Northern Michigan Restaurants: Nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan's West Grand Traverse Bay, just 16 miles north of Traverse City in Northern Michigan's Leelanau County, is the charming village of Suttons Bay. Equally charming is the red-house-converted-Northern-Michigan-restaurant located one block north of downtown Suttons Bay, Martha's Leelanau Table.
Owner and chef of this Leelanau County staple is Martha herself, who fills her restaurant with an energy and hospitality as welcoming as her food. A European-style cafe, Martha's Leelanau Table makes made-from-scratch and locally sourced foods a priority. Featuring new menu items for summer and a farm-to-table approach to food, Martha shares her excitement for the sun-filled months ahead.
Martha's Leelanau Table often adapts the menu based on season and availability. What's new on the menu for the start of summer 2012?
We have a cold salad as a new appetizer, composed of basmati rice, kalamata olives, organic arugula, lemon, olive oil and a skewer of rosemary marinated shrimp. We've also just started preparing a refreshing watermelon gazpacho that is perfect for summer.
For entrees we have a new balsamic-glazed pork dish, served with tomatoes, organic arugula and prosciutto. The arugula we're using comes from Meadowlark Farm in Leelanau County, that just became certified organic. An old favorite that always returns to the menu at the start of summer is our mussels with tomatoes and a fresh basil-spinach pesto.
We're also making our own ice cream every day now, featuring Shetler Family Dairy's all-natural milk from Kalkaska. So far we've made rhubarb, espresso, vanilla which we will always carry, and soon we will be making strawberry ice-cream now that strawberries are in season. The flavors may change, but they will always be made from fresh, local ingredients.
How do you find your ingredients? Do you seek out certain ingredients from farmers as they become available, or discover something and find a way to use it?
It's a mixture of both. We are very season-inspired and definitely look for certain ingredients from our local farmers and purveyors depending on the season. For instance asparagus season is ending, so we're now turning our attention to the summer produce, like strawberries and arugula, that Leelanau and Northern Michigan farmers are offering. All spring we've been waiting for stuff to come in, and now it's here!
Leelanau farmer's markets are so wonderful as well, offering up amazing produce. Whenever I can I like to go down and pick things up from the farmer's market and see how the finds can be used in dishes. We may have some more changes in July because of this, or offer specials.
Anything else Martha's Leelanau Table is excited about for the summer?
We have our cooking class schedule set (click here to see!), and have just booked the Windy Ridge Boys every Wednesday through Labor Day. The Suttons Bay Art Walk is coming up on Friday, June 22nd from 5-9pm, which is always a lot of fun and a great way to celebrate the start of summer. Hundreds of people come to downtown Suttons Bay to peruse the local shops, all featuring an artist, winery and food. If you've never been, you've got to come out! Martha's will have artist Lori Wilcox's work, musician Jonah Paul, Circa Winery, and of course, Martha's Leelanau Table cuisine.
For more information on Martha's Leelanau Table and to see the full menu, visit MarthasLeelenauTable.com