A friend recently asked if I ever leave bad reviews…the answer is a definitive “No.” I don’t care to be a part of any sort of negativity, it’s just not in my nature. That being said, if I visit a restaurant that doesn’t inspire me, I simply won’t leave a review. I am not going to lead you astray in the name of being positive at all costs; I don’t believe in that either. Which leads me to say that although I have had a lovely summer, I haven’t been tremendously inspired by many culinary expeditions…until this morning.
This morning my field expert and I strolled through the streets of Northport, Michigan. Yesterday I’d found a near perfect croissant, and I was hoping for a repeat. My hopes were dashed when I saw the sign on the door…”Closed Today For a Staff Picnic.” My flaky, buttery dreams were crushed with just a few short words scrawled on a paper.
I should always remember that perceived disappointment usually transforms itself into unexpected opportunity. Rounding one of the only corners in town led us straight into a daily brunch served in what used to be a rather run-down pizza place with a dirt parking lot. The Tribune, as the restaurant is now named, shows no sign of its former greasy-spoon persona. In fact, quite the opposite. What we ran across was perhaps one of the most beautiful and delicious breakfast dishes I have ever encountered, served by a lovely, gracious woman who ranks in my top three favorite servers of all time. If you find yourself lucky enough to brunch at The Tribune (especially on the back deck under a red umbrella on a sunny summer morning), request Amanda as your server. She is fantastic.
The orders we placed were both listed as the daily specials, and quite honestly there wouldn’t be any pictures for you had my dining companion not reminded me to snap them (note the knife-mark in my Heirloom Benedict…sorry about that!). Clearly I had not been prepared for inspiration to strike; but it surely did. The combination of English Muffin, a thick slice of an Heirloom tomato, and a perfectly poached egg draped with a velvety hollandaise sauce and accompanied by fresh-from-the-garden mixed greens…I can’t begin to describe the amazement in every bite. I heard rumblings from across the table that the frittata was of equal caliber, but in all honesty, I didn’t hear much. I was too enamoured with the dish in front of me.
As we finished our meal, Amanda came and chatted for a bit. She agreed that the Heirloom Benedict was also one of her favorite dishes, which was not the only thing we had in common. It is rare that I meet someone who has experienced the town of Northport in such a similar way, such a parallel course of events to my own personal history. It was fascinating to listen to her chat, though that isn’t why I hold her level of service in such high esteem. Her attention to detail, her hospitality, and her demeanor were matched only by the dishes she was serving. She was integral to the full experience, and the full experience was exactly what I have been in search of all summer: eclectic and uplifting. Merci pour l’inspiration!