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Recs for Saugatuck/Douglas (two full days) and Interlochen (one full day)?

IndyGirl Aug 1, 2012 05:09 PM

We are vegetarian, BTW.

In Douglas, we've tried Everyday People Cafe and really liked it of course, but it's so expensive and we'd like to try something different this time anyway.

We are open to all cuisines and styles of food as long as we can get vegetarian eats. Thanks!

IG

  1. IndyGirl Aug 11, 2012 01:07 PM

    Hi everyone,
    It pains me to admit that we never made it to Salt of the Earth--we stayed at the beach far too long and by then a 20-minute drive was just unthinkable. So we walked to EPC again, and we ordered the risotto again plus the pesto. It was wonderful again, of course!

    In Interlochen, we did try Bud's for breakfast. I was pleasantly surprised by the food and ambience--quite a step up for that area. Of course, not a ton of vegetarian options for breakfast, but I just ordered the egg panini with no bacon. It was just fine and the coffee was very good (though the espresso was more like strong coffee than espresso).

    In Traverse City, we took the advice of a very nice bartender and instead of Poppycock's, tried the Om Cafe, a mostly-vegetarian (well, veg+fish) place a few streets from downtown. They've only been open for a couple of weeks, and I wish I could say something more positive but the food was fairly bland. I ordered the vegetarian taco salad, and there just wasn't much going on there. The tofu looked marinated, but there wasn't much flavor to it. The salsa tasted like canned tomatoes.

    My husband ordered the macrobiotic noodle plate, and it was the same thing--just kind of unmemorable. It bears mentioning that he ordered it extra spicy, but there was no trace of spice.
    Also I felt that the prices were too high for what we actually got.

    Our server was great--very attentive--and the atmosphere is terrific. I think with some constructive feedback they'll work out the kinks. It pains me to give them less than a stellar review, because I feel like that region could support more veg-friendly options.

    3 Replies
    1. re: IndyGirl
      nsxtasy Aug 16, 2012 06:28 PM

      >> It pains me to admit that we never made it to Salt of the Earth--we stayed at the beach far too long and by then a 20-minute drive was just unthinkable. So we walked to EPC again, and we ordered the risotto again plus the pesto. It was wonderful again, of course!

      Well, as it happens, two nights ago we ate at Salt of the Earth for the first time. We enjoyed it a lot! I won't elaborate on every dish we had, but everything was good. My favorite dish was the doughnuts, which were just perfect, hot out of the fryer, more similar to beignets in texture than traditional American doughnuts. Here are a few more tips. They have daily specials in addition to the standard menu (like the one on their website) and we wound up ordering several of those. The entrees come with a choice of soup or side, which is nice. Their breads are outstanding, and if you want to buy them to take home, they sell them at the Fennville Main Street Market across the street from the restaurant. They were doing a good business, almost full, including the few tables on the sidewalk in front; they do house concerts on Tuesday nights, so I don't know if they're normally that busy on other weeknights, but I'm sure it's a good idea to call ahead for a reservation. (We didn't, but we knew we were arriving there shortly after they open at 5:00.) The service was excellent. Pricing is similar to Everyday People Cafe.

      If I had to eat at only one restaurant in the area, it would still be Everyday People Cafe (or Grove, in Grand Rapids), where most of the dishes are amazingly delicious. But Salt of the Earth is very good too, and a worthwhile stop for dinner if you're in the area.

      1. re: nsxtasy
        IndyGirl Aug 16, 2012 10:10 PM

        Great to know! I so wish we'd made it there!

        1. re: IndyGirl
          e
          Elyssa Aug 17, 2012 05:41 AM

          If you return to the area definitely stop by Salt of the Earth. For those meat eaters out there--they have the best burger I've ever had. I even wrote an ode to that burger 2 years ago: http://statedinner.wordpress.com/2010...

    2. IndyGirl Aug 7, 2012 06:29 PM

      Hi everyone,

      Reporting back!

      First of all, it was a GORGEOUS day at the beach, of course!

      Food:
      We tried the Mermaid for lunch and EPC for dinner, Mermaid was a bit of a miss for us--the bread was stale and dry (and not in a good way) and the veggie burger was just meh. It's not a surprise to find uninspiring vegetarian food at a place that specializes in seafood, of course, which I knew going in from lots of similar experiences at other places, and besides, we were hungry so we gobbled everything up. Also, those who recommended the place were absolutely right that the atmosphere was just gorgeous, being right on the water.

      Everyday People Cafe was perfection, of course. I had the sweet corn and fresh mozz risotto, which was just lovely. A brilliant combination of the perfectly cooked corn, soft mozzarella pillows, and al dente rice, all surrounded by creamy starchy goodness and topped with a lovely little arugula salad and parmesan ribbons. It's on the menu as an asparagus risotto, but the server explained that asparagus is now out of season so it's corn instead. No problem here, as it was just amazing.
      We both had the tomato bisque as a starter, which I think i also had last time.

      My dining companion had ahi tuna with wasabi crust and seasonal veggies (green beans, carrots. etc). I should also note that even the olive oil at the table was exceedingly flavorful. Fish is an unusual choice for him, but he was not disappointed.

      Tomorrow night: Salt of the Earth! Not sure what we're doing for lunch yet. Would love ideas!

      Thanks to everyone for your suggestions! Sorry for the quick update--I usually like to be more detailed.

      4 Replies
      1. re: IndyGirl
        e
        Elyssa Aug 8, 2012 05:57 AM

        I think I should have specified that at the Mermaid Inn the food isn't spectacular, but it's good enough and it's mostly about the atmosphere (and the smoked white fish dip).

        For lunch tomorrow maybe get pizza at Marro's? They also have pasta dishes. I'm not 100% sure though if they are open for lunch.

        1. re: Elyssa
          IndyGirl Aug 11, 2012 01:09 PM

          elyssa,
          Thank you so much for you recommendations! Unfortunately I didn't see this before we were scrambling for lunch that day, and we actually tried a pretty good place called "Zing." It was not extremely creative ,but it was very solidly good. I had a flatbread with mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, and the flavor and texture were great (especially the crust).

          1. re: IndyGirl
            e
            Elyssa Aug 11, 2012 02:01 PM

            We usually stay down the street from Zing but haven't tried it yet. Thanks for the review.

        2. re: IndyGirl
          k
          k8kck8kc Aug 8, 2012 06:54 AM

          Check out on Monroes cafe grill
          Nice vegetarian menu Made from scratch lentil chili
          Made from scratch pot pie with a broccoli salad with pine nuts
          In a few more selection They even have a few They even have an elvis sandwich Made with bananas honey and peanut Butter Served with sweet potato french fries

        3. m
          miriamjo Aug 6, 2012 07:03 PM

          I was going to suggest heading a bit north to Saugatuck and the Mermaid. Outside deck by the water. I don't know about vegetarian, but I'm fairly sure you could find something there.. MY fav is a caesar salad with grilled ahi tuna.

          1. IndyGirl Aug 6, 2012 06:10 PM

            Any breakfast recs in Douglas/Saugatuck?

            1. e
              Elyssa Aug 6, 2012 08:39 AM

              Make sure not to miss Salt of The Earth! This is literally one of my favorite restaurants anywhere in America. They have hands down the best burger I've ever had (mostly because everything is made in house--from the ketchup, to the ground meat, to the bun it's served on). It's a really special place for lunch or dinner and the menu is ever changing. You can definitely get some vegetarian dishes here as well. If the perogie appetizer is on the menu, get it!

              The Mermaid Inn also serves my favorite smoked whitefish dip. It's nice with a beer, sitting out and watching the boats.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Elyssa
                IndyGirl Aug 6, 2012 05:59 PM

                Salt of the Earth is moved up to position #1 in Saugatuck--we'll have dinner there one night, and dinner at EPC another night. Thank you!

                1. re: IndyGirl
                  nsxtasy Aug 6, 2012 06:02 PM

                  Just remember, EPC doesn't accept reservations, and they get pretty busy during the season, especially on weekends. You can dine on the early side to avoid lengthy waits for a table.

                  1. re: nsxtasy
                    IndyGirl Aug 6, 2012 06:05 PM

                    We definitely earned our lesson on this last time. It was only my husband's charm that got us a two-top... we watched them turn others away! Won't happen again though.

                  2. re: IndyGirl
                    e
                    Elyssa Aug 6, 2012 06:57 PM

                    That sounds about right. That's what my boyfriend and I do when we are there.

                2. nsxtasy Aug 5, 2012 07:36 PM

                  Since you're interested in unusual food, you might want to consider traveling to Grand Rapids to dine at Grove, either making a round trip from Saugatuck/Douglas (about 40 miles / 40 minutes drive each way) or doing it on your way between Saugatuck and Interlochen. Grove specializes in small plates and has numerous vegetarian options on the menu. It's absolutely WONDERFUL. www.groverestaurant.com

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: nsxtasy
                    IndyGirl Aug 6, 2012 05:50 PM

                    Thanks for this rec! I'm not sure whether we'll land in GR or not, but this is going on my list regardless.

                  2. IndyGirl Aug 3, 2012 01:00 PM

                    Apparently there's no food in either location. Oh well!

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: IndyGirl
                      t
                      The Kernal Aug 3, 2012 02:04 PM

                      If you go to the Pure Michigan web site, click on cities/region, click on Saugatuck, click on "more information about Saugatuck", click on things to do and go to casual dining, you will find many places to dine. I have never been to Saugatuck so I can't vouch for any of these restaurants but it is a place to start. Hope this helps.

                      1. re: The Kernal
                        IndyGirl Aug 4, 2012 08:32 PM

                        Hi,
                        Yes, I've done that, and read lots of recommendations, but I was hoping for personal endorsements. I also don't trust Yelp or Urbanspoon, since sites like those are susceptible to shillers or trolls who just want to promote their own restaurant or trash their competitors' places. That's why I always turn to CH! Anyway, thanks for your help. It's much appreciated.

                      2. re: IndyGirl
                        nsxtasy Aug 3, 2012 05:09 PM

                        Whenever I'm in the area, I eat at Everyday People Cafe. It's not at all expensive, with vegetarian entrees in the mid teens. So I find your post rather confusing.

                        1. re: nsxtasy
                          IndyGirl Aug 4, 2012 08:34 PM

                          Well, I guess my memory must be incorrect. I don't recall many veg entrees, and recall rather expensive pricing. Maybe I'm just wrong... I'll look up their menu online when I finish this post! Sorry to be confusing.

                          Anyway, aside from the fact that we were looking for interesting chow, we obviously can't eat at EPC for two whole days, so would love other recs! We tried the Wild Dog Cafe, but it was pretty standard fare (not bad, just not that interesting). I guess I was hoping for some locals to pop in with hole-in-the-wall recs, since that kind of thing is why I am an avid Chowhounder!

                          Thanks!

                          1. re: IndyGirl
                            k
                            kellylynn Aug 5, 2012 05:32 PM

                            Other than EPC, I haven't found too many good veggie-friendly options in Saugatuck or Douglas. You might want to try Salt of the Earth (http://saltoftheearthfennville.com) in Fennville, which is about 15 min. or so away. There aren't tons of vegetarian options, but I've been pleased with all those that I've tried. It's definitely not what I'd consider cheap, but most of the cheap vegetarian food I've found in that area consists of a grilled cheese or cheese quesadilla....

                            Agree that Poppycock's is generally a good option as well, as we normally end up there for at least one meal when we're in the Traverse City area. I also really liked The Cook's House (http://thecookshouse.net). Their menu generally doesn't look very vegetarian friendly; however, I found them to be very accommodating in making some delicious vegetarian food, which ended up being one of the better meals we had in Traverse City.

                            1. re: kellylynn
                              IndyGirl Aug 6, 2012 05:50 PM

                              I should definitely have added TC to my list of cities, since we planned to eat there anyway. I know others in my real life who've recommended Poppycock, as well! Definitely on my list!

                              I just looked up Salt of the Earth and it looks great. I am really grateful for these--this is why I posted! I'd never know to look in Fennville.

                              1. re: IndyGirl
                                e
                                Elyssa Aug 6, 2012 06:57 PM

                                You wouldn't need to look in Fennville for much else than Salt of the Earth. It's a small town---but only about 12-15 minutes or so from Saugatuck/Douglas so totally worth going for dinner.

                                Also leave room for dessert!!!

                                1. re: Elyssa
                                  nsxtasy Aug 6, 2012 07:35 PM

                                  Hey! Don't forget about the Fenn Valley winery! They have some very nice wines, and they're affordably priced too.

                                  1. re: nsxtasy
                                    IndyGirl Aug 7, 2012 06:44 PM

                                    Oh, cool! I missed this before. We may do this. Will keep you posted!

                      3. c
                        csb95 Aug 3, 2012 10:31 AM

                        I've been waiting to see what suggestions come as well, since I'll be in Interlochen in a couple of weeks myself :-)

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: csb95
                          g
                          gooddog Aug 3, 2012 05:16 PM

                          I think I'm stumped by the vegetarian request. There's really not a lot in Interlochen itself, and salads are probably going to be your only vegetarian options wherever you go there. Check out these menus:

                          www.hofbrauinterlochen.com
                          www.budsisback.com

                          I like Bud's a lot, but it's really a sandwich and coffee place, sort of an up north version of Panera.

                          For more options, you may have to trek to Traverse City, which is 20 - 25 min away. The only restaurant I can think of that makes any effort with vegetarian options is Poppycock's, but it's been a couple years since I've been. I'd also suggest Stella (Italian), which gets generally rave reviews. For a casual place, I like Green House cafe, but they only do breakfast and lunch.

                          Poppycock's and Green House are in downtown TC on Front St, while Stella is in the Grand Traverse Commons, a complex that used to be a state mental hospital.

                          www.poppycockstc.com
                          www.stellatc.com
                          www.greenhousecafetc.com

                          You can also check out any of the numerous Traverse City CH threads for more ideas.

                          1. re: gooddog
                            IndyGirl Aug 4, 2012 08:30 PM

                            Thank you for your help! I will check out these recommendations online and figure out what to do based on what I can find. I haven't been tehre for almost 20 years, but it doesn't surprise me that veg might be hard. If it helps, we're egg and cheese friendly, so I bet we will be able to make something work. (I consider myself quite flexible!) Thank you!

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