Have a recommendation? We'd LOVE to hear it!
Salutations Readers!

Kalamazoo has good food.
Great food, in fact. We have made it our mission to check out all the local eateries one at a time - and more for our own poor memories than any other reason, we'll be chronicling our adventures in food here. And some places float our boats way more than others, which is why we have developed the very scientific
five golden forks rating scale. Ok. It is not scientific at all. It is actually quite unscientific. But, it is something. And now, you can search all of our reviews by the forks rating. YAY!

But, wait! There's more!
Kalamazoo Foodies no longer just eat at restaurants then review them. There are recipes posted, some easy, some less easy, all delicious. There are, or will be, book reviews, the new
Foodie Movie Review-y which will focus on movies about food or ones that have a lot of beautiful food in them. There are other food musings, and hopefully soon contests and so much more. But, Foodie Friends, it is all about food. Because we love it!
And, we want to hear from you!

We want to hear your comments on our recipes and reviews. We want to know where you love to eat. And, we are looking for GUEST bloggers to broaden our horizons a bit. And, if you haven't found us on Facebook, you should do that too. Like our page for other fun Foodies stuff like photos, polls, and more.

SO KALAMAZOO PATRONS - where do YOU love to eat? Because we'd love to check it out and share our thoughts here. Give us a comment below, and quickly! Our tummies are grumbling in anticipation.

A Note from the Foodies about our typical fair:
So, you may notice as you read our blog that we often order the same thing wherever we go. OK, maybe not quite, but we do often order similar things. Kristin has her caprese salads and mushroom dishes. Kate has her baked goat cheese and things with tofu. Well, readers, we wanted to let you know that this is absolutely intentional. A) We love those things, so why not order what you love? And, B) It is a lot easier to compare apples to apples than it is to compare apples to comquats. So, we like to order similar things to have a good sense of how to compare them. Just wanted to let you in on that little secret. Bon appetit!

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Trip to Art Prize (and the great food we found!)

We are very fortunate to have a cool city like Grand Rapids so close by, especially because things like Art Prize take place in the city. Art Prize is an open art contest, the largest publicly juried art contest in the world. There are thousands of works of art all over Grand Rapids. So, Paul and I headed to the city for a little getaway to check out not only the competition and art, but, OF COURSE, the food.

More on the food in a moment, but here are a few photos from our trip!

Paul and I on the "blue bridge" enjoying the gorgeous day!

Paul pays homage to one of Grand Rapids favorite sons... Jay Van Andel.

One of the pieces... a tribute to Barrel of Monkeys. A favorite for many of the little ones' who came to Art Prize.

Want to know more about Art Prize? I know you do... check it out here:

Now... on to the FOOD!

Kate: Dip Trio (shared) and the Hippie Wrap with beerbar cheese and crack fries

Holy HopCat, Batman! Yes, I said it. This place just became one of my favorites! Named the #3 bar in the country by Beer Advocate, you would expect good beer and a cool atmosphere. The bar staff is super cool. The beer selection is wide. There is great music playing (Arcade Fire and Pink Floyd that I can recall) and great art and stuff on the walls. But, what I was really blown away by was the food!

There are 150 beers available. Yes, 150. That's a lot. Good beer, too. Though, we learned about the "Lawnmower" category on the beer list (which was Rolling Rock while we were there). Beer that you would drink while mowing the lawn. Yeah, not a compliment, really, but good to know that option exists if that is what you are looking for.

OK, OK, the food. I know. So, we were hungry. And, they were SLAMMED, so we quickly ordered our first round of beer (I had Left Hand Brewing Company's Milk Stout) and a starter. And here is where I confess that we actually had been to HopCat before, and had ordered this starter. But, that's it. That's all we ordered that time. I promise! So, the Dip Trio it was. This yummy appetizer includes three dips (really!) including Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, Spicy Black Bean Dip, and HopCat's own (and amazing) Beerbar Cheese. It is served with crispy pita chips and veggies including carrots, celery, cucumbers, and red bell pepper. Ok, so the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus is very good. The Spicy Black Bean dip is outstanding. And, the Beerbar Cheese is OUT OF THIS WORLD! It's bite-y, thanks to the horseradish, creamy, thanks to the cheese, and, gosh, I just don't even know what to say except that it is ADDICTIVE! We even got a little crazy and mixed them together a bit. The hummus with the black bean dip, a winning combo. Only problem with this dish... there isn't enough of it!

So, as I am enjoying this amazing dip trio, it is time to make a decision on what I am going to order. And, boy, was I struggling. So many things on this menu sounded good. So, after much debate, I decided I was going to go with a healthier option, but splurge on the side dish. So, I landed on the Hippie Wrap and the Crack Fries. And, this is now the dish that I will crave. All the time. It was phenomenal. Let's get the Crack Fries talk out of the way first... they are VERY appropriately named. They are french fries. That's all they are. But, they are so crispy on the outside, and warm and soft on the inside, and so well seasoned (pepper, salt, lemon pepper, and some secret ingredients that I think I am glad I don't know) that you want the serving to be endless. Oh my gosh. I think I can say that these were the best fries I have ever had. Ok, that might be going a bit far, but they are definitely in contention for that spot.

Now that that is out of the way, let's talk about the Hippie Wrap... OK, I am going to tell you that ingredients, and you are going to think, 'Really, that good?' and I am going to say, 'YES! That good!'. Spinach tortilla with cucumber, tomato, red onion, basil, roasted red peppers, spinach, romaine, sunflower seeds, and you can choose either Roasted Red Pepper Hummus OR Beerbar Cheese. And, that is what puts it over the top. Yeah, yeah, veggies in a wrap. Seen it. Been there. Done that. But, this Beerbar Cheese is what makes this something to write home (or a blog) about. The ingredients are all so fresh. And, the Beerbar Cheese adds the extra bite. Plus there are little surprises like the sunflower seeds which add some crunch. Wow! This is so good.

So, there continued to be good beer. In fact, we left, went to dessert somewhere else, then came back for another drink because it is such a cool place. Even Beer Advocate says so!

Check it out!

five golden forks out of five

Kate: Pearl Barley Veggie Burger with Sweet Potato Chips

Day Two meant another meal. And, as tempted as I was to go back to HopCat and order the exact same thing, the foodie in me knew that wasn't the right thing to do. Plus, we were meeting up with our friends Hillary and Jeff and their adorable little guy, Graham, so it wasn't just up to us. Now, Founders was a tempting choice. Hillary and Jeff are diehards/regulars there. But, we all agreed to go another route.

Now, I was the only one who had never been to the B.O.B. (which I recently learned means Big Old Building). So, we went to the B.O.B. Inside the B.O.B. are several dining options, and nightclubs, etc. But, it was lunch time and we were just looking for a good meal. So, upon Hillary and Jeff's suggestion, we went to Bobarinos. (I know, it's funny!).

The menu is eclectic. Pizza, some Mexican dishes (like the burrito that Paul ordered), sandwiches and burgers, etc. There was also a section of the menu called "Super Foods". I was intrigued. So, I read on. And, it said that this section included foods that were identified as super foods. After a little extra indulgence the day before, I felt like this might be the section of the menu for me.

So, I ordered the Pearl Barley Veggie Burger with Sweet Potato Chips. The sandwich, in addition to the burger, had tomato, arugula, Roasted Red Pepper Aioli, and onion on a Pretzel Bun. I am trying not to sound underwhelmed... because this was a really good meal. But, the Hippie Wrap from the night before was so in my head, that it is hard to get past that.

I'm serious, this was a good combination for a sandwich. It was very satisfying. The ingredients were fresh and played together well on the bun. The creaminess of the aioli brought it all together, while the onion and arugula provided some sharpness. The burger itself was great. I wish they sold those in the store. I think I would eat them more often. Plus, the sweet potato chips were great. Thinly sliced, just lightly seasoned, crispy, very good.

So, maybe the experience the night before with the food mixed with the kind of unappealing atmosphere of the place (it seemed to have a bit of an identity crisis with the decor. Seating was tight. There just wasn't anything very special about it) made it harder to be blown away.

Moral of the story... Bobarinos wasn't bad. But, if you are in Grand Rapids and have to make a choice, HopCat should always win!


three golden forks out of five.

So, that is our Art Prize story. We had a great time. And, my mouth if watering thinking about the Hippie Wrap, the Beerbar Cheese, and the Crack Fries!

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