Sometimes life goes your way, and someone special enters your life.

Meet Chef Michael.

Michael is a dearly beloved friend of the main man and me. We met him a couple of years ago, and since then have had some of our most amazing Cincinnati meal experiences with Michael.

Beyond making good food, he makes for great company.

So, earlier this week we got the call from Michael that we always answer in the affirmative.

“Dinner?”

Um, yes.

Forever yes.

I walked in to his house to this:

And this:

And her:

Can you say man after my own heart?

So, I have some recipes for ya. These are Chef Michael’s recipes- did I mention that this man was trained at the Culinary Institute of America in NYC?  Or that he has served dinner to four presidents, Frank Sinatra, Mick Jagger, ME (wait, how’d I get on this list?), and the list goes on and on?

Side note: if you ever have the pleasure of meeting Michael, ask him his Nancy Reagan story.

But first a tour of his outdoor oasis. Because when you eat at Michaels, you are eating with some special friends in a special place.

Like Homer:

And Angel Jerry Garcia:

There are candles hanging from trees:

And pretty trellises:

And the biggest basil plant I have ever seen:

And this custom built, angel-guarded charcoal grill:

Thank you, that concludes our very short tour.

Lets cook!

First, if you want one of those cocktails that I’m sipping on, here’s what you’ll need:

Champagne, Peach Schnapps, Berries (sliced strawberries, blackberries, raspberries)

Put some berries in a glass, pour in a little of the Peach Schnapps, and top with Champagne.

Could that be any more simple?

It is as delicious as it is simple. It’s Friday- try some!

For the burger recipe… pay attention. Cause this burger was yum-a-lum-a-ding-dong.

I chopped (yes, I earn my meal- Michael makes me say things like “yes, Chef!”, “whatever you say Chef!”, “I don’t know what happened to that bacon chef!”) a bunch of parsley and one bunch of green onions. Then, I grated an 8 oz block of cheddar. I finished by finely chopping up about 6 pieces of that fried bacon.

Then, I ate another two pieces.

Don’t tell Michael.

I sliced tomato and washed lettuce for toppers.

Then, I sliced up a white onion (1/4 in thick) so Michael could get them ready for grilling with a drizzle of oil:

And some seasoned salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of parsley:

Throw those bad boys on the grill:

Oh, hey there corn. Nice to see ya.

After about 6 minutes on a very hot grill, flip over the onions.

Truth be told, I flipped those onions.

I never said I was an expert at flipping onions. Or grilling.

So, while those onions are grilling lets make some burger patties.

Ground beef (80/20- I’m guessing 1 1/2 lbs), the chopped green onion, the chopped parsley, the chopped bacon, the majority of that shredded cheddar.

Michael added a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a dash of worcestershire (thank you dictionary.com- that word is hard to spell) sauce.

He folded all of the ingredients together and then made patties. You should see this man make a burger patty. He could whip out 6 perfectly formed patties to my one patty. Master.

He gives each one a slap before putting it on the plate. I think it must be necessary to achieve his level of deliciousness, so I say go for it!

Now, to the screaming hot grill. Just about 3 minutes on each side.

Oh hey there fellas. You are doing a great job in all of that smoke.

I’ll just be over here snapping pictures.

You know, away from the smoke.

Go inside and build your burger.

Man, oh man.

The sign on Michael’s back door speaks the truth:

The weather this weekend in Ohio is looking pretty darn perfect.

I say pour a glass of berry champagne and fire up the grill!

Happy Friday,

Leah

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