Neither one of us are big cider drinkers, but we saw that Taproot Cider House in Traverse City, Michigan had vegan options on the menu and that was enough to draw us into the restaurant. We definitely did NOT leave disappointed! We did, however, leave full, but not grossly stuffed, and with a new found love of some incredible ciders!
What We Ordered
Carrots and Peas Fries- Local sugar snap peas and carrots fire roasted, lightly tossed and seasoned, served with spicy Thai peanut sauce. We started off with this as one of our appetizers and we were absolutely blown away by how much flavor was packed into this simple of a dish. Even Aryanna, the pickiest of us, was able to enjoy the carrots and peas and we quickly devoured this entire plate in record time. The sauce was an incredible blend of sweet and spicy as the peanuts played well off of the spices in the sauce and elevated this dish to a whole new level. We can’t recommend this one enough!
Fresh veggie summer rolls- Fresh medley of local herbs, sprouts, & vegetables in a rice wrap. Served with house-made sweet chili garlic sauce. The rolls themselves were pretty standard but good and the sauce that they came with was a good complement, however, they paired far better with the leftover peanut sauce that we had from the carrot and peas fries so we recommend asking for that. The chili garlic sauce kept it light and fresh, but with the Thai peanut sauce from our fries, they were much heavier and dense.
Weekly Noodle Bowl- Vegan friendly noodle bowl, chef’s choice of charred tofu, locally foraged mushrooms & seasonal vegetables with house broth and rice noodles. The broth really saves this dish from becoming more along the lines of mediocre. The rest of the vegetables are OK and the noodles are mostly there as a vessel, but the broth really elevates it into the next level. There are some great ginger and citrus flavors and overall the dish is light and flavorful. The tofu has a really good texture as well if you have an issue with tofu.
Custom pizza- Red sauce, jalapeños, garlic, local mushrooms, vegan cheese. Unfortunately this fell short of our expectations as vegan pizza was half of the reason we came to the restaurant in the first place. The worst part about it was we paid $1.50 for the mushrooms and maybe had a combined total of one mushroom on the pizza, which isn’t a detriment to Hayden’s taste buds! The chunks of garlic are massive so be warned if garlic isn’t your thing. Overall, it’s not bad, but we had higher hopes for the final product.
Thai Green Curry- Medley of zucchini, carrots & sugar snap peas on a bed of basmati rice. Toped with chili cashews, cilantro, and lime. This dish is spectacular. If you are torn on something to order from this place, forget all of your other options and go with the Thai Green Curry. Our only downside to this dish is that it seems extremely light on the curry and there were definitely bites that were missing it. However, for as little curry as there was, it was extremely strong on the palette and let you know that it was present. Hands down, this was our favorite dish of the night.
What we drank
Brut- Neither one of us really cared for this one as it was super dry. Especially when you lined this one up next to the rest of our flight, this one was way far into the dry spectrum.
House dry- This was Hayden’s favorite of the night as she likened it to champagne but without the heavy carbonation.
Elderberry- Aaron wanted to try this on name alone as it sounded regal. In the end it was getting more towards the sweet side of things and wasn’t too bad.
Rockin’ Cock- Another one we tried on name alone. This was much sweeter than any of the other ones and Aaron decided this was his favorite of the flight.
Lemongrass Lime- Aaron did NOT like this one. To him, it tasted like a bad combination of bad cider and citrus, but could also be contributed to the spiciness of the food messing with his taste buds. Hayden felt this went well with the noodle bowl.
Cranberry Ginger- This one was pretty heavy on the ginger flavor so if that’s not your thing, stay away. Not too bad, but it failed to stand out from the crowd as a contender for our favorite.
Cinnamon girl- Right out of the gate Hayden said this reminded her of everything she hates about Christmas. Aaron, however, felt like the name hit it right on the nose. It’s a light cinnamon and apple combination paired with the bubbliness of cider. This would be great in hot toddy form.
Taproot- Hayden absolutely loved this one and was definitely her favorite of the flight and almost the night. Has a definite bourbon flavor due to the aging process in bourbon barrels. The vanilla is a great finishing flavor that compliments the heavy bourbon taste by hitting your taste buds with some sweetness on the back end.
Lavender- Aaron hated this one. If you can picture, taste, or smell what you think this would be like, accentuate that to the extreme. There’s no guessing what this is flavored with.
El Chavo- We were split pretty heavily on this one where Hayden hated this and Aaron loved it. Hayden said this one reminded her too much of a form of cough syrup. On the flip side of that coin, Aaron said this was his favorite of the night. It just goes to show that cider is definitely a personal preference!
Tepache- Another one that we split very heavily. Hayden felt like this was her favorite of the night while Aaron took one sip and said “no thanks!” It has a very distinct pineapple flavor that overpowers all other aspects of the cider. To Aaron, it tasted like canned pineapple juice.
Blue River- Shockingly enough, there’s not a lot of flavor going on here. While this could be attributed to being the last taste on our flight, there are just no strong flavors here. It’s not bad, it just tasted like a different cider.
Name: Taproot Cider House
Location: 300 E Front St #104, Traverse City, MI 49684
Cuisine: Asian American
Vegan options: Quite a few vegan options and food that can be veganized
Dress code: Casual