Traverse City, Michigan 9/10-9/12

The husband I decided to do a little mini vacation in the form of a weekend.  We headed up there Saturday morning, arriving around 2 pm.  We stayed Saturday and Sunday night and headed home Monday morning.  We decided to check out Traverse City, MI. We’ve never been and I thought this would be a nice little trip to check out this newly proclaimed “foodie” town and the Old Mission Peninsula that is so famous for the 7 Michigan wineries that reside there.  Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay were beautiful and the water was so clear! I didn’t know lake water could look like that.  It was really pretty.  This was a nice quiet getaway, which we really enjoyed.  Unfortunetly, there are only so many things you can do in 1 ½ days.  After all was said and done, we learned it’s better to come up on a Friday, have a full day Saturday and leave on Sunday. You will see why in a minute.

On Saturday afternoon, when we arrived, we took a quick rest then was able to spend a decent amount of time walking around the small downtown area.  We checked out a few stores that were on the self guided foodie tour.  The ones on the list that we went to were, Cherry Republic and Pop-Kies.

Cherry Republic…Very interesting store. I’m glad they had tasting stations to taste all of the different cherry flavor things.  We saw things from Cherry Candy to Cherry Salsa to Cherry Ketchup and everything in-between.  We walked away with some Cherry Almond Butter, Cherry Sour Balls and White Chocolate Covered Cherries.

Pop-Kies….Sadly can’t hold a candle to Garrett’s. The flavor was so mild you couldn’t even taste most flavors. The cheese was flat and not rich at all. It’s like popping microwave popcorn and throwing powdered flavor on it…much less savory than what Garrett’s produces. I could have done that at home.  I also tried a few other flavors and found the same results. Nothing tasted absolutely wonderful.

Saturday night we ate at the Apache Trout Grill.  After reading the reviews, I really thought the food would be great. It was not.  First, for the price you pay, the food is not up to the standards which you expect.  I know this was not a 5 star, or even a 4 star, but really I still expect a certain level of service and food.  See my review of the place below.

Sunday morning I got up all excited to go to the Bay Bread Company…guess what? They are closed on Sunday! All of the sites I looked at about this place never mentioned being closed on Sunday. Oh well, so on to the backup plan, which was Green House Café. That place also had great reviews…but again, closed on Sunday! WTF?!?!?! We are in a “foodie” town and all the foodie type places are closed on Sunday? Hmm…anyways, we had to settle for Bob Evans.  Basically come to find out, almost everything seems shut down on Sunday.  

After the breakfast fiasco, we stopped at The Candle Factory, they had very cool candles and displays. I ended up buying some WW wood wick candles. They make the sound of wood crackling in a fire place.  They are too cool.  The Candle Factory is a nice place to get some décor ideas with candles.

After leaving The Candle Factory we made our way up the peninsula to the Chateau Chantal Winery. Let me say, this place had an amazing view. That was the best thing about it.  Their tasting room was nice.  Their bottles were overpriced. Oddly, a few weeks before I was at the Meadowbrook Wine & Food Festival and tasted a Sparkling Cherry that I liked. It was $10.95 per bottle there. The same wine was $11.95 at the vineyard.  $10.95 each if you want to buy a case of 12!!! I don’t like any wine enough to buy 12 bottles of it.  Wouldn’t you think it would be cheaper buying it at the source…hmm, interesting. 

I was going to attempt another “foodie-ish” restaurant for dinner, but I wasn’t excited about it anymore after the breakfast fiasco.  Since we wanted to relax anyway our afternoon driving around the Peninsula, we decided to grab some pizza and chill for the evening. 

The next morning I finally was able to try the Bay Bread Company.  We picked up a Challah Loaf, which I decided to make French Toast with, 1 Cinnamon Roll, 2 Chocolate Chunk Cookies and 1 Orange Cranberry Scone.  I also grabbed a breakfast sandwich since we were on our way outta town.  Let me tell you…I was expecting so much more than what I got. I was expecting a fresh egg, I got some kind of McD’s rectangle yellow egg on this sandwich.  Ugh, it tasted decent.  To go with my sandwich, I wanted a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice latte so bad, but since there wasn’t one close by, I settled for a Caramel Latte from Frenchies Famous, which was a few steps down the street.

The Cinnamon Roll was average, it could have come out of a package.  The Orange Cranberry Scone, which I saved for the next day, was wonderful!  It was by far the best thing of the items we purchased.  My husband said the cookies were pretty good.  I used the Challah bread to make French Toast, and that was awesome, but I don’t think the credit goes to the bread. It’s all about the egg mixture.

As we speed outta town, I ate my less than stellar breakfast sandwich, I was only able to get down half of it and my decent latte. Too bad a few minutes after we left the downtown area we passed a Meijer which I saw a Starbucks sign on the outside!! Oh wow, my heart was breaking. LOL.

Overall, we had fun because we were together. If we go again we will invite a few other couples along and maybe rent a boat for the day.  The foodie portion was kind of a letdown, thank goodness that wasn’t my only reason for going there.  I was happy that we passed Birchrun Outlets on our way back. Shopping!!! Yay!  After shopping for a few hours we stopped at Tony’s Restaurant, known for their huge sandwiches.  As seen on the show Sandwich Nation, we ordered a BLT and chili cheese fries to share.  It was pretty good. 

Apache Trout Grill Review:

The one thing this place had going for it is the view.  While waiting 45 minutes for our table, we grabbed a drink at their Tiki Bar and looked out at the water. It was a little crowded, but that’s to be expected.  The drinks were okay.  I had my Cosmo (which was made with a lemon rind…enough said) and my husband had a very strong Long Island.   The drinks were priced as the top shelf version would be…but they weren’t.

We got our table and sat down, the décor was nice with tons of wood, it reminded me of being in a cabin in the woods.  That was nice and cozy.  After we ordered, the waitress brought us some warm bread and a bowl with some homemade Pesto.  We were to add our own EVOO and Balsamic Vinegar (which were on the table).  I was disappointed for 2 reasons. 1. This bread was like a thick, multigrain with seeds and other crunchy things in it.  It wasn’t very enjoyable alone it was like eating a health food.  2. The Pesto situation was odd.  We didn’t really know how the ration of oil to vinegar was suppose to be…so guess what. It didn’t taste that great to us.  Guess what else! The waitress didn’t even ask us if we knew what to do or if she could mix it for us…yet I saw another waitress doing it for another table.

We ordered the Calamari as an appetizer. Which we found was frozen, not fresh. So of course, that just tasted average.

Our dishes were Surf and Turf and Pan Fried Walleye.  We both had grilled asparagus as our sides.  My Surf and Turf consisted of a 4oz petite filet minion, 2 tiger shrimp, 2 sea scallops and langoustines …It was surrounded in a pool of some kind of butter sauce. I’ve never seen anything like it (that wasn’t a compliment).  My steak and scallops were cooked decent, but my scallops and shrimp were really small.  The supposedly lobster-ish tasting crustacean called langoustines didn’t have much flavor.  The sauce was weird, I ended up eating everything out of it and leaving the sauce.  The grilled asparagus was the best thing I ate there.   My husband liked his fish, but I think it was pretty light on the seasonings and was a little bland. He ended up adding tartar sauce to it.
In a nutshell, overpriced, edible food. If you are looking for an experience, don’t go there.