New Year, new plan, new trip, and new experiences. My 1st trip of year 2013 was Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was my 2nd time and was our last trip before we head out to Asia and Europe. We were there for my husband’s project which is, of course, about Beer. I am very impressed with the brewery business in the Midwest. The brewers will help each other even though they work in different breweries. If any of them needs help or has a problem during brewing their beer, they can call each other. It is different from other businesses that I have known about.
We went to a few breweries. The 1st one was Grand Rapids Brewing Company. They have been open since December 5th 2012. They also are the Michigan’s first USDA-certified organic brewery. They open every day from 3 pm on weekday and 11am on the weekend. The tables were full before we left at 5.30pm. We went back at 8 pm to have dinner with friends. Fortunately we had booked a table in advance. I had Polish sausages which were recommended by the brewery. They said they made it from scratch. They served it with potato salad which is very different from other potato salad that I had before. I asked a waiter what the ingredients were and he was kind to go back to the kitchen and ask the chef. He said it had brown sugar, vinegar, and fennel. I think it tasted a bit like black licorice.
The next day, we went to Real Food Café for late lunch. They are a local family owned business in Grand Rapids and open on Tue-Fri from 6am-2pm, Sat from 7am-2pm, and Sun from 8am to 2pm. We got there around 1 pm and there were more than 20 people waiting for tables. I saw a sign “1st come 1st serve at the counter”, so we kept looking for available seats at the counter instead of waiting for a table. Luckily we were waiting only 15 minutes. I was wondering why most people, especially a couple, want to wait for an hour for a table instead of 15 minutes waiting for available seats at the counter. My husband said it is more comfortable. For me, I prefer any first available spot. Anyhow, I had a hard time ordering food because they have too many interesting choices on their menu. I finally ordered Wafflewich. It is a waffle, eggs, and bacon. It was very delicious. I also had a chance to snap some photos of other people’s food as it passed over the counter.
After a few hours, we went to Brewery Vivant. I thought we came to the wrong place because it is very different from other breweries that I had been to. It was a funeral home from 1894-1980. The design and symbols of the stained glass window are not any particular religion. The Brewery Vivant also is LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized green building certification system).
After a few drinks at Brewery Vivant, we walked to the next door restaurant, Grove, which serves creative fresh food from local sources. On the night that we went, they had 3 courses for $25. My first course was Bay Scallop Ceviche (shaved vegetables, turnip, radish, fennel, celery, parsley, preserved lemon vinaigrette).
My second course was Thai style beef salad. Normally I won’t eat any Thai food at any restaurants because I know it’s not going to be real Thai food but this place is exceptional. I was curious what kind of Thai style they had. I have to say not bad at all even though it’s not spicy.
My third course was house made Fettuccini Bolognese. I love noodles and they had Grassfield’s Gouda in this recipe. Worth trying, right?
We ended our meal with Dark Chocolate Fudge (brown butter brioche crostini, bourbon sauce, crème fraiche, almond praline) and Dilley’s Favorite Butterscotch Pudding (caramel, sea salt, Chantilly cream, short bread.) I really like Dark Chocolate Fudge and it can’t go wrong with caramel and sea salt. I’m drooling!
Good bye Grand Rapids, I hope I can come back here again 🙂