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.
I know what you’re thinking; is she really doing another Chinese buffet post?
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
Herbed chevre goat cheese with spinach and artichoke and served with toast points and butter pretzel rods. Tasty and fun to munch on.
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.
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.
SpeakEZ’s take on the Manhattan. This drink was great.
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!
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!
The capital of Ireland and its largest city, I loved the laid back feeling of this big modern place.
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.
What can I say about my eight day vacation in Ireland? A lot, actually. In fact, if I was still there that would be fantastic. Ideal, even. More specifically, in or near the Dingle Peninsula. It’s insanely stunning, a must visit for all travelers and vagabonds alike. But! This blog is about food, so photos of nearly everything I ate in Ireland shall commence.
During our trip Nathan and I stayed in Kinvara, Dingle, and Dublin. We also took short trips to Athlone and Galway. Irish food isn’t known to be the most exciting, flavorful or complex cuisine in the world, but you know what? Ireland isn’t the bland food factory that I had expected.
On our way to Kinvara from Dublin, we had to stop at Athlone where Sean’s Bar is located. This town was quite charming and quaint!
A small little fishing village right by the water. We booked a great little thatch roof cottage on Airbnb, which was located just a five minute scenic walk from town.
We spent a short visit here so we didn’t get to explore the whole town. But the parts we experienced were bustling, vibrant and touristy.
Did you know that Ireland, and all of Europe, isn’t cheap? Penang it is not, and dining out and drinking in the Emerald Isle costs the same and more! than say, here in Grand Rapids. And travel? The cost of gas alone was around 8 bucks a gallon! We had to get a rental car because we drove three hours one way, twenty minutes another, another three a different way, and four hours another. Insurance was high as well, but considering the country’s penchants for narrow and winding roads and plenty of on street parking, Nathan felt it was needed.
Am I trying to deter you from visiting this fantastic country? Absolutely not. Just be sure to be prepared if you have a certain budget!
There once was a wonderful Chinese restaurant in Grand Rapids called Peking Wok. Serving authentic Chinese cuisine, this establishment served fantastic food with friendly service and incredibly low prices. Unfortunately, they were located in a dead strip mall in an area hardly anyone goes to, and it was very sad but not surprising when they closed down. Alas, Grand Rapids went back to only having American Chinese restaurants in its growing foodie roster. Until now.
Chuancai Fang is a new Sichuan restaurant that has only been open for a couple of months now. Located on 28th street, it’s not an ideal area but it’s not bad. I first read about the new establishment from EatGR (big thanks to whomever posted this blog on there!) and I was appalled and even a little angry that I hadn’t known about it earlier. I had a new mission.
The photos are taken from a combined three trips, excluding repeated dishes. One lunch with Nathan, a dinner with my friends Jose, Jen, and Eddie, and the last visit was take out. The first two times were great! Delicious food, friendly service, and reasonable prices. Not to mention that hey, Grand Rapids has a Sichuan restaurant now. Hell yeah! The last two pictures are from my take away order and it felt like I ordered from a different restaurant. However, that just means now I have to go a fourth time to see if it was just a fluke, right? If you’ve been to Chuancai Fang, let me know what you think!
Mediterranean and Middle Eastern, Raad’s in East Hills has been open for about a year. For the majority of that time I didn’t know this place existed. When I saw a posting on Craigslist from them looking to hire new staff, I was incredibly confused; it says that this place is really close to my house, but I’ve never even heard of it! Is this a scam?
Turns out that no, Raad’s certainly does exist, and yes, I am sorry that I didn’t know about this restaurant sooner! But better late than never, right?
Not my favorite garlic dip but still very good nonetheless. They make theirs with egg white, garlic, lemon, and seasonings. Served with large pieces of thin bread that were crispy on the bottom and soft on top.
Off the lunch menu, I ordered their Lamb & Beef Jambalaya. I was actually deterred from this dish at first because of its name. It’s not that I don’t like the traditional Creole dish, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for. After some hesitation I ordered it anyway because the description just sounded too good. Lamb and beef sauteed with garlic, mushrooms, peppers, saffron rice and topped with fresh onion, tomatoes, and herb. I am so thankful that I went ahead and ordered this dish because it was freakin delicious! I was a little shocked when I took my first bite. Flavorful, vibrant, savory but not heavy. I also ordered the dish to be spicy. Loved it! I chose to have mine plated, as opposed to put in a wrap, and you can choose two sides with the dish. I chose more saffron rice and hummous. The latter was okay. I’ve never been a hummous fan and have only tried maybe two in my entire life that I enjoyed. The saffron rice was good and different from any of tried so far. Do they season it with cinnamon, perhaps? I couldn’t place it, but I was also too distracted to really focus on it.
The chef who prepared my dish also gave me a complimentary side of their Raad’s House Salad, and after trying it I immediately knew why. Because it was incredibly delectable! He must have known it was my first time dining there. Otherwise, why wouldn’t I have ordered it? He got me hooked, and I owe big thanks for that. A mix of Mujadara and pomegranate with parsely, chips, radish, veggies and olive oil. Light, fruity, citrus-y with a great texture.
The interior is nice looking and cozy. They have bar style seating right up against their front windows that offer a nice view of East Hills. I find the prices to be reasonable, and I went in during an off time so the food came out at a good pace. I don’t think they serve alcohol. Raad’s focus is on serving some of the finest traditional and fresh food, and I believe they deliver. I really like this place, and if you haven’t been here yet, I strongly recommend that you go asap!