a strong presence in Chicago, with placement in more than 75 bars and 200 retail stores throughout the region.

Vander Mill Cider Mill & Winery
14921 Cleveland Street
Spring Lake, MI 49456