MyNorth Media’s Tim Tebeau chooses his Best Eats at Northern Michigan restaurants for 2013. Tim merges his backgrounds in food, wine and creative writing by serving as food & wine editor for Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine and when seeking out artisan wines as a partner in U.S. Wine Imports. He is also a relentless home cook.
Martini Seafood Pasta
Blu Moon Bistro // 125 South James Street // Ludington 231.843.2001 This bright Mediterranean pasta dish has lobster, Gulf shrimp and scallops happily commingling over pappardelle pasta with roasted peppers and Kalamata olives in vodka sauce.
Folgarelli’s // 424 West Front Street // Traverse City 231.941.7651 Sink your teeth into this transcendental stack of smoked pork loin, creamy slaw, Swiss cheese and sweet mustard on grilled rye bread and thank Folgarelli’s deli meister Roy Ellison for his ingenuity.
John Cross Fisheries // 209 Belvedere Avenue // Charlevoix 231.547.2532 Norwegian salmon gets bathed overnight in Cross’s proprietary sweet brine before its hot smoking over hard maple chunks. Slightly caramelized on the outside, moist, smoky and succulent inside.
Pa Nang Curry
Thai Orchid // 433 East Mitchell Street // Petoskey 231.487.9900 Ginger- and lemongrass-driven Pa Nang-style curry paste graces a spicy coconut milk broth with peanuts, Thai basil and kaffir lime leaves. Add chicken and enjoy the flavor epiphanies.
Pit Ham Sandwich
Ham Bonz // 1108 East Eighth Street // Traverse City 231.929.9288 Dearborn hams (the best kind) adopt some smoky mojo after several hours in the pit and wind up sliced thick and stacked high on Texas toast with tangy honey mustard.
Sweet Potato Pecan Pie
Sweet Mama’s // 145 Ames Street // Elk Rapids 231.498.2298 Chef/owner Ralph Humes elevates this soul food staple to a level of Platonic perfection. The rich sweet-potato purée is copiously studded with caramelized pecans in a crust you wish your grandma could make.
Port City Smokehouse // 1000 Main Street // Frankfort 231.352.9192 Outta-the-lake whitefish gets dunked in light, crispy beer batter and landed on a grilled kaiser roll with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce. A classic done right.
‘Old Raj’ Dirty Martini
The New York // 101 State Street // Harbor Springs 231.526.1904 This rare high-proof gin with balanced botanicals is shaken with olive brine and poured ice-cold over housemade blue cheese–stuffed olives.
Elk Rapids Wine Shop // 100 River Street // Elk Rapids 231.264.9000 The iconic Provençal pizza is a toothsome Mediterranean mélange of caramelized onions, ripe olives, roasted garlic and olive oil on a tender crust.
Crab Tater Tots
Jolly Pumpkin // 13512 Peninsula Drive, Old Mission Peninsula// Traverse City 231.223.4333 These tasty little crustacean flavor grenades are packed with sweet lump crab that’s flash fried and served with preserved lemon aioli for dipping. Perfect with a pint of Jolly Pumpkin’s Belgian-style brew.
Bay View // 727 Main Street // Frankfort 231.352.8050 Delight in a Frankfort homage to the French Quarter with these crisp batons of airy French pastry dusted in powdered sugar. Made more perfect with a hot cup of java and a view of charter boats at dock.
Blue Heron Café // 304 N. Mitchell // Cadillac 231.775.5461 Spinach, feta cheese, Kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes. Mediterranean bliss for your morning sustenance.
Check out this video as Jenny Buechel visits Best Eats restaurants and chats with chefs about techniques and tips.
We were. And being conveniently located in downtown Traverse City, the MyNorth staff stepped out for a day of eating. Check out our video tour of 6 stops featured in Traverse Magazine‘s Best Eats 2013.
Don’t miss the other 36 picks from local Northern Michigan foodies—including 8 from Chef Mario Batali:
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These 41 food finds are featured in the March 2013 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. Pick up your copy today at ShopMyNorth.com.