Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lake Street Cafe

Lake Street Cafe within Oryana Natural Foods Market on 10th Street in Traverse City.

When you’re talking local food, the kind that comes straight from the farm to your plate, most Traverse City-ites know just the place to fill up their grocery carts with organic, locally sourced fare - Oryana.

But, when it comes to filling up your stomach with those same local, organic choices, Oryana Natural Foods Market, at 260 East Tenth Street in Traverse City, is not the first place that pops into the minds of most. Well, it should be.

Tucked toward the back of Oryana is the Lake Street Café, a vegan’s dream come true! Of course, the café offers a little something for everyone as well.

Lake Street Cafe is a great place to chill with some eccentric folk in the midst of a hectic day.

Nowadays, “healthy” is a word that is tossed around on MANY menus. For the love of God, even McDonalds has so-called healthy options on its menu! Obviously, many of these health claims need to be taken with a grain of salt…..only a grain, mind you, because salt will certainly ruin the health benefits of any meal!

Along with “healthy” comes “organic.” This term is also a bit loose when it comes to various folks’ interpretation. Many establishments claim that their food is organic, wholesome and real. Free of dyes, steroids, hooves, hormones, torture and religion. Many people who make these claims are, shall we say, stretching the truth a bit.

For those of you out there who absolutely adore a local experience, but want that experience to also be truly organic, or perhaps your diet (vegan, vegetarian, etc.) may have ruled your experience in other truly local undertakings out entirely, Lake Street Café is the place for you!

Pre-made selections, soups, chips and ordering from their extensive lunch menu are all available at this Traverse City restaurant.

There is an interesting mix of humanity patronating Oryana and, thus, Lake Street. From Hippies to hairdressers, pot heads to politicians, fanatics to physicians, you will find a little bit of everything within this celebrated co-op’s walls. Each and every person I just described, and all of those which I did not, will find something to love about Lake Street’s menu.

This menu is perfect for a Traverse City summer. The dining in options are great; comfy tables and large windows offer amazing views of the surrounding neighborhood and grand people watching opportunities. From time to time, a spontaneous live music show springs up and the place turns truly Bohemian!

Most folks choose to grab a few items off of Lake Street Cafe's tempting menu.

But, as I just wrote, the hippies and hipsters (and all in between) love utilizing this yummy little café for their outdoor adventures. Nothing rounds out a trip to the beach or to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore quite like a sundried tomato pesto tuna sandwich!

The menu is simple, yet full of fun and fancy! Coffee and espresso drinks share paper space with Light Of Day tea offerings and house made chai.

Juice, made with organic fruits and vegetables, is also a popular takeaway item, as are the smoothies, both options are some of my favorite before-the-hike fare. I suggest trying the Green Lemonade (Apple, lemon, celery, kale and ginger) or the Michigander (Banana, apple juice and Michigan grown blueberries, strawberries and cherries) if you’re about to hit the trail! Great energy food, that! The Superior (Dates, avocado, goji berries, cherries, blueberries, banana and apple juice) and The Flu Shot (a shot of carrot, lemon and ginger) are two other very popular selections. For those of you journeying north for our town’s lovely annual Cherry Festival, make a quick stop off at Lake Street and pick up a Cherry Ginger smoothie (cherries, ginger, banana and apple juice) to sip on whilst walking around downtown and matching wits with carnies.

Lake Street is certainly great for an energy meal in a cup, but that’s not the only draw by any means!

Working their foodie magic behind the counter are some of Oryana's trademark (and awesome) hippie folk.

As I alluded to earlier, this is the place to go when you need to stock up your picnic basket.

Sandwiches, wraps, paninis, soups, crackers, chips and more are readily available at Lake Street, along with some amazing cheeses! Oryana is an outstanding grocery store with a huge variety of choices that will make for an outstanding lunch amongst nature.

Some of the highlights of their menus, at least for me, include:

Sandwiches: Hot To Trot Vegan (dill tofu salad, spicy pickled veggies, red onion, sprouts and tomato on North Country bread) and Lemon Parmesan Chicken (local baked chicken, lettuce, tomato and lemon parmesan sauce on focaccia bread).

Wraps: North End Veggie (avocado, cucumber, tomato, red onion, sprouts and lettuce with sundried tomato hummus or roasted red pepper cream cheese) and Smoked Turkey Apple (local smoked turkey, apple, red onion, Swiss cheese, sunflower seeds, lettuce and cherry honey mustard).

Panini: Reuben with Tempeh (tempeh or local smoked turkey, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing on rye bread) and Grilled PB&J or PB&B (peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter, honey and banana on North Country bread).

Lake Street Café also offers day-trippers a treat for the pocket book!

Drinks range from $2-$6.50 and sandwiches, wraps and paninis range in price from $4.95-$9.

Dine in or take out, Lake Street Cafe in Oryana is tailor made for the Traverse City lifestyle.

Dining in or taking out, this place is quintessentially northern Michigan. It is an awesome stop off after a day of exploring, the perfect locale for filling up the backpack or picnic basket and the ideal place to meet up with friends or just chill by yourself in the midst of errand running.

 Healthy, local, organic and tasty too! Lake Street Café is the place to hit up if you're heading out for sure!

(All photos by Brooks Vanderbush)