Friday, March 29, 2013


Grand coffee and delicious beer. That's what awaits you here!
The novice Traverse City-ite can be excused for passing Brew by on their search for good food paired with outstanding local beer. But, beware, once you have finished reading this, you are no longer excused from such poppycock as that!

Brew's atmosphere is very modern city, complete with that laid back TC style.
The fact of the matter is that while Brew does turn out an incredibly tasty cup of coffee and immensely satisfying breakfast offerings, they also live up to their motto of "Morning, Noon and Night" quite well.
Whether you're looking for a refreshing pick-me-up by way of this nation's favorite warm beverage or a hearty lunch/dinner complete with a unique and Delicious local beer, this is the place for you!

Don't forget to check out the daily sweets and treats!
Brew is a unique establishment, nestled in amongst many of the other unique restaurants of downtown Traverse City. For those who think that it's simply a coffee joint, it's pretty easy to pass by, despite its front and center downtown location. But, once you enter, you find an eatery catering to the slightly healthier appetite. What does that mean? Well! Let's peruse their menus, shall we?

If you can, grab a window seat. Grand people watching, that!
We'll start with "Morning".
Breakfast options run from $3-$8, depending on the size of your appetite. If I'm very hungry, I'll snag the Breakfast Brewrito. This concoction is egg, bacon, spinach, tomato, red pepper and pepper jack cheese, all for $7.95.
If you're not starving, skip the bagel choices and snag the oatmeal with brown sugar. This is $3 and you can add cherries, pecans or raisins for a measly 25 cents more.

The beer here is creative, fun and tasty!
"Noon and Night" come next.
The sandwiches at this place are where my sweet spot lies. There's nothing better than a good sandwich alongside a lovely local brew!
The sandwiches range in price from $8-$9. My favorite is the North Park for $8. This is a ham, mozzarella, red pepper, lettuce, tomato, basil and balsamic vinaigrette creation. As with all of the other sandwich choices, you can have this thing hot, cold or served as a wrap.
Another favorite on the sandwich menu are the BBQ pork sliders for $9. These are served on cornbread with apple IPA slaw. Yum!

Brew in Traverse City. They have it all!
Next come some tasty salad choices. These range in price from $8-$9 as well.
My salad of choice is the Julius Caesar for $8. This is fresh romaine lettuce tossed with asiago cheese and herbed chicken breast and topped with house Caesar. Fun!

Breakfast, lunch or dinner, TC's Brew is the place to be!
As should be expected at these sorts of downtown joints, the menu is constantly in flux. A few items are static, but there will be changes. Soups change daily as do the awesome locally made sweets selections. Prices seem to stay within the same basic ranges, however.

This one is hard to miss, right off of Traverse City's Front Street.
The atmosphere here is grand. The view from the front tables of downtown is highly desirable, to say the least. People watching here is excellent. And the, they come up with some grand combinations!
This is big city downtown light dining, to be sure. Step into Brew and you might as well be in Chicago. From lively folks in the A.M. to live music in the P.M., Brew has it all and is well worth the venture in! Besides.....who amongst us doesn't require an afternoon brew?
(All photos by Brooks Vanderbush)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Blue Tractor

Old Town Traverse City is the place to go for boots full of beer!
The Cuban Burger. That is all.
Just kidding, folks. We'll throw a few more syllables into this piece, but, for real; the Cuban Burger at this joint is out-freaking-standing.

A darker, more relaxing atmosphere is tailor made for convo and good times at Blue Tractor in Traverse City.
Blue Tractor is slightly removed from downtown Traverse City, located in TC's Old Town District. But, that slightly removed is just enough to allow for way too many folks to find themselves not at Blue Tractor, because, unfortunately, they never knew that it existed.
Well, it does exist and it turns out some supremely satisfying fare, as well as an outstanding selection of Michigan brews! They'll even serve you a boot full of beer, which is an ungodly amount of awesome. Beware of this glass boot, though! Filling that 32 oz mug with many of the craft beers featured on tap can be a severely mind altering experience, what with the high alcohol content and all. Whew.

Belly on up to the bar, or grab a table or booth. It's all good here at TC's Blue Tractor.
Blue Tractor serves up lunch and dinner, and they serve it up well!
The lunch menu is the perfect re-energizing force for that midtown shopping break. It starts off with....well...starters! Perfecto!
These selections run from $5-$9. I usually gravitate toward the artichoke dip ($9), the breaded green bean platter ($6 or $9) or the Tractor Twists (hand twisted bread sticks, stuffed with Monterrey Jack cheese, topped with herbed garlic butter and served with warm marinara sauce - $8).
Side note: you'll notice that Blue Tractor is not the healthiest choice in TC restaurants. But, one does not enter such a locale looking for health food. This is good food alongside great beer. 'Nuff said.
Moving on with the lunch menu!
Soups and salads come next. This section has prices ranging from $5-$10. When I'm in a soup/salad mood, I'll snag the raspberry chicken salad ($10) and the soup of the day ($5)! They're standby soup is a smoked chicken chowder ($5), which is swell, but I have something against ordering chicken or pork when dining out. I just can't do it. That is, unless that meat is part of a unique, fun salad, of course.
The menu then moves onto Tractor Pies. These be pizzas, mateys. They range from $8 for personal pizzas to $15 for pizzas to share amongst the gathered table. I usually snag the five cheese and roasted vegetables pizza for $8. Simple, elegant, cheesey. I dig it!
Next comes the Burger Board. This would be where Blue Tractor shines. These burgers range in price from $8-$9, with sliders coming in at $3 each or $11 for 5 and fries in a basket.
I'm a bit wishy-washy when it comes to the burgers at Blue Tractor. I don't really have a favorite or anything.......HA! I jest! The only burger I order here is the CUBAN! This lovely mama-jama comes topped with pit smoked pulled pork, jack cheese, housemade pickles, secret sauce and yellow mustard. The portion of the menu that announces the presence of this delightful burger starts with "Addictive. You've been warned." And it certainly is! I have seen others at my table thoroughly enjoy the other burgers on the menu, so I am sure that they are all swell as well.
Sandwiches and mac-n-cheese round out the lunch menu. Despite only having a few selections of mac-n-cheese, when one mentions Blue Tractor about town, that selection of dishes seems to be what they're most know for.
Sandwiches run $8-$9, while mac-n-cheese comes in at $9-$10. The corned beef Reuben is a lovely thing, as is the BBQ pulled pork with smoked Gouda mac-n-cheese. Yum!

Michigan made brews. The best in the world!
Onto dinner!
Starters, soups and salads, Tractor Pies, mac-n-cheese, the Burger Board, and sandwiches are all pretty much the same here, with some slight increase in prices. Sneaky!
An added section is Blue Tractor BBQ. Pulled pork, ribs, brisket and beer can chicken can all be had here, with prices ranging from $14-$22.
Desserts can be had as well, prices stick at $5 for around four selections. Try the Caramel Pecan brownie Sundae!
Blue Tractor also does some lovely take-out.

Cuban Burger and a local brew. This is the recipe for a perfect evening out amongst friends!
I really enjoy this joint. It's one of a few restaurants throughout Traverse City that is consistently good. It is also one of MANY restaurants throughout Traverse City that has an amazing atmosphere for good times and conversation. This is a grand place to meet up, nosh on tasty fare, sling a few amazing brews and simply enjoy this life.