Kitchen 67 Michigan Bistro.

Kitchen 67 is owned by the same company as Brann’s Steakhouse. However, the difference from the chain restaurant is that Kitchen utilizes locally sourced products for their menu. They also use local spirits and brews, not only for their bar menu but for their dishes as well. I’m not gonna lie, my expectations weren’t high; I can’t even remember the last time I ate at a Brann’s. High school, maybe? Which was a long time ago.

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67 STEAKHOUSE BURGER

I enjoyed the burger! (I added fresh onions, which I don’t think are normally on it.) I don’t know what they season the meat with, but I really liked it. The fries were a little disappointing though. The flavor was good but they were just a bit stale, barely hot, like they had been sitting out for a while.

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ICE CREAM WITH ELEPHANT EAR CHUNKS

For dessert I had this martini glass of deliciousness. Ice cream with fried sugared dough chunks, or elephant ears. It made me happy.

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THE GRAND RAPIDS

Kitchen’s version of a Manhattan. It was really good!

Overall I enjoyed my dining experience here. The interior is spacious, modern and pretty and our server did a good job. Most importantly, the food and drink did not disappoint! For the most part, anyway. I don’t think this place is super special, but I do respect the effort. Coming from a large chain already gives some people a stigma about this place (stuck up jerks! namely….me), but you can never judge until you actually go and try it, right?

Union Street Saloon in Detroit!

After a fun Red Wings game and before a fantastic Bob’s Burgers Live show, Nathan and I had some delicious lunch at busy Union Street. This restaurant is described as an art deco eatery that serves American classics, with a twist. They also offer a full bar including craft beers!

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SEAFOOD CHOWDER

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SCOOBY DOO PASTA

Their Seafood Chowder with clams, scallops, shrimp, and smoked salmon was great. And the Scooby Doo pasta? Fantastic! If you’re obsessed with garlic, the way I am, you will likely love this dish as I did. Made with cavatappi pasta, chicken, garlic, parsley, shiitake mushrooms, spinach, tomato, sherry wine  and cream.

The service was good and the atmosphere casual. Do check this place out if you’re in Detroit in the Woodward Avenue area. Man, I would love to have that pasta again!

The New Gravity Taphouse and Grille!

The newest dining establishment from the RedWater Restaurant Group, Gravity is all about craft beer and upscale pub food. Even though the main focus are the brews, they still have an expansive bar full of wines and liquor as well. They haven’t been open long, and seem to have been consistently busy since day one!

WHITE TRUFFLE TATER TOTS

WHITE TRUFFLE TATER TOTS

GRAVITY PIZZA BYO & FRENCH FRIES

GRAVITY PIZZA BYO & FRENCH FRIES

The tater tots were great. They are the only form of potato I have never had a love for; I blame my elementary school. However, I was pleasantly surprised by these. I built my own pizza, and it was okay. I wasn’t crazy about the sauce. The fries were good although nothing special, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We received good service and one of the first things you notice about the place is their look. Big and modern, pretty, a hip vibe but at the same time there is still that chain restaurant feel to it. Prices are mid-range to a little high. It’s a nice place, but there wasn’t that oomph that has made it anything special for me. There are a couple of Fork Food dishes that I want to try, so who knows. Perhaps my second visit will change my mind.

Have You Been To Mekong Yet?

Mekong restaurant was a pleasant surprise, and I can’t wait to go back to try more of their dishes! The good quality of food stood out to me, especially compared to a few other Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants. The spring rolls, for example, weren’t just slapped together in a hurry with scarce offerings inside. The shrimp and pork were great and the rice paper was rolled tightly so that it didn’t get messy. I found the menu to be quite intriguing; with various dishes that featured chicken feet, curried frog legs, and roasted quail. I am always excited when a restaurant goes beyond the typical offerings in GR. Don’t worry though, because they have the beloved classics as well, such as pho! Our server was sweet and the prices are reasonable. You should go eat here.

Spring Rolls.

SPRING ROLLS

Lemon Beef

LEMON BEEF

Vietnamese Sesame Cracker/Flatbread

VIETNAMESE SESAME CRACKER/FLATBREAD

A New Restaurant Called Chen’s Gourmet Buffet!

I know what you’re thinking; is she really doing another Chinese buffet post?

Yeah! And?

On Christmas day, Nathan and I were driving around looking for some eats. Every American knows that Chinese restaurants are usually open on this holiday, right? Well, my first two choices, Chuancai Fang and Mandarin, were closed. Good for them! Sad for us. Driving on 28th Street, we turned around and that was when I noticed Chen’s. It caught my attention because:

A. I’ve never seen it/ noticed it before and

B. The name is different. It’s not a China Hunan Wall Wok Garden Tasty Happy.

Plate 1.

Plate 1.

Plate 2.

Plate 2.

Plate 3.

Plate 3.

Nice new interior.

Nice new interior.

Not the cheapest buffet, but I believe it’s worth it. I rarely go for poultry but their Bourbon Chicken was fantastic. I love fatty chicken skin and that’s exactly what I got. Clams were great, I don’t think I bit down on anything gritty once. Garlic green beans are always a must. Judging by the photos, I liked their eggrolls because I got a second one. They have delicious soft serve here, better than at other buffets. I indulged in two of them. But sadly, no cones.

We got there right before noon so everything was fresh. You could hear Chinese pop music blaring from their kitchen, which I was amused by. The interior is new and here’s something different about this Chinese restaurant- they have a drive thru!

I’m really liking this place so far, and I’ve had that chicken on my mind for a while now. Check Chen’s out and let me know what you think!

Pupuseria El Salvador La Original- a Salvadorian Restaurant!

So Nathan just bought a house. After he moved all his belongings and got a little settled in, we sat there famished and queried whether or not there were any good food spots close to his new home. Pulling up Yelp, I was quite surprised that there was a Salvadorian restaurant listed nearby! Unfortunately, this was on Christmas day, and they were closed. I resigned to our misfortune and a couple weeks later, we got the opportunity to check the place out.

My Entree: Stewed Beef with Rice and Beans. Far plate: Cheese and pork pupusa, boiled plantains, fried yucca, and tamale.

My Entree: Stewed Beef with Rice and Beans.
Far plate: Cheese and pork pupusa, boiled plantains, fried yucca, and tamale.

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The thick corn tortillas that came with my entree.

The thick corn tortillas that came with my entree.

Empanadas.

Empanadas.

Living in Grand Rapids, I am always so grateful for spots like this. While I’ve never been to El Salvador, you definitely get a sense of authenticity here. The food was great! A couple of items were just okay. I highly recommend their delicious pupusas, boiled plantains, and their tamales. Their horchata is tasty as well. I nearly finished the whole thing within the first couple of minutes of sitting there. The atmosphere is very casual, a bit cafeteria like. Some people may get a little apprehensive looking at the little restaurant from the outside, but when Nathan and I walked in we were warmly greeted by the staff and received friendly service. The loud tv was the only annoyance I had, and that faded away throughout our meal.

Pupuseria El Salvador La Original is a restaurant that lingers on my mind long after I’ve dined there. Looking forward to going back!

Flatlanders Barstillery.

When I first stepped foot into this new-ish establishment, I was surprised and really admired the interior. Think modern with a little bit of hillbilly. This barstillery makes their own booze with local organic grains and fruits. It’s been a while since I tried their bourbon. It didn’t wow me, but I did enjoy it. My friend Frankie ordered their white whiskey and…hm. I learned I’m not a white whiskey fan.

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Hillbilly Poutine

I rarely indulge in poutine because there is always a plethora of richness going on, but Flatlander’s version is pretty good! Still a hearty dish, the fries were very crispy, the gravy savory as well as the beer cheese, and the sweet pickled jalapenos were a nice contrast. There was also bacon and a nice fried egg.

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House-made sausage with pretzel bun.

The Kielbasa was dry for my taste and the pretzel bun was heavy and bland. The potato salad was too sweet and not very multidimensional. Yes, I did just use multidimensional as a descriptor for potato salad. Yup.

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Ol’ Fashioned

The Ol’ Fashioned was delicious. There is a spiced and sweeter take on it that I’m not used to, but thumbs up!

I do enjoy it at Flatlanders. The service is always friendly and it’s a fun spot to drink at with a nice feel. It’s also a refreshing change for Michigan Street bars. As far as food, I’m still 50/50.  However, Frankie had their deep fried pickles and he will probably tell you that they are mighty tasty and the best he’s ever had. Was he being genuine, or was it that frightening white whiskey talking? Check it out yourself!

If You Have A Problem With Gluttony, Don’t Go To Ming Ten.

I should really listen to my own sage advice.

Ming Ten is a popular Chinese and Japanese buffet restaurant. This isn’t the place to go to if you’re in want of authentic food, but as far as buffet sushi goes, this restaurant may serve the best in town. (There’s another buffet with sushi that may rival Ming Ten’s but that’s for another time.) But if you’re looking for Chinese food, there are better places around. There is also a hibachi area where you can pick your ingredients, and they will cook it up for you right on the spot.

Sushi Bar

Sushi Bar

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My plate of food. 1

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My plate of food. 2

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My plate of food. 3

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This place is often busy, and the service is always efficient. I think the pricing  is reasonable, considering how many people like myself frequent the place. As I mentioned in another post, many people look down on buffets. Well I love em. Ming Ten is always busy so they change out the food constantly, which is very important. I recommend the potatoes, Chinese dumplings, garlic green beans, mushrooms, and their spicy tuna roll. But by all means, try everything! It’s a freakin buffet!

SpeakEZ Lounge, Inspired By 1933.

As you may guess, SpeakEZ is a take on the secretive and illegal speakeasy establishments that gained immense popularity during America’s Prohibition Era. What makes this bar one of my favorite places to go are their classic and artisan cocktails. Ever since this bar opened, I’ve been impressed with their drink menu. They also have a great selection of beers for, you know, everyone in Grand Rapids. My liking of their food hasn’t been as consistent, however. Sometimes really good, other times just okay, but never bad. I do appreciate the creative aspect of the menu.

Goat Cheese Spinach Artichoke Dip

Goat Cheese Spinach Artichoke Dip

Herbed chevre goat cheese with spinach and artichoke and  served with toast points and butter pretzel rods. Tasty and fun to munch on.

The Greenbriar

The Greenbriar

Seared medallions of beef tenderloin topped with a reduction of balsamic vinegar, garlic, Brussels sprouts, bacon, wilted spinach, apples,  and gorgonzola cheese.  Accompanied with herb roasted potatoes. This dish was fantastic, and everything went so well together. It only got too sweet for me near the end.

C4

C4

Chocolate chip cookie cake with vanilla bean ice cream a SEZ chocolate sauce. Meh. I need to stop ordering desserts just because they come with ice cream, as I find most desserts to be too rich.

Positively 4th Street

Positively 4th Street

SpeakEZ’s take on the Manhattan. This drink was great.

Long in the Houndstooth

Long in the Houndstooth

Their version of the Old Fashioned. If I thought the prior was great, then this one was awesome! I fell in love with first sip.

The prices here are medium to a little high, and I’ve always received good service here. I prefer coming here when they don’t have that open mic thing, when it’s less busy and more quiet. The space is large so it’s a good option for bigger groups as well. Great drinks, good food, spacious and relaxed atmosphere, and bonus- a pool table in back!

Ireland Part Two.

DINGLE

Nathan and I booked another great spot to stay on Airbnb for Dingle.  We were so lucky to experience not only the town, but the greater surrounding area. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Dingle Peninsula is insanely stunning. My photos and videos truly don’t do justice. Not only that, but being the small town it is, Dingle is turning into a little foodie spot!

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Ashe's Bar App

ASHE’S BAR & RESTAURANT- Ballydavid Crab Trio.

Ashe's Bar Side

ASHE’S BAR & RESTAURANT- Accompaniment of main dish.

Ashe's Bar Special

ASHE’S BAR & RESTAURANT- Asian Hake Special. I’m a little ashamed to say that I was quite surprised when I first tried this. Not only was it delicious but also authentic and harmonious to Asian flavors.

Global Village Oysters

THE GLOBAL VILLAGE RESTAURANT- Michelin reccommended establishment. The oysters were fantastic as was the sauce. However, I still love my oysters completely naked, or with a quick squeeze of lemon.

Global Village Entree

THE GLOBAL VILLAGE RESTAURANT- West Kerry Lamb Plate.

Global Village Dessert

THE GLOBAL VILLAGE RESTAURANT- Three scoops of in-house made ice cream. I can’t remember the flavors but I was quite impressed. Very good.

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CONOR PASS- Ireland’s highest mountain pass. Breath taking.

DUBLIN

The capital of Ireland and its largest city, I loved the laid back feeling of this big modern place.

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Copper Alley Special

COPPER ALLEY- Roast Beef Special. Lots of potatoes, but in my world, there is never too much! I loved this dish.

Toto App

TOTO RISTORANTE ITALIANO- Sauteed mushroom appetizer. Yummy.

Toto Entree

TOTO RISTORANTE ITALIANO- Fettucinie al Frutti di Mare. Nathan wasn’t wild about his entree but I really liked mine.

Toto Dessert

TOTO RISTORANTE ITALIANO- Dessert was okay. By the way, the restaurant isn’t as smoky as it looks. I didn’t realize at the time how dirty my phone camera lens was.

Lee Kee's Pancakes

LEEKEE CHINESE RESTAURANT- Scallion Pork Pancake. On our last night in Ireland, and holy cow was I missing Asian food! Leekee’s was great, although not as cheap as most other Chinese places I’ve been.

Lee Kee's

LEEKEE CHINESE RESTAURANT- Garlic Jelly Fish. It was a little sweeter here than what I’m used to but it was still good. This dish is one of my favorites of all time.

Lee Kee's Delicious

LEEKEE CHINESE RESTAURANT- Steam Fillet Fish and Tofu (with steamed rice). My favorite meal of the entire trip. Omg it was freakin delicious. Seriously.

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DUBLINA- We learned a lot about Vikings and medieval Dublin!

If you don’t mind dining in early, most places serve an Early Bird Menu that usually lasts until 5pm. You can save some money that way, as those menus are lower priced. As mentioned earlier, Ireland isn’t cheap!

I rarely hear Nathan say that he loves something, so imagine my surprise when he recently stated that he loved Ireland. We take our trips in October because that’s when plane tickets seem to be at the lowest prices. However, I would really love to visit again in the summer. I will always prefer cool weather over hot, which is part of the reason why we both enjoyed Ireland so much, but I bet it’s even more beautiful here in summer.

I also learned a lot of history on this trip, such as the history or Dublin, the Vikings, and the Great Blasket. I love learning like I love food. And I love Ireland. The end.

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