Posted by: Kath Usitalo | November 15, 2010

Road Food Report: Falafel With A Side Of Tuba (And Fa La La La La, Too)

Dozens of instruments line the walls of the Travelers Club and Tuba Museum

Of all the quirky museums I’ve visited in Michigan—heck, make that anywhere—the one with the best snack bar has to be the Travelers Club International Restaurant & Tuba Museum and Tuba Charlie’s World of Beer in Okemos, just outside of Lansing.

As you may have guessed by its mouthful of a name, Travelers Club offers visitors more than bags of chips and overcooked tube steaks. This is a full service restaurant that serves the usual breakfast, lunch and dinner choices but is known for dishing flavors from around the world, with themed, prix fixe menus that change twice monthly.

"Where friends and continents meet"

For example, through November 16 the menu features Swedish foods like pickled herring, smoked whitefish and rye bread. From November 17-30 the special focus will be traditional Hungarian fare: smoked ham appetizer, Chicken Paprikash, buttered noodles, sauerkraut casserole and more.

In addition, each month the special menu is adapted to satisfy vegetarians, and there are always Middle Eastern, Asian and Latin selections.

Wash it all down with a choice of 200 international bottled beers, or Tuba Charlie’s ale of the month or other draft beer from Michigan.

Tuba Charlie, aka William White, is one of the globe-trotting founders of the restaurant and a musician who plays the large brass horn. His instrument collection, which includes a rare (probably the only remaining) 1915 triple E flat Helicon Tuba, constitutes the rather casual museum: dozens of horns hang from the walls of the former hardware store and ice cream parlor.

We’ve eaten at Travelers Club a few times, most recently last summer when the garden, which provides herbs and flowers for the restaurant, was in bloom and the tuba fountain spurted water.

Whet your appetite for international food and travel by having the menu specials emailed each month, and plan a journey to Travelers Club.

Fa la la la la:
You may want to have your falafel with a little Fa la la la la in Lansing on Friday, November 19 for the annual Silver Bells in the City celebration from 5-9 p.m. Festivities include an Electric Light Parade, lighting of the state’s Christmas tree and fireworks over the State Capitol building.

Visitor Info Click: Lansing

The world's only Sousaphountain makes music in the Travelers Club garden

On a related note:  TubaChristmas is coming!

This series of concerts, began in New York at Rockefeller Plaza Ice Rink in 1974. The annual musical event, now held at locations across the land and in Canada and Switzerland, features tuba and euphonium players who get together to perform holiday music—usually their only group rehearsal is just before showtime.

TubaChristmas 2010 begins in Michigan with a performance at 3 p.m., Saturday, November 20 at Bogie Lake Greenhouse in White Lake Township.

After that you can hear ensembles throughout December on the following dates:
5 – Ann Arbor, Corner of State St. and North University and Marquette, Westwood Mall
11 – Howell, Livingston Courthouse Amphitheater
12 – Grand Rapids, St. Cecilia Music Center
18 – Clinton Township, Mall at Partridge Creek and Traverse City, Dennos Museum
19 – Battle Creek, First United Methodist Church and Detroit, Central United Methodist Church
31 – Kalamazoo, Bronson Park

Note that some performances are outdoors, so dress for the elements.

See the TubaChristmas calendar for details on all upcoming concerts.

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