The Traverse City Film Festival is exciting enough for some that food can be an after-thought.
Thankfully, the festival, in partnership with local food businesses, can satisfy those ticket-line or in-between-shows cravings.
“We have all the pop and candy and popcorn that you’d expect from a film festival because we want to provide a theater experience,” said Steve Adcock, concessions manager for the festival. “But many people are going from film to film to film, and we do want to provide options other than soda and candy.”
That’s where the festival’s sandwich program comes in. The concessions team works with several local restaurants to create six different sandwiches specifically for the event.
“We work really hard to find theater-friendly sandwiches that are very tasty,” Adcock said, “but we also strive to make them practical for somebody on the go. All of the sandwiches are self-contained in eco-friendly packages that don’t make a lot of noise as you open them.”
He believes this year’s selection is especially delicious. The lineup: Lighthouse Turkey Cheddar from Grand Traverse Pie Company, Ham and Cheese from Chef’s In, Turkey with Dried Cherries from The Kitchen, Roasted Red Pepper Hummus Veggie Wrap and Tom Terrific Wrap, both from Center Street Café.
The sandwiches are for sale inside each of the six main film venues: State Theatre, City Opera House, Old Town Playhouse, Milliken Auditorium, Lars Hockstad Auditorium and the new Bijou by the Bay.
An assortment of locally-made snacks also is available, including fresh-baked scones and cookies from EuroStop Café, treats from Morsels, Zen Bars and Puddles from Grocer’s Daughter Chocolates, Cherry Sours from Benjamin Twiggs, trail mixes from The Cherry Stop, dried apple slices from Nature’s Treats, Stix & Stones and Coco Mojo Mix from Sweet Asylum, as well as fresh apples and bananas.
Each evening at the Open Space, House of Doggs, Jet’s Pizza, and Moomer’s serve their famous fare. Wunsch Farms contributes its fresh sweet cherries and Aw … Shucks serves up fresh roasted corn.
During Kids Fest, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. through Saturday, hot dogs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, make-your-own trail mix and fresh fruit parfaits are served on the lawn in front of Lars Hockstad Auditorium.
Hungry festival-goers looking for something more substantial will find special menu items at many downtown restaurants. Red Ginger added more sushi offerings to cater to travelers from both near and far. Phil’s on Front recommends its watermelon salad, a dish the restaurant served at Tuesday’s Opening Night Party. And Brew prepares boxed lunches, available right at the door, as a grab-and-go option.
Some restaurants offer extended hours to accommodate the late night crowd and most have nightly specials.
Food trucks also figures heavily in this year’s festival food scene.
Gary Jonas of Little Fleet said six food trucks will be stationed at 448 East Front Street every day of the festival: Roaming Harvest, EZ Cheesy, Anchor Station, Pigs Eatin’ Ribs, Beet Box from Ann Arbor, and Friends with Food, the newest local food truck to join the scene.
“We have something great planned for every night of the week,” he said, adding that food will be served there until 11 p.m.
Becky Tranchell and David Silver, owners of Friends with Food, said their farm-to-table affordable brunch includes stuffed French toast, huevos rancheros, kale and eggs, BLTs and a chopped, fresh salad, almost all of which is sourced from Michigan growers. They serve brunch from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
With so many different options and venues, food providers say there’s no need to go hungry this week.
“This is a real community celebration,” Adcock said. “We want to welcome our guests to Traverse City, keep them going with great food and provide everyone with a wonderful festival experience.”
Phil’s Watermelon Salad
3 watermelon slices, cut into triangles
6 arugula leaves
1 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
Place three watermelon triangles on a plate. Garnish with arugula leaves. Sprinkle with goat cheese, sea salt and a whisp of balsamic glaze.
— Phil Murray, Phil’s On Front
Green Eggs and Ham
2 bunches chopped kale, stems removed
2 T. butter
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. apple cider vinegar
6 slices bacon
Sea salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375°. Lay bacon flat on a broiler pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. Don’t wait until bacon is completely firm to remove from the oven as bacon firms up as it cools. Wash the kale and pat dry. Blanch for 30 seconds and immediately submerge into an ice bath, then drain and squeeze out excess water. Melt butter in a large pan. Add onion and sauté until soft, translucent. Add garlic, kale and vinegar and toss together until heated. Season with sea salt and pepper.Fry up the eggs just the way you like in a non-stick pan with a little butter. Season with sea salt and pepper. Pile up your plate with kale, eggs, and a couple slices of bacon and enjoy.
— Becky Tranchell, Friends with Food