Friday, October 31, 2008

Making the Most of a Work Trip

Traverse City, MI

Dinner at The Cooks' House. Really nice, fairly priced, make reservations. BYOB. Great food philosophy in the smallest sit-down restaurant I've ever eaten in. I think this is the chef's blog.

Drinks at Right Brain Brewery. Nice beers, nice crowd, minimalist setting. You can bring your own food or even order in. Here's how they describe the bar on their web site:

We helped to redevelop an old warehouse. We tried real hard to keep that decor. So it's mostly cold and uninviting, but we like it. Besides it's non-smoking, filled with beer and there's even some art on the wall.
Of the three breweries in Traverse City, and I like them all, this is the one that I'd most like to visit again.

Ann Arbor, MI

Lunch at Zingerman's Deli. I'd previously been to the Roadhouse, and I think this was at least as good for what it was. Probably the best cheese and deli counter I've seen stateside. While the prices aren't cheap, there's quite a bit of stuff that would be tough to get elsewhere. In a ballsy move, they cut their prosciutto by hand. Ballsy in that it's not an easy thing to do, and when you're selling front leg La Quercia prosciutto for $75 a pound that cut better be good. There's no shame in using a meat slicer. Really friendly staff.

And the non-work surprise of the trip: a stop at Durham's Tracklements Custom Smoked Provisions. This place caught my eye while looking for parking around Zingerman's. It's an artisanal smokehouse specializing in cold-smoked salmon, but doing quite a bit more. A place after my own heart. There's half a pound of salmon belly and another half pound of Berkshire bacon in the fridge. If they're as good as they look, this place may have been a real find. Talking with the owner made my day and provided some real inspiration for Crooked River Smokers, which will hopefully be back to offering smoked foods at the winter farmers market at Shaker Square.

Back in Cleveland

The City threw a dinner for community garden leaders, we being one of the most sustainable cities in the country as far as local food and agriculture go and all. Cimperman's speech brought tears to people's eyes. Nearly 200 community gardens here (225 according to the preceding link). Pretty amazing.


Ben said...

I grew up in Traverse City and my family still lives there, so I visit often. I'll definitely check out Cook's House the next time I'm there. And Right Brain Brewery is actually the one brewpub I haven't visited (I usually go to North Peak) so I'll check them out as well.

Zingerman's is always a good bet. I lived about five blocks from it when I went to college, but I think I appreciate it more since I moved to Cleveland.

The CFT said...

Quite the place to be from Ben. My coworker and I ate at North Peak the night before we were at Cooks' House and Right Brain. I really like their stuff. You'll enjoy Cooks' House. It's like a mini Flying Fig.

I too love Zingerman's, but don't think I'd have been able to swing it too often during the college days.

Jamie J said...

Glad you tried the Cook's House! I thought it might be a place you would enjoy.

The CFT said...

It was a great call Jamie. I was planning on e-mailing you a thanks, but am glad you looked here. That whole city must be nuts during the summer.