One of the perks of moving away from my little, beloved, corner of Southwest Michigan is that Im so much closer to one of my absolute favorite cities: Traverse City! What used to be a 4 hour drive has now turned into an hour an a half for me. This past week I was able to spend 4 entire days in TC on two separate trips. Two days with Gavin just for a fun, get-a-way weekend, and two days with my momma for a kombucha making class put on by my favorite (and local!) kombucha company, Cultured Ferments Co.
Are any of my other fellow Michiganders under the impression that they are on the near verge of being kicked out of Cherry Republic? I think they’re on to us and eating copious amounts of “samples” of the chocolate covered cherries bowl. I start to feel a little watched when I’m on my third lap around the store’s path of samples stations. I try to be very discrete about it and look at things I am going pretend to think about buying and I NEVER make eye contact with any of the employees. That way when I’m on my third, sometimes fourth (it’s vacation okay?), trip in for the weekend they don’t remember me :). Lately, however, I’ve been feeling like they’re catching on, we may have to take a break from Cherry Republic…
Today I’m rounding up all my favorite places to eat (and drink because…wine <3) in Traverse.
My favorite breakfast joint in TC. I always get the Old #12 hash. The dish is Paleo friendly and made up of roasted root vegetables, ginger-sage sausage, two fried eggs, and the most delicious mustard crema (which is dairy free, I made sure to ask). I have never eaten lunch here, only because we always go for breakfast and I’m too embarrassed to go to the same restaurant twice in one day haha, but the menu looks equally delicious! They also have a food truck called The Roaming Harvest that is parked in The Little Fleet, along with other food trucks, in the spring/summer beginning in April.
Alliance is a newer restaurant located within walking distance from Hotel Indigo. Everything about this restaurant is right up my alley: the decor, (gold, white and wood errrything) the menu is so unique and carefully thought out – basically a foodies dream, the space is small, cozy and charming, and the staff is over the top friendly as well as very accommodating. Really, it doesn’t get much better than this. Reservations are a must here, like I said its super small, probably 10 tables if I were to guess. We went on a Thursday night and every seat was taken. The menu is always changing, so it’s a little of a surprise when you get there, but the staff is very knowledgeable about the dishes and the way they’re prepared. The majority of the food they serve is from a local farm in LeeLanau.
We ordered the baby greens to start. Ohh EMM GEE I never thought I would be so excited about a salad. The presentation of the food here is spot on (the lighting however not so much so don’t judge the pictures to hard, please). The greens were served on top of an entire half acorn squash and tossed in a very light, creamy dressing. The inside of the squash was pureed and contained a few grilled pear slices. The dish was topped with roasted pumpkin seeds and a brown sugar vinaigrette. Our second dish was roasted, golden, Yukon Potatoes (we went a little carb heavy…oops), on top of a cream sauce and topped with fresh dill and a paper thin, rice cracker to add just the slightest crunch. For dish number three we ordered chicken and rice, this was my least favorite out of the three we ordered. It was still good, just not as flavorful and adventurous as the other two dishes. If I were to go back again I would have got the steak dish, it looked super yummy!
This is my families favorite. We always end up here after wine tasting on the Old Mission Peninsula. It’s a restaurant that can make anyone happy, it has something for everyone and can accommodate large groups. It has a very laid back atmosphere, which is perfect after a long day of wine tasting. The salads are very fresh and they serve a mean steak, which just so happens to be Grass-Fed!
I’ve been dying to get my hands on some Cultured Ferments Co. Kombucha on tap. The very first time I ever tried it was on tap at the Midland Farmer’s Market. Since then, they haven’t been back to the farmers market and no where locally serves it on tap. I can find it bottled at several of my local favorites but when it’s on tap it just tastes that much better. Which is what led me to Oryana, they have three different flavors of kombucha on tap at all times. The best part: you can buy it by the growler and it was only 11 dollars!!
I went to Oryana for the kombucha, but the Co-op impressed me so much I went back for a second round with my mom. If you’re a lover of cool grocery stores and markets like me, you need to check this place out. They sell a lot of locally sourced produce and goods and they also have a cafe in the back. If you’re looking for a quick lunch that is accommodating to pretty much any food allergy you may have, this is your place. They serve, soups, smoothies, salads, sandwiches various side dishes. I ordered a blueberry, ginger, flax seed and avocado smoothie that was lightly sweetened with honey.
I don’t know what to call this, a winery that serves ciders and has no wine, what is it called? I don’t know. Let’s just refer to it as the “not winery, winery”. All the ciders here are more on the drier side. If I knew this prior to going here I probably would have chose to skip this. However, they were so light and refreshing, I loved them! I had two favorites: I Spy-Ginger and Testamint (a mint flavored cider, soo good!)
I haven’t got to the best part yet. Suttons Bay Ciders has PUPPIES! Well, full grown puppies that is. They have a Bernese (it’s my life goal to have a Bernese someday, I LOVE big dogs) as well as the cutest Boarder Collie who likes to play frisbee with the guests. I was told his name was Gordy but I’m not sure if that is really his name as an intoxicated man from the wine tour bus was just going around informing us of that was his name, but we’re just gonna go with it!
Playing frisbee with Gordy, the Boarder Collie
Phew. We made it to the good part: the drinks. Well, actually I’d pick food over drinks any day, but since I only drink on special occasions we’ll say this is the good part. You also can’t go to TC and not go wine tasting, it’s just what you gotta do there.
My entire family loves Bowers Harbor. I think we fell in love with the winery to begin with due to the Bernese Mountain Dogs that hang out there, but we soon found out there wine and ciders are some of the best in TC. Im basically a sparkling Moscato connoisseur expert. Meaning I’m 25 and still haven’t developed that mature palate that has got passed only liking sweet wine that is basically an adult Sprite.
I prefer small quant, cozy little wineries, so all three of my top picks are that. This is a little bit of a drive off of the beaten path on the LeeLanau Peninsula. I prefer my wine to be sparkling, and everything here is! The wines at L. Mawby range from very dry to fairly sweet so they have a great variety. My favorites are Fizz and Detroit.
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