I cannot believe it's been a full month since I've posted anything here! Moving from the Northeast USA to the Midwest seems to be taking up a good deal of our time. I've already missed the bulk of the Michigan strawberry season, thinking last week that I would make a tarte aux fraises that, alas, never materialized.
Although it did feel good to squeeze in a batch of ricotta buttermilk scones the other day and start to dream of a Michigan cherry ricotta tart for July 4th.
Recently we took a short 2-day trip to Traverse City and the Leelenau Peninsula with our British friends, Richard and Pauline. We enjoyed picture perfect Michigan summer weather as we toured around the Sleeping Bear national lake shore and dipped our toes in Lake Michigan (Richard actually went in, head under!).
Richard and I running down the dunes at Sleeping Bear
Prior to the trip we had been given some dining recommendations by Patricia Christopher, a fine chocolatier in Grand Haven that we met a couple of months ago. One of those was Trattoria Stella in Traverse City, very big on the farm-to-table approach. We enjoyed the food although the service seemed a bit frenetic and the servers somewhat stiff and serious as they delivered their obviously choreographed lines. Hey folks - lighten up!
I normally skip dessert but when it was time for that portion of the meal, I was intrigued by the choices, since typically I find many restaurant dessert menus to be unimaginative and not all that enticing.
I chose the strawberry-hummingbird option which turned out to be a delicious tart with a hummingbird tea infused custard baked in a lovely crust, topped with lemon ice cream and fresh strawberries and garnished with "hummingbird nectar glaze". It was very nicely done!
Upon briefly researching hummingbird tea I discovered it's a blend of rooibos tea and hibiscus (apparently very attractive to hummingbirds). You learn something new every day.
Once we returned to Grand Rapids from the north country Richard and Pauline were kind enough to treat us to dinner out in downtown GR before they took off for Chicago the following day.
I had been to Reserve Wine and Food once before for a wine tasting and thought it deserved another visit. It's in a refurbished bank and is touted as a "hip and elegant locale" highlighting "farm to fork" cuisine.
After we had finished our delicious, well prepared and nicely presented meals, imagine my surprise to see a Basque cake on the dessert menu! Whoa baby, now you're talking my lingo!!
Pauline and I both went for it, but since they only had one serving left, our server split it for us and added a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream "for your trouble". Topped with a strawberry-rhubarb compote, it was deeeelicious.
Yessiree, it's good to be back in Michigan and see how far the culinary scene has come since we lived here 21 years ago. And it's only the beginning!