Food, Michigan

Fully Caffeinated

Friday morning we headed out on our annual Mother/Daughter Road Trip. If you recall from years past, you know they are all about coffee, food and beaches.

This year it was more coffee, food and shopping, with a little bit of beach.

First stop:  Saugatuck

fullsizeoutput_729

IMG_4921

IMG_0192.JPG

Why have I never thought to turn a rusty old propane tank into a jack-o-lantern?

fullsizeoutput_72b

After perusing many a posted menu, we decided on Grow for lunch.

IMG_4923

IMG_4925

The waiter was attentive, the food and the vibe were just right.

fullsizeoutput_72a

Tasty little potatoes, Michigan made sausage, a delightful dipping sauce and carrot pancakes.  Oh, and fresh lavender lemonade.

IMG_4929

Most of the patrons were dining al fresco, but we liked the calm inside. You don’t get much complete silence these days and I loved it, though my daughter would have preferred a bit of mellow folk music.  Are you listening Grow?

IMG_4948

Lunch, shopping and then a really fun, really fast dune ride.

IMG_4939

Those aren’t trees, they’re the very tops of trees.  Cottonwoods – the only tree that can survive being buried in 100 feet of sand.

IMG_4940

Singapore, Michigan – a fledgling resort town –  is completely buried under the dunes.  There’s a school, a church, a hotel under there.  In the 70’s the very top of a 3 story building was still visible.  Not anymore.

IMG_4942

The buggy driver said the area was a vast pine forest until the trees were harvested to help rebuild Chicago after The Great Fire in 1871. With the trees gone, there was no root system to hold the top soil in place.  Sand from Lake Michigan blew in and buried everything.  Only the cottonwoods survived.

A 1959 Michigan State University project to plant grass in order to stabilize the dunes is gradually bringing top soil back.  The aim is to restore the land to forest.

And that concludes your dune education. Unless you want to read about the Sand Dune that Swallowed a Boy.

After the thrill ride we drove thirty minutes up the coast to Holland.

IMG_4964

Dinner was at Butch’s Dry Dock, as seen while shopping across the street.

Neither of us snapped a picture of our ultra flavorful Campanelle with basil cream, zucchini, summer squash, tomato and goat feta paired with a glass of Terra Di Briganti Falanghina, Campania, IT 2015 because the lighting wasn’t suitable, but take my word for it, it was beautiful. And delicious. We were very happy.

IMG_4955

IMG_4956

In the morning we grabbed a miel to go and walked several blocks to the Farmers Market.

IMG_4963

IMG_4962

It was a perfect Farmers Market morning – crisp, sunny, 46-degrees-but-with-a-hot-cup-of-coffee-in-hand.

IMG_4961

And the colors were beautiful.

IMG_4960

When I was in Holland last January, there was only one downtown coffee shop, now there are two hip newcomers.

IMG_4972

Look at how cute this place is.

IMG_4971

Of all the coffee joints in all the towns in all the world, The 205 is our new favorite.  Definitely the winner of the trip.

IMG_4969

IMG_4968

IMG_4966

Kombucha and sparkling cascara on tap.

IMG_4974

And complimentary honey cookies.

fullsizeoutput_730

They even have a cool floral mural.

After a morning of farmers market strolling, shopping and coffee bar hopping, we headed further north to Grand Haven.

I’ve taken you there before.

IMG_4995

IMG_4998

IMG_4996

It’s still a very tasty sandwich.

IMG_5006

And it’s still a beautiful [board] walk to the beach.  My phone tells me we walked over 8 miles that day. I believe it.

IMG_0284

IMG_5013

The aged, crumbling pier is being restored, so no walk out to the lighthouse this time.

We took a nap upon checking into our hotel in Grand Rapids and then immediately started researching places for dinner.

One of the highlights of staying in downtown GR is walking across the blue bridge to dinner.

But our feet were tired so, even though it was only 1.2 miles away, we drove to the trendy new Downtown Market for pizza. It has greenhouses on the roof.

IMG_5016

For dessert we were going to have a pour over for two and creme brulee at a fancy restaurant near the hotel, but then we noticed the flavor choices at Love’s.

IMG_5019

I chose a half scoop of cardamom orange blossom and a half scoop of chocolate coconut curry. Individually they were very good. Combined they became a delightful couple.  My daughter chose a half scoop of basil and a half scoop of roasted strawberry balsamic. The basil was really good alone (she let me taste it) but the strawberry/balsamic wasn’t quite right. Combining the strawberry with the basil, my daughter assured me, made it much better. Really good.

fullsizeoutput_737

We love Loves.

IMG_5031.JPG

Feet somewhat recovered, we took the beloved walk across the beloved bridge to listen to a bit of street music. Two young women on a street corner killing Riptide by Vance Joy.

A homeless man asked me if I smoked dope.

Do I look like I smoke dope?

I laughed.

“Look into my eyes,” he said, as he stared into mine.

“You don’t believe me?”

I wanted to tell him how old I am.  But I suppose old people smoke dope.

First order of business Sunday morning was Madcap for another miel.

IMG_5036

As I drank my heart began to transform into a Michigan Mitten.

IMG_5042

We IMG_5036     IMG_5045 .

IMG_5038

My daughter staging a photo of her pour over. She hates everything about this pic but it’s my blog.

From Madcap we walked back across the river to try the brand spanking new Rower’s Club.

IMG_5047

Love the table.

IMG_5050

IMG_5056

Miel to go.

Wolfgang's

Last stop: Wolfgang’s. Of course.

Reflecting back we decided we’ll spend more time in Holland next year, where there is food and coffee yet to be tried.

IMG_4993

We ❤ Michigan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Michigan

Spring in the D

I wasn’t doing anything today and the SUN WAS SHINING so we – my daughter and I – headed to Midtown for lunch and some shopping. Actually lunch and some browsing because who can afford to buy anything?

There’s just something about Spring in Detroit.

IMG_2357

IMG_2393

IMG_2394

IMG_2340 (1)

Look at that sky!

IMG_2342

IMG_2343

First stop, shopping at Shinola.

IMG_2344

Browsing at Shinola, but shopping at Shinola sounds better.

IMG_2347

IMG_2349

A few more stores and then lunch.

IMG_2350

There are lots of hip new restaurants in Detroit which are getting good press, but we opted for a golden oldie, a tried and true favorite. Plus, it’s right next to Shinola and the cluster of other hip little shops and we were HUNGRY.

IMG_2351 (1)

IMG_2353

IMG_2355

Traffic Jam & Snug’s garden – with a fountain made of an old tub and sink.IMG_2356

IMG_2364

As soon as we settled into our booth I heard the voice of a child coming from the booth behind me: “The best Republican by far,” he declared, “was Abraham Lincoln.”

“You don’t hear much good about Republicans,” he continued, “but I like them.”

Apparently he and his mom are visiting from Manhattan. It was impossible to not hear their conversation.

On the way out of the restaurant he reminded his grandma that she owes him $10, “because I won the poker game.”

He looked eight.

Eight-year-olds make the best lunch companions.

IMG_2365

When the hub walked in the back door after work, he asked the beagle if she had been a good girl. Then he asked me if I had been a good girl.

“No.”

“No?”

“We split a piece of four layer chocolate Kahlua cake with coffee ice cream.”

Speaking of cake. The waiter. Cordial and really handsome. I only mention it because he seemed like the icing on a perfectly lovely day.

We didn’t have the customary cup of decaf to go with our cake because we wanted to try one of the many groovy new Detroit coffeehouses.

IMG_2369

We decided on this one.  Lavender lattes. Yum.

IMG_6179

Then we walked a couple of blocks in the bright sunny air to Will Leather Goods.

IMG_2375

IMG_2378

Will donates really nice backpacks to area school children. There’s a couple of walls worth of thank you notes. This one is classic.

IMG_2379

“We liked the inside part and the outside part… Your best friend. Karla”

IMG_2382

Will Leather Goods from the back.

IMG_2387

There’s something reassuring about men working.

IMG_2391

IMG_2374

Especially in the Spring when everyone seems happy to be out there.

IMG_2385

Spring in the D. It was a good, shiny day.

Standard
Michigan

Beach & Coffee

IMG_0713

Cafe miel at Madcap – a very pleasant start to a Sunday.

IMG_3088

90 degrees – everyone and their brother was at the beach.

IMG_3082

A refreshing spray on the Grand Haven pier.

12004725_10154171953368574_9110910487150720311_n

Monday morning cafe miel, this time at Rowster. Delicious.

Rowster - another hip, minimalist coffee shop. It's what we do.

Rowster – another hip, minimalist coffee shop. It’s what we do.

11988470_10154171953118574_7192938065613021112_n

The beloved blue bridge – pedestrian gateway to relaxation and rejuvenation.

Labor Day weekend in western Michigan – Coffee, beach and some great meals.

Standard
life

A No Diego, Slows & Astro Day

The Diego Rivera exhibit is cheaper if you go on a Friday, but it is impossible to get a parking spot anywhere near the art museum – or anywhere in the city at all – on a weekday.  Every lot, every garage is full.

So after squeezing my Escape through the torn up, road-construction-narrowed streets and failing repeatedly to find a spot, we abandoned our plan and headed to lunch.

IMG_1589

I had been wanting to try this place.  It did not disappoint.

A few doors down was a groovy coffee shop and you know how the daughter and I love the groovy coffee.

IMG_1585

It was while I was eating my half of our sea-salted, hazelnut, chocolate chip cookie and sipping my mocha that Daughter pulled out her phone and had me read this quote:

When we speak of the wife obeying the husband, we normally think of obedience in military or political terms: the husband giving orders, and the wife obeying them. But while this type of obedience may he appropriate in the army, it is ridiculous in the intimate relationship of marriage. The obedient wife does not wait for orders. Rather, she tries to discern her husband’s needs and feelings, and responds in love. When she sees her husband is weary, she encourages him to rest; when she sees him agitated, she soothes him; when he is ill, she nurses and comforts him; when he is happy and elated, she shares his joy. Yet such obedience should not be confined to the wife; the husband should be obedient in the same way. When she is weary, he should relieve her of her work; when she is sad, he should cherish her, holding her gently in his arms; when she is filled with good cheer, he should also share her good cheer. Thus a good marriage is not a matter of one partner obeying the other, but of both partners obeying each other.  – St John Chrysostom 

“Yeah, that’s pretty good,” I said, “but I think he could have just said, ‘Obedience has no place in the intimate relationship of marriage’ and left it at that.  Because good marriages don’t talk about or define mutual respect and consideration, they just naturally do it.”

But being young and not yet married, she liked that someone spelled out the fact that marriage is a two way street.  Because so often godly Christians insist that the only godly street is a one way street.

In the car on the way home she said, “Maybe I shouldn’t urge you to play it so safe in your writing.”

And then she read a quote from Anne Lamott:

“If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive.”  – Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

“Right,” I said, “because the whole beauty of me is that I don’t need to be liked. I’ll still run some of my posts by you for your yawn-o-meter, but I won’t let your people-pleasing nature stifle me anymore.  Someone has to be a voice for the people who think like me, even if we are only 1% of the population.”

Solidarity INFJ sisters.  And brothers.

Standard
life

Coffee Rich

IMG_1484

I woke up one Sunday morning at a camp high atop a mountain in rural western Virginia.  I had arrived in the dark the night before.  We were running late for church so the camp director suggested we all just grab a bowl of cereal from the camp kitchen.

“Oh, that’s okay,” I said, “I’ll just grab something from Starbucks on the way.”

Immediate, spontaneous, uproarious laughter burst forth from the group.  I was confused.

For the next half hour we wound our way down the mountain to a church nestled in the valley below.  We passed small tobacco farms, lovely vistas, a modest home here and there, a few stray dogs, a covered bridge and, finally, a creek.  What we didn’t pass was any business establishment whatsoever.  No gas station, no cafe and certainly no Starbucks.

Turns out, back then, the nearest Starbucks was 100 miles away in Knoxville.  Now I think they have a couple of them in Kingsport and Johnson City – about 45 miles away.

There are 7 Starbucks within a 5 mile radius of my house.  Within those same five miles there is also another coffee chain with a few locations scattered about.  And then there’s Tim Horton’s.  And that really good – and unfortunately really expensive – coffee shop over by the movie theater. One of my favorites is the shop where my daughter and I shared the warm, delicious chai lattes pictured above.  They serve really delicious, really healthy food there, too, but it’s a coffee shop.

So, lots of shops, lots of coffee on my way to church.  On my way to anywhere.  We are coffee rich here in the North.  Maybe we need it more than our Southern friends.  To keep us warm.  It’s going to be another below-zero day today.  Brrrrrrr.

Standard