Tag Archives: Traverse City

Trattoria Stella

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We did a lot of reading about the dining scene in Traverse City and the greater Leelanlau Peninsula before our visit from Chicago. Maybe it was all the mentions of Chef Mario Batali that carried us towards Italian, or just the quantity and enthusiasm of recommendations to try Trattoria Stella: either way, this place is a gem.

Located in the basement of what was an insane asylum, and has been historically preserved, we ate at a private table, in a small, cave-like room, that used to house the asylum’s dry storage. The server assistant joked that when folks ask him what happen to the asylum’s patients, he says they are still here, working.

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The menu, printed daily, highlights so many fantastic local products, meat, vegetables, cheese, wine. This restaurant is practically a reason in itself to believe a transformation to the American food ways is well underway. Many of the small plates feature parts of animals rarely used, and for only four dollars, we elected for the Chef’s Choice, which that night was small empanadas of pig’s heart enhanced by the acidity of summer’s end tomato.

trattoria stella traverse city michigan 3rdarm farm to table restaurant housemade cheese local seasonal italian

Etta had a negroni-esque cocktail that was superbly made. The house-made soft cheese was fantastic and the entrees well seasoned. What really stood out for me was the best panna cotta I have ever had. The server complimented us with small (super small for me, the nondrinker, but a sucker for dessert wine) tasting portions of Moscato d’ Asti, which was the perfect pairing and really made the panna cotta, itself adorned with blackberry and adrift in lime, sing.

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Little Fleet

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This is not necessarily a big success story for Little Fleet, because when I went on a chilly, windy off-season Sunday afternoon there were no food trucks open. However, the bartenders welcomed us to bring back pizza from across the street. The pizza was great!

Little Fleet as a concept deserves five stars, and I will definitely eat there next time I am in Traverse City. It was really neat to drive up from Chicago, and be able to stop first at Downtown Market in Grand Rapids, and then Little Fleet in TC.

Michigan cities are stepping up their support for small local business, and we get all the treats!

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Interlochen

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Lake N’ Pines Lodge was the choice after hours spent looking at spots to stay near Traverse City. Etta has a great track record picking good places, and she did not disappoint this time.

We were welcomed to LNP by the couple who own the small lodge. We stayed on the second floor of the guest house, with a deck looking out onto the water. The rooms were clean and comfortable, with a calming, woodsy decor, and a lot of thought put into the details.

The owners had left us a couple sodas in the fridge, and lots of nice soaps and stuff in the bathroom. They invited us to canoe on the lake, but I really wanted a nap after the drive in from Chicago, and my girlfriend found the hundreds of channels on TV.

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We filled out a menu card, and breakfast was brought up to our room in the morning. It was a really treat, and for guests like us who would rather eat a private breakfast, the best accommodation a B&B could make.

The location was super close to Traverse City and the National Park, but also set off plenty, on back roads. Interlochen reminded me of the north woods of Wisconsin, and is home to a major NPR station. The stay at Lake N’ Pines Lodge really put me at ease.

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