Monday, August 2, 2021

Eating Up Lake Michigan Pt. 3

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

- Summertime on the Michigan Shoreline

August is here and the end of summer is near. So lets spend the entire month on the road checking out some spots that rest around the water. The first post will come from the Third Coast where I have a new set of spots for people to check out when out and about on the Michigan side of Lake Michigan. You can find more places to scope out in this previous post from the summer of 2020.  

Arcadia Scenic Turnout (Arcadia, MI)
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Molino Tortilleria (Sawyer)

There's an heirloom tortilleria movement taking place across the Midwest. Molino Tortilleria in Sawyer is a part of this terrific trend. Though they no longer sell prepared food like that pictured below they're still selling their terrific corn tortillas which are made with a variety of heirloom corn acquired from distributors like Masienda. Pictured below is a meal that was vegetarian by chance not choice. Squash Blossom Quesadillas and the signature Three Sisters Farm Tacos with roasted yams, refried black beans, green onions, avocado lima crema, and squash blossoms. All on tortillas made with Chalqueño Azul blue corn from Mexico. They still sell taco meats by the pound and offer fresh local produce when in-season as well as other ingredients used to make Mexican food such as Oaxacan cheese and premade salsas and such. If you're in the area or passing through while headed on vacation to another part of Michigan this is a great stop if you plan to do some cooking.

Food Spread from Molino Tortilleria 
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Emma Hearth & Market (Bridgman)

For our next stop we head north into Bridgman where pizza is on the menu in two different forms. Pictured below is a slice of the Grandma style with pepperoni cups at Emma Hearth & Market. The husband and wife team that run this place also own an organic farm in the area. On top of the wood fired pizza they also offer produce, locally made goods, fresh baked bread, and more. Their grandma slice was an instant hit. I’m looking forward to trying their Roman inspired thin crust next trip in. 

Grandma Slice with Pepperoni at Emma Hearth & Market 
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Welcome Inn (Stevensville)

About 15 minutes North of Warren Dunes is the small town of Stevensville. It has all the feels of a classic small town with it's main strip where most of the towns businesses are found. One of the longer tenured spots is the Welcome Inn where their slogan is "PBR on tap since 1933." It's a classic long and narrow Midwest tavern where they have a small well seasoned grill near the end. The cheeseburgers from here are a big hit with the locals and bikers and other people in the know who happen to be passing through. I don't know how long they've served them but they're super no frills which leads me to believe they've been making these for awhile. Burgers are dressed with mustard, onion, pickles, and ketchup if you want it (not needed). The burger paired with a PBR was around $5. 

Cheeseburger at the Welcome Inn 
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Bortell's Fisheries (Ludington)

I recently took a bucketlist visit to the 123 y/o Bortell’s Fisheries (est. 1898) in Ludington. The seasonal operation offers smoked and fried Great Lakes fish as well as fresh ready to cook offerings too. I was tempted to try all four lake species but settled on the fried lake perch (typical favorite), whitefish, and smelts. While all of them were good the fried Lake Superior whitefish was the clear winner and maybe the best piece of fried lake fish I’ve ever had. I got fresh walleye filets to take home and they made for fantastic blackened fish sandwiches. The smoked whitefish is still made the old fashioned way (100% wood) and the smoked fish dip is another menu item you’ll certainly want to try. So bring a cooler if you’re planning a trip to one of Michigan’s oldest businesses. Seating is available at the public park sitting on Lake Michigan just down the road. The family donated the land to the city after using it for many years to load and dock the days fresh catch. These days there’s very little if any commercial fishing on Lake Michigan so all of the Great Lakes stuff comes from one of Superior or Erie. As far as Midwest Foodways go the old commercial fishing industry is some pretty fascinating stuff. There was once a time when the shores of Lake Michigan were flooded with spots like this.  

Fried and Smoked Fish from Bortell's Fisheries 
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The Cherry Hut (Beulah)

Year number 99 is going fast at The Cherry Hut in Northern Michigan. The Cherry themed restaurant has been serving up homemade pies and more since 1922. I stopped by on the way home from a early summer trip to Traverse City. We tried their popular chicken salad sandwich with dried cherries on a croissant served with Great Lakes Potato Chip Co. chips but passed on the many bagged and or bottled cherry flavored this and that. I usually find those type of food souvenirs unopened in the back of my cupboard 4-5 years after purchase. That said I enjoyed the pie and the sandwich as both are Northern Michigan classics. But you'll also want to check out the small local grocery shop next door where the fresh baked fruit pies were even better. If you're looking at the Cherry Hut it's to the right. 

Cherry Themed Food at The Cherry Hut 
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See ya next time @chibbqking

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