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!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Kalamazoo Beer Exchange (for Dinner)

A few notes before we dive into this exciting post...

1) This is our first sponsored post! Thanks, Downtown Kalamazoo, Inc. for your support of Kalamazoo Foodies. You like us, you really do! ;)

2) I am excited to introduce the newest addition to the Kalamazoo Foodies blogging team... PAUL, aka Mr. Foodie.  Mr. Foodie joins me for most meals, and though he won't accept the title, is also a total foodie. I believe he will bring a great new perspective considering he is male AND he eats red meat - not exclusively, but sometimes. . . like at this meal where he had the meatloaf!
Little Foodie checking out the beer board

What Kate Ate: Bar Chips with House Made French Onion Dip and Roasted Wild Mushroom Crepes

 This was not our first trip to the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange. We went a few years ago for Paul's birthday and had appetizers and beer. We've also been a few other times for drinks. We have always liked the beer menu as we typically are able to find some of our favorites, but had not really had much off the menu. We had a free evening and the opportunity to dine in Downtown Kalamazoo, so we thought that we would give the menu a shot.

As you can see, Little Foodie was along for the ride. You may be thinking, 'a baby at the Beer Exchange? That seems inappropriate!'   You know, we weren't even sure about it, so we called ahead to make sure they had high chairs. What do you know, THEY DO! This place is GREAT for kiddos. It's loud enough that your child doesn't bother others with noise. There are lots of things to look at and distract them. Only warning... when the market crashes, there is a very loud siren that may startle your child. Hopefully, they will rebound quickly like ours did, but it definitely was scary for a minute or two.

Bar Chips with French Onion Dip
Alright, onto the food... we splurged a bit and went for the Bar Chips mainly because, well, we don't get out a whole lot anymore and they sounded good. GOOD SPLURGE. When they arrived, Paul and I looked at each other with that, 'there is no way we will eat all of these .' However, we made a pretty sizable dent. The chips are perfectly seasoned, not too greasy, just the right cut/thickness and hard to resist. Add the French onion dip and you have an unbeatable combo. I highly recommend this zero calorie (yeah right!) treat!

Roasted Wild Mushroom Crepes

Now let's talk dinner. I was intrigued by many things on this menu. There are some tasty sounding sandwiches, a salad or two that had some prime ingredients, but the Roasted Wild Mushroom Crepes just kept calling me back. One reason... the caprese salad on the side. You know how I feel about a caprese salad, right? Then, the description of the crepes themselves (spinach, boursin, balsamic drizzle) contained all things I love. So, the crepes it was. This dish was really great and really unexpected. Previously, when I thought of the Beer Exchange, I thought about bar food, maybe glorified bar food at best. So wrong. This plate could have been served at any number of fine dining establishments. The caprese was fresh and really everything you could want in a caprese - thick slices of fresh mozzarella. Huge basil leaves. Firm but still juicy tomatoes, and a balsamic drizzle that danced over the crepes as well. And the crepes? I took my first bite and was floored. No ingredient stands out, they dance together nicely wrapped up in the light crepe. Only possible complaints were that the mushrooms took FOREVER to cool down, and the spinach was in large pieces which slid out when trying to grab a bite. The spinach issue may be fixable. Mushrooms stay hot, I get that. But, honestly, this dish was a real surprise and one that made me move the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange up on the list of places to go for a great meal in Kalamazoo.

And, special shout out to Cody, our fantastic server. He was super  knowledgeable about both the beverage and food menus, made great recommendations, seemed like he is a big fan of the food (which I think shines through clearly for some servers and is something I love to see personally), and was really friendly. He even got some huge smiles and played "peekaboo" in with Little Foodie.

All in all, a great dining experience. I do believe we will be hitting up the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange again -  hopefully soon!

four golden forks out of five

What Paul Ate: Bar Chips with House Made French Onion Dip and Home-style Meat Loaf

I would echo Kate's take on the Bar Chips.  They were just the right thickness, seasoned perfectly, and fried without being greasy.  I could have eaten them all night long.

Great outdoor seating... perfect for festival watching
Now as to my entree, I happen to be a meatloaf connoisseur, or at least think I am.  I've had it in lots of greasy spoons and in many a sports bar.  My mother makes a good meat loaf and I make a mean turkey meat loaf (yes, I still consider that meatloaf).  The Beer Exchange's version happened to be very good, but it was the sum of the parts that made it great.  

The meatloaf was seasoned nicely without overpowering the meat itself.  The mushroom and onion ragout had a deep, dark, red tint and unique taste, almost like they deglazed the pan with burgundy.  The garlic mashed potatoes were fluffy and delicious.  The peas and carrots were, well, peas and carrots.  However, they didn't have that fresh from a can taste; they actually tasted fresh.  

There was so much on my plate I could not finish it all.  I'm sure that gorging on Bar Chips prior to the main course had something to do with that, but this is a meal that will certainly leave you satisfied.  

I will also say that Cody was a great help, especially with beer selection.  I am sure a lot of you may disagree with me, but hoppy beers are awful.  Much to my chagrin, it seems like the "it" thing for brewers to do is add as many hops as they can to their beer.  Some day they will brew quintuple hops brews and I will cry.  But I digress...I told Cody what I did and did not like in a beer.  Cody suggested the New Belgium Heavenly Feijoa, and he was on the money.  Crisp, clean, refreshing, slightly fruity, tart, and completely pleasing to the palate. It went well with both the chips and the meatloaf.  I will have to track this one down in the future.  The only bad part was that I purchased it prior to the price drop a few minutes later when it was $2.00 cheaper.  That's what you get when you play the Beer Market, I guess.

I had a great time and a great meal.
four golden forks out of five

Little Foodie endorsed!

Check out the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange for yourself!


Mallory said...

Welcome to the mix Paul!

Kate Y said...

We are excited to have him on board! :)