Monday, December 30, 2013

Big Blue, William B's Steakhouse = a BIG win!

Having lived in Michigan City Indiana since 2008, one of the prime features of this unique place to live is Blue Chip Casino. Blue Chip towers over this mid-sized town. Approaching Michigan City you see two things as you turn on to Highway 421 (Franklin St) The glorious curved tower of the casino and a tower reminiscent of "The Simpsons." (contrary to popular belief it is not a nuclear plant) Knowing that beyond the scope of hilarity of tower 2 and the glamour of tower one is a breathtaking view of the lake brings environmental balance to this unique place we call home. We often comment on the fact that neither of us have ever lived in such a place before were you can find so much diversity within a few short miles, not to mention a bike ride away. In short we love our home and each day we grow more and more attached to this eclectic blend of the have's and the have not's. The Dunes, the customs, the glorious sunsets including the billows from the "Simpson-esque" tower, and the reflective curves of Miss Blue. Which brings me to our "Big-win!" It all began with a "free night" stay at Blue Chip Casino hotels. After many years of visiting the casino and enjoying it as one of our places to go, we finally scored a free night stay. Even though we live in Michigan City, we decided to take advantage of the accommodations as I REALLY wanted to see what it looked like in the Spa Blue Tower. Upon arrival we were treated like royalty. The front desk people were kind, welcoming and the crystals twinkling over head while we waited made for a sense of Vegas glamour. Arrival at our room on the 11th floor was spectacular as we walked onto the curved hallway leading to our room. The feel of the place was similar to upscale boutique hotels that we stayed in when visiting Manhattan. Designed with aesthetic attention much like the Morgan Group Hotels, it urged the guest to "chill-out" and relax! The room was spacious, bathroom glorious, and the view was spectacular! Geese flying by at eye level, the light house in clear view, ice forming on the lake, streets intersecting in the distance and as the sun set was dazzling. The view was second to the generosity of the Boyd Gaming desire to treat their customers right. We were graciously comped not only for the room, but a generous dining credit for both Steve and I. (hang on the generosity of Hoosiers gets better!) We were looking forward to a fine dining experience at William B's but failed to make reservations. Because of the holiday and it being one of the finest restaurants in Northwest Indiana, it is difficult to get reservations. Along with it being a favorite, it is a dining experience. If you are looking for a quick meal, then you better to go the highly regarded buffet because William B's prides itself on being a food-spa experience. Regardless, we went into the bar anyway and found the last 2 seats at the bar. Imagine the relief to discover that we could experience the fine cuisine while sitting at the bar. Michael, our bartender for the night was a great conversationalist and took his time making sure all of his guests were treated right. Knowing how generous William B's is with their portions, we decided to each get a wedge salad, (the best ever!) share a cup of their French onion soup, and share the Thai style Chilean Sea Bass with jasmine rice and cucumber adornment. More on that gastronomical celebration soon. While awaiting our first course, we struck up a conversation with a gentlemen eating alone at the bar. One thing led to another and I discovered that he lives in Noblesville Indiana, which is the first place I moved to when moving to Indiana. The conversation continued on to discover that he is originally from Michigan City and has a vacation place here. We shared stories about the people and places that are familiar to us. The friendly spirit of Indiana came to rest and reflected the generous attitude of Blue Chip and Michigan City. He bid us farewell and Happy Holidays. Our food began to arrive... The wedge salad was as it always is, perfect. a generous wedge of ice-burg lettuce surrounded by knolls of diced tomatoes, red onion, bacon and a wedge of blue cheese. It is the best not only because of the generous portions of adornments but because it allows for perfect lettuce to adornment ratios. Along with the wedge of blue cheese is the house blue cheese dressing to add as desired. Second course, French Onion Soup gratineed with crouton. Again, one of the best. (In a prior post I shared that the chef at Wllliam B's is highly regarded and like all top quality chefs, takes his masterpieces seriously) Main course, Thai style Chilean Sea Bass with jasmine rice and cucumbers. Michael our server/bartender made certain that the meal was divided appropriately so that we could share it. It is the little things that keep people coming back for more and Michael is one who "get's it!" Immediately the fragrance of jasmine rice prepared us for the culinary delight. The cucumber salad worked well to cleanse the pallet and prepare our taste buds for each delectable soup-con of sea bass. The generosity continued as we went to pay our tab, "oh, you do not owe for the dinner, the gentleman next to you picked up your tab!" We were shocked, you mean this still happens? He was eating alone and had been comped dinner for two, so he graciously shared his complimentary dinner with us. This left us with our complimentary dinner which we would enjoy a day or two later. On to Blue Chip "Big-Win" day 2. Day 2. Sunday 12/29/2013. William B's is again booked and no open reservations which leads us to the bar. We found 2 open seats right in front of the televisions. This is a good thing as we had desired to watch the Green Bay Packers vs, the Bears. Our bartender-Ryan. Let me just add, "Ryan the Great" as he understands like Michael what good customer service is about. Ryan delighted in making Steve a Beefeater's Martini. He carefully chilled the glass, mixed, poured and in short, he made a man's drink! Me a simple Malbec is all I desired. We enjoyed the banter about football, good gin, living in Northwest Indiana, and the quality of food that is William B's. Friendly people were all around us, willing to talk and share their experiences and love of life. We learned more about our home through the conversation and Steve thoroughly enjoyed the Green Bay WIN! (Sorry Bear's fans, while we are now Hoosiers, Steve was born and raised a "cheese-head") Our selection last night was the Wedge salad, French Onion soup and we shared a Stuffed Niman Ranch Pork Chop, served on a bed of broccoli confetti mashed potatoes. Each bite of the tender pork when blended with pine nuts,dried cranberries, proscuito and fontanella cheese topped with seasoned butter will send your taste buds really with delight. What was most special about our Blue Chip visit was the feeling that Ryan, Michael, Patrick the Restaurant Manager and Chef Rudy really enjoy serving up a "Blue" ribbon experience. In the end it is the people that keep people coming back for more! Photos compliments of Steve "Saturday Night Stever" Champagne. A Champagne and LaLuna Production

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas and the Happiest Holiday EVER!

Season's Greetings from Steve Champagne and Mary E. LaLuna. The entire ArtSees Diner family wishes you all a very Merry Christmas, a Joyous Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Our Compliments to the Chef! Blue Chip Hits the Jackpot!

Steve and I have had the privilege of enjoying a nice little neighborhood establishment for some time now. Lately due to my injury, we have been laying low, but, in honor of the season, we have treated ourselves to a couple of nice trips to the "Big Blue" as we fondly call it. "Big Blue" is also known to most as Blue Chip Casino. Our experience involves a late night snack at William B's over the weekend, and again tonight for a little post-Christmas shopping soiree. First of all, as you all know I have raved on and on about Copper Rock Steak House at Four Winds, and while I have to admit, I love David and Tamara and the crew, (especially their breads and spread served with every dinner) I really am impressed with what is going on at Blue Chip. Elegance, gourmet dining without losing your shirt and shoes. Saturday night we were treated like royalty by the Host Patrick and our server Patti. Both were outstanding and just good people! The food was exquisite and I w agreed William B's French Onion soup is actually superior to Four Winds. Also, the wedge salad is superior as well. The way it was presented lent to the overall improvement over Copper Rock. Again tonight it was superior. But, the soup Steve ordered was out of this world-Cream of Garlic soup. Now before you turn up your nose to it, it was maybe one of the outstanding soups that I have ever had. What was even more enjoyable was the delight our server Sean took in serving it to us. We were able to discuss the ingredients and he relayed my inquiries to the Chef. Our main meal was Brandied Chicken over fingerling potatoes and Steve had Braised Short Ribs served with Red Pepper Mashed Potatoes. It was absolutely unbelievable. Culinary excellence! To rejoice over food, experience fine dining in our backyard, and be treated like it mattered whether we were there or not, what more could a girl want? Oh did I mention the whole experience did not break the bank.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Copper Rock Steak House, Why It Is Worth the Extra $$

Let me begin by saying that David and Tamara are 2 of Four Winds Casino's greatest treasures. When you go to a casino, you are pretty much sure that you will leave with less than what you came with. That is the nature of the beast. The point of a good experience when you go out for the evening is whether you leave feeling like you got your money's worth. Well at Four Winds Casino and Resort, you must put aside a little extra cha-ching and treat yourself to top shelf food, drink, and people! David and Tamara are top shelf. Why are they good at their job? Because while you are watching their orchestrated delivery of adult libation, you do not sense at any point that they are laboring at a job! On the contrary, you are lulled into a fine dining experience as you feel like you are friends with the hosts. They are their to serve you all the while welcoming you into their living room. Copper Rock is one of the finest establishments in the Northwest Indiana corridor and the ambiance is equal to a fine living room. Because of the welcoming environment, the ambiance, the superior gastronomical experience, it is superior and it can be considered high quality and it is worth every penny! What can you expect when dining there? You are greeted by friendly accommodating hosts. If you are lucky and get to dine there frequently then they will quickly identify you upon arrival. (try to make reservations as you may never know the wait time) After being seated you will quickly be served purified water, graciously served by attendants and also served a basket of fine breads and spreads to make you wish you had a bottomless pit for a stomach. This is no time for a diet, it is time to enjoy the finest! Be certain to save room for the famed beignets that will leave you rejoicing in chocolate heaven. If I were to have any complaints it is that they do not indulge the diner in any pasta dishes, and they updated their menu removing our absolute favorite; Chicken Saltambocca. Also, I believe it would be wonderful if they were to add light acoustic entertainment. The one thing that I miss the most at Four Winds is that there is no live music unless you go to the Hard Rock, and that is not my cup of tea. Copper Rock Steak House would be perfect. Champagne and LaLuna would be a nice addition. If you prefer a more relaxed dining experience, you can eat at the bar in a more intimate, "laid back" atmosphere at the Copper Rock Lounge. Plus it will be personally delivered by either David or Tamara! Tell em' the Steve and Mary Show sent you! (We wanted to post pictures of David and Tamara, but, they were so busy welcoming concert goer's that they was no time to stop and say "cheese!")

Sunday, December 1, 2013