Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Brewery Lodge - The Perfect Get-Away

Chicago-land, you are missing out on the absolutely amazing corridor between 80/94 and the end of route 421 and Union Pier Michigan. There are so many amazing breweries, wineries, restaurants and yes, boutique hotels. Hotelier John Van Prooyen pooled his extraordinary talent to bring the people of LaPorte County a taste of the East Coast when he ventured a path into the uncharted territory of independently owned and operated hotel development.

The Brewery Lodge is built upon Zorn Brew Works phenomena and the Champagne Lodge history. When you drive up the quiet, secluded pathway towards the current 12 room lodge, you immediately question "where in the hell am I?" Well, you are in LaPorte County on the outskirts of Michigan City proper, just a stone's throw away from the beautiful Lake Michigan.

Each room is sweetly adorned with the special touches from a man who knows aesthetics and Feng shui, and Van Prooyen has a special touch and understands the understated benefits of connecting with nature. Let the Brewery Lodge be your next Walden moment.

When you are not up for an overnight, then drift away to a North Eastern Atlantic/Hudson Valley get-away and enjoy a night at the Brewery Lodge bar and enjoy the "Ichabod Crane-esque" vibe. Sit back and enjoy a pint or two in the rustic outback of Michigan City proper. Cheers!

Just a Sip Away - St. Julian Union Pier Michigan

Sometimes, you just gotta slip away to get away. Sometimes, you just gotta sip away to paradise. Whatever your need and inclination, we gotta suggestion; ArtSees Diner suggests you slip and sip away to the St. Julian Winery, Union Pier Tasting room. Whether you are being greeted by John, served by Tony or addressed by Candace, you quickly remember that you are arriving to a place where everybody knows you by face and even sometimes by name.

St. Julian's is one of the oldest wineries in the divinely glorious Michigan Winery industry. Angela and Jean warmly greet you through every single bottle of wine, spirit and brew.

We finally found our way to St. Julian Winery a couple months ago and we are delighted that we have become members of their fine wine family.

Be certain to add St. Julian Winery to your winery tour. Ask for any single member of the staff, they represent the brand very well! By the way, tell them Steve and Mary E, aka ArtSees Diner sent you!

Cheers, with love, ArtSees Diner

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Bistro On the Greens - Michiana's Newest Hot Spot

There is nothing better than celebrating your friend’s birthday! Well, maybe there is something better and that is celebrating your friend’s birthday with great food at a very special place. One that offers all the ambiance and class to make better - spectacular! Such was the case with my friend’s birthday celebration at Bistro On the Greens.
Bistro On the Greens is the brainchild of restaurant entrepreneur John Moultrie. John brings to his newest endeavor not only his love of fine NOLA, Southern cuisine but an extensive background in jazz to the restaurant nestled in the historical Legacy Golf Course, LaPorte Indiana. Moultrie’s clever double-entendre with the use of “Greens” provides a window into his creative flair. In short he has nailed a “whole in one.”

Let me recreate the evening for you; Upon arriving we encountered a few diners leaving the restaurant and asked them how their evening was. Aside from their very happy content faces we knew they were well pleased after asking them about their experience. Their response was, “fabulous!” My friend asked for recommendations and they quickly listed what they dined on and summarized by saying, “all of it is fantastic!” That was a great way to kick off the evening.

We were greeted by a lovely lady who was ready and willing to make our night a special one. John Moultrie’s attention to detail was everywhere from the warm welcome of the hostess to the subtle lighting and overall glow. But, that was only the beginning. Not only were we embraced by a cordial hostess and seductive lighting, but also by the music floating from a baby grand piano and “larger than life” jazz greats. Moultrie’s experience in hospitality is highlighted by the way he strategically placed the music front and center. It is very reminiscent of my favorite places to visit in Chicago and Manhattan. If you want music to be the entrancing spirit of the joint then, don’t put the music in the back as an afterthought let music be your muse. Bistro On the Greens’ has live music five days a week. Mike is the Bistro’s house musician and not only does he play a mean piano, but he is a spot on crooner with a vast repertoire.

Whether you are coming for a romantic dinner for two, or out with friends, just because, or with a large party ready to celebrate birthdays the “Bistro” is a perfect dining experience. The overall layout and seating has been designed to provide a wide variety of options from cozy intimate seating, a private dining room vibe, or a more open dining feel. Additionally, there is a gorgeous, well stocked bar manned by a local favorite Kyle. The bar is located in the back of the restaurant and has a great view of the greens for those who are out for drinks and live music. John Moultrie’s brings his down home sophistication and his love of Louisiana cuisine to Northwest Indiana in a way that very few entrepreneurs could. Do not be surprised when John comes to your table to make sure that you are content and are well cared for. It is his down home charm that really sets Bistro On the Greens apart from other restaurants.
What do I look for when I am out for a special evening and what makes a venue go from a place to eat to a place to remember? It is: 1) lighting, 2) music, 3) personable service 4) timing of food delivery 5) well crafted cocktails and fine wine 6) willingness to make the event special 7) food quality, variety and most importantly 8) an owner that lets me and my party know that our being there is all that matters. Bistro On the Greens earns 8 stars! Now onto the food!
Moultrie’s desire to share his Grandmother’s authentic recipes is at the heart of his menu. You will find all the traditional NOLA favorites like fried green tomatoes, alligator nuggets, jambalaya, gumbo, to ribeye steaks, hand packed hamburgers, salads, flatbread pizzas and more. Everyone in our party was well-pleased with their entrees. I enjoyed fried chicken breasts with greens (superbly done) smashed sweet potatoes and a cheese biscuit along with an appetizer of fried green tomatoes. Sadly there was no room for dessert, that will have to wait until next time.

Bistro On the Greens easy to get to and whether you live in the immediate area, including, Michiana, NWI, or are looking for a get away from Chicagoland, Bistro On the Greens is a must and well worth the drive!

Stop in and tell John that ArtSees Diner, aka, Mary E., sent you.

ADDRESS 299 West Johnson Road La Porte, IN 46350 CONTACT (219) 575-7272 BUSINESS HOURS (central) S-F 11:00 am - 9:00 pm Sa 11:00 am - 10:00 pm

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Dune Billies Beach Cafe: Open and already transforming the Canada Park Area of Michigan City!

In 2008 I moved into this neighborhood and have loved living here since. One of the fascinations was the building at the corner of Fogarty St., and Center St., in Michigan City Indiana. It is the perfect location and the point at which the lakeside community and the rest of Michigan City meets. I have adored this building and believed that some day it would be the perfect spot for whatever enterprise would snag the "great find!" Well, that moment has happened and after a few months of primping, perfecting and developing, Lisa Murray and crew has brought to this sweet, up and coming neighborhood, the quintessential corner deli. It is the Dunes meets Greenwich Village. Maybe in place of Dune Billies it should have been called Dunewhich. No,Dune Billies suits it just fine, as it is at the base of Bismark Hill, really a collection of three dunes that protects the neighborhood from the fervor and frenzy of Lake Michigan located just on the other side of "them, thar" dunes.
Guests can enjoy tasty sandwiches and wraps inside the quaint cafe, on the umbrella adorned deck, or they can carry out to their homestead or better yet, the beach which is less than 2,000 feet away. Ultimately patrons will be able to get basic staple items,as the menu and offerings expands. Until then the mix of breakfast and lunch sandwiches and wraps are more than to feed the locals and hungry beach-lovers. Current hours are 7a to 3p, 7 days a week. Dune Billies Beach Cafe 201 Center Street Michigan City, Indiana (219) 809-6592

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Shady Creek Winery Becomes The Cabernet with Lahm,Champagne and Rapier

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Shady Creek Winery welcomes back trio David Lahm, Steve Champagne and Mary E. Rapier for a night of wine and music. Guests will be treated to a wide variety of songs ranging from Beatles to Bacharach along with jazz standards and unique medleys. Guests are guaranteed a night of showstopping tunes and superb Shady Creek Wine. The trio is well known for their eclectic blend of keyboards, bass, acoustic and rich vocals. Come to the Cabernet! Tickets are $22 in advanced $26 at the door. Included in the price of a ticket is a glass of wine, small bites and music performed by David Lahm and Steve & Mary E.
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"This trio of professional musicians is an act you do not want to miss!! Their outstanding musical interpretations of a variety of songs are outstanding and a lot of fun, too! I am looking forward to seeing them again at this upcoming event." Jerry 

David Lahm is a jazz pianist, songwriter and accompanist who divides his time between NYC and his second home in Harbor Country. He and his late wife Judy Kreston had a very successful cabaret act in New York, collaborated on three albums and concertized at the Acorn Theater in Three Oaks several times, over their many years together. He has conceived and produced a couple of unique recordings: "Medleyfying: a Centennial tribute to Richard Rodgers" and two CDs featuring "Jazz Takes On Joni Mitchell." 

Over the last six years he has been, in his own words "very happy to have been able to work with some excellent performers in the Michiana area." This chapter of his career takes another step forward in his collaboration with Steve and Mary.

Mary E. has been singing for over three decades. She and her partner Steve Champagne were named Best Acoustic Duo in 2015 by the Kankakee Area Music Awards. For over 20 years, Mary E. has been a guest vocalist with Kankakee Municipal Band. Mary began her career singing standards, light opera, and Broadway. Since forming an acoustic duo with Steve in 2007, they have focused on a wide range of songs made popular between the 60s and 70s, and love bringing their music to the Michiana region.
Steve has dedicated his life to perfecting his knowledge of the Beatles and other favs. Some call him a walking jukebox the way he can recall lyrics, melodies, and overall style. He has been singing and playing guitar since his earliest memory. Together, Steve and Mary E. have hours of pop-rock play list along with standards.

Lahm, Champagne and Rapier -  is the newest endeavor of these three music lovers, and guests will be entertained with a whole new repertoire of jazz standards, new spins on old favorites, and songs that they love to perform. 

Tickets can be obtained through eventbrite or direct through snail mail ( for address.

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