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Posts Tagged ‘food’

It’s been awhile since I posted, and while I do have a huge backlog of subjects, today’s is a really recent jaunt Sam and I took over to Sault Ste. Marie.

Also known as “the Sault” (or, even just the Soo) to Michiganders, Sault Ste. Marie is a neat old town that feels far from its age (which happens to be hmmm, more than 300, since it was founded in the 1660s. Maybe 350-something years old.) The stunning stretch of history of the town is always there, just behind and beneath the new developments and updates.

We go there once in a while for business, and always look forward to finding new, cool things — because that’s what happens every time we go!

The Soo Locks as seen from the air. The shoreline view is pretty good, too.

It’s a maritime town, centered on the St. Marys River and the Soo Locks that allow Great Lakes freighters to pass between lakes Superior and Huron. (You shouldn’t need three guesses to decipher how the town got it’s name.) It has a Canadian sister city on the other side of the river; Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, which is much bigger.

The locks are a big draw, and there’s no doubt it’s pretty cool to watch the giant ore carriers pass through. There’s a phone number to call for a shipping schedule to maximize your chances of catching the show here. Or, if you have some time to kill, there’s Karl’s Cuisine restaurant overlooking the locks. Although it’s nestled next to a mini golf course and sports tourist-friendly decor, make no mistake; the chef is talented and committed to using local ingredients and foods, and it’s well worth stopping.

In the past, we’ve also enjoyed eating at Antlers, which also is by the river and has come under new ownership in recent years. The wild game lasagna is always a favorite.

But this time, it had to be Clyde’s Drive-In, which, like all great drive-ins, opened in the 1940s. Unlike many, it’s stuck around thanks to a loyal following, and burgers and fries raised to perfection. They hand-make the burger patties, use plenty of malt in their malts, and you won’t ever get a soggy or underdone fry or onion ring at Clyde’s. The small burger shack overlooks the ferry to Sugar Island, a little hamlet on the islands in the middle of the St. Mary’s River, and isn’t the easiest to find, but worth the effort.

Clyde's Drive-In. And yes, there is curbside service if you want it!

Speaking of Sugar Island, we also found an awesome new store on this visit to the Sault. It’s called Island Books and Crafts, just opened in the winter, and it’s named that because owner Les Townsend is a Sugar Islander born and bred. He’s also a fun guy to talk to, and knows quite a bit about the store’s home, a huge building on the corner of East Portage Avenue and Ashmun Street that was formerly the Sault Savings Bank. Some of the original bank marble still graces the entry. You’ll find plenty of books there, alongside the work of dozens of area crafters and artists, from handmade jewelry to pine-needle-and-agate woven baskets to gorgeous hand carved wood furniture.

I look forward to going back to the Sault and finding new things each time — It’s at the least a great day trip for U.P. residents (or for northern L.P. residents), but there’s more to do and see than you can ever do in a day, which is what makes it so much fun to keep coming back.

Where are your favorite stores and restaurants in Sault Ste. Marie? What do you look forward to doing or visiting there?

 

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I have a lot more post subjects to write about in Chicago, but I’m going to add in a few from our Traverse City jaunt in between, so the blog isn’t all Chicago all the time. Don’t worry, I have plenty more topics from both trips that should last at least until we go somewhere else 🙂 I’ve been collecting posts as we wander around the U.P., as well. So here’s a peek at one of the discoveries we made down in the northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

On our recent weekend trip to Traverse City and environs, we had the pleasure of a lazy, rainy drive through the Leelanau Peninsula wine country.

Of course, that was the reason for the business trip: To get more familiar with vintners, chefs and others in the TC area, because one of the publications we work for, Northwest Michigan Second Wave, covers a lot of things happening in those fields, and of interest to those in the food and wine business. If you have ever been to Traverse City, you know food and wine is a major pastime there, and heck, you probably know that even if you haven’t been there.

It appears that fascination with food extends up the more rural and agricultural Leelanau, as we were looking for a nice place to breakfast before heading out to wineries, and found the somewhat aptly named Cedar Rustic Inn, in Cedar. Now, Cedar itself is a nice, very small town, with not much more than a few stores, the inn, and a sprinkling of houses before the countryside gives way to farms and orchards again.

The Cedar Rustic Inn opened in 2006 and was a great stop to eat on the Leelanau Peninsula.

The Cedar Rustic Inn is right next to the Longview Winery tasting room, and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner for those passing through, perhaps on a wine tour.

From the photos in the foyer, the restaurant has been the subject of quite a restoration project, having opened in 2006. In past lives, it’s been a roadhouse, a foundry, a gas station, and a pool hall. Now, it’s run by Chef Aaron Ackley and his wife, Nikki.

We were greeted with friendly service and good coffee, and decided on a late breakfast of pretty traditional fare; bacon, eggs, potatoes, corned beef hash, et al. We were told the breakfast sausage comes from Cedar’s own butcher shop, Pleva Meats, and it certainly lived up to its reputation.

Examining the menus for lunch and dinner showed that the prices are pretty nice all day, which isn’t always what you get in a heavily tourism-centric area, so that was good to see.

The dinner menu departs a little from traditional American fare, bringing in more global influences, but sticking with coastal Michigan favorites of seafood, fresh fish and local ingredients.

We’ll be  visiting the area again this summer, so do you have any other breakfast, lunch or dinner recommendations? We know there are lots of great places near Traverse City to eat!

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