Trader Joe’s in Grand Rapids, MI!

We’ve been dreaming of having a Trader Joe’s in Grand Rapids, and when we woke up this morning, our dream has come true!

The grand opening was yesterday, but we got there early today to beat the crowds and were rewarded with multitudes of GMO-free wonderfulness, all at amazing low prices….we’ll be back often!






Baking on a hot day!

My previous rants about homemade snacks get wordy… here’s a quick glimpse of what happened in the kitchen today.

Salt, pepper, Chicago seasoning and extra garlic powder




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Posted by on September 9, 2015 in Home Cooking!


Joe’s Brother Coffee!

My friend and co-worker Steven Prevost has recently progressed on his mission to bring really good coffee to the masses. (People like me who’ve given up coffee due to inflated costs and just plain “it’s hard to find something worth the money…”)   I was fortunate enough today to be gifted with a sample of his first batch of home-roasted coffee. imported directly from Columbia.  Narino Supremo has a clean flavor that I’ve never experienced before in coffee.  Although I probably didn’t do it justice by brewing it in a Mr. Coffee drip coffee maker, I’m here to say that it’s by far the freshest, and best tasting coffee I’ve had at home.  Imagine no bitterness, a brew with such smoothness and chock full of coffee flavor goodness.  Here’s a quick picture just to tantalize all you coffee afficianados…

Joe's Coffee 002

I haven’t consumed a lot of coffee for a while now for various reasons, the main one being that “good” coffee – and what I mean by that is something other than the weeks-old product available at your local grocery store – is hard to find. You can slap your product in a fancy package and charge a lot of money, or require a $100+ brewing unit that pollutes the earth (admitted by it’s inventor) that uses coffee costing in excess of $25-$20 a pound – somehow that just doesn’t seem right. But enough of my rant – let’s take a look at what’s at the heart of Joe’s Brother Coffee…

The Beans came from high up on a mountain in Columbia…right to the local roaster in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Did the last coffee you bought see so few degrees of separation?


The next step to experiencing a robust yet smooth taste is proper roasting. The Joe’s Brother Coffee team have a lot of knowledge on this subject, and if their initial efforts are any indication, this may be the “Go-To” local supplier for the ultimate fresh coffee experience.


There’s a lot of technicality in the type of roasters out there, and I’ve been told this particular beauty is a convection type of  heat, which precludes the more “burnt” taste that direct heat roasters can produce. Not knowing the difference, I can only say that the roaster Joe’s have is top drawer, and the product is equally elevated.



I’m a big fan of Sustainablity, Organic, Local and Ethical (Eat with SOLE), and Joe’s Brother Coffee hits all the notes! Good people putting out a superior, passionately produced product.  It’s especially nice when a local purchase provides the quality and subtle flavors that put a huge smile on your face “cause it tastes really good!”

The coolest thing about Joe’s Brother Coffee is that when you support them, you’re also supporting the fight against ALS (Lou Gehrigs’s disease).  Every purchase includes a donation to fight this insidious malady that steals away too many people.  Please click on the donation link and give what you can….let your heart guide you.

You can visit Joe’s Brother Coffee here


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Cousin’s Tasty Chicken!

Cousin’s Tasty Chicken!

This is truly a hidden gem in Grand Rapids.  Cousin’s Tasty Chicken is an “old-school” fry house, serving up some of the best fried chicken, fish and other delectable edibles I’ve had in a long time.  The prices are reasonable, the portion sizes are great, and the service is always amazing!



cousins fish 001

If you are in Grand Rapids, check out Cousin’s Tasty Chicken….it’s food that will remind you of a simpler time, and make you happy because it’s so TASTY!!

<a href=””><img alt=”Cousins Tasty Chicken on Urbanspoon” src=”; style=”border:none;width:200px;height:146px” /></a>

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Posted by on March 5, 2015 in Restaurant Reviews!


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Finally Finding Your Short’s!!

There’s something to be said about the changing of the plan.  Occasionally it favors one in a way most pleasing….so food and beer and the distant hope of trout streams blossomed into an oft-thought-of-never-executed opportunity for rainy road trip happiness…..ROAD TRIP TO SHORT’S BREWERY!!! Shortsfirsttime08292014 002

We have friends who live near this prolific beer magic and they have proclaimed the wonderfulness of the food here, too.  Even though I’ve completely enjoyed the Huma Lupas and the Soft Parades by the bottle at home, i didn’t think it could live up to the pre-game hype of a direct pour from the tap…at the source.  I’m happy to admit that I was WRONG!!  Huma is even more fragrant and crisp coming straight out of the fresh batch unleashed that very morning and poured into my tasting flight and ultimately into my new Short’s growler…WOO HOO!.Shortsfirsttime08292014 016Shortsfirsttime08292014 018

The Tampenade is good, nice mix of olives and generous with the garlic, which I love.  It wasn’t as salty as i was expecting, and I really enjoyed it’s subtle flavors.  The hummus is really good (I wanted to say superlative, but my wife remotely persuaded me to change the wording.)  It tastes a bit like some of the local brew was tipped in.  Simple yet deep in flavors…you’ll be happy to get some of this.  Our order came with a LOT of pita points…perfect balance of points to dips.  Four different dips with really good bread to dip in at that price point is a huge draw.  Like you needed a good draw outside of the amazing beer.Shortsfirsttime08292014 011

The Feta Cheese dip made a big hit at our table.  And I quote “I could take a bath in that….”   I guess you either get that or your don’t….passionate is an understatement, I am sure of that!  The feta garlic and other spices make this one a “dive in” favorite.

The red stuff is a cherry/berry jam with a nice jolt of cayenne/pepper so the sweet gets set back with a spicy finish.  It’s unique and goes well with a bit of the stronger cheeses like sharp cheddar or a real Bleu….Shortsfirsttime08292014 015Shortsfirsttime08292014 013

Trying the beer was fun for us because we’re still new at the “beer tasting” thing.  We know enough to order a flight of whatever they’re offering, but have trouble figuring out which beers sound/look the best when looking at the long list of options on the menu. .  Hoppy Pale Indian American Belgian Ale Ale.  Let your head out of the way and let your palate and your heart guide you.  If you know what you like in a beer, just ask your server and they’ll be happy to guide you to a great choice.

We seem to have really good luck getting the best server when we visit a place for the first time.  Short’s Brewery was no exception.  We got set up with Nate.  He was there at the appropriate times with subtle yet complimentary answers to my obviously loaded questions (how can you not have an opinion about this place and the service before you go in after reading all the reviews and judging for your self how great the beer is)…he put us right at ease and made the whole experience perfect.Shortsfirsttime08292014 009

Can’t wait to go back and try a samitch or three….

I was told they may start carrying the Growler Koozies at the Merchandise Store next door someday….stay tuned and hopefully you’ll be able to order them right here!


My recommendation?  Stay the hell away from here, so you don’t take up my parking space….. 😉

Short's Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

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Posted by on August 29, 2014 in Restaurant Reviews!


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2 Day Ferment…Homemade Pizza Dough Rocks!

Thanks again, Peter Reinhart…your dough recipe is amazing!  Just some simple organic King Arthur unbleached all purpose, home-concocted sauces, mozzarella mushroom and a wee bit of onion.  Yay Pizza!




These tasted mighty fine…there’s nothing like homemade pizza pie to sooth the soul!  A special thanks to my official taste tester for all the compliments.

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Posted by on June 20, 2014 in Home Cooking!


The Painted Lady Saloon Manistee, Michigan

The Painted Lady Saloon Manistee, Michigan

Painted Lady Saloon 011We’ve discovered a not-so-secret place to eat that’s got good food.  Food that evokes  fond memories and the good feeling of real home cooking.

The Painted Lady is an historic site according to some.  The interior is comfortingly up North – plenty of good trophy mounts throughout including some amazing fish.  It’s a refreshing change from a wall full of flat screens, and yet they still have enough of them to allow the real fans a good eye-full from pretty much everywhere in the place.  Cool!

Painted Lady Saloon 002The real reason we ventured this far off the beaten path of US31 and M55 was the positive feedback we’d read on Trip Advisor.  Apparently The Painted Lady is known for a few tasty dishes, so I had to go for the Broasted Chickens.  I am so glad I did.  True to many reviewer’s accounts, this is some seriously fine dining, old school food.  There’s nothing pretentious here.  The service is amazing.  It’s so refreshing to be treated well as a new customer.  Painted Lady Saloon 005


The Painted Lady has an amazingly eclectic feel to it…purple and laid back from the exterior, then you walk in the door and step back into the late 19th century with a modern twist.  It’s really cool once you get to sit down and look around.  The people who work there seemed to be genuinely happy to be there..TGIFridays could take a lesson or two from these walls. I was fortunate enough to get the dreaded “Squirrel Above The Head” table*.*… I liked the squirrel.  And the boar.  And that insanely huge Steelhead…take a moment to soak in the views. Up, sideways, down, over there.  It’s a fun place to just look around.

It’s worth your attention.  It’s one of those places that will take you back…back to a place you’ve either heard about or possibly remember.  Either way, it’s worth the trip.


Old Fashioned Food.  That’s what I’d call it.  What I remember my Grandma making or serving in a good way,
and I’m 54 winters this year.  She made really amazing food, so for me to make the comparison is huge.  Your Grandma made amazing food too, didn’t she?  Try the Painted Lady for some tasty chow…I hope you have an amazing experience like I did!Painted Lady Saloon 008

Mrs. Snausy got the Chicken Fried Steak…she seemed pretty pleased.  She did enjoy a bite off my plate and agreed it was some mighty fine chickens!Painted Lady Saloon 003

**This squirrel was mentioned in a negative comment on a not to be mentioned review site.

For the record….I like the squirrel on the wall.

<a href=””><img alt=”Painted Lady Saloon on Urbanspoon” src=”; style=”border:none;width:130px;height:36px” /></a>

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Posted by on April 26, 2014 in Restaurant Reviews!


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