Northern Michigan’s Best Eats 2009

6. Pulled Pork

Most of The Cooks’ House showstoppers are made with five ingredients or fewer, but the chefs break tradition with this luxurious sandwich: after brining a pork shoulder overnight, they rub it with sugar, molasses, star anise, fennel seed, garam masala, coriander, black pepper and chili paste. Nine hours in a low oven later, the spicy meat is pulled and dressed with a caramely-vinegary sauce laced with lime zest. Eat it on a grilled ciabatta roll with Lamont white cheddar and crunchy Tokyo bekana cabbage. The Cooks’ House, 439 E. Front St., Traverse City. 231-946-8700 

7. Batidos

If it feels like the rest of the North is somewhere south, make your own mini spring break by sipping on a sunshine-y papaya milkshake. Cafe Habana, 423 S. Union St., Traverse City, 231-929-4150

8. Kalamata Olive Spread

Cyndi Ogan created a cream-cheese based dip with olives, fresh garlic, roasted red peppers and spices for the holidays, and it hasn’t had a break from the Oryana deli case since. Oryana Natural Foods Market, 260 E. 10th St., Traverse City, 231-947-0191

9. Hearth Baked Apple Pie

Temps soaring at 500°F in Pleasanton Bakery’s wood-fired brick oven give the lattice crust lots of lofty, buttery crackle. The crust cradles thin-sliced organic apples from Brown’s Orchard in Bear Lake, fragrant with cloves and other cozy spices. Friday is pie day, or call to special order. Pleasanton Brick Oven Bakery, 812 Cottage View Dr., Traverse city, 231-941-1964 

10. Chorizo

Sonny Szejbach’s piquant Mexican sausage is great in breakfast casseroles or sizzled up and stirred into white queso dip. Sonny’s Torch Lake Market, 2786 U.S. 31 N., Torch Lake Village, 231-599-2357

11. Pumpkin Curry Soup

Lusty and elegant with lots of cream, a hint of foam and the subtlest Indian spice. Patisserie Amie, 237 Lake Ave., Traverse City, 231-922-9645

12. Asiago Dip

Fifteen years after developing his highly addictive Zagolli’s Feta Dip, Elk Rapids’ Scott Zagers has unleashed the Asiago. The original is fab, as is the pesto and wasabi.  Find it Up North at Tom’s and Oleson’s grocery stores and in many downstate food markets.

Article Comments

  • tedder

    Ref. classic eats— How about “Dam Site Inn in Pelston for chicken” The BEST!!!
    Also the atmosphire in the summer is 100% “up-north”. Probably dosen’t qualify as 2009 yet but it will as usual.

  • Bonnie Quick

    The very best, homemade lemon cupcakes with real lemon curd in the middle. Riverfront Pizza & Specialties, On the Crystal River in Glen Arbor, MI.

  • K Britten

    Benjamin Twiggs Cherry Salsa is the best! A must have. Just the right amount of salsa-kick for me!

  • Blondie54321

    I was at Boyne Mountain resorts Aug. 26, 27, and 28th during the HOG rally. I took in the wine and cheese tasting and had the most magnificent cheese their that had pineapple and possibly mango or apricot in it. It was a white cheese and melted in your mouth. Can anyone help me find who in Michigan is selling that cheese?? Thanks you can email me at [email protected]