1. If you're in Traverse City, you MUST - simply MUST visit Oryana Food Co-op. Their deli is a vegan mecca. Above, we have the "Whomper" burger, which amazingly, is made from all whole-food (and vegan) ingredients! And, peeps, it's goooood. Ask for veggies on the side instead of chips if you really want to health it up.
Other favorites at Oryana include their Hot to Trot sandwich (tofu paradise), their plethora of vegan desserts, their vegan soups (the fire-roasted tomato kale is my favorite), green lemonade, and tempeh reuben. Yes, I admit to visiting Traverse City mostly for Oryana. It's just that awesome. Don't judge me.
To watch the video I shot there, click here and see the Periscope rebroadcast on my YouTube channel.
2. Also in Traverse City, you guys, THE STATE. This independent theatre (State Theatre) was voted the BEST in the country (by someone really important that I can't remember right now) and once you spend some time there, you'll see why. It's staffed by volunteers (hello, adorable seniors) and they show "only great films." Indeed. I've never seen a bad movie there - case in point, "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl." So good. Check out their cool starry sky and healthier options at the snack counter too. OH AND NO BIG DEAL but Michael Moore hosts a film festival there every summer! Get ye there.
3. Nearby the Traverse City area, you'll stumble upon one hell of a chocolate shop called The Grocer's Daughter. They have a fantastic selection of seriously delicious vegan chocolates, and plenty of samples. I asked if I could live there and they said maybe.
To watch the Periscope video rebroadcast of my visit there, click here and I'll show you around.
4. The next spot I fell head over heels in love with is called Press On Juice, and it too is in Traverse City. This place, I can't even. Seriously. I mean, isn't it enough that they serve only vegan, organic, super-nourishing juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls, and more? NO. They go one better. They make all of their stuff actually TASTE AMAZING and plus also... their staff is so adorable you'll want to take them to go along with your Tropical Breeze Smoothie Bowl (my fave, pictured above). Be sure to add spinach for an extra kick!.
5. Just to prove I do more than eat, I have to shout out to the best pedicure place I know of on the planet. Regal Nails in Traverse City is da bomb dot com. Not only are their prices great, but they also do a fantastic job with a great attitude. I also completely love that their pedis last over a month. I kid you not, my toenails still look great and chip-free five weeks later!!! Get you some.
6. Also, I go to beaches in Michigan. That's a thing there. A few of my favorites are Sleeping Bear Dunes (Traverse City), the Ludington beaches (pictured above with my daughter), and some of these.
7. One of my very favorite restaurants in all of Michigan (or anywhere for that matter) is Inn Season Cafe. Pictured above, I recommend the Inn Season Salad (you want this, trust me) and their vegan omelette. If you're not there for Sunday brunch, try a bowl of the Budapest Mushroom Soup instead of the omelette. Oh, and many of their vegan desserts are made without refined sugar (and all are made without refined flour). They really get how to make healthy food delicious - something I find very rare!
In fact, one of the reasons I love this place so much is because it's how I myself cook! My passion is making healthy vegan foods taste exciting and FLAVORFUL (check out my cookbooks for recipes), which is something you'll find at Inn Season too!
8. In Grand Rapids? Then you simply must try Brick Road Pizza. Their vegan options are vast, delish, and crave-worthy. Above, a simple vegan pizza with kalamata olives, roasted garlic, and caramelized onions. I also recommend the vegan Caesar. My daughter wants to live at this place, just for their breadsticks.
9. Also in Grand Rapids, we have the fantabulous CVLT Pizza. On two separate occasions, I ordered their beet crust pizza (the coolest, healthiest, most creative gluten-free option I've ever encountered), pictured above - and also their buffalo tofu pizza. Both are sublime. I also love that they have SO MANY vegan options, including walnut chorizo and other vegan meats, homemade vegan cheeses, all kinds of veggies, and more. Oh and the fact that they serve fizzy delicious local kombucha makes CVLT Pizza one of my all-time favorite spots ever!
10. Last but not least, be sure to visit The Brinery for cooking classes - and get yourself some of their amazing fermented veggies, tempeh, and hot sauce. I cannot begin to tell you how smitten I am with the quality and taste of their products. But be warned - once you've tried their non-pasteurized tempeh, there is no going back!
Thanks so much for helping me relive my fun Michigan memories, you guys! I hope this will provide you with some ideas for your next trip to the mitten. I really had to whittle the list down to ten, but there are many other spots I love too. Be sure to connect with me on my YouTube channel, on my website, and on Facebook and Twitter for more fun stuff. Oh, and Instagram and Pinterest and Periscope too, as Tess Challis. XOXO!