Eat Your Way Through Western Michigan: 27 More Stops on a Foodie Adventure

Previously, we walked you through an Eastern Michigan food tour, but we couldn’t forget about the magnificent culinary creations of the west side of the state. If you’re planning to travel the Lake Michigan coast this spring or summer, let your tastebuds be your guide. Reference this list of just a few fantastic places to eat when you’re on the road on Michigan’s west coast.

Savoring the Flavors of Southwest Michigan
In southwest Michigan you will find intriguing country towns mingled with vibrant cities along the scenic Michigan shoreline. These towns have an abundance of culinary destinations to visit, as well as sandy beaches and lighthouses lining the coast.

1. Visit (1)Arcadia Brewing Company and discover small batches of beers such as Cocoa Loco, Jaw Jacker and Shipwreck Porter. The labels for these beers are just as unique and creative as they are created specifically for each flavor.

2. If Michigan made wine is more your style, (9)Tabor Hill is definitely worth a stop.  The menu changes every day so you never know what you will discover.

3. Check out a vibrant Café with a spin on your familiar comfort foods, (2)Food Dance Café will make delectable dishes you will be talking about days after.

4. The bustling (3)Kalamazoo Farmers Market is the perfect destination for fresh produce, plants, flowers, baked goods, fresh meats and handmade crafts.  Have a picnic at (8)Tree-mendus Fruit Farm, where you can pick your own fruits or rent an apple tree for the season.

5. A rustic American eatery and bakery is (4)Salt of the Earth. They pride themselves on buying locally to emphasize the flavor of their menu items and products. The menu offers wood fired pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, steak, chicken and pork which can be paired with some delicious varieties of Michigan wines from their wine menu.

6. If fresh blueberries makes your mouth water, you have to stop at this location. (5)The Blueberry Store offers every blueberry product imaginable. Blueberry products range from chocolates, jams, jellies, muffins, syrups, to meats and so much more.

7. Delectable truffles made with Michigan wine from Contessa Wine Cellars are some of the mouth-watering flavors at (6)Chocolate Garden. These handmade chocolates are perfect for a gift or a sweet treat for yourself, and have been featured on the Food Network and in Midwest Living magazine.

8. The magnificent view of Lake Michigan is what you will see as you dine on the deck or dining room of (7)Bistro on the Boulevard. Their menu offers an array of local ingredients that create delicious meals that include soups, salads, sandwiches, duck, chicken, fish, crab cakes, pasta dishes and handmade desserts.

9. Unlike your normal garden center, (10)Sawyer Garden Center offers not only its quality bedding flats, hanging baskets, color bowls and perennials along with a selection of fresh Michigan produce throughout the year and over 50 fine wines from local wineries.

Savors and Flavors along M-22 and Sleeping Bear Dunes
Stretching from Manistee to Benzie and Leelanau Counties, the M22 corridor is known for rolling through lush countrysides and along freshwater shorelines. Here, more than 30 restaurants and charter boat operators participate in the award-winning “Catch & Cook” program – where a day of fishing turns into a gourmet meal featuring your own fresh catch.

foodie_M22

1. (1)Blue Fish Kitchen & Bar is a downtown eatery offering new American cuisine in a relaxed, lakeshore atmosphere. Enjoy extensive wine list, craft beer and farm-to-table artisan fare.

2. This truly a unique destination is located in Manistee. (2)Douglas Valley Organic Vineyards offers unique, award-winning hard ciders and wines, as well as a Farm Market with a variety of farm fresh organic produce.

3. (3)Pierport Farms products are made from fresh fruit grown on farms and orchards surrounding Pierport. The fruit is picked daily and prepared in small batches to create products with truly homemade flavor.

4.  Supporting local farmers by providing the best regional items from a five-county area, (4)Elberta Farmers Market has grown into a community of friendships with a common goal of providing the finest fruits, vegetables and other produce.

5. (5)Coho Cafe features fine dining and spirits overlooking Betsie Bay. Specialties include fresh fish from the Great Lakes, locally-raised meats and produce, Michigan drafts, and fine wine.

6. Operating with the “Belgian-inspired, Michigan-made” philosophy, (6)Stormcloud Brewing Company brews  well-balanced beers with specific attention to the yeast profiles. These quality Michigan craft brews are served up in the 85-seat vintage-inspired taproom or outside on a 1200-square-foot covered beer garden.

7.  Satisfy your sweet tooth at (7)Hill Top Soda Shoppe. The homemade ice cream is sweetened with Michigan sugar beets. Toppings are hand-chopped and served up fresh.

8. If you’re planning date night out, (8)Nonna’s Ristorante features classically-inspired contemporary Italian cuisine prepared with the freshest local ingredients. Served in a three level, timber-framed structure with natural stone fireplaces, a chef’s table, two intimate dining areas and a warm and welcoming loft.

9.  For more than a century, the Carlson family has operated (9)Carlson’s Fishery in historic Fishtown.  You’ll find some of the best fresh and smoked fish, smoked fish sausage, smoked fish pate, beef and turkey jerky you can find!

10. (10)Martha’s Leelanau Table Cafe could be best described as a European style cafe, where every entree is made from scratch, (including the pastries) and made from the very finest ingredients available in Leelanau County.

11.  Say Cheese! (11)Leelanau Cheese features award-winning artisan cheeses including a variety of cellar-aged Swiss Raclette cheese – rated “Best of Show” by the American Cheese Society in 2007 – as well as French Style Fromage Blanc cheese spread.

If a stop in Petoskey is on your itinerary, don’t miss twelve more places to get your grub on!

Appetizing Creations From Western Upper Peninsula
The west side of the UP offers more than just beautiful scenery, miles of coastline, small friendly towns, and areas for hunting and fishing. You can find amazing and unique dishes from the north such as their famous pasties and the freshest Lake Superior whitefish you can find.

UP

1. (1)Harbor Haus is the perfect spot for a new selection of dishes as their menu changes daily. Their passion, expertise and commitment to serving the freshest foods available make every dish amazing.

2. “Fine dining in a distinguished atmosphere” is what you will find at (2)Fitzgerald’s. The restaurant hosts a magnificent view of Lake Superior with deck seating for the warmer days. Fitzgerald’s takes pride in offering delicious menu items every day such as their Lake Superior Whitefish, Jager Schnitzel, Pecan Walleye, Burgers, Smoked Trout Pate, Hummus and Nachos.

3. (3)Keweenaw Co-op is a one-stop shop for the freshest Michigan produce and products. Above having the perfect ingredients for your meal they have a delightful deli menu. Here you can purchase sandwiches of all kinds, salads and homemade soups.

4. The (4)Keweenaw Brewing Company taproom is located in the middle of historic downtown Houghton. Its rustic barn-wood interior welcomes all with cozy atmosphere that includes a large fireplace area and comfy couches.

5. Nestled in the woods of the Upper Peninsula is (5)Konteka Black Bear Resort, which offers a delicious variety of dishes. Their menu is perfect for any taste bud as they have soups, salads, sandwiches, steak, ribs, seafood, chicken and scrumptious desserts. While enjoying your dinner you can watch wild black bears roaming the premises. This sight makes for a unique dining experience that can be enjoyed by all.

6. What used to be known as Grama T’s Pasties is now (6)Irontown Pasties. Along with their delicious warm pasties, you can enjoy many flavors of their hand dipped ice cream. Your stomach will thank you later.

7. Downtown Marquette hosts the (7)Marquette Farmers & Artists Market every Saturday. The market includes local farmers and growers offering a wide variety of fresh produce, herbs, eggs, meat, baked goods, plants and fresh-cut flowers. Stop in and support Michigan vendors.

Pure Michigan has so many different foods to discover. Check out more unique Michigan cuisine that you can make your own.

Where is your favorite place to eat in Pure Michigan?

Twenty Things You Might Not Have Known About Michigan Agriculture

Today is National Agriculture Day! Guest blogger Barbara Ann Siemen, known as Farm Barbie, shares 20 little known facts about freshly grown Michigan food and agriculture. 

Barbara and her family on their beet field

Barbara and her family on their sugar beet field

I’ve always been in love with Michigan. I believe it is unparalleled in its diversity of seasons, activities, and food! We are a very active family; we enjoy many things Michigan has to offer including camping, water sports, snowmobiling, and of course, food and farming! On our farm, we produce dairy, beef, corn, wheat, and sugar beets, but I’m always interested in learning more about other commodities.

Did you know Michigan farmers produce 300 different types of food and agricultural products? Michigan is also home to many national brands that you know, love, and trust. Recently, Governor Snyder proclaimed March “Food and Agriculture Month” due to Ag’s positive impact on Michigan’s economy. Check out this list which highlight some of Michigan’s lesser known areas of agriculture.

1. SugarMichigan Sugar Company is the only sugar processor in the state. It processes sugar for Pioneer, Big Chief, and more than 20 other private labels. Sugar is an important ingredient for all types of goodies, like those made at Bon Bon Bon, located in Hamtramck. Our farm grows sugar beets, which are harvested in autumn.

2. Cherries: Michigan ranks 1st in the nation for tart cherry production, and 4th for sweet cherries. Check out this website for more info on Michigan cherry wines. I like to drink a little tart cherry juice right before bedtime.

3. Milk: Michigan ranks 1st in the nation for the production of low fat ice cream mix, but Michigan dairy farmers also contribute to other products such as Hudsonville ice cream, Kraft cheese, Yoplait yogurt, Michigan Made cottage cheese, and Country Fresh sour cream.

Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 11.56.34 AM4. Beans: Michigan is 1st in the nation for production of dry black beans, cranberry beans, and small red beans and 2nd for production of all dry beans. Bush’s Beans, based in Tennessee, buys beans from Michigan!

5. Potatoes: Michigan is the nation’s leading producer of potatoes in potato chip processing. Better Made Chips, which just turned 86, are a favorite Michigan brand. We like taking a bag of chips with us on the boat, or in the camper in the summer.

6. Grapes: Michigan has over 100 commercial wineries, and ranks 1st in the nation for production of Niagara grapes and 8th for wine grape production.

7. Nursery: Nursery and perennial plants are the 2nd largest agricultural commodity group in Michigan.

8. Eggs: Michigan egg farmers supply all the eggs to McDonald’s restaurants east of the Mississippi River. Check out this video from McDonald’s. My kids take care of a small flock of laying hens, and they produce enough for us, and a few neighbors, family members, and friends.

9. Blueberries: Michigan is number 1 for production of blueberries for the entire nation and only 600 Michigan family farms do it all! That’s amazing! I like to use blueberries in this breakfast bake. Yum!

5019864379_a35c8468f5_b10. Cucumbers: Michigan ranks number 1 in the nation for production of cucumbers for pickling, and 4th for fresh market cucumbers.

11. Maple syrup: Maple syrup production is the oldest agricultural enterprise in the United States. Right now, in spring, is the time to tap trees! Battel’s Sugar Bush, which is near me, is hosting a tour and pancake breakfast as part of Michigan Maple Weekend.

12. Christmas trees: Michigan supplies 3 million Christmas trees annually to the national market. Real Christmas trees are so beautiful! I love driving past Christmas tree farms in the winter months. There are approximately 25-30 million real Christmas trees sold each year in the U.S., according to the National Christmas Tree Association.

13. Apples: Michigan slices more apples than any other state for use in pies. Michigan also processes apples into applesauce, fresh and shelf-stable apple cider, and apple juice, such as Indian Summer juice which is made in Michigan too! My family loves a cup of fresh cider with a doughnut in autumn.

14. Wheat: Michigan wheat farmers contribute to the national market in a big way, too.  In fact, one of the top 5 counties for producing wheat is Huron, which is where I live! Wheat is used in products from Michigan brands such as Kellogg’s cereals, Aunt Millie’s breads, and Jiffy mixes.

15. Squash: Michigan is 2nd for squash and carrot production, which is good for Michigan companies such as Gerber baby foods. Squash and carrots were favorites with my kids when they were babies!

16. Tomatoes: Michigan is 9th in the nation for production of fresh market tomatoes. This is good news for me, because I love using fresh tomatoes for pico de gallo, which is an easy bbq party dish.

17. Cranberries: Cranberries are grown in Michigan too! I never knew that! Michigan has 280 acres of cranberries and they are harvested every year from September through November.

3307466046_a91c527ea6_b18. Peaches: Michigan is 8th in the nation for production of fresh market peaches. Look out, Georgia! Michigan is in the ranks.

19. Honey: Michigan honey bees are busy little bees! Check out this resource, to find local honey.

20. Farmer’s Markets: Michigan is 4th in the nation for farmer’s markets, supplying fresh farmer products to Michiganders every week. Port Austin is a huge farmer’s market in the Thumb, where I live. The market is very busy in the summer months!

As you can see, there’s so much to love about Michigan! Whether it is the seasons, a multitude of outdoor activities, or the vast array of agricultural products, I believe Pure Michigan is the finest in the nation! I could go on and on about Michigan and food, but to find out more for yourself, visit MichiganAgriculture.com. While you’re online, check out my family’s favorite breakfast recipe: Farm Barbie’s Waffles of Pancakes. Don’t forget to serve them up with Pure Michigan maple syrup!

Which Michigan grown products are your favorites? Learn more about Michigan agriculture in the video below.

FB Profile picBarbara Ann Siemen, known as Farm Barbie, is a city girl turned country chick, thanks to falling in love with a farmer. She’s a stay at home mom and professional farmer’s wife. She’s also an amateur photographer, chef, and fashionista and an aspiring children’s book author. Check out her blog.

 

7 Pure Michigan Pizzerias That Will Make Your Mouth Water

Today is National Pizza Day! Who doesn’t love a cheesy, saucy piece of pizza? No matter how you’re celebrating, either with a slice or a whole pie to yourself, we’ve scouted seven of the best pizzerias in Pure Michigan that you can visit today to celebrate or whenever you’re craving this delicious dish. 

Supino Pizzeria
2457 Russell St, Detroit

Our first stop is Supino Pizzeria. This much-loved pizza joint, located in Eastern Market, uses the freshest ingredients and bakes their pizzas in an Italian wood-burning oven. They have a wide variety of thin-crust pizzas sure to make your mouth water. If you’re feeling cheesy, get the Quattro Formaggio: a red pizza with mozzarella, smoked Gouda, chevre and feta cheese.

Photo Courtesy of Buddy’s Pizza

Buddy’s Pizza
17125 Conant St, Hamtramck

Of course, we had to include Buddy’s Pizza on this list. This iconic pizzeria started out in Hamtramck on Conant St in the 1930s. However, it wasn’t until 1946 that their famous square pizza was introduced. Buddy’s has now grown to 11 different locations in Michigan, so you’re likely to find one near you! Try a pizza from the Great Lakes Pizza Collection like the Lake Superior and you won’t be disappointed. It incorporates a cheese blend, basil, pine nuts, pepperoni, tomato basil sauce and Buddy’s Sicilian spice blend all into one great pie.

Mani Osteria & Bar
341 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor

Mani Osteria & Bar is an independently owned restaurant in downtown Ann Arbor that specializes in artisanal pizzas and other creative Italian dishes prepared in a wood-burning oven. They often use locally sourced ingredients for their dishes. Check out the bar for regional craft beers, old world wines and much more. Indulge in the Shrimp Scampi pizza equipped with fontina cheese, scallion cream and bacon.

Ambassador Restaurant
126 Shelden Ave., Houghton

One of the best U.P. restaurants to get your pizza fix is the Ambassador. It has been around since 1965 when the Rossi family transformed the previous tap bar into a restaurant that specialized in pizza and sandwiches. One of the most interesting pizzas here is the Tostada, a pizza with spiced ground beef, white Colby cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, topped with hot sauce. If you’re looking for a more traditional dinner, try the BLT pizza made with thin crust, salad dressing, Colby cheese, smoked bacon, lettuce and tomatoes.

Photo Courtesy of Ambassador Restaurant

D’Angelo’s Pizza
1305 Columbus Ave., Bay City

D’Angelo’s Pizza in Bay City is a local joint that has several rave reviews of their pizza and has won many awards. The restaurant is often included in the best of Michigan lists. Be sure to try their Voodoo pizza that includes grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, garlic, spinach, sun dried tomatoes and fresh mushrooms. (Closed Tuesdays)

Fricano’s Pizza Tavern
1400 Fulton Street, Grand Haven

Fricano’s is claimed by many customers to be the best pizza they’ve ever had. The restaurant started as an old boarding house in the late 1800s, but was transformed in 1949 by the late Cosimo (Gus) Fricano and is thought to be the first pizzeria in Michigan. Try their Sausage and Mushroom Fricano’s Pizza pie!

sausage pizza

Photo Courtesy of Fricano’s Pizza

DeLuca’s Restaurant
2006 W Willow Street, Lansing

DeLuca’s is a family-owned business since 1960, specializing in pizza, so you know they have great pies to try. The family jokes that pizza sauce, not blood, runs through their veins. The restaurant has been voted best pizza in Lansing 10 years in a row by View Magazine. Satisfy your cravings with a Bruschetta pizza made on thin crust with olive oil, bruschetta, tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella and Romano cheese.

What other Pure Michigan pizza spots do you love? Comment below!