So, we'd wanted to dine at a much touted Italian restaurant Monteverde, didn't have reservations and got there only to discover they were jammin'. Seriously jammin'. The bar, and the tables in the bar, had a wait and the wait for a table in the dining room was 90 minutes. Okay. So, no.
I quickly did a local search and found Rick Bayless', Leña Brava, was relatively close by and off we went. When we arrived at the restaurant there were, luckily, a few seats remaining at the bar. We took our place, ordered wine and some oysters to start what would turn out to be another great experience in a Bayless restaurant.
The first time we dined in a Bayless establishment was a few years back. We had a reservation at Topolobampo. One memory of that experience is we were told our table was that of Michelle and Barack Obama when they were in town. Fine.
But I also remember the sauces that accompanied the dishes we were served that night. Exquisite comes to mind. Fine chemistry comes to mind. Finesse comes to mind. Our dinner was great. The experience was great.
Our dinner at Leña Brava was different, less formal, but also a great and memorable experience.
We were recently dining out in Birmingham, Alabama and friends we were with mentioned they were going to visit Traverse City, Michigan. We immediately told them they should make a reservation to eat at Trattoria Stella.
I tried to find my review on missingpersonsrv, but couldn't. That's because somehow a well-deserved mention fell through the cracks. Happens.
Arriving in Traverse City after driving the entire way from Ludington, Michigan in a torrential rain that included Miranda driving through water a foot and a half deep, we were looking for coffee beans when we happened on Trattoria Stella.
Having done some research on restaurants in the area, I tried several days before we arrived to get a reservation at Stella, but was told they were booked.
So, after getting coffee beans at a local roaster, we decided to try and walk in to Stella when they opened at 5:00 p.m. We were glad we did because they have a great first come, first served area in their very nice bar setting. As a bonus, the restaurant is located in an interesting setting, an old asylum with many other shops therein.
We enjoyed great service and a very good dinner.
When visiting Traverse City, don't miss eating at Stella.
Almost forgot this gem in Pittsburgh. Georgia boy makes great barbecue in Pittsburgh. We happened on YinzBurgh BBQ on the 4th of July. Great find.
There are days when Melanie is otherwise occupied with her EPF work. Today is one of those days.
We're staying just north of Downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan. The small county park, Markin Glen, is located next to the Kalamazoo Valley River Trail which runs around the east side of the park and is easily accessible from our site. The trail allows easy cycling into Downtown Kalamazoo.
I already planned to get a ride in today as the weather is cooler. The low temperature this morning was 56 degrees. So, after cycling into town and dropping off a table cloth Melanie requested I bring from Miranda for her gathering at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in downtown, I made my way from over to East Michigan Avenue and had lunch at Food Dance too.
My lunch was very good. I ate their Food Dance Pad Thai. If you ever find yourself in actual Kalamazoo and not just that Kalamazoo state of mind. Someone may have suggested to me they believed Kalamazoo was not a real place, but only a state of mind.
It's real, Food Dance is worth a try.
We're in Michigan for a few weeks. Meandering around the state like we meander around most places these days. Melanie says we have to drive through Ann Arbor on the way to see our niece in Adrian. To see the "Big House" where Michigan plays football games. Okay, I say, let's go see da Big House.
But we're hungry when we get to Ann Arbor. I'm driving and she says she'll find a place, but no luck. I get the Google going and find this burger joint that makes the top of Eaters list of must-eat-there places in Ann Arbor. Melanie loves a good burger. Who doesn't, right?
I'm recommending Blimpyburger, which has been around since 1953, not so much for the burger, though it's reasonably tasty. Go for the production value. At lunch time the locals line up to order their burgers cooked before their (and your) very eyes while moving steadily in line till it's finished and paid for. Worth the short wait. Local color.
They tout it as a Chapel Hill tradition. Okay. I say it's a solid breakfast spot when you're in Chapel Hill. Carolina Coffee Shop.
The last time I was at Crook's Corner was some 5 years ago when I brought my son, Tate, to Chapel Hill to tour the University of North Carolina. As I recall we had dinner at Crook's and Tate had a side of their turnip greens. He was sold.
The menu may have changed slightly over the past five years, but those greens were still there and just as tasty as I remember them. When in Chapel Hill put the Corner on your list of eateries.
Early Girl Eatery. Two locations in Asheville.
Traveling from the Asheville, North Carolina area eastward toward Raleigh, North Carolina, we used our Harvest Hosts membership to book an evening at Fair Game Beverage Company.
We enjoyed a nice tasting of their spirits, reloaded the van with a few purchases from there and Melanie found for us the most delightful dinner spot in the smallish town of Pittsboro, North Carolina. Pittsboro is about 17 miles south of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. When in Pittsboro, or Chapel Hill or Durham or Raleigh, take time to visit Pittsboro and eat at the Postal Fish Company.
Opened in 2018, Katie Button's Button and Co. Bagels is yet another excuse to eat locally sourced great food. There's a variety of bagels and a nice variety of toppings.