After stopping at five wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula and having drove from Bay Harbor after lunch, we had worked up an appetite. Logistically while we were plotting out the day, we discovered this restaurant maybe half way up the peninsula and rather than driving past our hotel for the evening to dine in Traverse City, we decided to try the Old Mission Tavern that was a stand-alone restaurant with a vista of acres of vineyards. The restaurant is about twenty-five years old and it has the feeling of Traverse City, before it was discovered by Chicago and has been forever changed. Thankfully, so far the waterfront playground for Chicago has only been for a destination for foodies and “tasters/swillers” and when you talk to some of the locals, you feel that they are not keen on the gentrification of the area, but as long as the Asian Carp and some of the other detriments of Chicago stay in Illinois, the locals seem to be able to survive the rise of restaurant prices.
There we were situated with views of the East and West Traverse Bays and the farmlands, it truly felt like we were up North. The Old Mission Tavern had that rustic feeling that old Michiganders equate with the what the area used to be. The restaurant was also interesting in that there was art work on display everywhere by local artists and they had a back room that was filling up as we got there for a big party, while we were having dinner. We had ordered the Smoked Whitefish Dip with Garlic Rounds to start out with, and we were surprised that it was served hot, and I would say that it was the first time that either of us had this dish hot, it was interesting and a change of pace. My Bride had three blue lump Crab Cakes with Beurre Blanc, asparagus and rice. I had Baby Back Ribs basted with a Cherry Barbecue Sauce (shades of the old Traverse City, the Cherry Capital of Michigan) and accompanied with Grilled Shrimp. I was happy, because the meat fell off of the bones, as I have no desire to gnaw on a bone.
We had tasted so many different wines just prior to having dinner, that we had no desire to get a bottle of wine, even if we could take it home with us. Of course, we were still going to have some wine, but we just wanted something light and we found it in some glasses of Domino Wines Pinot Grigio California 2017 from the Delicato Family Wines. They began growing grapes in 1924 and began making wines in 1935 and now they have eighteen different labels domestic and internationally. This particular wine appears only to be offered in Magnums and perhaps the entire line is done this way to aid restaurants and catering companies to offer a series of easy drinking wines. The wine was crisp and not too sweet and worked fairly well with our entrée dishes, even though it felt like we were cheating on the peninsula.