From Our Community: The Ultimate Michigan Dish

With Michigan being home to so many unique, local restaurants, we thought it would be fun to ask fans “what do you think is the ultimate Michigan dish?” We got some great responses from our Facebook fans, and wanted to share a roundup of our favorites below.

If your answer isn’t on the list below, share with us in the comments section!


“Pan-Fried Whitefish!” – Noelle Kelly

“Pasties, of course!” – Lalah Godwin

“Mac~n~Cheese, or Saurkraut~n~brats, or chili, I could go on…. !!!!” – Bonnie Nethercott

“ANYTHING with Morel mushrooms!” – Steven Katz

“Fudge” – David Roney

“A coney from Lafayette Coney Island with a bag of better made chips and wash it all down with a Vernors.” – Kevin Patrick

“morel mushroom sauce over pan fried whitefish mmmmmmmmmmm goooood” – Jamie Lynn Mccall

“Since moving away 7 years ago, it’s coney dogs I miss the most.” – Troy Rice

“Anything with Michigan produce: asparagus, cherries, blueberries, peaches….” – Denise G. Cantrall

“Is this even a question? It’s coneys!” – Mark N Jillian

“LAKE PERCH!!!” – Anthony Orlando

“BLUE MOON ICE CREAM FROM SHERMAN’S DAIRY BAR!!!!! Can ice cream be classified as a dish? Lol” – Tracey Deddo

“By far, Pasties!” – Fran Stringer-Shoobridge

“Corn on the cob in August… or pasties… or cherries… or coneys… or whitefish from Superior… what a great state!” – Amy Heydlauff

Zingerman’s Pastrami or Corned Beef Reuben or a Sherman’s Sure Choice!! With a pickle of course. UP – pasties. Flint – Angelo’s Coney Dogs and Halo Burgers” – Jayne Doyle Jarvis

“Everything in all the above posts! Can’t wait to come home in a few weeks! :)” – Jodi Handley Perez

Checking Out The Cooks’ House

Servers make diners feel like guests at the Cooks' House

On assignment for Michigan Travel Ideas, Kevin Miyazaki shares his experience photographing The Cooks’ House, a cozy restaurant with a focus on local, sustainable foods.

The Traverse City area takes its food and drink seriously, which is why it’s one of my favorite places in the whole country. The Cooks’ House is a perfect example of why I’m drawn to this part of the state. ­The restaurant combines fresh, local ingredients to create eye-catching dishes that please the palate and support the community.

Two years ago, chefs Eric Patterson and Jeremy Heisey allowed me to shoot in the kitchen of their original location, which meant squeezing myself between the stove and the sink. Empty plates, the aftermath of satisfied diners, were passed under my nose to a hardworking dishwasher.

The laid back, yet sophisticated bar at the Cooks' House restaurant in Traverse City

This trip, I’m going to shoot at their new location, just across the street from where I had my first encounter with their artful food. As I walk inside, I realize it’s not too much larger. Chef and co-owner Jennifer Blakeslee secures me a prime spot at the bar. From here, I take in the activity in the kitchen and the busy dining area, where there’s a nice buzz. The crowd is sophisticated but casual. I chat with a couple of serious foodies from Columbus, Ohio. They have heard good things about The Cooks’ House.

I can see (and smell) the reason for the rave reviews as I photograph entrees before servers sweep them away to hungry guests. A simple but popular arugula salad of caramelized onions, candied pumpkin seeds and goat cheese catches my eye.

Walleye with garlic scapes, bok choy, wild lambs quarters and Brownwood Farms creamy mustard vinaigrette.

Another server walks by bearing a plate of walleye with garlic scapes, bok choy, wild lamb’s quarters and Brownwood Farms creamy mustard vinaigrette that smells as delicious as it sounds. And my favorite thing to shoot: hand-cut pasta with smoked whitefish, snap peas and nasturtium flowers. The composition and delicate flower petals scattered across the plate draw my attention. Plus, I’m a fan of anything with homemade pasta. I soon realize that I won’t be able to leave without buying dinner.

As I shoot, I enjoy talking with the amicable staff. One of the line cooks is doing fantastic work, and it turns out he was the aforementioned dishwasher from my last visit. We joke about our previous close encounter. The sommelier joins the conversation, and we start talking about Sauvignon Blancs, a recent favorite of mine. She suggests a Semillon, a dry and sweet white wine.

The chefs prepare a meal of hand cut pasta with smoked whitefish, snap peas and nasturtium flowers.

I can almost taste the smooth, crisp wine. I’m convinced. I opt to occupy my bar perch a bit longer and taste one of the dishes I’ve seen and smelled all evening. The chefs prepare my meal of the pasta and arugula salad. I officially call it a night by pairing my food with a cool glass of the recommended Semillon.

Kevin J. Miyazaki is a Midwest-based magazine photographer. His food and restaurant photographs have appeared in Michigan Travel Ideas, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Midwest Living and Travel + Leisure.


Pure Michigan Fly Fishing with Matt Supinski

Matt Supinski is a fly fishing expert from Newaygo, Michigan. He has been fly fishing since the age of seven and was kind enough to answer a few of our questions. Earlier this year, Field and Stream magazine selected Michigan as the top state for fly fishing.

Q: What is different about fly fishing compared to traditional fishing?
A:  More books, articles and magazines have been written about flyfishing since 1493 than any other sport. It is an art form of precision, elegant and artistic presentation that differs from traditional fishing. The line and the rod casts the fly. Many think it is very difficult, but it isn’t. The flies are tied with natural animal furs and feathers along with synthetic materials to imitate insects, baitfish and everything a fish could feed on.

Q: Why is Michigan considered a great fly fishing location?
A: The state of Michigan has more miles of rivers and lakes to fly fish than anywhere in the United States – no wonder it was voted best fly fishing state by Field and Stream and many other magazines!

Q: Where are the best places in Michigan to fly fish?
A. Trout: The whole state from southern parts to the northern U.P are loaded with brown, brook, rainbow and lake trout. Some of the more historic streams are the Au Sable, Manistee, Pere Marquette, Muskegon, Rogue, Jordan, Sturgeon, Escanaba and thousands more. Virtually every county, even the Detroit area, has trout in their lakes and streams.

Almost every lake imaginable, including Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, Grand, St. Joseph, Kalamazoo and the Great Lakes abound with bass, walleye, pike, perch, carp and more.

Salmon/Steelhead: These west coast transplants could be found in virtually all four of Michigan’s Great Lakes tributaries all year long.

Q: What items/gear do you need to hit the streams?
A: All you need are waders, some flies, a fly rod, reel and line and some knowledge and you are ready to hit the water!

Q: What types of fish are commonly found it Michigan’s streams?
A: As mentioned, Michigan streams are a trout, salmon and steelhead rainbow trout wonderland. We fish 12 months a year and though all seasons- that is the beauty of the Great Lakes vast intertwining systems of streams and tributaries. The first brown trout was brought to America in 1883 and planted in the Pere Marquette. The first rainbow trout were brought to the east coast and Midwest and planted in the Au Sable River in 1876. The brook trout and lake trout, along with Grayling, were indigenous to Michigan.

Michigan currently holds the world record brown trout taken out of the Manistee at 43 pounds, and I and my client caught the world record Landlocked Atlantic Salmon last year in Torch Lake. Michigan, as you see, is a land of records! Its Great Lakes Salmon run as big as 40 pounds.

Q: Where can people learn more about fly fishing?
A: To learn more about Michigan fly fishing, there are lots of books, blogs and web sites out there. Bob Linsenman wrote “Michigan Trout Streams“ and “Michigan Blue-Ribbon Fly-Fishing Guide.” I wrote “Steelhead Dreams,” and “Pere Marquette (River Journal),” and many Web sites have great information. Check out my site: www.graydrake,com and my blog:

For more information, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Web site at has a lot of great information.