I love it when a long time friend asks me to come for a visit in another state, that I have never been to. It is even better when she entices you with a concert, and a state full of delicious food. Although I had been to several states in the Upper Midwest, I had never dipped into Michigan, and was excited to check out this state, visit my friend, see Depeche Mode, and eat great food.
I had done some research on what to eat in Michigan, and I came up with a list of about ten foods and drinks to try. The list actually became a scavenger hunt for me, and a bit of a challenge. My friend joined in on the fun, and we went to a couple of great places for Coney Dogs and Detroit Style Pizza. All is good when it comes to food games, and I completed the scavenger hunt challenge.
From eating a rectangle pizza at one of the best pizzerias in the nation to noshing on donuts at a food festival in Kalamazoo, my “What I ate in MICHIGAN – A Food Journal”.
Eastside Fish Fry & Grill
Lansing, Michigan– My first meal in Michigan was at Eastside Fish Fry & Grill, which was featured on ‘Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives’. I was going by my list of top things to eat in Michigan, and a traditional fish fry of local lake fish was on the list. Eastside Grill is also a fresh fish market, and serves a full menu of a variety of seafood, steak, chicken, and even a “Guy Fieri Hard Times Special.”
Since I was interested in the fresh local lake fish, I ordered the Yellow Lake Perch that was coated in corn meal, and then deep fried. It was very tasty and fresh, plus the side of fries and fried pickles were delicious. Great fish and chips inside a low-key fish market!
For restaurant information, please visit Eastside Fish Fry & Grill.
Lansing, Michigan– While I was at Eastside Fish Fry & Grill, I overheard a few patrons talk about the duck fat fries at The Cosmos restaurant in town. Of course my ears perked up, and I looked it up right away. Then I bookmarked it for one of my meals in Lansing.
The Cosmos ended up being a terrific restaurant that I enjoyed from my starting cocktail, and until my scoop of Melting Moments Ice Cream. I did try the duck fat fries, and they were spectacular just as the patrons from the Eastside Grill said.
On the table:
- The Louisville Revenge Cocktail- Bourbon, cold brew coffee, chocolate bitters and orange.
- Cream Cheese Stuffed Corn Fitters
- Duck Fat Fries with Parmesan and Truffle
- Melting Moments Butter Pecan Ice Cream
For more restaurant information, please visit The COSMOS.
Vernors Ginger Soda
On my Michigan scavenger list was Vernon’s Ginger Soda, which was easy to find at the local market. This drink is the oldest surviving ginger soda in the United States, and was created in 1866 by James Vernor, a pharmacist in Detroit, Michigan. It is darker than a typical ginger-ale, since it derives its color from caramel. The flavor of this ginger soda is stronger too, just like the coloring.
This was not my first time to have Vernors, but it has been a very long time since I drank one. As a child, my mother bought Vernon’s Ginger Soda, and that was when I first had it. Since I do not drink soda anymore, I am not in the market of looking for it until this trip to Michigan. I had several sips and it was exactly how I remembered it, a heavier tasting version of ginger-ale.
Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery
Grand Rapids, Michigan– While visiting Grand Rapids, my friend mentioned that we should visit a winery, and of course I said, “Yes!” This was no ordinary winery as it was also an orchard, with an Apple Haus that served delicious lunches and baked goods. I enjoyed this place so much that I bought several bottles of different fruit wines.
Robinette’s orchard is over 100 years old, and grows a variety of fruit including apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines, blackberries, and 35 types of apples. They sell their seasonal produce including gourmet food gifts from a country store on property.
If you are interested in their wines, the Robinette winery sells on-site produced hard cider, and fruit wines such as cranberry, blueberry, and apple. I recommend doing the tasting for $8, which allows you five product tastes, and the souvenir wine glass. I enjoyed the wine tasting, and there were fruit wines that I had never tried before like Peach Spumante. I am always up for trying new wine.
Lunch at the Apple Haus was what you would expect from a lovely orchard and winery, such as this. There was a bakery on site that sold muffins, donuts, and other delicious desserts. I tried their apple muffin, and it was fresh and very good Their lunch menu is simple but tasty. There were croissant sandwiches, quiches, biscuits, and all served with fresh apple sauce, of course.
For more information, please visit Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery.
Depeche Mode Concert Food
Clarkston, Michigan – DTE Energy Music Theatre – Traveling for a concert is something that I have done in the past, but not as much as traveling for food. I had found everything that I ate in Michigan delicious, and the Depeche Mode concert at the DTE Energy Music Theatre was phenomenal. Although, I will make an exception with the food quality at the concert venue, as it tasted very “Heat Lampish”. I understand that it is concert food, and it may not always be great. Then again, maybe I was just spoiled with Michigan’s terrific food.
Waiting for Depeche Mode with my uneventful “Heat lampish” cheeseburger and fries, plus a can of Stra-ber-rita.
Donut & Beer Festival
Kalamazoo, Michigan– I may not drink much beer, but I do eat a lot of donuts. While in Michigan, my friend got us tickets for the Donut & Beer Festival in Kalamazoo, bless her! I have been to many food festivals over the years, but this was the first that was Homer Simpson approved. There were many delicious donut, beer, and cider vendors and we definitely got our fill of all.
Donut Worry. Beer Happy.
I went for the cider instead of the beer, which I am sure for those beer drinkers out there, I have let you down. We did not let our extra beer tickets go to waste though, and we found a couple of strapping young men to give our tickets to. Sharing is caring!
For more information, please visit Donut & Beer Festival.
Another item on my Michigan scavenger hunt food list was Germack nuts, which were also easy to find. Germack is a Michigan based food brand, and is the oldest pistachio roaster in the United States. This company originated in 1924 by two Armenian immigrant brothers, John and Frank Germack, who had moved to Detroit from New York.
Today, Germack has expanded to other snack foods, coffee, dried fruit, and organic treats. You can purchase an array of tasty snack foods online or if you happen to be in Michigan.
For more information and online ordering, please visit GERMACK.
Grand Rapids, Michigan– This is one delicious place that I would love to revisit. I grew up eating chili cheese dogs, as they were one of my mother’s favorite fast foods in Southern California.
The Coney Dog was also on the list of Michigan eats, and my friend decided to take me to Yesterdog for my Coney Dog experience. It was tasty and addictive.
A Coney Dog is a hot dog smothered in chili or ground beef, and topped with mustard and onions. While at Yesterdog, we had the UltraDogs which leveled up a typical Coney Dog. These loaded dogs were topped with chili, cheese, onion, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. I also grabbed a bag of Cheeze Kurls which are again, a Michigan based snack food company. It is all things Michigan here.
For more restaurant information, please visit Yesterdog.
Faygo sodas were also on my food scavenger hunt list, since this drink is another Michigan based food item. The story of Faygo pop is similar to the American dream story of Germack Nuts. I love stories like this, and I could not pass on buying a bottle even though I do not drink sodas.
The story of Faygo started in Detroit, Michigan in late 1907 by Russian baker immigrants, Ben and Perry Feigenson. The original flavors of Faygo which were fruit punch, strawberry, and grape were all based on cake frosting recipes used by the Feigensons in Russia. At the start, the brothers used a horse drawn wagon for deliveries, and lived above their bottling plant.
Over the decades, more flavors were added and there are currently 50 flavors of Faygo pop. The flavors range from plain tonic water, diet fruit sodas, sweet cotton candy, and vanilla cream, which is the flavor I chose.
For more information and online shopping, please visit FAYGO POP.
Detroit, Michigan– Before I left Nevada for my trip to Michigan, I already knew that I wanted to try Detroit style pizza. It was on my scavenger hunt food list which was an added bonus. Since my friend and I were on our way to the Depeche Mode concert in a suburb of Detroit, we stopped off at the famous Buddy’s Pizza.
Buddy’s Pizza in Detroit was awarded as one the Nation’s Best Five Pizzas by Food Network. If I was going to try a Detroit style pizza, you know this is where I was going to go!
Buddy’s is the originator of the Detroit style pie and was created in 1946. This pizza style is recognized by being a deep-dish rectangular pie, instead of a traditional round. The cheese used is not mozzarella, but a Wisconsin Brick Cheese, which gives it a richer flavor. It was damn delicious pizza, for sure.
For more information, please visit Buddy’s Pizza.
I have never seen this brand before, although I had lived in the Midwest for ten years. I saw this bag of Cheese Wheels snacks while on the road in Michigan, and knew I had to try them. They were pretty good for road snacks, cheddar cheese that was spread between wafer crackers. These little snacks were more filling than chips.
Jays is a Midwestern snack food brand that distributes in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri. You can also purchase Jays snacks on line though Walmart.com or Amazon.
Grand Traverse Pie Company
Lansing, Michigan– While traveling through the state of Michigan, I was given several suggestions by locals of what to eat in the area. I had gone to a few of the suggested places like Cosmos, Tasty Twist ,and the Grand Traverse Pie Company. All were delicious, especially the pie shop.
I purchased a mini cherry crumb pie that I ate for breakfast at my hotel the next day. This pie is their best selling, and made with tart Michigan Montmorency cherries, and sweetened with a toasty crumb topping. It was a pretty perfect cherry pie, both tart and sweet in all the right places.
For more information and locations, please visit Grand Traverse Pie Company.
East Lansing, Michigan– Tasty Twist was another tasty place that I was recommended while in Lansing. This sweet shop is located by Michigan State University, and has been serving ice cream since 1960. They serve fun frozen treats like shakes, smoothies, sundaes, and hand dipped soft serve cones.
This sweet thing was truly tasty- a chocolate and vanilla twist soft serve, that was dipped in butterscotch. I love butterscotch dipped cones, probably better than chocolate dipped cones. This casual ice cream shop was definitely worth the quick visit.
For more information, please visit Tasty Twist.
Devon’s Mackinac Island Fudge Co.
The last food item on my Michigan scavenger hunt list was Mackinac Island Fudge. I honestly thought that I would not complete the list because I could not find this fudge anywhere, and I did not visit Mackinac Island. I was pleasantly surprised when I found it at the airport, so I bought two. Challenge accepted and completed!
Mackinac Island is located in north Michigan at the intersection of two of the Great Lakes, but is technically on Lake Huron. One day I will make it to this relaxing little island, and taste test fudge while there. These two sweet blocks were good enough until I return to Michigan.
For more information and online shopping, please visit Devon’s Mackinac Island Fudge Co.
Travel. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.
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