Greetings from Carmela's Cucina,
Last weekend while we were in South Bend, In. visiting our son and his wife and going to the Notre Dame football game ND lost in 4 over-times we managed to fit in a visit to a near-by winery. After Mass on Sunday we decided to make a 30 minute road trip to visit Tabor Hill Winery and Restaurant in Buchanan, Mi. 800-283-3363, www.taborhill.com
After touring many wonderful wineries in Italy my expectations for a great wine and food in this part of the world were rather low. Was I ever surprised! First of all it was a gorgeous day, sun shining and fall at it's peak, the colors were amazing. The vines had just been recently picked and all that remained were a few lonely stragglers. The drive leading to the restaurant was lovely with beautiful fall flowers in full bloom.
A fire was burning in the fire place as we entered our dining area and were taken to our table which overlooked the vineyard. It was a perfect place to be seated. Our new daughter-in-law was pleased that we were so happy with her selection of the outing for the day.
I was amazed at the variety of the menu, not what I would expect in Buchanan, Mi. There were several fish dishes to choose from, pasta, pheasant, elk, bison chicken and pork. It was the macadamia nut encrusted tilapia with coconut milk sauce that grabbed my attention and Jeannie's each beautiful plate was garnished with a pineapple and more nuts and the moist, tasty fish laid on a bed of braised red cabbage. It was awesome.
Bob decided to go Italian, I am still off pasta after 3 weeks of it daily and of course, in Italy it is the best pasta ever, but the small sampling that I had of his gemeli pasta in a porcini mushroom and wine sauce with black walnuts and pancetta was very good. With this creative dish he chose a wine called Red Arrow Red after the highway that the winery is on. This was matched perfectly the pasta, and was a robust blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Bob was delighted with his selection.
Patrick was the most adventuresome of the group and went with the pheasant which was moist and cooked to perfection in a Merlot sauce and was surrounded by tender root vegetables. He also selected a Merlot from their vineyard which he thought went perfectly with his meal.
I am sorry to say that we were too stuffed to try even one dessert as we had loaded up earlier on a calamari appetizer, warm crusty bread with an herb butter and a some of us had a crisp garden salad. While Jeannie and I enjoyed a thick, tasty curried chicken and rice soup.
We took a short stroll through the vineyards and a tour and then drove further into Mi. and to see the lake. Funny, the cutest little ice cream shop was just ahead and all of a sudden we did have room for a bit of dessert after all. And who could not stop at a place called Oink's Ice Cream Shop? My butter pecan cone was creamy and chuck full of pecans, I ate every last bit. And you guessed it, feeling a little piggish I was oinking on the way out!
Carmela Tursi Hobbins