Blogging for the Bread in Your Life
Feb. 7, 2014
Thought bread was dead? While it has its challengers – the anti-carb crowd and gluten-free eaters among others – long hail the bread basket, if Traverse City’s bread- loving ladies have anything to say about it.
Susan Fisher and Meg Weichman both work full time for the Traverse City Film Festival. Last year, in their post-Film Festival, less frenzied days, the duo launched Bring Us Bread, a blog dedicated to pre-dinner bread service – the good, bad and ugly of the loaves, rolls, slices and their accompaniments.
Why? Because “everybody knows you should judge a restaurant by its bread basket,” according to the blog, where they share their bread experiences for fellow diners and bread connoisseurs.
So far, they’ve reviewed bread service at a few local restaurants and then have shared a few “traveling bread” experiences. They also venture off the restaurant path to pick up (and pick apart) bread from farmers markets and other bread stops.
Local bread legend Bob Pisor, who started Stone House Bread in Leelanau County in 1995, says he “absolutely loves” the bread blog, even if he does disagree with many of their findings.
He says evaluating bread baskets at eateries across the area “can only be good for those of us who dine out often” and gives two thumbs up for their ratings of the butter and oils, too.
One Slice or Five?
Fisher and Weichman have a Wonder Bread-like rating system – one white bread slice for poor to five slices for outstanding. The slices are often decorated in the spirit of the establishment (for example, slices are decked out Mardi Gras-style for the Pearl’s entry). While a “one slice” review has yet to come, the ladies are not afraid. “If it’s awful, we’re going to say it’s awful,” says Fisher.
Who locally has earned five slices so far? Just one: Trattoria Stella at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. Close behind? Red Lobster.
Inspired Any Change?
Actually, yes. downtown Traverse City’s Amical is unique, Fisher says, because it offers bread at each meal – a sweet bread at brunch, breadsticks at lunch and a basket at dinner. They were a bit dismayed, however, by the lunchtime butter packets, which generally garner a low score on their rating system After the blog review came out, Amical made the change to the fresh whipped butter it serves at dinnertime.
Bread and Butter Preferences?
Weichman: “I’m a white bread girl. I definitely like a warm bread basket, something with two options … a cornbread and a white bread is probably the ideal. I definitely go butter, sometimes a flavor … cinnamon, maple or strawberry.”
Fisher: “I agree with having a variety of options and I also enjoy butter. Good, white bread (no seeds) … dense, soft, warm with a little seasoning on top. And I’d take a roll over a loaf.”
Undersized or inappropriate portion sizes for the number of diners – for example, three pieces of bread for two people – is awkward any way you slice it, they say. Also, presentation-wise, paper napkins don’t cut it, no matter how fancy.
The art of the refill also does not go unnoticed by these ladies. A sever who trades out an empty bread basket for a full one without comment gets high marks, as do servers who don’t shoot a “carb eye” their way, says Weichman.