Fresh Friday – Foodie/Wander Edition (Traverse City Food Stops)

To continue with the Traverse City recap, I’m sharing some of the places we stopped for food in the and around the city.  Of course, being northwest mitt-Michigan, you can expect lots of cherries featured on the menus. Some of my favorite things I tried was special-made cherry chipotle humus and cherry barbecue sauce.

House of Doggs140607 - TC House of Doggs

Website

120 S Union St, Traverse City, MI 49684
(231) 922-1348

***UPDATE (1/3/16) The only location for House of Doggs is now in the Mall.  Here’s the address: 3200 S. Airport Rd., Traverse City, Michigan***

Now, if you want to talk about chili dogs, you talk about Cincinnati. That’s a firm statement and fact. I don’t even know why I bothered getting a Cincy-style chili dog outside of Cincinnati, but they did only alright. I’ll share that my companions LOVED their dogs, though. Matt’s mom heard that this place was on one of those foodie TV shows and so, it was our first stop the very day we got there. It was very good, and I enjoyed the theme of the joint – all dogs have their own quirky regional name, like: Be-Bop, Grand Funk, Disco, James Brown, etc. The brother in law got a real strange one, I think it was the HOD Fusion, which included crushed potato chips.

The Underground Cheesecake Factory140608 - TC cheesecakes

Website

1375 Yellow Drive, Traverse City MI 49684
231-929-4418

The Huz and I stopped in here because, hello, it’s cheesecake! We were in the area called The Village, which includes the renovated Old State Hospital grounds (apartments, shops, restaurants) for the annual Traverse Colantha Walker Dairy Festival. Naturally, they are incredible for their cheesecakes, but they also serve soups and sandwiches. We got our cheesecake to go but ate our lunch outside. So good!

Higher Grounds Trading Co

Website

806 Red Dr, Suite 150, Traverse City, MI 49684
877.825.2262

It was a little chilly on the day of the Traverse Colantha Walker Dairy Festival. Of course, Michigan is a little further north than southwest Ohio, so we should have been prepared. We welcomed a stop into this coffee shop, which is just around the corner from Underground Cheesecake Factory.  This place has all the earmarks of a great local coffee shop, which I love! One super-cool thing is that they gave us our coffee in real ceramic mugs. The catch? We could bring them back when we were done and they’d be cleaned and reused, or we could take them if we really wanted. We returned ours, but mine had a Santa on it, which was fun. The mugs are donated to them and it would definitely reduce the waste from the shop. I’m pretty sure I saw that they offer the used grinds to small-garden farmers. Here’s the description they post on their website about who they are:

Higher Grounds Trading Co. roasts fair trade and organic coffee from around the world. We stick to high standards not only for ethical and environmental reasons, but also because we’re obsessed with quality: we believe these standards produce the best-quality coffees around. Our close relationships with farmers help us bring delicious coffee from the field to your cup.

Millie’s on Main – Mackinac Island140609 - Millies on Main

Website (couldn’t find a true website, so this is their Yelp page)

7294 Main St, Mackinac Island, MI 49757
906.847.9901

If I’ve been walking a lot before eating (which is all you really do on Mackinac Island), I am not usually up for a big meal. So, yes, I did go to a nice restaurant on Mackinac and only got chicken tenders and fries. But they were so good! Also, the special chipotle lime bbq sauce was amazing!! I loved it. I don’t think I would’ve thought to put lime in a bbq sauce, but I’m so glad THEY did because I could have probably drank it and been just fine. I can’t remember much else about the place, though, except that I had to take a pic of the bathroom. There were paintings in them by a guy with the same name as one of my friends, which was funny to me. Anywho, check them out. There isn’t a huge variety of food options on the Island, but this was probably one of the better options minus the Hotel.

North Country Grill and Pub140611 - suttons bay cherry chipotle humus

Website

420 N Saint Joseph St, Suttons Bay, MI 49682
231.271.5000

I’m jumping around, but I had to put this place in here. We stopped here for lunch one day on our way up to Fishtown (back from? I can’t remember which came first) and, again, we had been doing a lot of walking, so I went light on my meal. I snagged the Cherry Chipotle Humus. If you know anything about Michigan, it’s that it’s Cherry country. They did not disappoint. It was fruity, spicy – everything they promised. The inside of the place is amazing too; lots of beautiful wood, fireplace, giant bar. It was gorgeous.

The Cherry Hut

140613 - TC cherry hut 03Website

211 N. Michigan Ave. (US 31), Beulah, MI 49617
(231) 882-4431

I was told to stop here by a customer. The Cherry Hut was also featured on a reality foodie show, so we figured we had to check it out. They are, as the name would imply, all things cherry. The Huz had a burger with cherries mixed into the meat. I had a regular burger with cherry barbecue sauce – soooo good. The father-in-law ordered a “Complete Dinner” which came with just about everything on the menu. It was unreal how much food he had, and he loved every bit of it. They have a store of take-home treats that is very comprehensive. I bought some chocolate-covered cherries and gummy cherries to bring back to the office. They were gone within a few days. I would highly recommend a visit here for lunch or for dinner. The decor is real sweet too, like a 50’s dinner with cherries!

Moomer’s Ice Cream

Website

140608 - TC moomers

7263 N. Long Lake Rd., Traverse City, MI 49685
231.941.4122

There are a few different spots where you can find Moomer’s Ice Cream. We stumbled upon it at The Village in the downstairs of the State Hospital (don’t let that scare you) and also at their main store, which sits next to a dairy farm. I love local flavor and you don’t get much more local than ice cream from local dairy farms and other local ingredients. If you like Moose Tracks ice cream, you will love their Cow Tracks blend (pictured to the right).

Union Cantina

Website

UClogo

127 South Union Street · Traverse City, Michigan · 49684
(231) 941-5038

This is a great little Mexican bar in downtown Traverse City. My biggest takeaway was that I could actually order a DR. PEPPER and it came FROM THE TAP! Yeah! it is so hard to go through northern states sometimes. I must live right on the line where Dr Pepper stops being a thing in the north. The food was pretty good, but seriously, I can only remember the Dr Pepper. 😀 Oh, and there’s a crazy massive antique mall on the same block.

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Review: Taz Mediterranean Restaurant – Cincinnati, OH

Taz Mediterranean Restaurant

8950 Governors Way
Cincinnati, OH 45249
513 774 7600

Website
Facebook

When I tell people that I like to use Groupons, the reactions run in a few directions.  Many people haven’t even heard of Groupons and think it’s a cool idea.  If the person is a regular Groupon user, the reaction is usually enthusiastic.  For businees owners, though, I think the reaction is becoming very mixed.  The heat comes when the users become just that, Users.  They abuse the system for their own personal gain.  I think the original intent was to provide a way for local and smaller businesses to get the word out about what they have to offer to a large group of people in order to have a new stream of loyal customers.  However, it’s a catch-22.  Many who now use Groupon are the modern-day coupon chasers, missing only the curlers, horn-rimmed glasses and bright red lipstick smashed beyond the lips.  Ok, ok, that’s a harsh image.  But in reality, businesses are re-thinking the use of Groupons to drive in new business.  It becomes a “hit and run” for the customers and then they’re gone, on to the next deal.

This ugly picture is just to clarify that it is not what I do, nor what I think my friends do.  We don’t sit around and wait for a Groupon to come available from our already-favorite restaurant and then stock up on the deal.  I love to find a new place on Groupon in my area (and sometimes beyond it) so that I can explore and try out a new thing – with the hope that I can add the new place to my favorite places list.

My friend  recently bought a Groupon for a local Mediterranean restaurant called, Taz.  Ever since I went to Cairo, I’ve been wanting some good Med- cuisine.  So, she invited me to head over to Taz.  It has a pretty good reputation for having wonderful Med- food.  Several friends said that we would not be disappointed and, in regards to the food, we weren’t.  I don’t like writing reviews that may be bad, but there are some things you should know.

When we walked in, there was a “Now Hiring” sign on the door.  I’m hoping this explains the slow service.  If I’m remembering correctly, there was something blocking our way into the building – like a bucket and mop.  We had to step over it, or go out of our way to step around it.  It was awkward.  The exterior (which I don’t usually judge) gave no indication of “good food” being inside, but I don’t want to hold that against them.

We were seated pretty quickly, given menus and brought our waters fairly quick.  But that was where the speed stopped.  There were only two other groups of 4 in the restaurant when we sat down.  A couple more came in by the time we received our food.  We didn’t know if we were supposed to wait for her to come back, or if we went up to the counter to order our food.  The waitress (the only waitress) was nowhere to be found, so I asked a guy who was standing in line what we were supposed to do.  He said that she would come to us.  At this point (maybe 15-20 minutes after sitting down with menus), we were talking about how the food would probably be amazing and stay our growing hunger.

By the time she did get over to us to place our order, she was not very courteous – but, again, I’m hoping it was because they had just lost another employee and she was doing her best.  We waited for a long time again.  We ordered appetizers of yalanjie (stuffed grape leaves) and falafel.  They were delicious and we thoroughly enjoyed them.  It took a long time for them to come to us and they were quickly followed by our main dishes.

I’m sorry that I can’t remember what my friend ordered, but she loved it.  I ordered a Kofta Kabab Sandwich.  I didn’t realize how much would be pickled though, so on my part, I was able to enjoy as much of my food as I could have (I’m allergic to vinegar).  But, it did taste really good and we were really glad of that.  However, with the wait, and the cost, it wasn’t worth much more than the Groupon, in our opinions.  We will continue our search for a favorite Med- restaurant.  There are a few in the area that we’re excited to try out too (Sultans, Aladdins).

So, here’s the breakdown:

The food: Very good.  Not as good as some other Med-cuisine I’ve had, but still, I can see why it has the reputation it has.
The help: Our waitress was the only one in the restaurant.  I believe I saw someone in the kitchen, but really, there was no other visible life besides the other customers.  The “Now Hiring” sign suggests that they are aware they are understaffed and are working towards fixing that, but still, be prepared to wait.
The parking: They have their own parking lot.
The accommodations:  The interior was really lovely.  They had one sections, which we weren’t seated in, with couches and curtained off sections.  I think i read that they also have sheesha pipes available, but I didn’t see any out.
The price: Kind of pricy.  The Groupon really helped.
Returnability: Probably not.  If I have a group of friends who really want to go there, then I’ll probably go again, but there are other restaurants that have a little better reputation and image than this one.  I’d give it a 35%.

Find more reviews and promos by clicking on the links to the right.  Go ‘head, you know you want to.

Review: Teak Thai Cuisine – Mt Adams, Cincinnati, OH

Teak Thai Cuisine and Sushi Bar

1049-51 St. Gregory Street
Mt. Adams, Cincinnati, OH 45202
513.665.9800

Website
Facebook

For my bff’s 26th birthday, a group of us went down for some dinner at Teak Thai in Mt. Adams.  Mt. Adams is like the college/young adult/cool place to go in Cincinnati.  I really like the area whenever I am down there (both day and night).  It’s up on a big hill in Cincinnati, so fairly close to whatever’s going on downtown.  It’s also a mishmash of residential condos/apartments/homes and small businesses with a bunch of restaurants and bars – yes, the bars are what really makes Mt. Adams.  The only one I’ve gone into down there is The Blind Lemon, which I love!  And I only ever get a virgin something or other, usually a piña colada, or when I’m really adventurous – a coffee.  Yep. I know, I know. I’m one wild child.  They also have some fun live music each night.

But this is not a review on The Blind Lemon, or Mt Adams, no matter how fabulous I think they are!  This review is on Teak -yummy, spicy, lovely Teak.  Despite much discussion and debate, this WAS my first time at Teak.  I enjoy Thai food, although it isn’t my favorite East Asian cuisine.  I believe I only got one picture of my food, but I’ll go right into it.

Matt and Lanna (birthday girl!) of BeardedLadyPics, got an appetizer of Gyoza, er, Dumplings, which were delicious.  As were the crab puffs (rangoon) that Amy got.  My lovely dish to your right is Yellow Pork Curry, with a spicy level of 4.  The levels here are 3-10 (I know, I was a chicken that night) and I have no idea what happened to 1 and 2. I feel kind of sad for them.

My food was very good. The rice came with the meal and they even gave me chop sticks to eat with, so I was happy.

The food: excellent (all around, people said they loved their food)
The help: Our waitress had an accent, but she was very understandable, if that’s a turn-off for you.  She was very helpful and remembered what we ordered even if we didn’t.
The parking: They have a parking lot across the street and down the hill a little.  There isn’t a ton of parking that I could see, so we parked on the street as usual.  You may have to drive up and down the hill a couple of times to find a spot if you’re not into parking garages (which there is one nearby).
The accommodations:  Lots of tables inside.  There are two stories and I think the downstairs is more of a bar area.  There’s also outdoor seating which is open during the warm seasons.
The price: Average.  I think my meal (and water) came to about $15 with tip.  I can’t eat sushi, so I can’t account for the cost there. Sorry.
Returnability: Again, Thai’s not my favorite East Asian food, but if I’m basing it just on service, comfort, cost and quality, I would give it an 80% rate.  (It’s also a bit of a drive for me (~ 30 minutes) so that’s a factor as well.)

Find more reviews and promos by clicking on the links to the right.  Go ‘head, you know you want to.