Xylos - Traverse City, MI
Definitely put this on your "I need to go" list, even if it's only for their drop dead amazing onion rings, which you won't get anywhere else on earth (probably :). There are other items on the menu that warrant repeat visits, but the onion rings are just so freaking good.
I love everything about this place. They have great ideas and I think once they fully hone in on what they do really well and what the customers like they will be one of the best places in Traverse City.
I first started coming here when they opened a few years ago. They had some creative dishes that were filled with flavors and unique touches. It's a mix up of a variety of different types of food from sandwiches to Thai to pizza to gourmet entrees.
The first time I sampled the bacon wrapped pork medallions and the duck quesadillas. They were delicious! The pizzas and sandwiches were excellent as well. I want to rate them a five in my book, but I just can't. They have a couple inconsistencies with food and though I really do love them and the ambiance I just can't look past that.
Let's talk about the positives first. They do have excellent food when it's good. They also have various different week day events such as Thursday Korean night, Tuesday Seafood night with great lakes perch and other seafood items, Wednesday Italian night for couples and so on. They also are located in a remote area, which is good and bad. Bad that maybe new comers won't know where they are, but good in that you can easily find parking, go visit the Inside Out Gallery for art and cocktails or walk next door to the Brew Pub to have some organic microbrews. All of this is in their little creative 'art district' hub. It's really a nice setup, but I do hope that they are advertising like crazy to make sure people know where they are at.
Mushroom Bar - Traverse City, MI
Harvest - Traverse City, MI
Harvest reminds me of the 2014 movie Chefs with Jon Favreau. You know? The movie where Favreau goes a little crazy, gets himself a food truck, makes delicious food and lives happily ever after. I don't know if Simon went a little crazy, but I'm sure hoping that they have a happily ever after because their food is awesome. These guys are changing up what eating is and how you see food AND more importantly they are having a lot of fun doing it.
If their clam chowder is an indication, then Harrington's by the Bay serves good seafood- but since I went there for happy hour I can’t vouch for this. I was pulled in by their all day happy hour prices, a good idea for an expensive restaurant that I might otherwise never make it to. My first irritation was that the prices and menu online didn’t match the menu inside- not great business practice, since most new customers read up before visiting nowadays. Actually, it wasn't just an irritation as it is a peev. If you boast that you have a $5 bites happy hour menu and then you make it there specifically for that and realize it's a range of 5-8 dollar bites with only 4 of the 11 items actually being $5 it's a huge let down. I don't mind paying more money, but I specifically chose them to eat at for their online menu. They also didn't have some of the items they advertised such as the mushroom tempura and the nachos.
Stormcloud Brewery - Frankfort, MI
I’ll start with the positives: Creative pizza, delicious blends of flavors and damn good gluten free crust. One wouldn't think this would be a place located in Frankfort, MI, but it is. It's really quite a hip setup with a laid back feel. That laid back, beach clothes attire does pair with up north Michigan, but I think this place would rock it out in the metro-Detroit area. Stormcloud is a great place to pop by right off the beach with your family, or on a Friday evening for a drink with friends. Michigan beers, cocktails and wines pair with the simple but flavorful menu. Though I didn’t get their bacon n’ chive popcorn, I love that it’s on the menu.
Giving you a taste of what I taste. From gourmet to everyday. No pretentious bull - just good food.