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Michigan Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


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Yaaaay. Egulleteers in Michigan. Egulleteers interested in visiting Michigan.

We even have a Trader Joe's now.

MatthewWB - I mentioned in my earlier post but perhaps it got lost, there is already a Slow Food convivium here - It's called Slow Food Huron valley. PM me if you're interested in details - there is a meeting coming up next week.

You too, Tammylc, Chocokitty, we must meet. Other eGulleteers in and around Ann Arbor. Wow. I had no idea.

And yes, I too would join in arranging a trip to Ann Arbor - Detroit - etc. Infact there has already been some discussion about it in the Chicago thread ... and I've exchanged a PM or two about it.

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WOOOOOOOOOO-WHOOOOOOOOOOOO!

WGT eGullet-Michigan! You are making me so proud!

You can't see me, but I'm grinning like a cat. :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

Now this is what I'm talkin' about! You guys must get together, and when you do, don't forget to invite your exuberant cousins on the east side of the swamp.

Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Detroit -- hey, East Lansing, get in here!

What I mean by "food scene" includes way more than high-end dining. It reaches much further in all directions and it is inclusive -- farmers markets, quirky and not-so-quirky food festivals, the woman at your church who makes kick-ass pot roast for the monthly Sunday after-service dinners (yeah, you know who she is), the phenomenon known as the "hot dish" (don't call it a casserole) in Minnesota, fish boils/frys in my homeland, Wisconsin. This is a more accurate expression of what the food scene is in our neck of the woods.

In no way am I suggesting that high-end dining shouldn't be discussed, but I do want to get away from the idea that the fine dining genre is the sum total of everything that is "good food" in the Midwest. It's really only a portion of a larger picture. There are so many wonderful things that go on here on all points of the spectrum, and we all know it. Our region of the country is full of hidden gems and unique traditions that can also be brought to the table, and everyone forum-wide is starting to bring it.

Suddenly, Michigan has now started to sing. It's music to my humble food-lovin' ears!

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Not to detract from what Dawn said, but I would love to hear what people think about:

Pacific Rim in Ann Arbor (which used to be Kana)

But the Ko's (parents) left and their son has now taken over.

Opinions?

Had dinner at Wasabi last night. So Blah.

The art was breathtaking.

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Suddenly, Michigan has now started to sing.  It's music to my humble food-lovin' ears!

*ahem* mi mi mi mi mi mi mi mi.....

o/~ oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam......*sound of breaking glass* o/~

Well, "sing" may not be the best verb to use in my case! :biggrin:

Yes, I'm SO happy to see that the Michigan contingent is rocking! Yes, we must all meet! And yes, I'd love to find out about everything food around here, not just the fine dining stuff (as wonderful as it is, it's not exactly within my budget to splurge regularly). I know I have so much to learn.

I'm glad you mentioned fish frys, by the way. Whenever my sweetie and I walk by a VFW hosting a fish fry, he HAS to go in. I've had some wonderful perch dinners that way!

I would love to meet in Ann Arbor, by the way. I miss it terribly -- I don't visit there nearly as much as I'd like!

Ooh, ooh, maybe in the future we can take a road trip to Canada too?

I'm so excited! *feet tapping*

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Indiagirl: I've never actually been to Pacific Rim (or Kana for that matter), but some friends whose opinions I trust went fairly recently and were very unimpressed and thought it overpriced. And you're absolutely right - Wasabi sucks.

Chocokitty: I'm all for meeting in Ann Arbor - we just need to decide on a time and a place. Is next weekend too soon? And I second a road trip to Windsor - I keep reading great reviews of restaurants there. I just read a review today in Metrotimes of Three, which sounds like a really neat tapas place. And Wah Court is hands down the best place in the area for dim sum, and it's been far too long since I've been there.

Aurora: The "food scene" in Ann Arbor rocks. There's the farmers market on Wednesday and Saturdays, right outside the Kerrytown shops. Kerrytown is a haven for foodies - Zingerman's is right around the corner, plus there's a great market right in the shops, as well as real butcher and an amazing fishmonger. Plus Partners in Wine and Cheese, and Cav's Cafe, with amazing quiche. Cav sets up a grill outside on market days. Also in Kerrytown is Kitchen Port. I think it's gone downhill since I worked there five years ago, but it's still a pretty neat shop for getting all things kitchen and cooking related, and they do cooking demonstrations/classes on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

There's a lot of ethnic markets around town too. My favorite (which I don't get to nearly often enough) is the Indian grocer near Packard and Platt, who sells samosas for 35 cents apiece.

The other way cool thing about Ann Arbor is that it's the city that kills fast food. You'd think that a town with 50,000 students would have its fair share of the chain restaurants, but both the McDonalds and Burger King on South University (the major student strip) closed down for lack of business. BK was replaced by a Starbucks (boo, hiss), but McDonald's old space was taken over by a place serving Bubble Tea.

And then there's the wine shops, but I'll save that for another post...

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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And then there's the wine shops, but I'll save that for another post...

Next weekend will be too soon for me (I will be out of town), but please keep me posted on new developments!

And as far as wine shops? For me there's only two words: Village Corner!

And thank you for listing all the Ann Arbor food goodies and bringing back memories! I'm seriously thinking of moving back to A2 in the next 3-5 years, and you're reminding me why.

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:smile: I would also love to meet in Ann Arbor, it's only a short ride from Kalamazoo (where the food scene is sad and meager....). The Chicago egullet folks are so awesome, it would be great to meet some gulleteers from my home state! If NeroW isn't too busy with Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago, I know she'd love to return to Michigan for some eatin'.

Cheers,

Fritz

"There is no worse taste in the mouth than chocolate and cigarettes. Second would be tuna and peppermint. I've combined everything, so I know."

--Augusten Burroughs

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Fritz (and Nero), isn't there a great liquor/wine store in Kalamazoo? My Dad is always talking about having to beg off the free samples so that he can drive home. I'll ask him the name of the place.

I also love the beer from Kalamazoo Brewing.

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I'm up for a gathering on the eastside. Let's do it!

Also, if there's interest, we might consider a gathering on the westside so as to include both Chicago & Detroit folks. (Grand Rapids is approximately equal driving time between those two cities.) I'd be glad to assist in coordinating that.

The "day job" is swamping me right now, so I'll have to wait to respond to the previous responses. Nonetheless, thanks to all of you who are keeping this thread going. Please keep it up as your interest continues.

To riff off Aurora's last post, what are all you doing as far as "humble food" at home? Anyone focusing on local ingredients & in-season home cooking? If so, any reports? Anything that Marion Cunningham should include in her upcoming Lost Recipes?

Cheers.

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Fritz (and Nero), isn't there a great liquor/wine store in Kalamazoo? My Dad is always talking about having to beg off the free samples so that he can drive home. I'll ask him the name of the place.

I also love the beer from Kalamazoo Brewing.

You're right, Guajalote, I was being kind of unfair to poor K-zoo. Your dad is probably talking about Bacchus, which is an old Kalamazoo institution with lots of wines, liquors, coffee, cheese, and chocolates. If not that shop, Tiffany's is another good wine/cigar/specialty food store, as is W.J. Upsons, who roast their own coffee and host wine and cheese tastings. Beer-wise, Bells and Kraftbrau make pretty damn good beers, in my opinion. I guess I was referring more to the restaurant scene, which is mostly lacking... :wink:

"There is no worse taste in the mouth than chocolate and cigarettes. Second would be tuna and peppermint. I've combined everything, so I know."

--Augusten Burroughs

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And as far as wine shops? For me there's only two words: Village Corner!

Village Corner does rock (I'm a member of their wine club). And like all the good wine stores in Ann Arbor, the setting is certainly, ummm, incongruous.

But for sheer strangeness, nothing beats the secret wine room at Main Party Store...

Board question: how do I make it include the name of the person I'm quoting?

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Aurora: The "food scene" in Ann Arbor rocks.  There's the farmers market on Wednesday and Saturdays, right outside the Kerrytown shops.  Kerrytown is a haven for foodies - Zingerman's is right around the corner, plus there's a great market right in the shops, as well as real butcher and an amazing fishmonger.  Plus Partners in Wine and Cheese, and Cav's Cafe, with amazing quiche.  Cav sets up a grill outside on market days.  Also in Kerrytown is Kitchen Port.  I think it's gone downhill since I worked there five years ago, but it's still a pretty neat shop for getting all things kitchen and cooking related, and they do cooking demonstrations/classes on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

I have been to the farmers market by the Kerrytown shops.

I got really great asparagus and sweet onions. I especially remember some really wonderful honey I picked up. It was great stuff packaged in a simple, unassuming jar. When I put that on the breakfast table, Honey Bear on my lazy susan of condiments looked at me. His assuring, perpetual, wide-eyed smile turned into an inquisitive frown. He said "Why, Dawn? Why? Am I suddenly not good enough? I didn't have an answer for him. I really thought the new honey in the simple jar would be a welcomed addition -- friendly competition. Honey bear was mad, in fact, he was furious. Who knew such a sweet little creature could behave so terribly? I was surprised. It was his innocence that first attracted me when I snatched him from the shelf and put him in my shopping cart, but this was a different Honey Bear -- a Honey Bear that knew some things; a Honey Bear that had been around. I cannot reveal the rest of what he said to me as sat at my table in disbelief while my tea grew colder. Finally, he hung his head in shame, jumped off the lazy susan, and left the table with a final departing kick that spilled my tea all over the table. I found him a few monts later. He found his way to the back of the shelf. He was crystalized, of course. There was nothing I could do. The honey I got at the Kerrytown farmers market was that good.

I spent hours in Kitchen Port, much to the dismay of my companions. I remember that it is upstairs. There also a market that is along the line of a charcuterie that is downstairs, right? Past the market, I remember a rather lousy restaurant called Sweet Loraine's. It's biggest problem was that it seemed to overreach. What was truly memorable, was the end of market visit to Zingerman's Deli and the well-worth-it wait in line. It's a small place that is loaded with wonderful specialty items. The cheese, the meats, the breads, the prepared foods, and oh my god -- THE SANDWICHES! I just love the Bennie's Brooklyn Ruben. I have ordered from the catalog, but it is not the same as being there.

OK, when's the gathering? We could go to Ann Arbor on the train if none of us us up for driving.

On another note...

Board question: how do I make it include the name of the person I'm quoting?

You can make the quote include the name of the person you are quoting by going to that person's original post and clicking on the quote button that is above and to the right of the post. That will open a standard reply window that will include a box beneath the box where you will include your post. That box will include the post that you wish to quote. You can edit the post to include only the portion of the post that you wish to address. Be careful not to change the content of the post when editing it down to the portion that you want to quote. When you are done with your response, and you "Add Reply" the quote will lead your response in your newly added post. It will contain the name of the poster in addition to the date and the time that the quoted post was added to the thread.

This is different from going to the persons quote, copying the portion that you want to quote, hitting the quote key within your reply, pasting the copied portion and hitting the close quote key. It let's everyone know that you are quoting someone, but it will not include the indentifiers.

I have used both methods in this post.

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Aurora: The "food scene" in Ann Arbor rocks.  There's the farmers market on Wednesday and Saturdays, right outside the Kerrytown shops.  Kerrytown is a haven for foodies - Zingerman's is right around the corner, plus there's a great market right in the shops, as well as real butcher and an amazing fishmonger.  Plus Partners in Wine and Cheese, and Cav's Cafe, with amazing quiche.  Cav sets up a grill outside on market days.  Also in Kerrytown is Kitchen Port.  I think it's gone downhill since I worked there five years ago, but it's still a pretty neat shop for getting all things kitchen and cooking related, and they do cooking demonstrations/classes on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

I have been to the farmers market by the Kerrytown shops.

I got really great asparagus and sweet onions. I especially remember some really wonderful honey I picked up. It was great stuff packaged in a simple, unassuming jar. When I put that on the breakfast table, Honey Bear on my lazy susan of condiments looked at me. His assuring, perpetual, wide-eyed smile turned into an inquisitive frown. He said "Why, Dawn? Why? Am I suddenly not good enough? I didn't have an answer for him. I really thought the new honey in the simple jar would be a welcomed addition -- friendly competition. Honey bear was mad, in fact, he was furious. Who knew such a sweet little creature could behave so terribly? I was surprised. It was his innocence that first attracted me when I snatched him from the shelf and put him in my shopping cart, but this was a different Honey Bear -- a Honey Bear that knew some things; a Honey Bear that had been around. I cannot reveal the rest of what he said to me as sat at my table in disbelief while my tea grew colder. Finally, he hung his head in shame, jumped off the lazy susan, and left the table with a final departing kick that spilled my tea all over the table. I found him a few monts later. He found his way to the back of the shelf. He was crystalized, of course. There was nothing I could do. The honey I got at the Kerrytown farmers market was that good.

I spent hours in Kitchen Port, much to the dismay of my companions. I remember that it is upstairs. There also a market that is along the line of a charcuterie that is downstairs, right? Past the market, I remember a rather lousy restaurant called Sweet Loraine's. It's biggest problem was that it seemed to overreach. What was truly memorable, was the end of market visit to Zingerman's Deli and the well-worth-it wait in line. It's a small place that is loaded with wonderful specialty items. The cheese, the meats, the breads, the prepared foods, and oh my god -- THE SANDWICHES! I just love the Bennie's Brooklyn Ruben. I have ordered from the catalog, but it is not the same as being there.

OK, when's the gathering? We could go to Ann Arbor on the train if none of us is up for driving.

On another note...

Board question: how do I make it include the name of the person I'm quoting?

You can make the quote include the name of the person you are quoting by going to that person's original post and clicking on the quote button that is above and to the right of the post. That will open a standard reply window that will include a box beneath the box where you will include your post. That box will include the post that you wish to quote. You can edit the post to include only the portion of the post that you wish to address. Be careful not to change the content of the post when editing it down to the portion that you want to quote. When you are done with your response, and you "Add Reply" the quote will lead your response in your newly added post. It will contain the name of the poster in addition to the date and the time that the quoted post was added to the thread.

This is different from going to the persons quote, copying the portion that you want to quote, hitting the quote key within your reply, pasting the copied portion and hitting the close quote key. It let's everyone know that you are quoting someone, but it will not include the indentifiers.

I have used both methods in this post.

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Past the market, I remember a rather lousy restaurant called Sweet Loraine's.  It's biggest problem was that it seemed to overreach.  What was truly memorable, was the end of market visit to Zingerman's Deli and the well-worth-it wait in line.  It's a small place that is loaded with wonderful specialty items.  The cheese, the meats, the breads, the prepared foods, and oh my god -- THE SANDWICHES!  I just love the Bennie's Brooklyn Ruben.  I have ordered from the catalog, but it is not the same as being there. 

OK, when's the gathering?  We could go to Ann Arbor on the train if none of us is up for driving.

Sweet Lorraine's is long gone. It was replaced by the shortlived Cafe 303, which is now also long gone. Nothing has yet come to fill the space, which is too bad - it has a nice outdoor patio with big woodburning stoves for spring and fall.

Zingerman's is my favorite place in all of Ann Arbor. We call going there the "Zingerman's Experience." Unfortunately, it's difficult to escape the Zingerman's experience for less than $50, between the sandwiches, the bread, the deli counter and the chocolate counter. But worth every penny.

I'm working right now on trying to find a weekend for the gathering. My summer is quickly filling up! June is looking like a no go, but July is currently open. Only problem is, I'll be moving into my new house sometime in July...

I'll keep you all posted. Or some other Michigander can take over the organizing, but I'd really like to be able to make it...

Thanks for the quoting help.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Let's go for a July thing-- weather should be great (although it's Michigan, so one never knows...).

Isn't there an awesome art fair in Ann Arbor in July? Or is it June?

:smile: Fritz

"There is no worse taste in the mouth than chocolate and cigarettes. Second would be tuna and peppermint. I've combined everything, so I know."

--Augusten Burroughs

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Isn't there an awesome art fair in Ann Arbor in July?  Or is it June?

There is an awesome art fair in Ann Arbor in July, which makes it a horrible time to visit, I think - can't get a hotel room anywhere in town, and the restaurants are all crowded, with long waits. Probably not good for what we want to do.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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That's true, tammy... we are a food site after all. I guess I'll make the little trek over to Ann Arbor myself to check out the art. And I'll probably bring a picnic, which is generally much more enjoyable on a nice day than waiting for eight years to sit inside a restaurant. :smile:

I guess our Michigan meeting should aim for a time in July that is not during the art fair.

"There is no worse taste in the mouth than chocolate and cigarettes. Second would be tuna and peppermint. I've combined everything, so I know."

--Augusten Burroughs

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Well, if you come in during Art Fair, PM to let us know anyway. We could have a mini gathering and then do another "mega" gathering, no?

Not a good time to come in to eat, the Art Fair. Most restaurants are on a reduced menu plan to cope with the tourists. Although there is some really good art on some of the streets

A picnic is a great idea. And you can shop at Zingy's for the picnic. Ofcourse.

Northside Grill, which is off the main Art Fair drag but still walkable is a good hearty breakfast place.

Right now, July is open for me.

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  • 1 year later...

http://www.extramsg.com/modules.php?name=N...=article&sid=19

Spent a week on Glen Lake near Traverse City, Michigan. Didn't eat out as much as I normally do, but still got a chance to sample a lot of food.

My favorite spot wasn't actually in NW Michigan, it was outside of Ludington: Bortell's Fish Market. Fantastic spot. Had some excellent whitefish.

Pleva's Meats in Cedar was also a big highlight. Cherry-pecan brats, house-made jerkeys, and pepperoni sticks made great snacks. The place smelled of smoking meats. Mmmm.

Hit lots of produce stands and sampled a 1/2 a million strawberries and twice that many cherries.

Very enjoyable. Follow the link above for my full report and for a link to lots of photos.

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MSG, I just got back from Crystal Lake (about 15 miles south of Glen Lake) myself. What awful weather we had. I've been going up there for about 10 years and have always been amazed at the lack of good seafood there. You would think that they would just be reaping the bounty from Lake Michigan, and everywhere you'd look there would be restaurants serving perch, whitefish, coho, etc, but alas it is not to be. The sweet corn was to die for while I was there. I made sure the in-laws made some every night for dinner. Couldn't find any cherries though. Went to a place called Boons in Traverse and although I'd heard people rave about it, I found to be very average. here's a place in Beulah called Market Basket that has pretty good baked goods, and it's right next to The Cherry Hut, which is pretty much exactly like the place you mentioned in Glen Lake. Everything is devoted to the cherry.

Hope you had fun up there. It sure is beautiful.

jb

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My grandparents family places were in Yale, Avoca, Capack, and Sandusky. We had berries and stone fruits of all kinds. I also recall the most beautiful tiger lilies I've ever seen.

My auntie Evelynn had 5 acres of strawberries and 17 acres of bluberry bushes. We had cherries.As well as apples and pears. I remember our orchard being 5 acres.

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planojim, it is getting a little late for cherries now. Our weather (first two weeks in July) was more uneven than in the past. We had some nice days, but also some lousy days. We used to go more in the late summer, like you, and we always seemed to get a day or two of bad weather. But often it would be so hot and muggy you couldn't sleep at night. (The houses we stay in are 75 years old, so they don't have AC.) The most annoying thing this year were the biting flies. Never noticed them before. Also, had never seen leeches in the water before, but we saw several this year.

On Oregon vs. Michigan: Oregon has better cherries, but Michigan has better strawberries.

I do wonder why there aren't more places like Bortell's, but fish seemed easy enough to find, just not as emphasized as I would hope.

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The best thing about that great Michigan produce--especially from the perspective of a Chicagolander--is how available it is early in the season. When our local farmer's markets first open in the spring, a good portion of the available produce is grown in Michigan. I'm told that it's because of the specific weather on that side of Lake Michigan. Not sure if that's completely true but either way, those Michigan goods always hit the spot in the early spring.

Of course, the Michigan stuff is great later in the season too.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

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