After hearing so much about the Red Ginger restaurant in downtown Traverse City, it was about time to check it out. I was meeting a few friends and looking forward to a fun time. The atmosphere was fun with a nice design and flow to the space. It was a weeknight and the restaurant was mostly filled with professionals having drinks and dinner after work.
The server was polite and not hovering. He was there when we needed him and we felt comfortable taking our time and catching up.
The reason for the Red Ginger’s excellent reputation. The food was presented beautifully and it tasted as delicious as it looked.
There are items on the menu that seem a little high, but there are plenty of choices to order on a budget as well. It’s just one of those places that you could spend more than you hoped to if you’re not paying attention.
From the Red Ginger Menu
wok tossed white shrimp, chicken, sugar snap peas, carrot, peanuts also available with shrimp, chicken, local organic tofu
Minced Chicken in Lettuce Wraps
minced chicken breast, shiitake mushrooms, Chinese vegetables, hoisin sesame sauce, crisp lettuce jammers may be prepared with locally made organic tofu for vegetarian option
I had the Kung Pao and my friend had the lettuce wraps. Both were excellent.
237 EAST FRONT STREET
TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN 49684
In the northern part of Leelanau County, just south of downtown Sutton’s Bay, is one of the newer breweries to the area. It’s Hop Lot Brewing Company, and we recently ventured up West Bay Shore Drive to check it out.
We were lucky to meet one of the owners, Kurt Ludke who told us a little about the building process. They used huge wooden beams to frame the building. He recalled what it was like being up that high hammering away. The space has lofty ceilings and a nice open feel. There are long tables that seat large parties and encourage mingling. The inside is moderate in size, with a back yard that is expansive and welcoming. Kurt told us how they wanted to bring the brewery experience together with nature. A great idea since we Grand Traverse-ites, (or would we be Grand Traversanians or Grand traversanders?), whatever we call ourselves here in the northwest lower peninsula of Michigan, we love our nature. With that the Ludke’s nailed it, and this brewery turned out to be an awesome place to hang out.
Even in the winter there is a large area out back cleared of snow so that you can enjoy your company and your beer while keeping warm by the fire. On this quiet weekday evening in February there were several fires burning. The yard was beautiful all covered in snow and lit up with the warm glow of hanging lights all around. Kurt explained that in the summer the crowd expands out to the grassy area filled with long tables for friends and strangers to sit together, and talks about a play area for kids that is surrounded by hops growing tall creating a fort inside. We’ll have to come back this summer to see that. Big kids can play in the hops too, right Kurt?
Grand Traverse View fans will want to see it too, but take my advice, don’t wait until summer. Hop Lot is too much fun in the winter to miss out. We Grand Traverse(inians?) love a good winter campfire, don’t we? So call up your people and make it a date soon. Of course, we’ll want to hear all about it. Please come back here and leave comments telling us how much you love Hop Lot too!
Hop Lot Menu
658 S West-Bay Shore Drive
Suttons Bay, Michigan 49682
Hop Lot Hours
There’s a lot of testosterone in this place. And creativity. Filled with authentic industrial pieces, this warehouse space is home to the Workshop Brewing Company’s tap room.
It’s like the man cave, meets garage, meets warehouse. Some of the tables are actually constructed of table saws with glass tops. The sign on the wall looks hand-made with a simple logo that I suspect some of the guys behind the bar had a hand in. Even the lighting is a reflection of the ingenuity that creates this masculine and inviting decor.
The menu board offers a nice selection with a range from light to dark plus several bourbon barrel brews. The bartender was helpful in our decision making. I find it’s often challenging to narrow down to just a few in a place like this.