The Number Ones – Traverse City Region

I am still in the doldrums of post-vacation let-down. So, to lift my spirits and whet your appetite, I will share my number ones with you. There will be more details on many of these tasty treats in coming posts, but here is a glimpse at the best that I ate and drank in TC/Bellaire/Leelanau/Old Mission.

Best Coffee Shop – Moka (Bellaire). Homemade muffins and pastries and great coffee make for a wonderful Up North wake-up.

Best Burger – Poppycock’s (Downtown TC). The Rice Farms Burger is the best burger I have ever had. Ever. And I’ve had a lot of burgers in my time. THE BEST BURGER EVER.

Best Dessert – Moomer’s Ice Cream, Cherries Moobilee (Traverse City). The cherries are frozen through a special process separate from the ice cream, so that they don’t get mushy. Moomer’s is a special Up North treat. They have something magical that makes their ice cream super creamy. Probably cream or something.

Best Winery – Forty-Five North Vineyard and Winery (Lake Leelanau). This winery and tasting room had such a great atmosphere, people who were enthusiastic about their product, and…winery dogs! It also helped that the wine was EXCELLENT.

Best Overall Dining Experience – The Cook’s House (Traverse City). It kind of makes me sad to think about The Cook’s House. I don’t know how anything could ever top the quality, taste, or beauty of this food. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll keep looking, but it’s going to be next to impossible to top The Cook’s House.Image

The NON-Food Number Ones:

Best Beach – Haserot Beach (Old Mission Peninsula). Way up, almost to the tip of Old Mission Peninsula, is Haserot Beach. Beautiful, uncrowded, tucked into a picturesque harbor of Grand Traverse Bay. It’s totally worth the drive.

Best Inn – The Inn at Chateau Grand Traverse (Old Mission Peninsula). Beautiful rooms, awesome views, free wine. No contest.

Ahhhh, I feel a little better. Just a little. Maybe uncorking one of my souvenirs will help.

Tiffany’s – Frankenmuth, MI

Has it been a ridiculously long amount of time since my first post? Yes. Am I going to have to start eating a little less and writing a little more? Clearly.

I love using an adverb as a sentence.

Frankenmuth is a wonderful little Michigan gem that you must experience for yourself. Maybe you have some preconceived notions about Frankenmuth that have kept you from visiting. Let me clear those up for you.

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“Isn’t that the Christmas store place? Is that all there is to do?” Yes, you will find Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth. It is a ginormous store filled with every Christmas decoration, village, lawn ornament, and musical Santa you could imagine. No, it is not all there is to do. There is also – Grandpa Tiny’s Farm, Bavarian Inn Castle Shops, Bavarian Belle Riverboat,The Lager Mill, Michigan’s Military & Space Museum, Zehnder’s Splash Village, Riverplace Shops…yup, way more than the Christmas store.

“Isn’t Frankemuth for old people” This, asked of me recently by an Ohioan, is just a dumb question.

“Is there anything else to eat besides those famous chicken dinners?”  Oh yeah.Image

Tiffany’s kind of goes against the Frankemuthian grain. You won’t find a lot of German-themed fare here. Tiffany’s serves pastas and pizzas that are way above par. They also offer a lot of seafood dishes including the Giant Juicy Clam Strips (seriously, the biggest clam strips I have ever seen) and Walleye fillet, both enjoyed thoroughly by my dining companions. They were nice enough to give me a bite (P.S. if you go to dinner with me, I’m gonna need a bite) and those dishes certainly satisfied. Their pastas, pizza doughs, and sauces are all made by hand fresh each day. I chose the Bourbon Street Pasta which had crawfish and Cajun seasoning tossed in a creamy sauce with linguini. It was perfectly spicy and creamy – I love a rich seafood pasta.

Tiffany’s also offers various specialty spirits. Many of them come with your own Tiffany’s glass to take home!Image

If you haven’t done the Bavarian Inn or Zehnder’s chicken dinner thing, you probably should. It’s a whole comfort food, costumed waitress, family-style, weird bean salad that no one ever eats, Frankenmuth-tastic ordeal. If you want something else, definitely stop at Tiffany’s. And tell them I sent you.

That won’t mean anything to them or get you any sort of special deal, but it will feel cool. Trust me.

Unashamed

 

 

I’m ready to admit something. I love to eat.

There, I said it.

This occurred to me one night as my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday – was there something I had been wanting? A book, a piece of jewelry? And as I thought about it, I realized that all I wanted was to eat. For my birthday I wanted to eat really good food.

It is sort of uncouth to admit such a thing, especially for a woman. It seems indulgent to love eating, gluttonous even. But, it’s not that I love stuffing myself silly. Rather, I love to EAT – to experience beautiful, unique foods created by people passionate about making them…to savor the pairings of the right shade of wine or craft beer with foods designed to match…to discover local eateries serving Michigan’s finest fruits…which leads me to another confession.

I love Michigan.

Not the school, the state. I never really embraced my home state growing up. It seemed boring and cold. Places like New York sounded exciting. Places like Florida sounded sunny and happy. As an adult, I have come to appreciate Michigan for what it is. Michigan is awesome. Lakes, beaches, vineyards, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, mushrooms, thousands of acres of fall colors, lighthouses, trails, gardens…sun, snow, sleet, rain – sometimes all on the same day. I love Michigan because it is home to the Tigers, Lions, and Red Wings (OK, the Pistons too). I love Michigan because we don’t have giant bugs or poisonous snakes or alligators. I love Michigan because we have our own island and a whole other peninsula. I love Michigan because it is shaped like a mitten. C’mon, I can show you on my HAND where I live! How many people can say that?

If you’re from Wisconsin, please don’t say that.

Many speak ill of our lovely state – bad economy, high unemployment, that auto industry debacle. We can’t let bad circumstances define us, Michiganders! Be unashamed – love your state!

Mostly, I love Michigan because it is full of wonderful things to eat. And I think more people should eat here.

I am not ashamed to admit that I love eating and I love Michigan. Happily, the two go hand in hand. Read along if you love to eat, if you love Michigan, or if you’re on the fence regarding either. I’d love to convince you to eat in Michigan.

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