Michigan Food Producers 

I’m always amazed to see the large number of creative Michigan food producers as I travel around the state. Here’s what I found while at VegFest 2016 in Novi, MI. Look for them online, in stores, and at farmers markets.


I’ve had El Cardenal salsa and tamales when they were in Grand Rapids. Delish!


Ope’s came all the way from Kalamazoo.


Bob loves the spicy popcorn from Cynt-Sation.


A vegan? Where do you get your protein? From lentil snacks!! I’ve also seen these at the Royal Oak Farmers Market. 


MI Pops are from Mason, MI.


Lots of great flavor selection.


Detroit BBQ!

IMG_1050 Available in West MI, Kalamazoo, and Lansing.


Whole food bars.

IMG_1053 Great to find a product with MI oats!


I’ve purchased this pasta at the Detroit Eastern Market; good substitute for those avoiding wheat.


What’s not to like about vegan soft serve?


I had to try a doughnut!


First time I had these was in the U.P. They are available in many areas of MI.


Gotta have some savory with the sweet!


Gourmet Dressings.


More gourmet – from Clarkston.


Bakery that caters to those with food sensitivities.


More MI granola!


Oh my. Pie is my favorite dessert.



Preserves and condiments made in MI.




Get your gut health here! The Brinery in Ann Arbor.


They also have fitness sessions.


Looks like a great choice for a special occasion.

To see the restaurants at VegFest Novi 2016, visit this link.

To Live For

You’ve heard people describe a meal as “To die for,” right? Well there’s a new restaurant, GreenSpace Café, in Ferndale, MI which serves food to LIVE for. It’s owned by the Kahn Family; Dr. Joel Kahn is a Detroit area cardiologist. He, his wife, Karen, and their son Dan hatched a plan to provide healthy, plant-based food that is delicious and served with ambiance. Of course, I had to visit!


They chose Ferndale because it’s centrally located, and the residents have a reputation of being progressive and community minded. It’s about a 20 minute drive from anywhere in the Detroit area.


The Kahns and their staff are interested in building strong relationships in the area – including with local farmers. They source from a variety of local farmers and food producers, and will frequent farmers’ markets during the growing season. The Martin Family Farm of Capac, MI is a major supplier.


They use locally produced maple syrup, as well as tempeh and sauerkraut from The Brinery. There are several Michigan beers on the drink menu: Bell’s, Founders, Short’s, Roak, and El Chavo. The custom cocktail menu features fresh pressed juices from Drought (which also has a sales space in the front of the restaurant.)


I spoke with the café’s publicist, Cyndi Summers. She said, “The food is fresh and flavorful, and full of healthy ingredients in support of Dr. Kahn’s goal of preventing one million heart attacks. The concept is also eco-friendly, because eating plant-based is the ‘greenest’ way to eat; and we emphasize how delicious, nutritious plant-based meals will leave our customers satisfied.”


Talking to Summers reminded me of meal I had in Chicago several years ago. My (meat-eating) colleague said that he thinks about what he’s hungry for and then finds it on the menu. And, I said, I find something on the menu that can be adjusted without being ruined, and just eat it.


So, finding a restaurant where I can eat anything is a real treat – and a quandary. I’m not used to being able to choose from more than a couple of items! Fortunately, the menu features a lot of small plates, so we could try several items. We did, and they were all delicious. We will be back!


Visit their Facebook page, where you can view a copy of the day’s menu (and order carry out if you like).  The photos below are courtesy of GreenSpace Café.

GS cheese board

GS soup

GS tempeh burger

GS salad

GS cocktail

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We CraVe Detroit

Chef Jared DelarioOver the past few years I’ve enjoyed getting to know the Southeast Michigan area. Before I started blogging about all of MI I had only visited the Detroit area for business. There’s so much going on there!

The pop-up supper club, We CraVe Detroit is one thing now happening in the area. I heard about it through a colleague, Chef Jared Dellario; he has cooked professionally for the last 13 years in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Las Vegas, New York, Ann Arbor, and now in Metro Detroit. I originally met him when he was the chef at Casa Bolero in Kalamazoo.

We CraVe Detroit create the pop-ups all around the Detroit area. The venues, menus, and chefs all change depending on the event. “We love to connect people, and this is a great way to do that,” said cofounder Vera DeVera. She partners with Craig Dalrymple who is originally from Western Michigan. CraVe comes from a blending of their first names. (So cute, right?) They previously lived in San Francisco Bay area where they organized pop-ups since the early 2000s. The dinners are held twice monthly; locations vary.

I attended a dinner in mid-October at a private home in Bloomfield Hills. It was a deconstructed craft beer dinner with Michigan beers and local food from Detroit Eastern Market and Kalamazoo People’s Food Co-op. And, the food was delicious. Chef Jared was able to adjust the menu to suit my plant-based diet. See the posted photos; below them is the original menu. If you have diet considerations check with We Crave Detroit before ordering tickets.

Click here to see what they have coming up!

purple cauliflower

purple cauliflower

Go ahead, put beer in your squash and bake it.

Go ahead, put beer in your squash and bake it.

Last of the MI blueberries on risotto.

Last of the MI blueberries over risotto

Apple dessert!

MI apple dessert

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Here’s the original menu from the October dinner.
Amuse: “Starter Wort” Maple Creek Micro Greens tossed in Citrus Emulsion, Berkshire Bacon, Bosc Pear with English Style Pale Ale

1st Course: “Yeast and Malt” Fish and Chips Rosemary Pomme Frittes, Amber ale, and Malt-battered Perch

2nd Course: “Mash Making” Red Devil Squash, Serrano and Thai Chile Hybrids, Pineapple heirloom tomatoes, Sweet Onion Marmalade, Zingerman’s Great Lakes Cheshire cheese with Reduced Wheat Ale

3rd Course: “Sparging & Boil” Blueberry Duck Duo Confit Duck Confit and Grilled Breast Over English Hops and Lemon Balm Risotto with IPA Blueberry Compote.

4th Course: “Cooling” English Shortbread Sandwich Ginger and Vanilla Shortbread Cookies, Cinnamon Basil Gelato, and Vanilla Stout Cream Sauce

SE Michigan Wanderings

SIP WheatgrassWe took some time last weekend to hang out in SE Michigan. Bob wanted to get to some breweries, and I’m always up for exploring the food around Michigan.

We started at the Royal Oak Farmers Market where the highlight was meeting the folks from Hampshire Farms. They grow grains and beans – and they have a bakery at their farm. I hope to get over to visit them this summer. I picked up some corn meal and barley. My pantry is expanding with Michigan grains!

Hampshire Farms Grains

One thing that I noticed while asking about local food at SE MI restaurants is that it appears to be more difficult than in some other areas. There’s less availability of winter vegetables as there are in the Grand Rapids or Traverse City areas. Perhaps it’s because the restaurants are so spread out in the suburbs. It’s definitely (and understandably) a car-oriented area. Also, there are farms in areas of Canada, across the bridge, that are considered local in the SE Michigan area.

After the farmers market, we toured downtown Royal Oak and had lunch at Cacao Tree Cafe. Their food is unique and tasty, but they are limited to local vegetables in the summer time also. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served – as well as some awesome smoothies and desserts. I had their vegan ‘chicken’ salad. It was really tasty. I want to figure out how to make something similar at home.

Cacao Tree Chicken Salad

As we were heading to Birmingham, I spotted the newest Michigan by the Bottle storefront in Royal Oak. Their original location is in Shelby, MI. It’s a convenient location to try a number of Michigan wines. They have partnered with eight Michigan wineries and serve tastings of over 40 wines. Their store represents four of the Michigan Wine Trails. They also have Michigan snacks to enjoy while you are wine tasting or to bring home. The walls feature a rotating art show. They also have pairing events where they partner with local restaurants.

MI by the Bottle

In the afternoon, we also toured downtown Birmingham and went to Griffin Claw Brewery. We always start with a taster, and this one included: Grand Trunk Pilsner, Gateway (session) IPA, Norm’s Raggedy-Ass IPA (their flagship), and El Roja Red Ale. The menu is not vegetarian friendly, so it was good that we didn’t plan a meal here. The beers were well-made, we found. The interior is sort of industrial but with taxidermed animals on the wall. A bit incongruent, but hey – it take all kinds.

Griffin Claw

For dinner we went to The Clean Plate. Again, we found that local vegetables in this vegetarian restaurant were also difficult for them to get in the winter. There was locally grown kale, however. They serve a variety of Michigan foods year round: tofu from Ann Arbor, McClure’s pickles, The Brinery sauerkraut, bread/buns from a bakery in Detroit, and desserts from Cacao Tree Cafe. They feature a lot of organically grown food, which is pretty unique for a MI restaurant.

The Clean Plate BBQ Sandwich

And to cap off the day, we stopped by Rochester Mills Brewery. It was a large restaurant – and packed. There was a one-hour wait for tables, but we were able to get seats at the spacious bar. It’s more than a brewery; it has a large menu and a full bar. For this flight we tried: Pleszures Pale Ale, Rochester Red Ale, Paint Creek Porter, Cornerstone IPA, and Brickshot ESB. The only local food item that I noticed was local free-range buffalo.

Rochester Mills Flight

On Sunday, we had lunch at Try it Raw in downtown Birmingham. They were currently getting vegetables from Indiana; in the summer they purchase from the farmers market. They feature organic food also. Breakfast, salads, entrees, juices, smoothies, and desserts are on their menu. I had the ‘raw food’ taco, and it was fantastic with the cayenne-lemonade I drank there.

Try it Raw Tacos

Then, for the more cultural part of the trip, we went to the art museum at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills. I’m hoping to make another visit here soon, because the campus looked like a wonderful place to walk and explore. And, there’s a science institute too.

On the way home, we stopped at the newest SIP Organic Juice Bar for some healthy refreshment to keep us going on I96. It’s a recent addition to the locations in the Grand Rapids area and features the same menu. Their local produce was limited; however they do have a Michigan source for wheat grass and herbs. I hope that they will be able to learn from SIP Grand Rapids which is doing a great job sourcing local, organic produce.

SIP Novi Menu