Eating At the Lake of the Ozarks: 7 Questions for Michael Castle

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The small business owners that work hard day in and day out are what help make the Lake of the Ozarks such a desirable destination all year ’round.

This week, we sat down with Michael Castle, owner of On The Rise Bakery & Woodfired Bistro in Osage Beach — To ask him how food has changed over the years, what it’s like to make it in the restaurant business, and what dishes he’s most excited about for this fall.

CWV: You’ve come full circle, beginning your culinary career at The Potted Steer in Osage Beach, graduating from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in NYC and now owner of On the Rise Bakery & Woodfired Bistro in Osage Beach, among other food-related ventures. How has the food scene evolved at the Lake of the Ozarks since you started your own culinary journey years ago?
MC: The foodie education in America has improved drastically over the 10 years or so with the advent of the Food Network as well as all ofimage1 the chef “personality” shows that are on television right now. I think it’s contributed to the elevation of the everyday chef at home and my customers come in to dine with a better idea of what we are trying to accomplish at On the Rise.

CWV: As we head full-swing into fall, what dishes and flavors are you most excited about at your restaurant?
MC: My favorite dish this time of year is our Meyer lemon Crispini with caramelized onions, prosciutto ham, goat cheese, arugula and of course, Meyer lemons.  It’s our way of holding onto the last burst of summer as we move into Autumn.

CWV: Many of our guests like to bake for their families and with their kids. Do you have any tips, tricks, or best practices when it comes to baking at home?
MC: Baking is mostly science with a lot of common sense thrown in. Don’t be afraid to try everything…it’s not like people will complain that your house smells great!

CWV: What serves as the inspiration for the delectable menu items you create at On the Rise?
MC: Inspiration…that comes from “everywhere” and it never ceases to slow down. I love to create.

CWV: What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of owning a restaurant at the Lake oimage3f the Ozarks?
MC: I think like most people, it’s the simple pride you take in doing things well. Owning a restaurant also provides a create outlet when it comes to food and design as well as the challenges of running what I believe to be the most difficult business one can enter into.

CWV: Who are a few of your culinary heroes and why them?
MC: Any chef that has managed to run a successful restaurant while holding himself and everyone around him to the highest of standards…Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria and Grant Achatz to name a few. But, I cannot leave my good friend Chef Dan Frederickson!

CWV: What advice or wisdom would you give to children, teens, or adults who or are considering the culinary path?
MC: First of all, there is no glamour in the restaurant business, despite what you see on television. The hours will be grueling, the demands never wane and to be successful in this business, you better be demanding of yourself as well as those around you and be confident in your own vision. If you’re okay with all of that, you are going to LOVE it!

A Ha Ha Haunted Halloween!

Photo by: sszdl (https://flic.kr/p/igFKrP)

Photo by: sszdl (https://flic.kr/p/igFKrP)

Ha Ha Tonka State Park is one of the best ways to explore fall at the Lake of the Ozarks.

And aside from walking the usual trails, Missouri State Park has a fun and kid-friendly event on Halloween night called “Ha Ha Haunt”.

Here more info from Ha Ha Tonka State Park:

Put on your favorite costume and enjoy an evening of Halloween fun for all ages. Castle Trail will be decorated and lined with jack-o-lanterns. At the castle ruins, get a treat bag, make a s’more, play a game for a prize, do a craft and get a cup of hot chocolate. This year’s event will feature professional storyteller Steve Otto.  He will be telling ghost stories for the younger crowd at 5:30 p.m. and spookier stories for the brave at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Event time: 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

1491 State Road D, Camdenton, MO | (573) 346-2986

3 Signs That You May Be A Leaf Peeper

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Photo by Ed Schipul (link: https://flic.kr/p/5urxW9)

With fall comes the changing of the seasons and with the changing seasons comes incredible beauty at the Lake of the Ozarks.

Dazzling trees, adorned with red, orange, golden, and brown leaves. That short span of time between that last gasp of summer and before the cold breath of winter.

Sure, you’ve probably admired these changing leaves at some point in  your life. We’ve all done it. But there is a more avid group of fall leaf enthusiasts called “leaf peepers”. Now, this might sound a little creepy at first, but we promise — it’s nothing of the sort.

Leaf peeing is the act of traveling intentionally to see the changing leaves. The origins of the term are rather fuzzy, however leaf peeping is a big hit anywhere trees are in abundance…especially in the New England states. But it only takes one visit to the Lake of the Ozarks in the fall to see that we are the perfect destination to get your fill of leaf peeping.

In case you’re scratching your head, wondering if you might be a leaf peeper, here are three signs to look for:

  1. You find yourself gazing out the window, a little too often, while driving. We don’t blame you! The beauty of nature can make it rather difficult to look away. Just be sure to keep your eyes on the road! One tip is to find a rest stop or scenic vantage point to stop and take it all in. These changing trees look even more gorgeous when you can stand still and look at every detail.
  2. Your Facebook page is filled with photos of trees, glistening with orange, red, and gold. Don’t be shy to admit it. As fall arrives, you find yourself taking more photos of trees with your phone and either sharing them on Facebook or sharing them with friends and family. You may also take multiple photos from different angles in order to get that perfect shot!
  3. You stash a pair of binoculars in your purse or glove compartment, “just in case”. This one is for the hardcore leaf peepers. Because there are times when you just can’t get close enough. Thankfully, at the Lake of the Ozarks, there are plenty of walking and hiking trails to get up close and personal with fall foliage.

Whether you’re a proud leaf peeper or just a casual observer of fall, there are few destinations better than the Lake of the Ozarks to see fall foliage in all its glory.