Plane Trip Friday: Oryana Natural Foods Market in Traverse City, Michigan!  »

I recently had the privilege of spending a summery week in Michigan’s Northern Lower Peninsula. This was fun for me because it’s like a beautiful summer camp of Americana and wine and cherries and cherry festivals (it’s the Cherry Capital of the World, if you didn’t know), but it probably would not be so fun for you because it is also a place where the local cuisine centers around pieces of prime rib bigger than your head, fried lake perch, and a thing that is like a casserole of whitefish, cheese and cream, with crackers. However, do not let this dissuade you, vegan, from visiting this most beautiful and adorable part of the country (in the summer months!) You are covered in the delicious food department!

Oryana, the lovely and full-service 35-year old (!) health food co-op at the corner of E. 10th and Lake Streets in (did I mention adorable?) downtown Traverse City!

Those visiting from San Francisco will probably draw comparisons with Rainbow Grocery, our own 30-plus-year-old health co-op. Oryana is a bit smaller, but much lighter and airier, and they have a more robust prepared foods/takeout/coffee bar attached (the Lake Street Kitchen. More on that in a minute.) If you’re visiting from another major city (a lot of people in these parts seem to be from Chicago), I think you’ll find it comparable to your favorite local health food store (if your favorite health food store is like paradise!) It’s kind of like a mini Whole Foods, without the faux-liberal asshole hypocrisy. Which is to say, it’s bright, cheery, clean, and sells Tofurky Sausages, Dr. Bronner’s Crazy Soap, bulk grains et alia, good produce, kombucha and fancy sodas, NEWMAN O’S! and whatever else you need to subsist in your adorable lake house (or whatever other adorable business purpose might have landed you the Grand Traverse Bay region.) If you’re not in need of a full grocery shop and just need a snack made for you by someone else, Lake Street Kitchen has got you covered! It’s the same building as Oryana, but you can enter on the Lake Street side to be closest to the Thai peanut wrap, which is what I would highly recommend you order. It’s a whole wheat wrap full of tofu, peanut sauce and a glass noodle salad thing full of veggies and goodness. If they have the noodles (ask first, because once or twice they had run out.) After a week in Michigan, you will want a tofu wrap hella bad! Now you know where to get one. You may also wish to try the tempeh reuben (it’s vegan without the swiss cheese; I’m not sure if they can sub a vegan cheese but they do sell them in the store) because it is out of control. The bread it comes on is baked fresh locally and it’s perfect. I had two for breakfast one day. Take your wrap or sandwich out to this awesome patio! Lake Street Kitchen also has great espresso (maybe the best in town?), and their iced drinks are just the perfect start to your summer day of biking around lakes and antique shopping and lying under birch trees and acting like Nancy Drew. MAN NORTHERN MICHIGAN IS SO BEAUTIFUL. Bonus free soy milk and agave nectar on the coffee bar!

This post comes to us from Megan Allison of Guerrilla Curatorship, who occasionally journeys afar to return with tidbits such as this.

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