Sunday, May 27, 2012

Osorio Tacos Y Salsas

Osorio Tacos Y Salsas is a truly authentic Mexican experience near Traverse City, MI.

If you go waaaaay back to the first post that I put on this blog, the one wherein I explain why I have undertaken this adventure, you'll notice a picture that looks simply delicious, yeah? Well, sadly, that meal and its accompaniments are not available here in Traverse City. Actually, you'll need to travel about 3200 miles, to a barrier island in Guatemala (where I lived for about two years) called Sipacate. There, you will find fresh from the sea (you can watch the fishermen carry them in) delicacies as you enjoy miles of black sand beaches and an amazing non-resort, truly local atmosphere. I love Sipacate. It is perfect.

While Osorio Tacos Y Salsas isn't Sipacate, it is authentic! And by that, I mean supremely delicious. Yes, this is the closest to that amazing Guatemalan fare that I have yet come stateside.

Simple decor matters not. At this Traverse City area restaurant, the food is what shines!

There are a lot of joints around this nation that claim to serve authentic Central American fare. Hardly any of them do. What you'll find at those places is a bastardized Tex-Mex, a flour shell bathed in meat and cheese and sour cream. That is NOT authentic!

Osorio Tacos Y Salsas IS authentic!

Along with amazing fare is some truly delicious takeaway items, including tortillas and salsa.

This restaurant is somewhat of a dynasty here in the Grand Traverse region. For the longest time, a simple taco house was located in Traverse City. The locals loved it. Amazing, simple, authentic Mexican food was their hallmark and they had legions of fans because of it. Then, they simply disappeared. Not for lack of business. But for something else. No one knew why.

But, now they have returned! No longer located within the Traverse City limits, they have chosen a location very near to the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, Traverse City's gateway to the north.

The new focus of this restaurant is an even more real and authentic experience. They are also featuring some of the most outstanding homemade salsas your palate will ever experience. Good god yum!

One feels as though they've stepped out of Michigan altogether when they enter Osorio Tacos Y Salsas.

The atmosphere is decidedly simple. A few tables, some sparse decor. You do feel as though you've stepped out of Michigan when you enter this establishment. Take it from me! This place feels like Mexico, and I love it!

The simple surroundings of your chosen table may be purposeful, who knows? Because, when the food arrives, "simple" takes on a whole new, much more enticing meaning!

A truly authentic Mexican dining experience awaits you in this Grand Traverse region eatery.

Speaking of food, let's dive into what this authentic eatery offers, shall we?

First off, for you folks that want to know what it feels like to "sit right here and have another beer in Mexico", you'll have to go to Mexico. There is no beer (yet) at Osorio Tacos Y Salsa. But don't let that deter you!

The menu starts out right where the name implies, with tacos. An order of four tacos costs $8.99. There's a varied selection of meats available, I suggest the Chorizo, a Mexican sausage. Damn that's good!

You can snag a Taquiza, a plate of tacos for four folks, for $39.99. It consists of steak, chicken, pork, rice, beans, pico de gallo (LOVE this stuff!), guacamole and tortillas. A sort of build-your-own paradise.

Quesadillas are also huge on this menu. A couple of great selections are featured, both for around $8 each.
Vegetarian quesadillas are also available for you poor folk that don't eat meat.

Moving on, we see the Tamales! $2 each, try the poblano con queso. Wowza!

Now we're at the main dishes, people. These are $10.99 each and feature some truly authentic meat preparations paired with rice, beans and five flour (no) or corn (YES! Like I said, let's be authentic here) tortillas. 

Next, we hit up the Enchiladas. $10.50 each, all simple, traditional, cheesie and delicious!

Plenty of side dishes adorn this menu for your added eating delight, ranging in price from$1-$4. Considering the amazing homemade salsa, you have to try the chips and salsa! Only $2!!

Lastly, a grand mix of drinks from Mexico (again, no beer) round out the offerings here.

Osorio Tacos Y Salsas is a grand place to gather with friends and family.

I love this place. I always have. True, this place just opened on May 21, 2012. However, this place can be found throughout Central America. It's the place where the locals go when they want truly amazing home cooked meals. When they're missing their mother's Mexican cooking, they come to this place. When they want to gather with other town folk, laugh at the touristos eating at Burger King, talk the day away, whistle at pretty girls, hit on handsome boys, this is the place that they come to. I have been to so many local eateries in Central America. Upon my return, I missed this food and this atmosphere so very much.

Osorio Tacos Y Salsa may not be open air. It may not be the center piece of some small Mexican village. It may not serve beer. But, what it may not be does not matter. What it is is a place that has taken its Mexican heritage, a heritage that prides itself on authenticity, and has dropped it in the midst of Acme, Michigan. This is authentic Mexican fare and oh how I love it!!

Added bonus here, soon, very very soon, Osorio Tacos Y Salsas will serve fish tacos mouth is watering just thinking of this....chile rellenos. I will be there every day.

Buen provecho!

(All photos by Brooks Vanderbush)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Cook's House

Traverse City's The Cook's House is nestled back away from Front Street, but is the true epicenter of culinary excellence in TC.

Imagine, if you will, entering the home of your favorite world class chef. He or she invites you to sit down at their dinner table, peruse their collection of rare and exotic food books, sample their amazing bar and, best of all, sup from their kitchen on creations crafted by them.

Like what you're hearing? Enticed? Intrigued? Slightly aroused? (food does do that to a person!) Well then! Welcome to The Cook's House! A place that offers an amazing food experience in an elegant, intimate atmosphere.

The Cook's House atmosphere is a charming mix of intimate and elegant.

This amazing little joint is one of my favorite food experiences in the Grand Traverse region. And I'm not alone in that sentiment! Folks travel from far and wide to dine at Traverse City's The Cook's House. In fact, one regular flies in from Chicago with various friends almost every summer weekend, just to sample the outstanding goods at The Cook's House!

Yes, this place is that amazing!

A bit of fun is tossed in amongst one of TC's best menus.

Now, I'm not going to lie to you here; you will spend a pretty penny at The Cook's House. But, believe me, every pretty penny that you spend will result in a culinary gifting from heaven above! (Yeah, also can't lie about the fact that this Traverse City restaurant is one of my very favorite!)

The open kitchen allows you to witness your food creation coming to life at The Cook's House.

Now, despite my talent for weaving words into irresistible poetry, I know why you peeps show up at this blog day after day, looking for some damn fine nosh, you want to see the food! And here it is!

We'll begin where most folks do, with the appetizers.

Now, before we dive in, allow me to mention this: LOCAL! The Cook's House sources as much of their menu as possible from local farms. Yet another reason to love this TC eatery.

The appetizer menu includes some truly amazing treats. From roasted rabbit to poached duck egg served on old world rye with asparagus, pickled garlic and prosciutto broth, the options tempt the palate in a most pleasing sort of way.

A local highlight on the appetizer menu is a region (and world) wide favorite: Morel mushrooms, gnocchi, grated wild horseradish and black walnuts.

Appetizer prices range from $10-$13 each.

A smaller dining area allows for a feeling of exclusivity.

Now, onto soups and salads. Soups are $7, with selections including Asparagus and Shiitake mushrooms and white bean and red wine.

Salads are $8 and usually include four to five selections, with a favorite of mine being The Cook's House Salad; a salad of smoked rabbit and warm seasonal vegetables.


The drink options at Traverse City's The Cook's House are top shelf!

Entrees are really where it's at, here at Traverse City's The Cook's House.

Prices range from $24 to $35 per dish, and they're worth every cent!

Some highlights include:

Roasted leg of lamb, anise hyssop, dried apricots, coco rubico heirloom beans.

Grass fed beef trio: New York strip, hanger steak and beef cheeks with roasted sunchokes and warm potato salad.

And, of course, more. All equally as amazing!

The Cook's House has a grand selection of wines, brews and mixed drinks as well that go along swimmingly with the various menu gems!

A locally sourced menu, downtown atmosphere and classy charm mix perfect at The Cook's House in TC.

Speaking of wine (I almost always am), The Cook's House offers a five or seven course tasting menu. These menus are $50 and $60 per person respectively, or $82 and $101, respectively, with wine pairings. These tastings include some of The Cook's House most outstanding creations, well worth the price!

Be sure to call ahead! While it may be a bit empty for their small plates and drinks lunch time menu, dinner time brings in the crowds, every night.

The Cook's House also has some delicious dessert options, perfect for that end of meal sweet tooth!

This is another "fine dining establishment" that gets it right here in TC. Life for the food lover is very good at The Cook's House. Local food and some of the most tantalizing flavor combinations you will ever experience abound at this perfect downtown establishment. It may not be on the "well beaten path", but that's just fine with the folks who choose to tuck into the offerings here at Traverse City's own artisanal food paradise, The Cook's House. I'll see you there!
Grass fed beef trio: New York strip, hanger steak and beef cheeks with roasted sunchokes and warm potato salad.

And, of course, more. All equally as amazing!

The Cook's House has a grand selection of wines, brews and mixed drinks as well that go along swimmingly with the various menu gems!

(All photos by Brooks Vanderbush)