Burger Night’s at Samuel’sAt Samuel’s in Suttons Bay, owner Sam Hybels wants you to dig into the burger with the same gourmet gusto as you do the beef Wellington. The burgers at Samuel’s come with your pick of adventurous toppings like kimchee (Asian fermented cabbage), morel gravy or manchego cheese, and a crisp tangle of slender shoestring potatoes on the side. Friday nights the kitchen also rolls beautiful sushi – a refreshing starter – but save room, too, for homemade banana bread pudding. Chef Tim Holtz defies the usual resourcefulness of using up stale loaves by baking up golden banana bread expressly for the dessert. Right out of the oven, the final product is caramelized and crisp on the edges, decadent and grandma-good. 231-271-6222, samuelssuttonsbay.com.

FindPick Axe Blonde (in a Can)
A friend to burger eaters, late-winter skiers and fans of fine-crafted light ales, Pick Axe Blonde is golden, malty, refreshing and one of four fulltime beers on tap at Keweenaw Brewing Co. The U.P microbrewery (not brewpub – no food) is the first in Michigan to offer craft beer in a can – aluminum being better than glass at keeping out beer’s nemeses, light and oxygen. KBC’s canned and kegged products are available in Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties in the western U.P. and at their downtown Houghton brewhouse and taproom. 408 Shelden Avenue, Houghton, 906-482-5596, keweenawbrewing.com.

TechniqueBuffalo BurgersNot only is grass-fed buffalo nutrient-rich and naturally leaner than even skinless chicken breast (buffalo has only 2.42 grams of fat per 100 grams, versus beef’s 9.28 and skinless chicken’s 7.41), its deep flavor makes scrumptious burgers. How to grill them up juicy? Cheboygan buffalo farmer Todd Ross recommends brushing buffalo burgs with a scant amount of olive oil and Montreal Steak Seasoning, and then grilling them on high temp for 4 minutes per side – any longer and they’ll dry out fast.

Buy meat direct from the ranch: Midwest Buffalo,
212 Abbott Street, Cheboygan, 231-627-7125.

Emily Betz Tyra is associate editor at Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.etyra@traversemagazine.com

This article was first published in March 2007 and was updated for the web February 2008.