Thursday, October 09, 2008


Cedar is a small, one-blinking-light village in the middle of the Leelanau Peninsula. It doesn't have the cachet of the resort communities on either coast.

What it does have is a great butcher shop -- Pleva's.

Pleva's fame has spread throughout our state and beyond largely because of Plevalean, a mixture of ground beef and cherries conceived by owner Ray Pleva. Plevalean has less fat and more nutritional value than regular ground beef. I've had it; it's great. And if you're one of those people who has issues with mixing meat and don't know that there are cherries in your burger; you really don't.

But aside from Plevalean, Pleva's is well known for its excellent maple- and cherry-smoked meats. We stopped by during our vacation for some high-protein road snacks, and muchly enjoyed the hard-smoked sausage sticks.

Cedar was settled by Polish immigrants, so Pleva's also offers ethnic specialties like kisczka and pierogies. (If you read my food meme a few posts down, kisczka is another central European variant of black pudding. I like it, but it's definitely an acquired taste.)

Next door is a natural-foods grocery that, ironically, carries a lot of vegan vittles like tempeh, and also has a pretty awesome wine and beer section. I was personally pleased to find hardneck garlic there; it's so much more flavorful than the bland supermarket variety, and it is more suited to growing in northern climes like ours.

You can check out Pleva's here .

And as long as you're in the neighborhood you'll want to check out Longview Winery and the Cedar Rustic Inn. Longview offers some incredible wines -- we like the food-friendly whites; and if you enjoy dessert wine, try the cherry port with a chocolate truffle for a yummy cherry cordial experience. The Cedar Rustic Inn, just next door to the winery, serves good, honest comfort food, and lots of it, with an emphasis on fresh local ingredients; on the evening we visited, at the suggestion of our bed-and-breakfast host, we had delicious pot roast over smashed potatoes and chicken marsala over potato gnocchi, both served in heaping portions. I appreciated the fact that my side of mixed vegetables hadn't been chiseled out of a food-service-superstore freezer bag and just tossed onto the plate as an afterthought; they were fresh and carefully yet simply prepared. We also enjoyed the cozy inn decor, which included a framed crazy quilt and hooked rugs with up-north themes.

No comments: