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A European sponge cake is bathed in Kirsch liqueur, filled and frosted with vanilla buttercream and pressed with toasted almonds. Try it by the slice and find out why Gopher’s cake decorator Gemma Martello is having it for her own wedding cake. Gopher’s Café, 910 N. 3rd St., Marquette, 906-226-0900
Made with Friske Orchards’ homemade apple butter, this luscious tomato-y sauce gets depth from molasses, vinegar, anchovies and tamarind but no gratuitous smoke flavor. Souse it over pulled pork from the crockpot—amazing.
Friske Orchards, 10743 N. U.S. 31, Ellsworth, 231-599-2604
Golden croissants stuffed with salty feta, tender spinach and golden pine nuts make the best morning (or afternoon) snack.
Symons General Store, 401 E. Lake St., Petoskey, 231-347-2438
This brawny soup recipe from our friends across the lake, chock-full of light beer and smoked sausage, kicks off every weekend in Petoskey: look for it Fridays in the classic black crock.
Flatiron Deli, 313 Howard St., Petoskey, 231-347-5190
Sea Bass Mirin, sake and soy give a delicious sheen to a mild fillet served up simply yet stunningly with cucumber salad, Thai jasmine rice and black sesame seeds.
Red Ginger, 237 E. Front St., Traverse City, 231-944-1733
Bourbon factors deliciously into many of this chic steakhouse’s dishes, including dessert, where dried blueberries are simmered in bourbon and brown sugar, then spooned over a warm bourbon-soaked bread pudding with homemade vanilla ice cream.
Bourbons 72, Turtle Creek Casino, 7741 M-72 E., Williamsburg, 231-534-8700
A barely sweet buttermilk scone dough is folded over a filling of homemade caramel, zesty marmalade and gently salted roasted pecans.
Truffles Bakery, 208 Bridge St., Charlevoix, 231-237-9480
Made in small batches in Traverse City, this sauce of butter, cinnamon and citrus juices is ambrosial goodness over ice cream.
Maxbauer’s, 407 S. Union St., Traverse City, 231-947-7698 and
Crystal Crate and Cargo, 262 S. Benzie Blvd., Beulah, 231-882-5294