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  • Post #61 - July 20th, 2012, 12:06 pm
    Post #61 - July 20th, 2012, 12:06 pm Post #61 - July 20th, 2012, 12:06 pm
    NFriday wrote:Hopefully you stopped at my sister's fruit stand, Fruit Acres at the Coloma, I-94 exit, and sampled some of her peaches. She should be having free stone peaches in a few days, but all her Red Haven peaches froze out. She has a number of varieties that she has bred herself, that are just as good as the Red Haven peaches though, and some of her peach orchards have 75% of a crop, which is way more than most of the other peach growers have this year. Hope this helps, Nancy


    I believe I did stop there (there's two fruit stands right at the exit, I think one of them is a former gas station, we were at the other). Awesome apricots and nectarines when we were there.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #62 - July 20th, 2012, 8:03 pm
    Post #62 - July 20th, 2012, 8:03 pm Post #62 - July 20th, 2012, 8:03 pm
    I spent last weekend in Grand Rapids.

    First, we stopped at Redemek's across the Michigan border. After lunch, I honestly don'y know why. A below average hamburger for the second straight time.

    Wealthy Street Bakery is in a neighborhood just north of the downtown area. They have a great variety of baked goods and all of them are excellent. However, I honestly have to admit that it was one of the most expensive bakeries taht I have been to (outside of Dayton, TN). They serve Intelligencia coffee, if that is a draw.

    In the same vicinity (and mentioned up thread for its pizza), is the Nantucket Baking Co. They have pretty much the selection as does Wealthy St. but are more reasonably prices. The breads and the danish and the scones are excellent. However, whenever I have the opportunity for excellent pretzels for breakfast, I take it. They make some of the best lye-dipped soft pretzels that I have ever tasted. I would go there every day if given the opportunity.

    Next door is Martha's Vineyard, a very interesting specialty market that has a variety of prepared foods. Unfortunately, I am never hungry when I get there.

    When I am not eating pretzels for breakfast, I really like pies. Especially more than one pie. Earl's Farm Market has several pies by the slice.
    The BEST was the blueberry. Not only was it very fresh but there was a spice in the filling that was unique and gave it a great taste.



    Wealthy St. Bakery
    Monday - Saturday 6:30 am to 9:00 pm
    610 Wealthy SE | Grand Rapids, MI 49503
    Phone (616) 301-2950 | Fax (616) 301-3080
    http://www.wealthystreetbakery.com/

    Nantucket Baking Company
    200 Union Ave NE,
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503
    (616) 726-6609
    http://nantucketbakingco.com/

    Martha’s Vineyard
    200 Union Ave NE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503
    (616) 459-0911
    http://www.mvwines.com/

    Earl's Farm Market
    1630 Blue Star Hwy
    Fennville/Glenn, MI 49408
    269-227-2074
    http://www.earlsfarmmarket.com/
  • Post #63 - August 26th, 2012, 1:39 pm
    Post #63 - August 26th, 2012, 1:39 pm Post #63 - August 26th, 2012, 1:39 pm
    I recently returned from another summer-long sojourn to the Saugatuck area and here are my notes on the ever- challenging quest to find good stuff to eat in the area:

    Jefe wrote:My favorite new spot to eat is Pizza Mambo, which was opened this summer by one of the owners of Everyday People. They have a limited menu of pizza, sandwiches, and salads and I also must add that their location in a strip mall sandwiched between a tanning spa and movie rental is not Saugatuck's most picturesque. All said, though, they turn out a delicious product with high quality ingredients and a clearly considerate touch. The pizza is surprisingly maybe best compared to tavern style, with a thin crisp crust. It has an slight chew in the crust though and the cornmeal dusting set it apart from this style as well as the offering of more gourmet toppings.

    Mambo is going stronger than ever, their crispy thin crust is better any average thin crust on the north side of Chicago. I would eat here all the time if it was in the city. Sausage, jalapeño, mushroom is my go to. Worth noting, they moved down the Blue Star to Douglas directly across from Demond's Supervalu. There is no seating inside, but they offer a patio. My favorite trick is to take one to go to eat at Oval Beach.

    The Taco Loco at Ray's Tamale King at the Holland Farmer's Market also remains a fave, though they have their off days (overcooked rice or the meat not cooked out back on the grill). The price has risen to a steep $5.50 in recent years, but its almost a burrito's worth of food on a taco sized tortilla, so its pretty much worth the price. For a cheaper breakfast I hit DeBoer Bakkerij's new food truck for a piping hot, super flaky pig in a blanket for $1.50.
    Image
    Ray's Taco Loco

    Jefe wrote:I have had some pretty lousy experiences at Everyday People lately... rubbery, fishy mussels, dry pork chops, not so good... The only menu item that is 100% on for me is the tapas platter, which as a glorified cheese plate really speaks very little of the kitchen's skills.

    Ditto, had some abhorrent mussels this summer. I stick to the cheese plates- they now have a local one that features excellent Grassfields Dutch style cheeses out of Coopersville (that are inexplicably all drizzled in honey).

    To plug Grassfields further- they have a stand at the Holland Farmer's Market (and have for years). I have seen them occasionally at Green City Market. From their website:
    We make and age the cheese right on the farm. We use only our own (grassfed) cows' certified organic fresh (raw) milk which is free of GMOs, hormones, steroids, and antibiotics, to make flavor-intense live cheeses.

    Some of the finest cheese from Michigan- my perennial fave is their leyden- a sharp gouda base flecked with cumin seeds. I have also grown particularly fond of their "Polkton Corners" a funky, creamy semi-soft cheese with a center that goes gooey at room temp.
    Image
    A little party on my porch featuring Grassfield's Polkton Corners (left) and leyden (right).

    Jefe wrote:My favorite is the restaurant section of a family owned stripmall, called Huyhn Plaza which also houses a surprisingly well stocked Asian grocer that makes definitely passable banh mi. In between the grocery and restaurant is an obnoxious and smoky pool hall called Shooter's. I love the bun at the restaurant and think it compares to similar bowls on Argyle. The pho is okay- no Tank Noodle, but hits the spot in a pinch.

    Oddly, every time I have dined here in the past two summers, the sit down restaurant has been closed, yet they offer the Thai/Vietnamese menu at Shooters along with an exhaustingly long menu of bar food concoctions. Last year I shockingly ate a bowl of textbook pho surrounded by pool players and Keno machines. This year, on my one visit, I did not fare so well. The harried bartender explained that he was doing all of the cooking that night (he was definitely not Asian, for what its worth). Fried squid was fried rock hard but had a garlicky kick to the batter. The pho was skimpy on the meat and noodles and had a crazy MSG whallop. Maybe the restaurant is open for lunch with a different staff?

    Heading north, I attempted a Grand Rapids food crawl based on a buddy's recs. Choo Choo Grill was a must for diner style burgers and he warned me they were only open until 5. The grizzled proprietor was locking up as we arrived at 4:15, they close at 4. Too bad, looked like a cool place.
    Image

    We were on a mission to hit up an Indian grocery for ingredients that we couldn't find down in our parts and headed down Division St. Starving, we hit up a converted old drive in, now a taqueria called San Jose.
    Image

    The menu was pretty classic taqueria fare. I ordered a taco de barbacoa and a taco de chicharron en salsa verde.
    Image

    Image
    Always hard to capture the true character of a taco in a snapshot with all that cilantro in the way, but these tacos were pretty damn good, especially the unctuous and tangy chicharron. Barbacoa was supple and good, though my buddy's birria was surprisingly fantastic, tender and highly seasoned with adobo.

    We hit India House grocery, which also does catering and spare sit down restaurant business. It reminded me very much of Royal Malabar Catering in Glenview, though Sikh owned. We were there for spices and other groceries, so we didn't sample any of their cooking. Their selection of dry goods was great- we picked up black lentils, nigella seeds, and black cardamon. There were little to no fresh groceries though and we left without the curry leaves on our shopping list.

    A quick stop at Founder's for a beer was okay. There were very few beers on draught that you can't buy at a well stocked liquor store. I sampled an underwhelming kolsch (avoiding high gravity stuff as I was driving). What is it about large scale brew pubs that feels so corporate (and so jam band aesthetic oriented)- so much merch and faux old timey pub decor. The place was packed with an after work crowd and was not really our scene.

    We hit the legendary (with the Eastown college kid/ late night drunk set) Yesterdog on our way out of town. It had that lived in vibe of an old school down and dirty haunt which we dug.
    Image

    The food though- ouch!
    Image
    Lifeless, skinless, sub- Oscar Meyer quality dogs. Saved by the greasy goo of their chill on the Yesterdog but reduced further to mush by the garbage kraut? on the krautdog. Not good. The only interesting moment of these dogs was an abundance of shredded pickle, which unfortunately could not save this trash.

    To save my palette I stopped in Pita House across the street for a chicken shwarma, which was reheated in a saucepan, producing a grease laden sandwich that was too dripping and slick to hold itself in a to- go foil wrapper. It had a few things going for it- pickled turnips and a pretty good hot sauce. However, I could not eat it fresh in the car because of the mess factor and it did not fare so well on the ride home, turning to a congealed sloppy mess. Pita House does have a pretty cool grocery section though, stocked with a wide variety of Middle Eastern pickles, condiments, and sweets and an intriguing selection of non-alcoholic malt- based beverages.

    Back to breweries, I spent an awesomely laid back afternoon at Bell's in Kalamazoo. I can't recommend a visit there highly enough. Unlike Founder's their tap room has genuine character, with a curated, eclectic sense of decor (though still kinda jam bandy).
    Image
    They had all sorts of interesting beers on tap.
    I tried the smoked Viennese lager which was crisp and refreshing with just enough smokiness. It paired incredibly with their house-smoked Amber Ale marinated beef jerky. I liked it so much I had two- and at $3.50 a pour, not to be beat. I also had a rich, complex India Rye Ale, which like Two Hearted, was a perfectly balanced hoppy big beer. The true joy of Bell's though is their beer garden, spacious and very well designed- there is actually garden here to go with your beer, lined with lovely flowering trees with songbirds, butterflies, and dragonflies circling overhead. A just lovely way to spend a summer's afternoon.

    My favorite food discovery happened back in Holland at a take out soul food counter called Daddio's which one of my co-workers repeatedly recommended on my partially deaf ears.
    Image
    A tiny little building, though spotless and adorable, the owners (a husband and wife?) were so very engaging and thrilled to talk soul food with us. The stewed turkey legs would not be ready until dinner, but the greens had been on since early that morning, which she let us sample before we ordered. She had fried chicken legs ready, but the thighs were still in the fryer. They would be ready in 15 minutes, so she recommended that perhaps we run some other errands. And we wanted those thighs.
    Image

    We ate al trunko:
    Image
    The greens were perfect- tender with shreds of smoked turkey leg. The mac and cheese too- why is it that when I make it at home I always have to get all fancy with a béchamel which ends up melding with the noodles in a starchy paste when down home versions like this are made by chefs not adverse to Velveeta. This stuff was the goods.

    Image
    Thigh close up. The chicken was piping hot out of the fryer and very good because of that, though was not incredibly spiced- more of a simple crisp batter style. No matter though, Daddio's is turning out textbook soul food classics made thoughtfully and from scratch. A gem in an otherwise ho-hum region for good eating.

    Pizza Mambo
    3465 Blue Star Highway
    Saugatuck, MI 49408
    (269) 857-4400

    Holland Farmers' Market
    8th Street (between Pine & Maple Aves.)
    Holland, MI 49423
    http://www.cityofholland.com/Brix?pageID=421

    Everyday People Cafe
    11 Center St
    Douglas, MI 49406
    (269) 857-4240

    Huyhn/Shooter's
    143 Douglas Ave
    Holland, MI 49424
    (616) 394-9200

    Choo Choo Grill
    1209 Plainfield Avenue Northeast
    Grand Rapids, MI 49505
    (616) 774-8652

    La Taqueria San Jose
    1338 S Division
    Grand Rapids, MI 49507
    (616) 284-2297

    India Town Catering
    3760 Division Ave S
    Wyoming, MI 49548
    (616) 243-1219

    Founder's Brewing
    235 Grandville Ave SW
    Grand Rapids, MI 49503
    (616) 776-1195

    Yesterdog
    1505 Wealthy Street Southeast
    Grand Rapids, MI 49506
    (616) 262-3090

    Pita House
    1450 Wealthy St SE
    Grand Rapids, MI 49506
    (616) 454-1171

    Bell's Eccentric Cafe
    355 East Kalamazoo Avenue
    Kalamazoo, MI
    (269) 382-2332

    Daddio's Carry Outs
    567 College Avenue
    Holland, MI 49423
    (616) 594-5376
  • Post #64 - March 11th, 2013, 10:28 am
    Post #64 - March 11th, 2013, 10:28 am Post #64 - March 11th, 2013, 10:28 am
    This one goes immediately to the top of the list:

    La Pita is a new Dearborn-style Lebanese place in St. Joe's that already blows most of what we have here in Chicago out of the water and immediately becomes one of the very best options in SW Michigan, at least in my book. In a strip mall near the Chili's, it's very pleasant in that Detroit 'burb "Greek/Middle Eastern family diner with booths" way. Three kinds of kibbeh, for starters, including a very complex, harissa-heavy raw version. I thought the other meats I tried (shawarma, chicken kebob), were excellent, as were the sides. Thin, lavash-ish pita suffered a bit, likely not made in house and "imported" from points east in MI was still OK. They have the Detroit-Arab favorite, mjadara, though I did not try it. The menu pics (menu linked below) are very representative of the food served, more so than my bad phone pics. Really nice folks. I hope they do well.

    I believe this could be a beach outpost of a mini-empire of La Pitas in the Detroit Metro, going from the name and menu. It is a very polished operation for an "ethnic" spot in that neck of the woods, which further supports the supposition. Happily enough, the town’s only Thai place (which gets good reviews but looks rather generic menu-wise) is across the street, and around the corner is a really terrific liquor store with a big selection of Michigan beers, including kegs, and extremely solid for the area booze and wine choices, the Liquor Cabinet. A very bright spot in a sea of chains near the highway and mediocre tourist oriented spots near the beach.


    http://www.lapitarestaurant.com/dinner.html

    La Pita
    2019 Niles Rd St Joseph, MI 49085
    (269) 982-0982

    Liquor Cabinet
    1332 Hilltop Rd
    Saint Joseph, MI 49085
    (269) 408-8579

    A bit more light reading on Dearborn Lebanese spots makes me think this place is somehow related to the formerly insanely popular La Shish empire, 1,000 employees strong and led by a colorful guy now on the lam from the feds in Beirut. When that business fell apart, apparently it begat a number of very similar places. The La Pita sign shares the unique graphics of La Shish, in particular a trademark flourish from the name at the bottom of the sign skewering photos of grilled meat. In any event, I'm a fan of the food at La Pita.
  • Post #65 - March 30th, 2013, 1:40 pm
    Post #65 - March 30th, 2013, 1:40 pm Post #65 - March 30th, 2013, 1:40 pm
    Count Mrs. JiLS and me as fans of La Pita, as well. On the above recommendation, we stopped in today for lunch. Baba ghanouge and hommus (I'm adopting La Pita's spellings here) were both delightful and as good as any I've had in Chicago. Although I suppose it's somewhat peculiar for a restaurant named "La Pita" to not bake its own signature dish, I agree with JeffB that this was maybe "imported" from somewhere else (a clue being it came wrapped in plastic and room temperature). It was perfectly acceptable if on the thin side, and you could argue the choice was advantageous in not encouraging or allowing patrons to get too filled up on the bread at the appetizer stage; and if the pita was something of a wallflower in taste and proportion, that only helped highlight the wonderfulness of the baba and the hommus.

    I went with a falafel sandwich, which was large and stuffed from end to end with hot and crispy falafel; however, the highlight of this sandwich (or at least what made it work so well) was the presence of some truly outstanding pickles in the mix, which added a bright contrast to the other, savory fillings. Mrs. JiLS had the chicken shawarma sandwich, which was also a strong contender in its category (and again benefited from the presence of the pickles).

    Finally, the strawberry smoothie ("Milk Cocktail" on the menu) was mighty fine as a drink or dessert, with the noticeable presence of honey in the mix making it extra special. The service was attentive and friendly. We know we will be back, as we are often in the area and were looking for just this sort of a spot.
    JiLS
  • Post #66 - March 30th, 2013, 3:01 pm
    Post #66 - March 30th, 2013, 3:01 pm Post #66 - March 30th, 2013, 3:01 pm
    While I do not drink, I think that I have been on every brewery and distillery tour in the United States over the years.

    And the New Holland Brewery and Distillery would be one of the best tours available.
    http://newhollandbrew.com/

    The tours start at 12 Noon ET at the brewery which is located in a industrial park just outside of town. It is NOT located in the restaurant in the middle of town. The cost is $10 for a 90 minute tasting tour which includes four plastic cups of bear and up to six shots of their various distilled spirits. It is a 21 and over tour.

    One of the more unique bears is Dragons Milk which is aged in Whiskey barrels.
  • Post #67 - June 30th, 2013, 8:41 pm
    Post #67 - June 30th, 2013, 8:41 pm Post #67 - June 30th, 2013, 8:41 pm
    Since my earlier rave about La Pita, the Lebanese restaurant in St. Joseph, I've been back three or four times, and it just gets better as we delve deeper into the menu. Mrs. JiLS and I entertained an old friend from New York this past weekend, staying in and around SW Michigan, and La Pita was the obvious lunch choice. After one meal at La Pita, we made it two at our friend's request. Very glad we did so.

    With respect to items we'd had before (e.g., the meza plate standards), the key word here is "consistency." Four meals, over a couple of months, at various times of day, on various days of the week ... the food is prepared exactly the same, to the same exacting levels of excellence. Service also is great.

    New dishes we tried this time were the Mousakaa, which was the best item we've had so far from the La Pita menu, with a brilliantly conceived mix of bright acidity rising out of a red, oily, rich umami-filled sauce, and girded with satisfying textures of properly cooked chick peas. We also tried the Mjadara, described above by JeffB as a Detroit-area favorite, and certainly unknown to us prior to La Pita's version; I would recommend it, but only as a dish to split, as it was a physically dense and extremely filling mix of lentils and bulgur, only lightly seasoned; maybe an acquired taste, but I thought it needed some sauce, and mixing bites with the Mousakka took care of that smartly. Consuming a full order of the Mjadara also guarantees intestinal regularity for a 48- to 72-hour hour period.

    Other dishes tried included the stuffed lamb, which was delicious, consisting of bite-sized bits of lamb embedded in a cylinder of seasoned rice; the lamb was funky and tasted like lamb should. I wish they would branch out and try to do more with the lamb.

    I am confident La Pita would be a GNR if it were in the Chicagoland area. Here is their website: La Pita.

    La Pita
    2019 Niles Road
    St. Joseph, MI 49085
    (269) 982-0982
    JiLS
  • Post #68 - July 1st, 2013, 11:17 am
    Post #68 - July 1st, 2013, 11:17 am Post #68 - July 1st, 2013, 11:17 am
    This is nice to hear. I will be working my way through the menu in coming weekends. Only so much perch, burgers and carniceria tacos one can eat in Harbor Country. Middle Eastern at this level hardly exists outside Dearborn in the US, and yet there it is in a strip mall by the beach 90 minutes away.
  • Post #69 - May 27th, 2014, 8:26 am
    Post #69 - May 27th, 2014, 8:26 am Post #69 - May 27th, 2014, 8:26 am
    I dont remember rolling up this part of the lake very often in the past, or at least not as far as Holland. - never like losing an hour or 90/94 through Northern Indiana.. Bit the bullet with the long weekend and am glad we went.

    I hit up Jefe for a little intel on a couple spots I was interested in and got some good rec's as well - appreciated.

    Perch was on my mind this day trip up and around the lake on Sat. Left my spot in the IRV around early and still got back before 10 p.m. - with time for a stop at a crowded Spicy Thai Lao for dinner in burbank on the way home.

    Called Lamberts Fish and Poultry at around 10 a.m. to see when they started serving fish, guy said hed turn the fryer on now if I was headed that way. All Good. Lamberts has been around since 1945, they provide a bit of the poultry and fish to local spots.

    Image

    went with a lake perch dinner, Walleye also looked good. They will fry it up for you or sell it to take home and cook. I also grabbed up a couple whole chickens for $1.99/lb for the rotisserie.

    perch dinner:

    Image

    a little greasy, but good and fresh - nice breakfast.

    birds I banged out back home on Sunday -
    Image

    Lamberts Fish and Seafood
    689 Michigan Ave.
    Holland, MI.

    http://lambertsfood.com/main/

    Across the street from Lamberts is a strip mall with a donut shop and a Mexican market. Both interesting:

    Donutville
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    I was full from perch, but vangie and shay dug these donuts.

    Donutville
    676 Michigan Ave. Suite # 1
    Holland, MI.

    616-396-1160

    La Conestida:
    Image

    Full market with meat counter and hot food. -

    some of the largest chicharones I have seen:

    Image

    La Cosentida
    676 Michigan Ave.
    Holland, MI.

    A quick drive from Holland to Saugatuck, Jefe's recommended spot of the Red Dock:

    Image

    my type of place Dead flag flying, picnic tables on the water.:

    Image

    Ham Reuben... worked.. really well:

    Image

    Brats...

    Image

    Really nice place to spend a couple hours, Cash only..

    Image

    Red Dock
    127 Hoffman
    Saugatuck, MI.

    Some pics ill share:

    Holland, MI.:

    Image

    South Haven, MI.:

    Image

    Down in St. Joseph, MI.(probably my favorite spot with Saugatuck) we hit Clementines Too for some perch:

    Image

    nice perch filets - big and meaty, breading way to heavy and "italian" seasoned.

    Clementies Too
    1235 Broad Street
    St. Joseph, MI.

    http://www.ohmydarling.com/

    Their location in South Haven - neat old building:

    Image

    Clementines
    500 Phoenix St..
    South Haven, MI.


    Really liked St. Josephs and the whole Harbor Country area - & for how close it actually is(all these towns are short drives working north to south) I definitley see a return trip to St. Josephs soon. Loved the beach, etc. - and I have a handfull of spots we just dint have time to hit before heading back west.
  • Post #70 - May 27th, 2014, 11:53 am
    Post #70 - May 27th, 2014, 11:53 am Post #70 - May 27th, 2014, 11:53 am
    Best perch is probably Thirsty Perch in South Haven, which claims to be local from Lake Michigan.

    I don't much like the dripping in butter pan style (almost like perch De Jonge) at Clementines, which many consider an upgrade, but I believe they will deep fry if you ask - much more in line with local standards.

    Best around St. Joe's for my money is BT's in Sister Lakes. A real dump locals and weekender place, with lots of misses, but they nail the perch and home fries. Homemade soups are good, too.

    The Buck by the beach in St. Joe's is like Bad Apple in the city somewhat. Good over the top burgers ad a massive list of MI only taps. A sleeper there is the perch sandwich - menu says locally farmed fish. Nice roof deck.

    Silver Beach Pizza in the Amtrack station on the beach (below the bluff) is serviceable pie, very good calzones (which employ different and in my view better dough and sauce), and great family fun. Indoor/outdoor deck. Don't think I have been served colder beer. They have heavy, frozen schooners and a good list.
  • Post #71 - May 27th, 2014, 2:03 pm
    Post #71 - May 27th, 2014, 2:03 pm Post #71 - May 27th, 2014, 2:03 pm
    Thirsty Perch was on my short list, but parking in and around downtown South Haven was the toughest vs the other towns we rolled through -

    was also curious about Jonah's in S. Haven

    http://www.jonahsseafoodkitchen.com/
    Last edited by jimswside on June 11th, 2014, 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #72 - May 27th, 2014, 2:16 pm
    Post #72 - May 27th, 2014, 2:16 pm Post #72 - May 27th, 2014, 2:16 pm
    I really love Red Dock. Not the greatest food but between the ideal location - right on the water, the super laid-back vibe and the outstanding tunes, it's one of my very favorite places to spend some quality time. I've always driven there and walked down the pier but someday I hope to pull up directly in a boat.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #73 - May 27th, 2014, 2:36 pm
    Post #73 - May 27th, 2014, 2:36 pm Post #73 - May 27th, 2014, 2:36 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I really love Red Dock. Not the greatest food but between the ideal location - right on the water, the super laid-back vibe and the outstanding tunes, it's one of my very favorite places to spend some quality time. I've always driven there and walked down the pier but someday I hope to pull up directly in a boat.

    =R=


    I was actually pleasantly surprised by the sandwiches.

    I also enjoyed a few rounds across the lake at The Butler, restaurant with a large outdoor deck. Met some nice guys from Detroit and respectfully chatted some Tigers/White Sox,.

    The Butler
    40 Butler Street
    Saugatuck, MI.

    http://www.butlerrestaurant.com/
  • Post #74 - May 27th, 2014, 3:03 pm
    Post #74 - May 27th, 2014, 3:03 pm Post #74 - May 27th, 2014, 3:03 pm
    jimswside wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I really love Red Dock. Not the greatest food but between the ideal location - right on the water, the super laid-back vibe and the outstanding tunes, it's one of my very favorite places to spend some quality time. I've always driven there and walked down the pier but someday I hope to pull up directly in a boat.

    =R=


    I was actually pleasantly surprised by the sandwiches.

    http://www.butlerrestaurant.com/


    Jim ordered well with the ham Reuben, probably my fave.

    For all you fans of the Red Dock, I do a semi-monthly reggae DJ night there every other Wednesday night (or weather permitting) from 6:30 until sundown. If you're in the area, come on by!
  • Post #75 - May 28th, 2014, 3:40 pm
    Post #75 - May 28th, 2014, 3:40 pm Post #75 - May 28th, 2014, 3:40 pm
    JeffB wrote:Silver Beach Pizza in the Amtrak station on the beach (below the bluff) is serviceable pie, very good calzones (which employ different and in my view better dough and sauce), and great family fun. Indoor/outdoor deck. Don't think I have been served colder beer. They have heavy, frozen schooners and a good list.
    Silver Beach Pizza from what I remember is basically a bizarro version of Aurellio's Pizza including the same pizza serving trays. I have a feeling they stole/copied the recipe (and maybe some of the equipment!).
  • Post #76 - May 29th, 2014, 1:28 am
    Post #76 - May 29th, 2014, 1:28 am Post #76 - May 29th, 2014, 1:28 am
    It's more a modified Detroit style but I see where you are coming from. In fact, the pies at Silver Beach are pretty typical for Western Michigan in my experience - somewhere between Chicago tavern and Detroit thin. I'm not a huge fan. But the calzone are excellent. Much more like a Neapolitan crust and sauce.
  • Post #77 - June 10th, 2014, 6:37 pm
    Post #77 - June 10th, 2014, 6:37 pm Post #77 - June 10th, 2014, 6:37 pm
    Jefe wrote:
    Jefe wrote:My favorite is the restaurant section of a family owned stripmall, called Huyhn Plaza which also houses a surprisingly well stocked Asian grocer that makes definitely passable banh mi. In between the grocery and restaurant is an obnoxious and smoky pool hall called Shooter's. I love the bun at the restaurant and think it compares to similar bowls on Argyle. The pho is okay- no Tank Noodle, but hits the spot in a pinch.

    Oddly, every time I have dined here in the past two summers, the sit down restaurant has been closed, yet they offer the Thai/Vietnamese menu at Shooters along with an exhaustingly long menu of bar food concoctions. Last year I shockingly ate a bowl of textbook pho surrounded by pool players and Keno machines. This year, on my one visit, I did not fare so well. The harried bartender explained that he was doing all of the cooking that night (he was definitely not Asian, for what its worth). Fried squid was fried rock hard but had a garlicky kick to the batter. The pho was skimpy on the meat and noodles and had a crazy MSG whallop. Maybe the restaurant is open for lunch with a different staff?


    I think I figured out what the deal (inconsistency issues) is with this new incarnation of the restaurant formerly known as Huynh, now the hybridized pool hall/ bar & grill, Shooters, with its extensive menu of both American bar food soppage and Vietnamese favorites. Turns out there is one Vietnamese cook who does all the cooking with the exception of their day off on Tuesday (coincidentally my day off as well). They offer a limited selection of the Vietnamese chow that day, but my hunch is that an American does the cooking. So, my buddy who lives up here year-round dragged me back (not on a Tuesday) insisting that I would not be disappointed. I was not.

    Crispy Quail
    Image

    This has got to be the only quail dish in Holland, MI. Its fantastic though, so crisp that you can't help but chomping down all its little bones. And deeply marinaded to boot. Only drawback is the anomalous 1000 Island-y (not in a good Dancen way) dressed bed of salad.

    Bun Thit Nuong
    Image

    Perhaps not the hardest dish to f up, though all elements here were perfectly managed– springy noodles, abundant roughage, crisp fried shallots and peanut garnishes, perfectly fried spring roll, and most importantly succulent, full flavored, and really nicely charred pork and shrimp. The nuoc cham skewed too sweet, but their house-made chili oil with significant burn, made up for it. You'd be hard pressed to find a better version in Chicago.

    My buddy got an obscenely huge piled plate of grilled meats atop rice which included a seemingly house made pork cake, which was popping with lemongrass and a tempura-battered-like shrimp cake that had clean shrimpy flavor and a delightfully springy texture.

    The menu unfortunately lacks other Vietnamese classics such as banh xeo or any salads to speak of. Next time I'll re-try the pho. But this small set of dishes we tried the other day easily puts this place back in my lunch rotation and is shockingly good for the area.

    Shooters 711 Bar & Grill
    143 Douglas Ave, Holland, MI 49424
    (616) 928-0297
    http://www.shooters711.com

    ^^peep the hilariously over-designed website^^
  • Post #78 - June 16th, 2014, 1:34 pm
    Post #78 - June 16th, 2014, 1:34 pm Post #78 - June 16th, 2014, 1:34 pm
    Stopped in at Salt of the Earth in Fennville on Saturday for some cocktails and decided to try some fresh cut fries and a pie. Of course we were told how good it was and I guess the chef has been playing around with the dough for a while now and is happy with where its at. Meh. I ate 3/4's of it by myself so I didn't hate it I'm just not a big fan of the thicker cut puffier crust pizzas like these. I prefer mine tavern thin or similar to those found at Stop 50 and Coalfire etc. The toppings were good as were the fries and it all made for a nice snack which came with friendly service. Cute place.

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    Whole Hog: Fresh Garlic Sausage - House Bacon - Sopressata

    Da Beef wrote:Michigan has some great farms with excellent local produce. So with it being blueberry season a stop into Earl's Berry Farm in Fennville, located along the Blue Star Highway was a must. Earl's is a fourth generation owned family farm. The family that runs it has been around the area for sometime.

    Image
    Earl's Farm in Fennville

    Berries are the specialty here and the blueberries were blooming during my visit. Available in U-Pick form as well as ready to go in their open air retail shop. Fresh veggies from other local farmers as well as jams, fresh baked breads and pastries and everything else you would find at a place like this are available. The blueberry crumbcake I bought to take home was amazing. Next door inside is an ice cream shop where they also make all the baked goods including some great looking pies. Both the blueberry milkshake which I had outside on the hot day we were there and the blueberry donuts, which I enjoyed the next morning after some other blueberry fun 8) were phenomenal.

    Image Image
    Blueberry daze in Michigan


    Image
    Strawberries are in full bloom at Earl's so a stop in for some shortcake was a must. Also purchased a $28/case. Most of them in there have had great natural sweet flavor. Gotta love summer.

    Salt of the Earth
    114 E Main St
    Fennville, MI 49408
    (269) 561-7258

    Earl's Farm Market
    1630 Blue Star Highway
    Fennville, MI 49408
    (269) 227-2074
  • Post #79 - June 22nd, 2014, 10:53 am
    Post #79 - June 22nd, 2014, 10:53 am Post #79 - June 22nd, 2014, 10:53 am
    jimswside wrote:I dont remember rolling up this part of the lake very often in the past, or at least not as far as Holland. - never like losing an hour or 90/94 through Northern Indiana.. Bit the bullet with the long weekend and am glad we went.

    I hit up Jefe for a little intel on a couple spots I was interested in and got some good rec's as well - appreciated.

    Perch was on my mind this day trip up and around the lake on Sat. Left my spot in the IRV around early and still got back before 10 p.m. - with time for a stop at a crowded Spicy Thai Lao for dinner in burbank on the way home.

    Called Lamberts Fish and Poultry at around 10 a.m. to see when they started serving fish, guy said hed turn the fryer on now if I was headed that way. All Good. Lamberts has been around since 1945, they provide a bit of the poultry and fish to local spots.

    Image

    went with a lake perch dinner, Walleye also looked good. They will fry it up for you or sell it to take home and cook. I also grabbed up a couple whole chickens for $1.99/lb for the rotisserie.

    perch dinner:

    Image

    a little greasy, but good and fresh - nice breakfast.



    Drove by last week and windows at Lambert's were papered over and my local sources report that they have closed for good. Looks like you beat me to the to-go counter, Jim, even though I've shopped retail there for 15+ years. Bummer.
  • Post #80 - June 22nd, 2014, 11:31 am
    Post #80 - June 22nd, 2014, 11:31 am Post #80 - June 22nd, 2014, 11:31 am
    Jefe wrote:
    Drove by last week and windows at Lambert's were papered over and my local sources report that they have closed for good. Looks like you beat me to the to-go counter, Jim, even though I've shopped retail there for 15+ years. Bummer.


    Hate to hear of spots open as long they have been closing down.
  • Post #81 - June 30th, 2014, 8:20 am
    Post #81 - June 30th, 2014, 8:20 am Post #81 - June 30th, 2014, 8:20 am
    jimswside wrote:Thirsty Perch was on my short list, but parking in and around downtown South Haven was the toughest vs the other towns we rolled through -



    Gave South Haven another shot this past Saturday after most of the afternoon down in St. Joes at the beach - really like this beach - all the amenities you need for a day at the beach and then go out for drinks/dinner.

    In St. Joes spent some time at The Buck - plenty of tables on the multil level decks in back - guessing you can see more than the parking lot from the top deck.

    decent perch sandwich(lil' dry):

    Image

    The Buck
    412 State Street
    St. Joseph, MI.

    http://eatatthebuck.com/

    I let the girls go shop and I hit Captain Lou's in South Haven - waterside right by the drawbridge. Wanted to go here a couple weeks ago but it was packed. Enjoyed some Beam and beer here, also noticed lake perch all over their menu - Perch tacos, a perch wrap, sandwich, basket, dinner. Coming back here.

    Image

    Captain Lou's
    278 Dyckman Ave.
    South Haven, MI.

    You know Im Always gonna slip something I like besides food in a post right - Old movie theatres - probably one of my favorite things - glad to see well maintained/preserved ones.

    Michigan Theater
    210 Center Street
    South Haven Twp., MI.

    Image

    Image

    Thirsty Perch,

    Image

    had a pretty decent meal here - way too dark for my camera to take pics. - of course went for the Perch dinner, good but based on the perch I have had in the 5 or spots I have hit in the region Ill take Johnson's in Indiana or Lombard over any ive had so far - im gonna keep searching -

    Also had some peel and eat shrimp, jonah crab claws and the Whitefish Natalie dish that was really good.

    Thirsty Perch
    272 Broadway
    South Haven, MI.

    http://tellorc.com/index.php/thirsty-pe ... outh-haven

    another nice visit to harbour country:
    Image
    Last edited by jimswside on June 30th, 2014, 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #82 - June 30th, 2014, 1:17 pm
    Post #82 - June 30th, 2014, 1:17 pm Post #82 - June 30th, 2014, 1:17 pm
    Meant to issue a down-hill alert for The Buck. Sorry. Had an absolutely terrible meal there last week. Sad to see such a nosedive, but it happens, especially out there. Hope it bounces back but I probably won't return. Silver Beach Pizza is the only place on the water in St. Joe that I've found to be consistently well-run -- perch-free, unfortunately.

    Best perch in the vicinity remains at BT's in Sister Lakes, though the place is a dump and I won't vouch for much else on the menu except the scratch made soups. Nearby, you will also find a wonderful drive-in, Lutz, showing 1st run blockbuster double features at dusk on weekends (10PM these days, so quite a late night to get through 2 movies), with an excellent burger drive-in (also with cheap cold beer if you eat inside the tiny dining room) on the same lot. Tacos at la Perla and a dozen farm stands on the way in.

    Capn Lou's up in SH is cool, and those tacos are a good deal with one plump fish per tortilla.

    Another noteworthy spot in the area is the ambitious Bread+Bar across the river from St. Joe's in Benton Harbor. This is a localvore-ish place from Tim Foley, famed baker of Bit O' Swiss, which supplies most of the better restaurants (and casinos)from Michigan City up to South Haven or Saugatuck. Anything with bread is good. Ditto the house-smoked whitefish. Prices and portions don't adhere to any rhyme or reason I could figure, so pay attention. It's near the clubhouse of the fancy new golf course and surrounding real estate project, the project for which the State of Michigan allegedly shut down and took over the town of BH. It's a fascinating city -- a decaying but picturesque downtown is bouncing back with breweries, BBQs, galleries and other small businesses, the golf course occupies huge swaths of former industry along the river, near harbors with luxury boats, while just past all of that are depressing, drug and gang-blighted, post-industrial neighborhoods. Meanwhile, Whirlpool continues to grow, adding white collar jobs and new buildings, but no longer really making anything in MI, as far as I know, and thus adding little for the former factory workers in town.... That said, Whirlpool has mostly stuck with BH (though the C-suite is here in the Reid, Murdoch & Co. Building), and both the founders' charitable fund and the golf course supposedly pump millions into the community.

    Random fact: model Kate Upton's great-grandfather Fred was the Henry Ford of home appliances (to the extent that wasn't Edison). He left Chicago to make electric washing machines across the lake. Must have been heady times 100 years ago in St. Joe/BH with a pier loaded with rides and 2 big ferries from Chicago daily, Whirlpool humming, and the Israelite House of David barnstorming and playing ball with the best of them. Great old story from the Reader about the latter, here: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/th ... oid=884861
  • Post #83 - July 30th, 2014, 7:43 pm
    Post #83 - July 30th, 2014, 7:43 pm Post #83 - July 30th, 2014, 7:43 pm
    Finally made it to Fricano's in Grand Haven. My experience is pretty much in line with everything said above by Da Beef and others: charming old spot, though the kitchen now staffed by high school looking-kids manning the peels and the scissors. Noticed a sheeter in the open kitchen, which would explain for the membranous-like crust. Cheap Oberon drafts a must in the neck of the woods, check.

    Image

    The old school menu/placemat was a highlight for me:

    Image

    Half sausage/ half anchovy:

    Image

    Pepperoni/mushroom:

    Image

    Pizzas were, again, just like what others have accounted, nice crisp edge with a halo of caramelized cheese spill-over. Structurally droopy throughout, though. The cheese had a nice tang and the sauce was bright. I loved the sausage, flecked with fennel and "tavern" through and through. Canned mushrooms, though thats probably authentic too. This place has been doing what they do just fine for years and it seems super popular with locals and tourists alike. I'd say its worth a stop if you're cursing through the area.
  • Post #84 - July 30th, 2014, 8:23 pm
    Post #84 - July 30th, 2014, 8:23 pm Post #84 - July 30th, 2014, 8:23 pm
    Food to Row the Boat to?
  • Post #85 - June 8th, 2015, 8:53 am
    Post #85 - June 8th, 2015, 8:53 am Post #85 - June 8th, 2015, 8:53 am
    Any suggestions for the Whitehall/Montague area? Cabbagehead and I are headed there for a long weekend this Thursday. We are especially interested in lunch and dinner places open Thurs-Sat. We are willing to drive, within reason, for something special. Thanks!
  • Post #86 - June 16th, 2015, 11:58 am
    Post #86 - June 16th, 2015, 11:58 am Post #86 - June 16th, 2015, 11:58 am
    Just north of you is Shelby Michigan and the Woodland Farm Market. Great pies.
    5393 W Shelby Rd
    Shelby, MI 49455

    (231) 861-5380
  • Post #87 - June 17th, 2015, 12:46 pm
    Post #87 - June 17th, 2015, 12:46 pm Post #87 - June 17th, 2015, 12:46 pm
    funkyfrank wrote:Just north of you is Shelby Michigan and the Woodland Farm Market. Great pies.

    Sorry we didn't know about this when we were up there.

    Probably our best meal was at GNR Stop 50 Pizza on our way north, but we had good if not great food while in this pretty area.

    Whitehall: Someone in the kitchen at the Harbor View Grille in Whitehall cares about the cooking. My fish and chips was very good, especially the fish (Alaskan cod). The place was doing good business on a wet Thursday night. We would have liked to try the bbq and taco truck parked outside Whitehall's new microbrewery, Fetch, but didn't have a chance to try either the food or the beer. Fetch only serves their beer, so food must be brought in. Pekadill's is a sandwich, soup, and ice cream place that puts out respectable grilled chicken and "barbecued" ribs on weekend nights. We enjoyed the ribs and chicken, which were clearly only finished on the grill, but were tasty and served with quite good salads and not so good cheesy potatoes. My husband found the mound of cheese-soaked soft hash browns edible enough; I did not.

    We also ate in Muskegon but had nothing there worth recording for posterity. Last year, we were also briefly in Muskegon and tried Mia and Grace, an intriguing if odd spot in downtown Muskegon only open during the day until 5 pm. I'd recommend a stop there if you have plenty of time to wait for the local and seasonal well-prepared food.

    We were able to buy some fantastic local asparagus and strawberries at a farmer's market on the road home. Love that Michigan produce!

    Harbor View Grille
    115 N. Mears
    Whitehall, MI
    (231) 893-0403
    http://harborviewgrille.com/index.html

    Pekadill's
    503 S. Mears
    Whitehall, MI
    (231) 894-9551
    http://www.pekadills.net/

    Fetch Brewing Company
    100 W. Colby St.
    Whitehall, MI
    (231) 292-1048
    http://www.fetchbrewing.com/

    Mia and Grace
    1133 3rd St.
    Muskegon, MI 49441
    (231) 725-9500
    http://miaandgrace.com/
  • Post #88 - July 8th, 2015, 8:36 am
    Post #88 - July 8th, 2015, 8:36 am Post #88 - July 8th, 2015, 8:36 am
    Heading up to Frankfort, MI this weekend for a week. Gonna do Sleeping Bear dunes, Traverse City and possibly drive up to Picture Rocks. Thanks for all the posts, just wanted to bump it to see if there is anything new/old that I should be eating up there.
  • Post #89 - July 8th, 2015, 9:43 am
    Post #89 - July 8th, 2015, 9:43 am Post #89 - July 8th, 2015, 9:43 am
    I had a decent meal at the Beach House Restaurant in Holland over the weekend. If you keep it simple (burgers & such), you'll be quite happy. Avoid the steaks! Drink the Bloody Marys.

    Beach House Restaurant
    7175 Lakeshore Dr
    West Olive, MI 49460
    (616) 796-8210
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #90 - October 28th, 2020, 8:00 pm
    Post #90 - October 28th, 2020, 8:00 pm Post #90 - October 28th, 2020, 8:00 pm
    Anyone have any tips for lunch in Niles, MI? Close to the police station (1600 Silverbrook) is ideal

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