Boondocks: Nice Bar and Outdoor Patio
On the last day of our trip, on our way out of the region, we stopped at an attractive restaurant/bar called Boondocks in Glen Arbor, Michigan.
We were impressed with the looks of the inside as well as the outside. There were many flat-screen TV's inside and a big screen outside. There is free music and a HUGE gazebo-looking stage in the yard [for performances and dancing, I assume].
We asked to be seated on the patio because there were tables with umbrellas that shaded you while you ate.
Service was not swift, but our waitress was pleasant and kind. We only wanted sandwiches and a soft drink, but, I must say, this place looked as though it would be a great place for beers and other alcoholic beverages.
Favorite Dish: The menu was extensive with sandwiches, wraps, soups, salads, entrees. I ordered an Italian sub sandwich and a soft drink. I did not order fries because I'm not a potato eater. My sandwich was huge, and since we were on our way home, I could not take a "doggie bag" so, unfortunately, I had to leave half of it. Mickey had a similar dilemma. Chips did come with the sandwich. We felt that the food was good and agreed that the service was slow.
Since I returned home, I have read reviews of the restaurant and was surprised at how many people mentioned slow service, and they also did not like the food, mostly because of the high prices. It's a vacation area so I was not surprised about the prices. Hopefully, this relatively new restaurant/bar will heed the reviews and make some changes.
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
Peppercorn: Moomer's Homemade Ice Cream
1. Dee eating Moomer's ice Cream
2. Mickey eating Moomer's Ice Cream
3. Picture of Peppercorn Store
Each time that Mickey and I travel, we make sure to try the local ice cream and to take a photograph of that experience. We had read about the famous Moomer's Homemade Ice Cream and wanted to be sure to try it. We could have gone to:
Moomer's Homemade Ice Cream
7263 N. Long Lake Road
Long Lake, Michigan
This ice cream establishment is owned by Jon and Nancy Plummer and is located west of Traverse City.
Here, you are able to watch the dairy cows graze outside while you sample some of their 100 flavors, which are made right here. However, on the first day in Traverse City, we were shopping the main area [Front Street] and happened to go into a kitchen and dining accessories and gourmet food store called Peppercorn. As we were perusing the window, we saw a sign that said, "We serve the famous Moomer's Homemade Ice Cream". What the heck...
we could not resist the opportunity to try the ice cream that was selected by viewers of "Good Morning America" as the best ice cream in the country!
Of the 100 flavors that Moomer's make, their signature flavor is called "Cherries Moobilee" that is black cherry ice cream with chunks of black sweet cherries, red tart cherries, chocolate fudge swirl, and chunks of homemade brownies! I tried a spoonful of it and really liked it, but I just had to try the one with almonds, fudge chocolate, and coconut...memories of my favorite candy bar, Almond Joy. Speaking of delicious, it "fit the bill"!
I asked for a junior size, as did Mickey. It was huge, and then I wondered, "If the junior is this big, I wonder what a regular would be?"
My suggestion would be to experience this marvelous ice cream either at Moomer's Homemade Ice Cream in Long Lake or at Peppercorn on Front Street in Traverse City.. But, be sure to try it!
Higher Grounds Trading Co. Coffee bar & roastery: Good Coffee and Lots of Ambience
I was in the mood for some coffee, so we stopped at Higher Grounds Trading Company, which is a coffee bar and roastery. Higher Grounds is located in Building #53 in The Village Grand Traverse Commons and shares a building with a winery.
They advertise their coffee as "100% fair trade, organic, and shade grown." The coffee is grown by small-scale farming cooperatives in:
If you order a cup of coffee "to go", you take your drink with you a ceramic mug of coffee that has been donated. The reason? Because Higher Grounds not only supports fair trade wages, they also encourage environmental responsibility.
Favorite Dish: I ordered a Mocha coffee to be drunk there [outside on the picnic table.] The woman who waited on us was quite interesting and knowledgeable. She told us so much about this project and pointed us toward a large window where you could watch the coffee beans being roasted.
The coffee drink was delicious, and the place was bright and comfortable. I especially liked the jukebox in the corner See photo #2.
If you have the opportunity, stop by The Village Grand Traverse Commons to relax and enjoy a fair trade cup/mug of coffee. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
- Road Trip
- Food and Dining
- Women's Travel
The Bluebird Restaurant & Bar, Leland, MI: Local Landmark
While visiting Leland, Michigan, we decided to eat lunch at a local landmark called The Bluebird Restaurant & Bar. There is a flower garden that stretches along the bank of the Leland River behind the dining room. This restaurant has been around since 1927 when it was a small sandwich and soda shop, and over the years, it has grown into a full service restaurant and bar. This place serves both the locals and the tourist. The third generation of the Telgards are operating the restaurant today.
Evidently, the Michigan whitefish is what the Bluebird is remembered for once people have left. Seafood, steaks, pasta, and daily specials are also well liked. Each dinner includes a salad from a salad bar. Famous for their homemade desserts and pastries, some visit just for dessert. Most asked for are the famous cinnamon rolls made by Leone Telgard.
The Bluebird is also known for their award-winning Ethnic Dinner and their Sunday Brunch.
Note: the restaurant is closed the month of November.
The huge bar area has its own menu, and that is the area that Mickey and I ate in on the beautiful afternoon that we visited.
Favorite Dish: When we ate in the bar area, the menu consisted of lots of appetizers, many fish platters, sandwiches [hot and cold], wraps, baskets, salads, soups, and pizza after 5:00 p.m.
Mickey and I shared a BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich served on a Kaiser roll for $5.95. We each ordered a cup of soup for $1.95 each bowl. Mine was a very good chicken vegetable soup, and Mickey's was a potato cheese soup. We both agreed that the soups were delicious; however, we were not too thrilled with the Pulled Pork which seemed a bit dry with a mediocre sauce.
I would recommend eating at the Bluebird Restaurant and Bar; good service, ambience, and decent food with lots of choices.
- Women's Travel
- Food and Dining
The Underground Cheesecake Company: Unique location with Delightful Desserts
While visiting The Village in Traverse City, Michigan, Mickey and I decided to share a piece of cheesecake in the famed, local The Underground Cheesecake Company. First off, we were impressed with the building itself [see photo #2]. Like all of the "out buildings" at The Village, this small yellow building is an original that has been renovated to bring it up to code.
This unique business started with two local women who started their business in the basement of a home, and that is why it is named The undergroud Cheesecake Company! Their business spread by word of mouth because they sold their products at all civic and charitable events. The business expanded so much that they decided they needed a new location [above ground]. That was more than 20 years ago, and the business is still growing.
They are well known for their "Cheesecake on a Stick" which is a chocolate covered frozen dessert, and it can be eaten by holding it in your hand/s. The flavors include Traditional with Pecans, Peanut Butter, Cherry, Chocolate, and Mint Chocolate Chip. They are also famous for their Original Bitesize Cheesecake.
Favorite Dish: Mickey and I had a difficult time making a decision as to which flavor we wanted to share. Finally, we decided on Turtle Sundae Cheesecake. Wow, what a great choice. It has a chocolate cookie crust and is topped with a traditional style cheesecake. Then it is baked in a swirl of creamy caramel and crunchy toasted pecans. It is delivered topped with more caramel, pecans, and a drizzle of chocolate!
We had to admit that it is one of the best cheese cakes that we've tasted.
- Women's Travel
- Food and Dining
Amical: Italian with a view
The first day that Mickey and I were in Traverse City, Michigan, we visited the downtown area, especially Front Street. As per our usual behavior, we asked locals to suggest places to eat. Several of those people suggested an Italian Restaurant called Amical. We looked at the menu posted in the window, took a peek inside, and asked if a table would be available in about an hour.
We noted that Amical had an outdoor patio dining area (a little too cool at this time) and a lit fireplace inside (a little too warm to sit close to it). We wanted to be near the back where windows lined the wall. We had a small table in the back and were quite satisfied with that location.
1. Outside of Amical Restaurant
2. Bread, Wine, and olives
3. Olive Twists appetizer
The restaurant is noted for fresh salads, pasta, lamb, salmon, extension wine list, and outstanding desserts.
I must say right up front, that I have mixed feelings about our experience here...the best and worst of times. I'll speak of the worst first of all: We ordered a pasta dish to split that sounded really good: Ravioli with Tomatoes and Pesto It was cheese-filled pasta tossed with roasted roma tomato compote, pesto, local chevre and arugula for $17.00. I've never seen such HUGE ravioli and I've never tasted such a SWEET SAUCE...and that is my dislike..I cannot deal with sweet sauces on pizza or pasta. Thus, I did not eat my portion of the ravioli. Fortunately, I was not charged for that [see what I mean about best and worst of times?]
The rest of the meal was delicious, AND our waitress was one of the best we've ever had...quite efficient, so friendly and accommodating, and always smiling [even when I noted my dislike of the pasta].
Favorite Dish: The appetizer that we order was called Olive Twist which was baked twists of pastry stuffed with feta cheese and tapenade [an olive mix]. See #4 photo I can rave and rave about how delicious this appetizer was. We shared it, and we devoured the entire baked twists. This appetizer was $7.00 and worth every penny!
We also shared the salad which was called Amical Salad and consisted of local bibb lettuce and mixed greens with feta, dried cranberries, and tomato vinaigrette [small for $5.00, which was plenty large enough for two]. This was a good salad [I would have chosen a different salad dressing, but it was still quite good.]
I've already discussed the Entree of Ravioli in the first part.
As indicated, the wine list was extensive. Mickey and I wanted to try local wines and asked for suggestions. I ordered a white Reisling, and Mickey order a red wine. Both were excellent.
See #2 photograph
Note: Their is an extensive list of Entrees such as Roasted Chicken, Spinach-Mushroom Phyllo Tart, Fresh Michigan Whitefish, Brined Pork Tenderloin, Crab-stuffed Tilapia, Cinnamon and Cumin Lamb, Seared Duck Breast, Sirloin with Balsamic-Brandy Cream, and Grilled Ribeye with Chipotle.
Because we had already eaten ice cream earlier in the day, we did not try their desserts.
- Wine Tasting
- Food and Dining
Bad Dog Deli: Best Soup Ever!
This small Deli is attached to the Peninsula Grill and is named after the owner's Miniature Schnauzer!
This rather small restaurant deli is clean, well organized, and run quite efficiently. This experience was one of my favorites of this trip.
Sandwiches, soups, and pizza are served here. You can select the ingredients for your own sandwiches, and they are built-to-order right before you.
Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. -5:00 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Favorite Dish: After visiting the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula, the Old Mission Lighthouse, the Old Mission Inn, the Old Mission General Store, we were ready to eat. While I was climbing up the tower of the Old Mission lighthouse to see a panorama of the beach, Mickey was talking to the lady who sold tickets downstairs. She asked for a good spot for lunch, and the woman said, "Do you like soup?"; of course, Mickey's answer was an affirmative. Her suggestion was to go to the Bad Dog Deli.
Are we ever glad that Mickey inquired because we would never have known about or been able to find this adorable deli with its well-deserved reputation for great soups.
They always offer at least two choices each day, and both Mickey and I liked the sound of the Chicken Pepperjack. We each ordered a bowl plus diet cokes. Oh, yum! Michigan and Wisconsin are both states famous for cheese soups, and this particular cheese soup was the best I've ever tasted. The Pepperjack Cheese gave it a little "kick". I long to try it again.
When I went to the counter to pay, I told the woman how much I loved it and how glad I was that it was on the menu for the day. She informed me that that soup is so popular that it is ALWAYS offered. Otherwise, people would be complaining.
- Food and Dining
- Budget Travel
The Green House Cafe: Super Soups and salads on Front Street
A simple bakery/cafe locate on Front Street in old TVC. A lot of local religiously visit the Green House for lunch, sometimes on an almost daily basis.
Without sounding like that TV show "Cheers", this is the sort of place where everybody will eventually know your name if you live in TVC.
Favorite Dish: Excellent homemade soups and salads. They have an especially nice crusty bread that is available with any soup order (as a sub for cracker). The salads are fresh and innovative.... I once had an excellent chicken and cherry (remember, TVC is cherry-land) salad on a flaky and buttery croissant.
One tip if you're there on Friday. I work for a magazine headquartered in TVC, and our editor swears by the Green House Cafe's New England clam chowder. It's served every Friday and Alex insists that it's among the two best renderings of chowder he's ever had.
BTW, his OTHER favorite clam chowder is at "The Barking Crab" in Boston. On a personal visit to the PLA library show in Boston last year (2006), I checked out the clam chowder. Very good indeed.
Expresso Bay Coffee Shop: Cozy fireside coffee in downtown TVC
Expresso Bay is much like your basic Starbucks-type coffee place, although it's a bit more local in nature. Warm, friendly and inviting, it's a great place to spend half an hour on a chilly morning.
I personally work from my home office in Florida, but I work for a company headquartered in TVC. If I lived in TVC, I can guarantee that I'd take my morning coffee break every day over at Expresso Bay. (It's about a block from the offices of ForeWord Magazine)
Favorite Dish: Excellent coffee and muffins/breads, etc.
They also serve ice cream, teas, chai, etc. Hot chocolate, gourmet treats and such.
As for the best coffees, we recommend the "bolder featured brew". If you are into flavored (we call 'em foo-foo coffees...and I'll admit that I do like foo-foo coffees sometimes), I'd recommend the French vanilla.
THE BEST part of the Expresso Bay coffee shop is the roaring fireplace just across from the serving area. Get your coffee, take off your jacket and gloves, and maybe even your shoes and rest in front of the fire.
Sleder's Family Tavern: Kiss the Moose!
Sleder's is a nice place to get a decent inexpensive meal. The restaurant has personality and lots of history. Of special interest besides the good food is the focal point of the restaurant-- the moose. It's a local tradition to kiss the moose that hangs on the wall. The french fries are great, the people are nice and it's cheap. I really recommend Sleder's.
- Family Travel
- School Holidays
DON'S DRIVE-IN: BEST BURGERS
Don's brings back nostalgia, complete with outdoor car service, but the food is fantastic for any time. The burgers are what I compare all other burgers to, and none equal the texture, taste and size of Don's, add fries and a shake and you have enough for two meals. Don't look for formal dining here, it's as casual as it can be, but it's perfect for the laid back easy going tourist pace of the city.
Favorite Dish: Cheeseburger, hands down
- Family Travel
El Dorado: Downtown Favorite
Go to the El DOrado forBreakfast! John has himself a great little spot downtown and it's a winner! We love the Saturday morning coofee and breakfast. Higher Grounds Coffee is the best!
Favorite Dish: I love the Boardman Valley - two eggs, easy, with wheat toast and cheese GRITS, flavored with Chicken Stock. I have had many of the other menu offerings and enjoy them, but am on a kick for the grits.
Omelette Shoppe: Homecooking and local's ambiance
If you like home cooking and a relaxed local's ambiance, then this is probably the place. Walking around the day before, I spotted this place but didn't give it much thought since it was in the late afternoon and the lights were off.
But after asking a few locals while out and about, and also by asking some of the hotel staff who were noticably well fed, the consensus for a good breakfast place was thus identified - the Omelette Shoppe.
Its a no frills place, with a local feel and depending on the hour, may be littered with regulars. It serves mainly breakfasts, but a few more lunch items like soups and sandwiches.
The food was good, but the jovial attitude of the staff and the friendly gestures like filling a paper coffee cup to-go without being asked shows the nature of the place.
Favorite Dish: The eggs Benedict, the crab cakes, the skillets were all good. We all shared each other's and had a hard time deciding which was best. From the other tables, the pancakes and waffles looked good too, but we were too full to even think about it.
- Food and Dining
Mackinaw Brewing Co.: Got this one out of the way early
With a trip to Traverse City on the docket, I looked at many of the brewery options in the area that were available. There are many - my main goals were to (a) find a place that welcomes kids and (b) served decent beer. In reading many of the reviews, Mackinaw is labeled as a tourist trap of a place - but it seemed to meet my first two criteria, so off we went.
Getting a seat in the early dinner hours in mid August was not a problem - we were seated quickly, and got to pour over the fairly expansive menu. I was heading towards fish or a fish sandwich, when the waitress mentioned the special of the day was a slow-roasted brisket with a baked sweet potato. So I changed my order to that.
Start with the kids - they each had a corn dog and fries and were happy as clams. I went with a cherry lager (this was a recurring option) which was very tasty - good cherry to beer ratio. Unfortunately, the rest of the meal was kid of "meh." The brisket has a little flavor, but was also a little dry. The sweet potato and veggies were OK. Overall, not bad, but left me second guessing whether I should have trusted my first instinct instead.
The atmosphere is decent - the front area is a bar, while the back area is more of a traditional sit down place. The wait staff seemed friendly and efficient. I liked the surrounding area of Front street - lots of places to wander around to and let your food settle.
In the end, the beer was decent, but the dinner was less impressive. I probably would try somewhere else on a return trip to town.
Moomers: Ice Cream Time
OK - so another little vice of mine is good ice cream. And all the reviews pointed to Moomers being the bees knees. So, after our dinner, we piled into the car and headed off to the farm and ice cream stand.
The setting is kind of cool - there are several tables outside which back up to the farm - we even got to see one of the cows roaming the pasture.
At first blush, I was very excited to see the roughly two dozen or so varieties of homemade ice cream - several which were cherry based. I selected a cup of Amaretto Cherry, while my son picked something blue (due to the color) and adventurous daughter went with chocolate.
As is often the case, the food simply couldn't live up to the hype. Sure, I had a lot of cherries in my ice cream, but it was severely lacking in much flavor. The base ice cream just didn't cut it.
We would try this again the following night at a local sweet shop near the hotel, but even though we all tried something else, we had the same problem - ice cream that sounded and looked better than it tasted.
Sorry to say that our visit here was a disappointment.
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