Dear Grand Rapids,
It has been about a month and a half since our last encounter, due to being on the east side of Michigan for the summer after coming home from college. The food is not the same over here, and I spend many days thinking about all the wonderful places I miss….
(breaking the love note to Grand Rapids, I have an odd sense of humor to say the least)
I do miss the city and food incredibly much, It reminds me of the quality of food I had when visiting my family in Montreal every year. I also just miss the environment that the city has, for those who haven’t been to Grand Rapids it is not the Biggest city you could go to, but it is full of amazing people. It is a very “do it yourself” city, what I mean by this is so many people are hard at work crafting products in the city, or sourcing local ingredients. There is a focus on building a great city, that is eclectic with its own quarks. I’m not saying it is a perfect city but there are numerous reasons why I appreciate being a part of it. It has managed to create a blossoming accepting inclusive environment which is rare for the places surrounding it, which brings so much joy for my heart. I know it sounds cheesy but there are so many amazing hidden things going on in Grand Rapids. Especially food wise. I haven’t been able to fully explore Grand Rapids, but I have three more years and a car, mind you I am also pretty strapped financially being a college kid. I will continue to explore this lovely city because there are so many places for me to love to come.
Anyways I want to focus this post on a few of the parts of Grand Rapids that I have taken comfort in, these are places that I do sincerely miss being able to bus and walk to. I had a big year, a crazy year with a lot of loss, change, problems, and overcoming to do; these places provided me with some happiness and warmth.(many tears, many laughs) For this I am grateful, I really looked forward to going to these places and just enjoying myself. I know you should find happiness in yourself and I do, but these were just places I went to treat myself. It was always comforting to have such a lovely city with so many places I could look forward coming to.
- Ferris Coffee and Nut CO.: I listed this first because it was my favorite coffee store to go to, I started going every Friday my second semester of college. This is because I used first Semester to try all the other lovely coffee stores I could in Grand Rapids. (the bitter end, Palatte, The lanturn, Go Gava, Mad Cap, and a couple more) To say the least I had a lot of coffee. I started going to Ferris because it was close, and it served amazing coffee roasted in store (in store roasting is a big thing for me, just because I feel that it is cared for more, its another extra step that shows they care about what they are doing). I adore their new sea foam green cups, they just sit comfortably in your hand, they are rounded and made me feel at home. In addition they have lovely latte art, and a very modern rustic interior that I just loved to be in. Let me tell you I walked through many stormy days with no umbrella to get a cup of their coffee. Always worth it. I had their cafe meil once, and it was amazing (this was the first drink I had a every coffee store, basically it was my baseline drink I judged each shop by). After that I stuck to their lattes, which you can get house-made syrups in, and once spring hit the lavender latte was my regular order, which reminded me of the drink I get at the coffee store I go to at home. (As you can see I loved it, and could go on about the hours I spent studying and drawing in this coffee stores, I wont even get into the nut and candy/chocolate store inside the coffee shop that they also make, to die for).
- Two Beards: This was one of my go two lunches in Grand Rapids, because it is always amazing. I love their menu, for multiple reasons a.) all the sandwiches are named after people with beards B.) They have options, you can bring in anyone in and they will find something they can and want to eat (Vegan, GF, Vegetarian, ect..) C.) It is all high quality in store made stuff. Another thing I love is the people who work there are always friendly and just interesting people, and the place is decorated with gnomes which is so niche. It is just great. Plus you pay 10 dollars and get a large sandwich and I always had enough to have leftovers and eat it again. (Ten dollars for roughly two meals is not bad at all) Plus there are so many different choices I never get bored of it. They are also good about substitutions which was great for me because I always want to have options on top of options. You can always get just what you want.
- The Downtown Market: I fell in love with this place as soon as I pulled into the parking lot for the first time. What I loved the most about this Market is that it is great for going out to eat with a group of people, because they have everything that you could want all in one place. Seafood, Tacos, Sushi, Thai food, BBQ just anything. Not only is it great for this reason, but they stores that sell cooking items (or dessert or plants) all have a very specific and perfected craft. I like my food to be unique in someway or at least well sourced. I basically look for people who are creating or sourcing food out of great love for the food that they work to bring to the public. This market unties so many wonderful food concepts and promotes a very holistic community. It is pricier but it is a welcomed treat in my opinion.
- Furniture City Creamery: I would just like to throw out my favorite part about this ice cream store, Vegan ice cream, in-house, made in small batches. They make everything their from scratch. It is a welcomed cozy ice cream parlor, and they have a great variety of flavors. They also make dairy ice cream, and they have gf options, meaning they point out the ice creams that wont have any cookie crumbs or things that could irritate someone with gluten intolerance. Not only do I love their concept, acceptance/accommodation to so many diets, and the atmosphere, I love their product. Its not enough to try to make vegan ice cream, it needs to be delicious for it to be successful in my opinion, and their vegan ice cream was the BEST ICE CREAM I HAVE EVER HAD, actually ever, no comparison. It was creamy and rich and had a complex texture (I had the no-bake peanut butter chocolate cookie in the vegan flavor), It was ice cream at its finest, as are their dairy ice creams (I mixed salted caramel and root beer, which sounded weird but it is fabulous). It is the gold standard of ice cream in my opinion.
- Martha’s Vineyard: I only managed to go here once, but they have everything needed for a perfect picnic, and it is all very reasonably priced. I built my own vegan pizza there and it was cooked in a wood-fire oven, it was one of the most delicious pizzas I ever had for 10 dollars, yeah I ate the whole thing by myself in about 24 hours. Along with this they have craft sodas, beers, extensive wine selections, fresh produce, dips, tea, coffee, and a variety of prepared foods. It is a truly delicious place to be, and is located next to a fantastic coffee store (Lyon st. cafe) and an amazing bakery which serves vegan cookies that are to die for (Nantucket baking company).
I have been to a bunch of other places but these are the 5 places I felt most comfort in and just flat out loved the most. I crave them. I cannot wait to return to you Grand Rapids, I miss you so much.
Lots of Love,