Webster’s NEW Wine List: “Anna’s Picks”

Wine is a priority here at Webster’s Prime, and mostly because our staff loves drinking it so much.  We take a lot of pride in our list, and have spent the last month giving the Webster’s wine list a make over. Our bar team spent 3 grueling weeks tasting, and tasting and tasting … OK, you’re right, not grueling at all! New prices, new wines and a whole new layout to better serve the most important person of all, which is you!  Who better to talk about some of their new Webster’s favorites, than our very own Webster’s veteran, Anna.

Anna is a Webster's veteran, and our on site wino!

Anna is a Webster’s veteran, and our on site wino!


To kick off the revamping of our bottle list, here are 2 of the many new and exciting wines you will see on our menu! These 2 wines in particular, are great to add to your summer wine collection, and great to order while beating the heat with us:


Votre Sante Chardonnay, Sonoma, CA

The 2012 Votre Sante delivers the ideal balance of sweet and zesty, and is available on our glass pours list.

The 2012 Votre Sante delivers the ideal balance of sweet and zesty, and is available on our glass pours list.


Meaning “to your health”, Votre Sante is a line of wines from Francis Ford Coppola. The line was created to commemorate Francis’s grandmother and the way she would toast at each meal.

The 2009 was a 90-Point Best Buy in Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and with each sip we understand why.

Why the W(h)ine: In the last decade “un-oaked” Chardonnay has had quite the rise and fall in popularity. This has been attributed to many wine drinkers not enjoying the right balance or better productions of the grape. After all, if you had several bad glasses of Chardonnay (or any varietal), wouldn’t you think “they all must be like this”?

Un-oaked Chardonnays were the answer for a small percentage of these people, and that made it easier for the majority of us to jump on board.

Votre Sante is a great Chardonnay to bring you back from the un-oaked metallic boat. The blend of flavors excites an array of palates and is not fully dominated by the “o” word. If anything, the hint of butter and oak in this wine help bring out a more round fruit forwardness.

Vinotes: Light gold color. Bright and floral with hints of juicy pear, oak, citrus, light butter.

Food: Pair at Home: Great with marinated chicken on the summer grill, or any lighter spicy fare including Pad Thai and Fish Tacos.

Food: Pair with Us: Enjoy with our Ocean Tasting, Curry entrée, or red pepper cheese “Dip” in the Tasting Room!


Ponzi Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR

The Ponzi is a new addition to our bottles list, and a staff favorite!

The Ponzi is a new addition to our bottles list, and a staff favorite!

Offered by the bottle on our new wine list, this 2011 vintage was given 92 points by Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar and The Tasting Panel.

Why the W(h)ine:

Heavily rated among the best Pinot Noir’s of Oregon, Ponzi uses a blend of certified sustainable fruit throughout Willamette Valley, including LIVE certified sustainable fruit from Aurora and Albetina Vineyards.

Vinotes: Light texture yet juicy acidity. Notes of spiced vanilla and dates are prominent. It makes for a velvety pinot with a complex depth of tannins on the tongue.

Food: Pair at Home: Roast pork or grill salmon while reducing a Michigan summer black cherry glaze to pour over either entrée. If you’re vegetarian, risotto with stewed tomatoes and taleggio cheese will hold up well to this intriguing pinot.

Food: Pair with Us: If you need a night away from your kitchen, try our Otto’s chicken with Parisienne gnocchi and maple crème or our Maple Leaf Farm’s duck served over a potato cake with citrus slaw. Both dishes pair perfectly with the Ponzi!


Follow our blog to keep up on Anna’s Picks, and don’t forget to share some favorites of your own!  Join us EVERY Wednesday in the Tasting Room for Wine Down Wednesday. 1/2 off select pours and bottles, and live music with Steve Kamerling. Music kicks off at 7:30 and the wine is here all night! See you next #winedownwednesday





No Recipe Challenge

Recipes. We all use them, right? Each family dinner we spend it crouched over looking diligently at the recipe to make the best casserole dish on the block. And suddenly, half way through the step by step process, you realize you’re missing an ingredient. Do you leave it out, and risk your casseroles end product? Or do you run to the store and quickly grab that final ingredient?


            I remember before I began my culinary career, I depended off of recipes for almost everything. I looked up the best tomato sauces for lasagna. I looked up the best recipe for potato salads for summer. I was afraid to ever veer away from that Martha Stewart recipe. The thought of adding another ingredient scared me half to death, thinking that it would compromise all of my hard work. Even throughout culinary school they had us work off of recipes, which seemed a bit discouraging. However, as time passed, I realized that I didn’t need to depend off of recipes, I just needed to research and learn what ingredients would go well together.

            Excluding baking recipes (cakes, cookies), I recommend everyone to slowly wean away from those pesky recipes. Start off by adding extra ingredients to that recipe you love. Add green onions to your favorite potato salad recipe. Think of substituting an ingredient you don’t have on hand for something you want to get rid of.

Collaboration is key at Webster's, and we're always working together, especially on the line.

Collaboration is key at Webster’s, and we’re always working together, especially on the line.

            Personally, I feel the best way to start this process is investing in The Flavor Bible. It is truly a wonderful book for any level of home or professional cook. Rather than recipes, it has a wide list of ingredients that are paired with other items that go well with that flavor profile. Even to this day, I look at it at least once or twice a week, if not more. I use it for when I cook at home and when I’m at Webster’s. Every time I read The Flavor Bible, I learn something new.

The Flavor Bible is highly recommended from our culinary team here at Webster's Prime.

The Flavor Bible is highly recommended from our culinary team here at Webster’s Prime.

Buy The Flavor Bible on Amazon!

Once you’ve done a little research, the next step is to pick a dish you’re familiar with, and tweak it! Slowly move away from recipes you’ve become familiar with, and add new and exciting spices or other ingredients. The more frequently you practice this, the more comfortable you’ll get, and soon you’ll be able to brave a dish without that recipe card.

            Not using a recipe towards well thought out dishes is exciting, but it also helps towards using up items around the house. I remember after cooking a meal for friends, I had way too much cooked asparagus (who knew that possible?). The next day, I decided to throw the asparagus, some thyme and rosemary in with milk and water. Once I added a roux (equal parts flour – butter mixture), I had made an easy, but tasty creamy asparagus soup!

            Remember to take everything slowly. I highly recommend The Flavor Bible, and start from there. Don’t be discouraged if everything you create isn’t as wonderful as you imagined in your head. With mistakes comes lessons learned. I’ve had ideas in my head both at work and at home that don’t turn out as delicious as I would have hoped. So then I would run back to the drawing board and think of how I could fix my mistakes.

My Patty Pan Squash dish that was served at the 2013 Tasters' Guild Wine Dinner.  Served with Fall Vegetable Cous Cous and a Squash Puree

My Patty Pan Squash dish that was served at the 2013 Tasters’ Guild Wine Dinner. Served with Fall Vegetable Cous Cous and a Squash Puree

            Even before I began working at Webster’s I was afraid to steer away from a recipe given to me. I had been so dependent off of measurements, combination of ingredients, that I was out of my comfort zone when given the reins to create what I wanted. Working at Webster’s has been a true blessing for me. Every day I’m given those reins that I feel much more comfortable holding now. If you’ve ever eaten at our restaurant, you’ll notice that our seafood dishes change almost daily. We have fresh produce at our fingertips, and I’m able to help brainstorm new and exciting dishes every day. My creativity with food has expanded leaps and bounds than what it was ten months ago. It’s all thanks to Webster’s and our team for believing in the freedom to be creative!

Amy Spalsbury

Webster’s Line Cook

I had the chance to participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Bake-Off this year.  There is nothing like cooking for a good cause!

I had the chance to participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Bake-Off this year. There is nothing like cooking for a good cause!

Working hard on the Webster's Prime Holiday Gingerbread House.

Working hard on the Webster’s Prime Holiday Gingerbread House.

July 4th: Webster’s Prime Style

The 4th of July is a time of year that Michiganders live for.  Some of us can’t wait to load up our coolers with our favorite Michigan craft brews of the summer, and head to the nearest body of water with family and friends, while others stay home and enjoy the fireworks and Independence Day festivities put on by their own home towns.  The Webster’s crew is certainly looking forward to this upcoming weekend, and we decided to share a piece of our holiday celebrations with you.  Read on to see what the Webster’s crew loves most about this time of year, and feel free to share your fun filled 4th with us!

ANNA – Triple Threat Employee (Bartender/Server/Supervisor) a.k.a. “Goddess”

I have so many fun memories of Independence Day throughout the years! As a child, it wasn’t 4th of July unless someone baked a “Cool Whip” American flag cake to commemorate our Independence, and my 8 year old stomach. As a teenager, 4th of July meant my best friend and I got to lie out on the beach all day while we hoped of meeting cute boys at a firework show. Growing older, 4th of July has recently meant a great time with close friends and good wine.

Stop by the Bank St. Market on Thursday and pick up your local berries!

Stop by the Bank St. Market on Thursday and pick up your local berries!


I’m excited for what this 4th of July will bring!-but based on these memories, I do have a few recommendations to ensure you have an ideal independence!:

1.Pick up some fresh berries at your local Farmer’s Market and break out the Cool Whip! Recreating the American Flag is always sweeter when it’s on a cake.

2.WEAR SUNSCREEN. It is a lot easier for cute boys to notice your face when it’s not red.

3.Enjoy some of my favorite summer wines that pair well with BBQ, but even better with fireworks and great friends!

–          2012 Starborough Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand

–          2012 Orin Swift Mannequin White Blend, Napa Valley , California

–          2011 Echeverria Reserva Pinot Noir, Maule Valley, Chile

–          2012 Opolo Vineyards  Mountain Zinfandel, Paso Robles, California


MEGAN – Hostess

My favorite 4th of July memory was always going up north to Higgins Lake in Grayling, Michigan with my whole family. We always ended up trying to squeeze 15 or more family members into this tiny little 500 square foot cabin. We loved grilling out, having bonfires, and watching the fireworks over the lake!


NICOLE – Server

My favorite fourth memory is several years ago, me and some friends would spend the weekends in three rivers and would be on the lake all day and night, the only time we’d go in is for food breaks. At night we would hook up 5-6 pontoons so that you could walk from one to another and hang out. Far enough away from home to be a relaxing weekend getaway.


What are you throwing over the coals this year?

What are you throwing over the coals this year?

SHAUN – Veteran Server

Celebrating with both friends and family, the 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. Basking in the sun with a cold drink and surrounded by ones I care most, what more could I ask for? I find it hard not to feed off of the infectious energy that seems to be in the air amongst us and everyone around us. This year I plan to spend the day playing games, boating and having good food with great people. Have a safe and wonderful Independence Day everyone!

Also, if you’re traveling to see fireworks keep in mind on your way home as your traveling 1mph that it’s likely the car in front of you wants to backhand the car in front of them just as bad. Patience!


AMY – Line Cook

My most memorable 4th of July experience was two years ago. I was moving into a new apartment with my boyfriend when I was living in Minnesota for school. We decided to travel the 9 hours from Kalamazoo to Minneapolis on July 3rd. As night fell, fireworks lit the skies everywhere! We had our own personal firework show as we slowly made our way to our new home. It was a beautiful sight I will never forget, and it definitely made the long journey go by much quicker!

Fun at Anne's new lake house!

Fun at Anne’s new lake house!


ANNE – Bartender Extraordinaire

Fireworks, friends, family, flags, and great food all in celebration of our country. It has to be my favorite holiday of the year. This year will be extra special for myself and my partner Ian, because we are now enjoying life on the lake with our new summer home on Pine Lake. It will be our first year creating these extra special memories that we can share for a lifetime. We plan to grill our favorite American food; burgers, brats, hotdogs, and BBQ chicken. But our lake house favorite will be campfire s’mores. After all the fun boating and the sun starts to set, campfires round out our ideal day. Never will there be a shortage of Hershey chocolate bars, marshmallows and a pack of graham. It’s a favorite for all ages that make a visit our way. Webster’s has created my favorite 4th indulgence with our S’more Bavarian dessert. Can’t make it to a campfire? Visit me in the Tasting room and Webster’s will do the messy work for you! Have a safe and happy fourth everyone.


TRICIA – Hostess

When I was young my family and I would go camping at the beautiful Ludington State Park for the 4th of July. With the sand dunes separating the beach from our campsite, we always worked up an appetite during the day climbing and swimming for hours. So when dinner time came around we always had to have a feast prepared. Some friends from Ohio showed us a new “camping food” that was simply too good to pass up on. We would take seasoned steaks or burgers wrapped in tinfoil with your veggie of choice, (such as red potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and whatnot), with a little bit of water and cook them all wrapped up on a tripod grill over a campfire. When the meat and veggies are fully cooked you take them off the fire and put them on a plate to be devoured. This was such a great idea because everyone can create their own meal. Independence Day will always bring back those great memories for me. Thanks to all the service men and women who have made and continue to make that possible for us.


RICHARD – Lead Line Cook

Most of the summer holidays my wife and I get together with a bunch of friends at a lake near Vicksburg.  Our friend Trevor, his grandparents have a house that sits right on Indian Lake.  We have been doing this for many years unless we happen to be traveling.  Everyone brings their own item to be grilled; be it meat or vegetarian items.  Most people bring a dish to pass or a wonderful dessert, but I usually bring my ‘famous’ salsa.  There are games to be played, relaxing with a magazine, enjoying each other’s company, or swimming.  We also take pontoon boat rides around the lake.  When it gets dark, we start a campfire and fireworks are the night’s entertainment both lit off by our group and the people that live on the lake (some of the firework shows rival some city funded ones).  We enjoy s’mores while playing with sparklers and watching the night sky being painted by the explosions of color in celebrating our country’s birth.  Happy Independence Day!

Kicking back and relaxing doesn't sound like a bad idea this 4th of July.

Kicking back and relaxing doesn’t sound like a bad idea this 4th of July.



NATE – Kitchen Supervisor

On 4th of July, I like to think back when I was young and so bewildered by fireworks. I remember the excitement to spend the day with all of my family, eating barbecue and my grandmother’s sushi. I like to look at my nieces now and watch their similiar feelings and excitement. This is a nostalgic holiday for myself.

Nate and his niece Olivia.

Nate and his niece Olivia.


KAYLEE – Server

Every week before the fourth my mom and nana and I make big sunhats with our monogrammed initials on them with big bows. Then we go up to the grand hotel on mackinaw island! I’ve gone since I was born and I’ll never miss it!


DAVID – Server

To me the 4th of July is about the freedoms our friends and family have fought for. Knowing the sacrifices so many have made so we can say we are the land of the free and home of the brave.  It’s one of the reasons I’ve taken my friends Ben and Jordan out to Websters giving them a great meal before they left for basic training this spring.


Nothing like herbs and veggies from the home garden to create the perfect meal.

Nothing like herbs and veggies from the home garden to create the perfect meal.

STEFAN – Executive Chef

There have been some great Independence Day meals; a Polish with spicy mustard and kraut on the softest potato bun ever at Kaufmann Stadium in Kansas City, general admission seats and a killer fireworks display (we were sitting up so high the explosions seemed to be at eye level!).  This one is ruled out due to the flying insects that gravitated to the large stadium lights above us and swarmed as the sun went down.

I participated in a lobster boil one Fourth of July, the food was awesome, all the fixings, red spuds, cobbed corn, amazing key lime pie.  Ate like a last meal.  This one is ruled out because no human should have to endure 100 degree plus temps, high 90% humidity, and have to boil fresh lobsters for 60 people.  Think I lost about 12 pounds that day even though I consumed my share of 2+ pound Maine lobsters.

Stefan's greyhound Sara knows how to celebrate.

Stefan’s greyhound Sara knows how to celebrate.

The winner was a gathering of all the kids and grandkids, attaching the hose to the slipper slide thing, grilling way to many of everything; I’m partial to the food in tube form, Polish, Kielbasa, etc, but there were patties of turkey, cow, and chicken as well, everyone brought a side of something (we always forgive the ‘bag o’chip’ folks, very little forethought) and we ate way to much making sure no one was burned by sparklers.  Then we packed up and headed to a community firework display taking the fixings for poor man smores, marshmallow fluff, grahams, and Hershey’s that always melt on the way.  This experience is made even better by the invention known as Baby Wipes!  What a lifesaver!

Lindsey, Destiny and Bailey bundled up and waiting for the fireworks to start!

Lindsey, Destiny and Bailey bundled up and waiting for the fireworks to start!

There is nothing better than celebrating with family on the 4th!

There is nothing better than celebrating with family on the 4th!












I guess the moral of the menu is sometimes it’s not what you eat, where you eat, or how you eat, but who enjoys it with you.  A safe Independence Day to you and yours!


KENNY – Prep Cook

I don’t really have a favorite memory of the 4th, I have traditions I do every year to make it just as good as the last year. The first thing is good food like smoked ribs, grilled burgers, and sweet tea. The second thing is good people. People to hang around a fire with and almost get blown up with. The third thing every 4th needs something that goes boom!! Fireworks top off an already awesome day.  My 4th is like every night at websters prime good food, good people, and something that puts it over the top.

How are you preparing your Independence Day steaks?

How are you preparing your Independence Day steaks?


ALEX – Event Coordinator

When I think of July 4th, the first thing that comes to mind is family.  Growing up my parents we’re always the “party house” for these types of events.  My mom, sister and I would spend all day on the 3rd making potato salad, baked beans, hamburger patties, taco salad and every other dish you might see at your traditional American cook-out.  My dad is a moonshine master, and can’t wait to share his latest creations with everyone.  He’s also a lover of craft beer, and has Bell’s Oberon on draft all summer long in their outdoor gazebo.  Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, friends, neighbors and anyone you want to drag along is invited, and no one usually arrives without a dish to pass.  Kids are running around … everywhere, fireworks are always scheduled at dusk and a family bonfire to finish out the night, which wouldn’t be complete without our traditional s’mores.  I love my family, and couldn’t think of a better way to spend this holiday and can’t wait to load up the car and head home on Thursday night!

A throwback shot of the Tipton clan having some July 4th fun!  Mom is behind the camera, and yes, that's our Event Coordinator pictured in the front!

A throwback shot of the Tipton clan having some July 4th fun! Mom is behind the camera, and yes, that’s our Event Coordinator pictured in the front!

KYLE – Line Cook

My grandmother shares her birthday with the birth of the United States, so every year my fourth celebrations are the same. My uncles load up the family in their boats and we spend the day in the Saginaw bay entertaining/ being entertained by fellow boaters. After the day passes we dock the boats for a family potluck at gram’s place. Money is won and lost in poker tournaments(where gamp’s used to clean house every time). Once everyone’s pockets are empty and stomachs are full with grandmas sugar cookies, we re-take our places on the Bay and watch the fireworks coming from both Bay City and Saginaw. The grand finale is always the lighting of the SAGINAW sign on the bridge, over the bay river. The night ends the same way when we re-dock and gram makes the comment, “for some reason they do this for me, EVERY year!”


HOLLI – Bartender Extraordinaire #2

My favorite memory/tradition for 4th of July is to spend it with my friends and family in Michigan.  We sit by the pool, eat some hotdogs and burgers, and have cannonball contests all day! It is a wonderful time to appreciate the people that have fought for our freedom and to spend it with the most important people in my life.  Looking forward to it this year!

What's your favorite summer cocktail to whip up?  This is "The Holli" - New Holland Hopquila, cilantro, chili simple syrup, lime, and pineapple juice. Coming to our menu soon!

What’s your favorite summer cocktail to whip up? This is “The Holli” – New Holland Hopquila, cilantro, chili simple syrup, lime, and pineapple juice. Coming to our menu soon!

From our family to yours, please have a safe and happy 4th of July weekend.

Webster’s Prime will be closed both Friday and Saturday so our staff can enjoy their Independence Day traditions!

– Webster’s Prime Staff –

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