Eat Your Way Through Eastern Michigan: 21 Stops on a Foodie Adventure

March is Michigan Food and Agriculture Month! Many travelers are trekking across the state for what they call “Foodie Adventures.” They’re vacations that revolve around great food finds. From classic comfort foods to fresh Michigan produce, your taste buds won’t be disappointed with the culinary delights of Pure Michigan. We put together this list of just a few fantastic places to eat when you’re on the road on the east side of the state. Enjoy! 

Shores of Eastern Michigan

The air is fragrant with fresh breezes and scents of coffee houses, bakeries and award-winning restaurants, all tempting to a passerby.

shores of eastern mi

  1. The shores of Eastern Michigan have delectable food you just have to try for yourself. Start your journey with fresh fish and seafood at(1)Marine City Fish Company Smoke House & Eatery or (2)River Crab.
  2. Go grab some drinks and sample multiple Michigan craft beers at the (3)ThumbCoast Brewing Company.
  3. No day is complete without dessert, make sure to stop at (4)The Atrium Cafe & Ice Cream Parlour, which has been described by its guests as the most elegant and whimsical restaurant they have experienced.
  4. If you don’t have time to sit down, spend some time browsing a unique gift shop, (5)Weekends, with delectable gourmet foods.
  5. Have a mid-day brunch at (6)The Raven Café to enjoy the food and drinks in a unique café atmosphere.
  6. (7)Vintage Tavern, a treasure discovered, with a decor of fine wood, brick and tin ceilings, located in downtown Port Huron, the hot spot to dine or just enjoy your surroundings with a flight of wines.
  7. Cider mills are an exclusive Michigan attraction that everyone should experience, stop at the (8)McCallum Orchard.
  8. Don’t forget to venture to the Lexington Fire Hall to experience the “Think Globally, Drive Locally” movement at the (9)Lexington Brewing Company & Wine House.
  9. Port Sanilac and surrounding areas can expect nothing but a new and wonderful dining experience in a beautiful waterfront setting; (10)Uri’s Landing has to offer.
  10. (11)The Farm Restaurant’s love for cooking, and a great atmosphere for dining makes this restaurant a truly enjoyable destination to gather with your family and your food-loving friends.
  11. Lastly, check out the (12)Port Austin Farmer’s Market with over 150 vendors.

East Central Michigan & Through the Thumb

Driving through east central and the thumb of Michigan, you will stumble upon many hidden culinary destinations that the locals find to be great treasures. The scenery will captivate you as much as the amazing food.

Thumb

  1. Sample wine made from 16 acres of premium wine grapes at (1)Blue Water Winery & Vineyard.
  2. Delight your taste buds with so many bakery items you won’t know where to start at (2)Bake Krazy Bake Shop.
  3. If you want the freshest food, (5)Main Street Café & Bakery creates their food from scratch daily.
  4. Do you love blueberries? If so, (6)Russell’s Blueberry Farm & Nursery have ten different varieties of blueberries you have to try.
  5. Everyone has heard of (7)Zehnder’s Restaurant in Frankenmuth and for good reason.
  6. Or pick out your own food to create a delicious home cooked meal at (8)Montrose Orchards and (9)Flint Farmers’ Market.

 Eastern Upper Peninsula

It is time to take your taste buds on an adventure through the Upper Peninsula. You will find fresh fish from the Great Lakes, meals that fill your belly, wine and beer unique to the north, cranberry farms and local farmers markets.

UP

  1. Start your experience at (1)The Driftwood Restaurant & Sports Bar, one look at the menu and you won’t know where to start. With a delicious variety of Whitefish to their homemade soups, you have to have a taste of everything.
  2. If you want to pair your dinner with a unique drink try Threefold Vine Winery or (4)Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub.
  3. We all love a home cooked meal and some comfort food. (2)Galley Restaurant & Bar or (6)Sydney’s Family Restaurant are both a must stop to get some of your favorites.
  4. If you want to experience some of the freshest, local food grown in the Upper Peninsula, (3)Sault Ste. Marie Farmers Market and (5)Centennial Cranberry Farm are worth the detour.

Michigan has so much for your taste-buds to discover. For more ideas, check out what Detroit and Northeast Michigan have to offer. You don’t want to miss Pinconning Cheese Company, Stoney Acres Winery in Alpena, Rock River Grille in Indian River or Mt. Pleasant Brewing CompanyYour stomach will thank you later!

Which foods and restaurants are must-haves when you’re traveling in Pure Michigan?

Delicious Fall Desserts in the Upper Peninsula

Fall is a great time to indulge in some delicious desserts! Today, guest blogger Jesse Land of Things to Do in the U.P. tells us about some sensational sweet treats in the Upper Peninsula. 

Autumn is harvest time and as we all know, along with the harvest comes delicious fall desserts. I caught up with a few of the Upper Peninsula’s best bakers this month to highlight some of their fall inspired favorites.

Sour Cream Apple Walnut Pie – Joe’s Cakes

Joe’s cakes within the historic Landmark Inn in Marquette is a standout Upper Peninsula bakery, and Joe’s sour cream apple walnut pie is one of his most popular desserts. When Joe Heck’s grandmother immigrated from Cuba, in his words “she couldn’t bake a pie or a cake to save her life.” But she found a book in the library with the recipe for this dessert translated into spanish and the rest is history.

Joe makes this pie with Michigan apples mixed with sour cream, fresh ground ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. The topping is made from house made molasses, brown sugar, walnut flour and chunks of walnuts. All of that goes into a traditional pie crust and gets baked “really slow, so the acid comes out of the apples and turns the sour cream into custard. In the end it’s really a spiced apple custard pie,” says Joe.

I had a few bites of this one at the Landmark and it was awesome. I then took the rest home for my wife to try and it was gone in seconds!

Pumpkin Pie Fudge – Donckers

Photo courtesy of Donckers

Candy chef Akasha from Donckers in Marquette makes an awesome pumpkin pie fudge. I’d never had pumpkin fudge until I tried it at Donckers, but I can imagine how the candied walnut crust on this dessert improves an already delicious treat.

Donckers also had some crazy good looking caramel apples on display. They’re “candy coated and caramel drenched honey crisp apples,” according to Donckers, and they also happen to be the best looking caramel apples I’ve ever seen.

Apple Pie – Upper Crust Deli

Linda Smith from the Upper Crust Bakery and Deli in Manistique makes a mean apple pie. She says it’s a simple apple pie that’s just thrown together, but she always uses Idared apples. I say that next to my mom’s, apple pie it’s one of the best I’ve had. Linda also makes an amazing chocolate pecan pie, the recipe for which came from her Grandma’s church cookbook. I’m seeing a theme with the Grandmas, here.

Pumpkin Everything! – Midtown Bakery

I didn’t get a chance to stop in the Midtown Bakery in Negaunee for “research” this time around, but Marybeth Kurz’s desserts are locally famous. Here’s what she had to say about her fall desserts:

“We are in full blown Pumpkin mode! We have ten different pumpkin cheesecakes, from plain pumpkin to pumpkin cranberry and almond, or pumpkin and buttered pecan. Our pumpkin spice cookie that has cinnamon chips, poached raisins and spices and rolled in coarse sanding sugar and more cinnamon has been a new big hot seller for us, too. Our Muffins featuring pumpkin are the first to fly off the shelf in the mornings!”

And this is just the tip of the iceberg, folks. There are dozens of great restaurants and bakeries in the Upper Peninsula that serve up delicious fall desserts, so consider this just an introduction!

How about you? What’s one of your favorite fall desserts?

A native Yooper, Jesse Land lives in Iron Mountain and enjoys hiking, biking, skiing, and camping with his family. He runs the Upper Peninsula travel site “Things to do in the U.P.”