My mom calls it “Michigan fever”. She was raised in Michigan but moved to Indiana when she married my dad. They have brought us up to Michigan many Christmases and summers, including Boyne, Frankenmuth, Muskegon (to “camp”–which if you know my mom meant we stayed in a hotel room), Traverse City, and Mackinac Island. It wasn’t until I was first dating Joey that I discovered Leelanau County. This county encompasses Glen Arbor, Leland, Northport, and Suttons Bay to name a few. His family has come to the Homestead in Glen Arbor for 30 plus years. When I came with them in 2010 I think Joey loved me a little more as he watched me fall in love with the town of Glen Arbor that he loved when he was little Joey (adorable to think about). We went again in 2012, 2014, and found ourselves back here again this summer (hence the “Michigan fever). Let me share with you some of the plethora of good food we experienced while in this magical part of the country, northern Michigan, specifically Leelanau County (and a bit of Traverse City).
Last summer my mom started renting a home in Suttons Bay on the water for a few weeks. She says she’s had the fever her whole life–she’s glad we’ve got it too. Now to convince the rest of my family, that’s the hard part. Although it is a 7 hour drive for us from Indiana, once you’re here, this place convinces you. She met with a realtor while she was up here–dad, she’s serious about this and I’m kind of loving it. Side note, I said on Instagram that I wanted to come back to Indiana with loads of berries, and I did (even though I forgot 3 quarts in Michigan and had to stop at yet another stand to buy more, whoops!). I made a healthy blueberry dessert inspired by this trip. I’ll be posting tomorrow!
9 Bean Rows bakery and restaurant
This place is tricky! Our first morning here we rushed out to get my mom some coffee and to figure out what Mike and Megan Gilger were talking about with these croissants at this place. Joey and I may have had a marital spat trying to find the place but that’s because they don’t list the address. They have a restaurant in Suttons Bay but their bakery is about a mile out of town on 204. The bakery is where we were trying to be this particular morning. It’s an old barn and unsuspecting. These croissants were a beautiful sight. The almond was loaded with almonds, the apricot was shiny and bright and looked tremendous, the butter ones were just as tempting. They were crispy and soft, and almondy.
We also had lunch a little later that same day at their restaurant in Suttons Bay. It was fantastic. Joey and I split the salad which had dried blueberries, goat cheese, and pepitas–the perfect flavor combinations! This was a very hot day and we opted to sit inside only to discover they don’t have air conditioning, I was warm. When the waitress told me the special was a cold gazpacho I closed the menu. Done. It was fabulous! A little spicy, small chunks, not quite pureed completely, very cold, and served with a small dollop of what I think was dill creme fraiche? Joey got the lamb burger and it was equally good.
Little Bee’s Italian Ice
After lunch we wanted something a little sweet. Little Bee’s in Suttons Bay is the most quaint and adorable frozen treat shop I’ve ever seen. It may also be because Jennifer is the sweetest, kindest, most calming stranger I’ve ever met. And her Italian ice shop totally fits the little bit of interaction we had with her. They have gelato, Italian ice, and sorbet. Joey got the cherry and pistachio gelato and he kept wanting to go back to get more–I feel a little bad now that we didn’t. Sorry babe! At Little Bees’s she takes her Italian ice and/or sorbet and combines it with Perrier in a milkshake maker for a Italian soda. I took her suggestion on lemon and mango Italian soda and it was sweet and sour and sparkly. I love loved it. And meeting her. This is a must-stop whenever we are in the area next!
- Miller’s Northwood Market in Bear Lake, blueberry zucchini bread
- Leelanau Pie and Pastry, mini cherry pies
- Leelanau Farmer’s Market, in Suttons Bay
- Traverse City Farmer’s Market, Press On Juice, I got the Spicy Shine (grapefruit and cayenne) VERY good
- Towne Plaza, described as “locavore-centric” meals, we got the gazpacho, grilled romaine, pork belly BLT, and the cheese raclette, all were fabulous, in Traverse City, outdoor dining
- Any cherry stand on Mission Point Peninsula, we chose the Cherry Connection, do u-pick if you’d like, but it’s a lot of work! We brought our bucket back from the orchard (?) basically empty and bought the quarts they already had prepared. To each his own.
- Nonna’s Italian Chop House at the Homestead in Glen Arbor, this is one of our favorite restaurants in the area, the menu changes frequently, always trustworthy
This is a famous restaurant in Leland aka Fishtown. Joey and I somehow had never been prior to this trip. When we were in Fishtown last summer our friend Aaron commented on an Instagram picture telling us to try the Chubby Mary at the Cove. We did not. And we did not know what it was. So while wandering around the fish docks this year, we looked it up. Which led us to having dinner there our last night in order to try said Chubby Mary. And since we were really craving white fish and they had some, we went. White fish is the entree to get while in this part of the country. I don’t even know what type of fish it is, people just call it white fish. It’s best blackened or with a lemon butter sauce and almost always baked in foil. Joey’s mom gets white fish every night we’re in Glen Arbor, no matter where we eat. The Cove’s white fish was delicious, both parmesan crusted and blackened, pictured below. But back to the Chubby Mary. It’s a smoked chub fish “standing proud” in a bloody Mary. Enough said, scroll down. Except, it is fishy and the smell stuck with me. But it was fun to get! Ha!
Those are just a few of our favorites we enjoyed this time around! We also love the Jolly Pumpkin, many wineries, the Cherry Republic, Blu, and Leelanau Coffee Roasters in Glen Arbor, just to name a few. Are you regulars to Northern Michigan? What are your must-sees? Or did this post make you want to go there soon? 🙂 I sure hope! And don’t forget, I’m posting my blueberry recipe tomorrow! What ingredient do you think inspired me?