Feather Bowling

If there ever was a city that has survived itself like a Phoenix, it may be Mt. Clemens, Michigan. When I was a kid, I used to hear tales of my Grandfather walking across the Ambassador Bridge in Windsor, Ontario to Detroit, Michigan and catching an interurban line to Mt. Clemens. Back in the day Mt. Clements was known for their mineral baths and at one time there were eleven bathhouses and several hotels to cater to this industry. Not only my Grandfather, but celebrities from Burlesque, the Silver Screen and the Sports world traveled there for the therapeutic values of the waters. I have read, never having been there, that even today there are villages in Europe that still draw people for the spas. Of course back in the day, the city was also known in whispers for the card games that went on, and of course there was even mention of ladies of easy virtue that plied their trade as well. Through the years this part of Mt. Clemens has all but disappeared, and there is only one bathhouse left and it is a private concern and it may even close or be closed. The city has been rediscovered and has a life of its own with a strong night life.

William Hill Chardonnay 2013

As they used to say in Journalism class, I may have dropped the “lead,” because what is Feather Bowling? Feather Bowling is this unique “sport” that is kind of a cross between Bocce Ball and Shuffleboard, with wobbly wooden wheels that look like a cheese wheel or a malformed disc in Curling that is rolled down a long valley of dirt and at each end is a feather and the goal is to get the ball closest to the feather. This game originated in the Flanders area of Belgium and for years the only place one could go to play it was at the Cadieux Café in Detroit. We had a group of forty-two getting together during the holiday week, and this venue would not be able to handle our crowd plus their usual crowd and that is how we ended up in Mt. Clemens as there is now another venue that is huge and has three carpeted alleys for Feather Bowling.

Llama Malbec Old Vine 2013

We ended up at the Bath City Bistro and had rented an alley for three hours with this crowd. While this building was not originally a bathhouse it had many pictures of Mt. Clemens in the heyday of the bathhouses. There were numerous tables to handle all of our group, and I know that just at our table we had dishes of steak bites, chicken tenders, botanas, burgers, salmon, perch, ribs, pizza and of course an obligatory tub of mussels that should be the “official” food for playing Feather Bowling. The food was excellent for this type of party, and all of it went. I can only speak of the table that I was at, but there were some enjoying beer and cocktails, but at our table there were a couple of bottles of wine as well. We had a bottle of William Hill Estate Winery Chardonnay Central Coast 2013. The label said everything about this California wine, and I have had some of their “library” collection wines in the past as well. We also had a bottle of Llama Old Vine Malbec 2013. This wine is a blend of grapes from Alto Agrelo Valley and Lujan de Cuyo and the winery is in Mendoza, Argentina. These were two better than average wines to be found, and were enjoyed by the wine drinkers at our table as we watched the bowlers, and by the end of the night, some of them were getting quite good at the sport.


About thewineraconteur

A non-technical wine writer, who enjoys the moment with the wine, as much as the wine. Twitter.com/WineRaconteur Instagram/thewineraconteur Facebook/ The Wine Raconteur
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2 Responses to Feather Bowling

  1. lawman83 says:

    Raccie, this harkens back to your January 1, 2013 post about Pan-Asian Cuisine and wine. I was wondering what you would suggest as a wine to go with different Thai dishes, only to find that you shy away from that cuisine. If you enquire further, you will learn that MSG is not used in many Thai restaurants, particularly Bangkok 96, in Dearborn. Perhaps you and your Bride would care to join my wife and me for dinner there some time.

    Whether or not you care to try these dishes, could you make some wine suggestions? You suggested Gewurtztraminer, but Thai cuisine has a lot of different flavors, textures and intensities. Nearly any dish can be ordered mild to scorching – and when I say scorching, I mean the sweat breaks out on the back of your neck, your teeth feel as if they were melting and you are afraid to inhale for fear your lungs will catch fire. You do not have to order your food spicy, but if you want it, come and get it. Some like it hot. Would you suggest a bold wine like a Syrah or Zin to go with hot foods? Maybe a Chardonnay to go with a spicy chicken or shrimp dish?

    Pad thai is a noodle dish that is usually prepared with chicken or shrimp. It is on the sweet side and mildly spicy, with a nut-like flavor and is topped with crushed peanuts and bean sprouts. I would think that the Gewurtztraminer would pair well with such a dish. What about sake? Do you ever go that route?

    Thai curry is quite different from Indian curry, in that it is not so heavy in cumin, coriander and clove. Thai curry is more subtle. Like umami, the flavor is difficult to describe, but very distinct. Thai curry dishes may be made with or without coconut milk. If made with coconut milk, the sauce is very creamy and rich-tasting. If the curry paste is diluted with water or broth, the dish is lighter-tasting, and the curry does more of the work in enhancing the flavor of the meat and vegetables in the dish. What goes with a really creamy sauce, kind of like an alfredo with cashews or other nut flavors.

    There are also brown sauces flavored with various combinations of ginger and garlic. Some of them are almost like domestic gravy, although somewhat more spicy. I cannot think of any dishes that are very sour or bitter, like sauerkraut or kim che. The fried rice dishes are similar to the familiar Chinese fried rice, although browned more and more moist and flavorful.

    Finally, there is a delightful salad made with shrimp, beef or chicken called yam. It is made with lettuce, red onion, red and green sweet pepper, and cucumber. The dressing is very light and much less sour than Italian dressing.

    Any comments you would care to make.

    • Thank you for your note and invitation. I have found that the varietal Gewurztraminer works very well with the spices of Asia. I have also know that some people suggest German Rieslings.
      – John

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