We finally found an opportunity to stop briefly in Ann Arbor for a corned beef sandwich at the senses-overwhelming Zingerman’s deli. As good as I remembered. Also got a burger on the way home at a place we’ve meant to try — Redamak’s in New Buffalo near the Michigan/Indiana state line.
Category Archives: Michigan
This summer’s adventures in downtown Detroit included an excellent egg-centric brunch at Parks & Rec Diner, a fun little spot way downtown in a former, you guessed it, city of Detroit parks and rec office in a surprisingly elegant castle-like stone building. Cheerful spot with good service, lots of young people in vintage-inspired outfits (later learned there was an LGBT festival nearby) and creative egg dishes (a creamy bright yellow hard boiled duck egg accompanying a mound of smoked salmon atop a lightly flavored crime freise sauce, and a heap of thick brown eye from the famous Avalon Bakery; Turkish eggs – perfectly poached with olives, tabbouli and homemade pita).
Onto the Guardian Building, an Art Deco beauty that was more impressive than anything I saw recently in Miami’s South Beach. Who knew?
We took a free walking architecture tour that began at the Guardian and focused on the deeply cut ornate stone reliefs by an artist named Parducci that adorn buildings by famous Detroit architect Albert Kahn. We got as far as the Penobscot building and then had to break off early so I could get to my 40th high school reunion at the always stunning campus of Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills.
It was amazing to see 30 some people including some from Australia on the walking tour by Pure Detroit. next trip, I hope to take a tour of the Guardian Building and maybe even dare to ride a bike around the area. I really think this time Detroit is “back” but it’s at that fragile stage where there’s a lot more work to be done but also a palpable sense of potential and discovery. I hope it doesn’t tip either way (back into decay/decline or forward too fast into overdeveloped. Tricky to manage.
Here’s a few places to try out next time in the New Buffalo/Sawyer, MI area (that we found during our brief stay in fall 2016 :
– Red Arrow Cabins
– Smokin’ Woodies (BBQ)
– Grand Beach Motel
– Harbert B&B
Nothing like a walk along the sandy shores of Lake Michigan to loosen up my aching back after a night on a too hard mattress at an Airbnb in Sawyer. And at the end of our walk on the near deserted shore, on a gorgeous unexpectedly warm fall morning, it was easy to feel optimistic about life.
Later, we had my dream picnic (smoked whitefish, raspberries and russet apples, all fresh fromMichigan) at a not quite perfect picnic spot– aa concrete picnic table at a rest stop along I-80, just over the border in Illinois.
We explored some more of the area around Sawyer, getting coffee at Infusco and produce at the local greenhouse including more raspberries and heirloom tomatoes. WE drove on a beautiful morning around Lakeside, spotting some fancy vacation homes off narrow dirt roads cut into the woods. new Buffalo didn’t make much of an impression but we liked the area around it and can see why it draws big city folk from Chicago (only an hour away).
Dinner was in Iowa City at Pullman, a newcomer that has been on our list for awhile for good reason, as it turned out. Delicious fried chicken and over-the-top “kitchen fries” with crispy fries, melts cheese, a mustard sauce and bits of what tasted like burnt ends from the best Kansas City rib joints. BAck to cottage cheese and carrots today in Des Moines.
Deli (Jewish!) in Beulah, whitefish and beach in Frankfort, hipsters and not in Sawyer – exploring the western Lake Michigan Coast
Our Airbnb in the southwest Michigan town of Sawyer is worlds apart from our friends’ sleek streamlined loft in Traverse. It reminds me of a former kids room in my Kansas in-laws former house. Lived in, old furniture, family photos and knickknacks. But aside from a too hard bed it was fine and about 2 miles from the surprisingly hip two block business district in what is still a rural/beach community., complete with a brew pub (where we drank in a beer garden, thanks to strangely warm temps) and a good burger across the street at a cutely named Clean Plate Club and a hipster coffee shop(Infusco). Also found a fine assortment of local apples, raspberries and heirloom tomatoes at Sawyer produce/ greenhouse.
We took our time driving here, stopping in Beulah at L’chaim Deli which served a good bagel cream cheese and lox (the Reuben wasn’t the best…too-processed meat and too-orange Russian dressing). We walked along the beach in Frankfort, watching the waves crash into the breaker wall and very fit old white guys paddleboarding and wind surfing.
Couldn’t resist picking up more smoked whitefish at the local place. Further south, in south haven, just off the highway, we followed the honor system setup and put $6 in the Dropbox after helping ourselves to some fresh picked raspberries in an outdoor cooler (we didn’t have time to pick our own.) Time to hit the road again. Fun trip.
The Tribune/Northport, Christmas Cove Antique Apples, Carlson’s/Fishtown-Leand, Glen Arbor Biking, Taproot in TC
Fog was rising from the lake when we looked out the window this morning in Traverse City but by the time we reached the lovely town of Northport on the Leelenau Penninsula, the sky had cleared and was a gorgeous Autumn blue. The leaves are late to turn this fall, we’ve been told but we still saw many red, orange and yellow leaves…and we have had warm 60’s weather so no complaints.
In Northport, we had a good breakfast at The Tribune, a small cheerful dining room in an old white wooden building up from a pretty waterfront park, and then drove a little north to a remarkable antique apple farm in Christmas Cove that had no less three varieties of another hard-to-find apple I love: Russets! There were dozens of other apple varieties I have never heard of for sale, rows and rows of them, not to mention shelves lined with hundreds of pop bottles,representing who knows how many different soda makers.
NExt stop, a little house full of herbs and herb-infused vinegars (Woodside Herbs) and then to Fishtown in Leland, a bunch of shops in ramshackle fishing shanties along a river with a rushing dam that Fish jumped out of on occasion. PIcked up some superb smoked fish at Carlson’s that we ate after a vigorous bike ride around Glen Haven, Glen lakes and Sleeping Bear Sand dunes around Lake Michigan near our friend’s lovely lake house. After a light dinner at Taproot downtown, we did some book shopping at Horizon Bookstore. Such a great trip. So glad are friends are happy and here and that we came to visit!
To date, we have had three meals in this foodie town, each unique and excellent. The Cooks House is just that, a small cozy house with some fine cooks using a long list of locally sourced products duly listed on a chalk board. We had a fresh vvegetable first course (mine was a creative take on sweet potatoes) and then a very Hearty entree (excellent steak, pork, fish). Today we walked all around the city which is full of people and interesting shops. We walked down Front street (the main drag where our friends are urban pioneers, living ina stunning loft fashioned from the second story of an old sandstone brick warehouse, with a back porch with a dazzling blue of Grand Traverse bay) to a former “insane asylum” that has been converted into a series of little shops, restaurants, residential lofts.
We walked around a beautiful old farm with botanical gardens in an old horse stable, ate an excellent Mexican meal at Spanglish, sampled wines and cider at Left Foot Charlie next door. Later we stopped at several wineries on the old mission peninsula, with more spectacular views of hills with red, yellow and orange trees leading to Lake Michigan ‘s blue waters.
Tonight, we ate at Alliance, the hot new restaurant in town which is no small feat considering how many good dining options this small town has. Shared plates of food in one of a kind combinations with very fresh ingredients, vibrant and complicated flavor combinations. We thoroughly enjoyed.