*I was given a gift card to help facilitate my review of the brewery and restaurant. All opinions are my own. Receiving a gift card did not sway my opinion in the slightest.
Once we got settled into our room at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa (on a Tues) we drove out to Traverse City. You can read about our stay HERE. The drive was short, maybe 15 minutes. We had been told good things about North Peak Restaurant and Brewery. My husband and I both love a good beer so it was a must to visit.
The restaurant had an old factory look to it outside and in. The decor was rustic and really unique. I noticed the fireplaces right away. After the hostess sat us we didn't have to wait too long before a server stopped at our table to take our drink order. North Peak offers a five beer sampler at a great price and so we decided to both get one. We had plans to buy a couple six packs to take home and wanted to be sure we sampled as many beers as we could.
My husband and I ended up loving their India pale ale called Diabolical. It had a bitter kick to it but the thing I noticed the most was its citrus and pine scent and slightly spiced after taste. All of their beers were an experience and one we will not soon forget. I don't think my husband can stop raving about how delicious everything was at North Peak. We did eat our supper there and the menu had a large amount of options but we finally settled on three things to share.
First up we shared the Gorgonzola Ale Dip (Italian blue cheese blended with cream cheese, dried cherries, toasted pecans and beer. Baked and served warm with pita chips or bread). I felt like it was lacking a bit of tang or tartness. I think that if the cherries were a bit more tart and plentiful it would have been better. I still liked it though, it was delicious.
Our second appetizer we ordered was BBQ Boar Pizza. This has ground wild boar and Cajun sausage with cherry-porter BBQ sauce, fresh pineapple, roasted red peppers, red onion, mozzarella and fontina cheeses. Absolutely phenomenal, only thing we wished for was MORE sausage! This was the perfect size for sharing.
Our entree was phenomenal, goosebumps flooded my arms and the hair stood straight up. We split the Pretzel Crusted Walleye and the cooks were more than happy to plate each half separately for us. This plate contained Great Lakes walleye filet crusted with honey-mustard pretzels, sauteed and served with tarragon-ginger tartar sauce, barley pilaf and fresh vegetables (cooked perfectly I might add). Our only regret was splitting it! The tartar sauce is made in-house and it was the creamiest we've ever eaten. I tried to get the waiter to tell me the recipe LOL. I think I went to sleep that night dreaming of the walleye and that tartar sauce. If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life, this dish would be it! I never thought fish could be a comfort food but this was.
For dessert we chose Black & Tan Brownie. A homemade chocolate brownie with New York-style cheesecake baked on top. Served with Vanilla Malt ice cream, chocolate ice cream and hot fudge. You cannot imagine a creamier, fudgier brownie in your life. The ice cream was so smooth and it complimented the brownie so well. I've never had anything quite like that dessert and I doubt I ever will. This was also perfect for sharing especially if keeping an eye on your waistline.
On our way out we bought a 6 pack of Diabolical beer. I created a recipe just for this beer that I have shared in my post Diabolical Pale Ale Pancake Recipe.
On Thursday we traveled up to the Old Mission Peninsula to find The Jolly Pumpkin. The peninsula is that skinny on on the map in my picture. I didn't even know that this peninsula existed! I'm so happy we got to visit it though. It was a charming place with lots of beauty, vineyards and road-side stands selling fresh veggies and jams.
After a bit of searching, we finally found it! Jolly Pumpkin brewery and distillery was nestled back into the woods with a lovely view of the lake across the street. Mission Table is also in the same building but we didn't visit there, their menu is a little more on the fancy side. We were there for a casual lunch and wanted to dine outside in the fresh sunshine air.
|Beers on display at Jolly Pumpkin|
|The gorgeous Jolly Pumpkin bar|
The husband and I decided to just nibble on some appetizers and then stuff ourselves with desserts. I'm pretty sure this was the best decision ever! Our first snack was house made Smoked Whitefish Dip with flat-bread crackers. The crackers had an assortment of seeds and herbs on the top and they were slightly warm as if they had been toasted. The smoked whitefish dip was divine. This was warm, creamy and comforting. I could eat it all day.
We split the Jolly Pumpkin artisan ale: pumpkin beer. This ale was only available on draft at the time or we would have gone home with a case. The beer went very well with our salty/savory starters.
Our second starter was truffled french fries with truffle sea salt, roasted garlic herb aioli and amber ale mayonnaise. The aioli and mayo were the best part for me. I could see myself spreading these both onto a big fat BLT or any meaty sandwich. The fries were a bit chewy to me but my husband seemed to really enjoy them as he ate 3/4 of the plate himself. I didn't really get any truffle flavor with the salt at all, it was a bit lost. I personally wouldn't order these again but who's to say someone else wouldn't love them. (e.g. my husband)
My dessert was a decadent chocolate cake layered with a chocolate mousse like filling. On the top were homemade sprinkles and next to it a large scoop of homemade fruity pebbles cereal ice cream. I was told that the Jolly Pumpkin pastry chef had created the sprinkles and ice cream herself. I loved the homemade sprinkles, they were so crunchy and they made the cake look really fun. The cake itself was really soft, moist and rich. The ice cream was phenomenal! I am a lover of cereal, I eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner sometimes. I wish I could have taken a tub of her ice cream home with me.
My husband had the pumpkin Crème brûlée topped with toasted pecans and a couple bits of pistachio candy. He wouldn't hardly share this which leads me to believe it was really good! I tried to wiggle my spoon in there but he fended me off LOL. It's really beautiful and next time we go I am ordering one just for myself.
There was one place we needed to stop before we left for home and that was a little fudge shop I'd noticed while we were in Traverse City, MI. The shop is called Swan's Nest Gifts. This is a MUST to stop in. You will not be disappointed because you will find the best homemade fudge you could ever have. We bought a couple pounds to take home with us. The owner could not have been more friendly. This shop also carries lots of gifts and interesting jewelry. Believe me, you will thank me!