Eating my way through the Big Apple and around the world.
Always in favor of extraordinary flavor versus saving a few calories, I’m constantly seeking the best restaurants, recipes, and random little food finds. This blog chronicles my discoveries, most of which are located in New York City, the foodie heaven I am fortunate to call home.
I am an editor at Zagat, but all opinions on this blog are mine and have nothing to do with my employer.
I take my photos with a point-and-shoot Canon PowerShot SD850. Which goes to show that if you're passionate about photography but can't afford fancy camera equipment, you can still take quality photos.
Hope you all savored that last taste of summer this Labor Day weekend—perhaps with a smoked chub fish in your bloody mary? The Cove’s Chubby Mary is a rite of passage for Michiganders and brave vacationers. After it’s flavored your drink, you’re even expected to take the fish out, debone it, and enjoy its fillets on accompanying crackers and chips. It was something this girl had to try at least once. After such a gourmet trip to Northern Michigan, it was nice to enjoy a simple cheeseburger in paradise, a plate heaping full of warm cherry pie a la mode, a spellbinding Midwest sunset, and yes, maybe even that Chubby Mary.
Now if this isn’t heaven. Black Star Farms is your one stop culinary shop, boasting everything from a gourmet pizza bar serving five varieties of pies (wild mushrooms, asparagus, ricotta, caramelized shallots, and oregano pesto, anyone?), to a market brimming with fresh-from-the-garden produce, to little piggies rolling in the mud outside, to a vineyard, winery, and massive tasting room producing the best red I had the entire trip (2007 A Capella Pinot Noir). If it were up to me, I would never leave; luckily there are stately guest rooms in the main house for those not willing to give up paradise.
If every day I could ride my bike down the country roads to Tandem Ciders, I think I would be the happiest girl in the world. The converted barn, which blissfully feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere, hosts hoards of happy locals, packed in to enjoy craft hard ciders brewed by a husband and wife duo. Cider is quite possibly the most refreshing thing ever on a hot summer day, but these Michigan apple varieties—some honey-sweetened and apple brandy-laced—were so crisp and flavorful, it truly tasted like I was smacking into a juicy piece of fruit. Simple snacks, like a hunk of raclette cheese paired with homemade pepper jelly and “pickley delights” were the perfect rustic-chic accompaniment to a laidback yet artfully tasteful experience.
A few hours here made me seriously think about throwing in the New York towel and becoming a regular at my new favorite bar. Who knows, maybe someday.
Another day in Michigan, another magical meal. This one was from Martha’s Leelanau Table, an enchanting European-esque bistro in Suttons Bay. Maratha herself greeted us at the front door, wearing her signature red beret—very Parisian chic! After 20 years in the school food service industry, she opened this gourmet bungalow, complete with a whimsical garden patio, warm service, and incredible locally-driven cuisine. I devoured the artful three course tasting menu, which included a spicy watermelon gazpacho drizzled with creme fraiche, sauteed whitefish dusted with sesame seeds, and quite possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever laid eyes on—a big slice of We Be Jammin’ Lemon Cake with late harvest strawberry jam, lemon curd, and homemade strawberry ice cream. The cake is even more breathtaking once you learn it’s gluten-free. Magic, indeed.
If I had been lucky enough to vacation in Leelanau Peninsula as a kid, Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor would have been my favorite place on earth. Heck, who are we kidding— the adult me still spazzed out when I visited last month. Right at home in the cherry capital of the world, this amusement park for the taste buds sells only cherry goods—but hundreds of them. The Stomphouse tasting room serves beverage connoisseurs of all ages (cherry wines for the adults, cherry pop—including root beer, ginger ale, and cream soda—for the kiddies), the general store has cherry everything—from peanut butter to barbecue sauce to dog treats—with unlimited samples, and the cafe dishes up cherry pie with 12 flavors of homemade cherry ice cream. I couldn’t pass up a big ole scoop of the Rain Orchard Crunch—amaretto ice cream with honey, cashews, chocolate waffle chips, and caramel swirls—on top of my warm slice of pie. You can even pick cherries right off the trees out front and enjoy the fruits au natural. It was absolute heaven, and definitely a bowl of cherries.
Siren Hall in Elk Rapids, Michigan served us the epitome of a perfect summer meal. Four varieties of oysters (with tasting notes!), an ice-cold blueberry ginger cocktail, Lake Michigan whitefish, barbecue beef brisket atop sour cream whipped potatoes, and a fluffy coconut cream pie topped with pineapple compote. What’s more, the restaurant’s stylish decor (think crystal chandeliers hanging from wooden rafters) matched every delicious bite. Nothing beats a restaurant that is palatable and pretty.