03 July 2013

June 2013 MICHIGAN Grand Rapids - A Quickie in GR

Today I had a 8:30am date with the Genius Bar at the Apple Store in Woodland Mall. It was a free mini iCloud class. I just can't get all my devices to sync and was hoping this would clear up "the cloud" in my brain.

Class started before the store open, so there were no distractions. I gleaned a lot of info such as how to locate my phone if it gets lost or stolen and about iPhoto and photo streaming, but not what I needed for syncing. Guess I will have to pay the big bucks for private lessons to get this all straightened out.

After my class, Mike and strolled the mall looking for a padded carrying case for my iPad. No luck finding one I liked. Shopped a bit at William-Sonoma and bought porcini mushroom infused salt. This is one of my faves and I especially like it on buttered popcorn. We window shopped the rest of the way around the mall and stopped for a few minutes to watch the kids' play area. It is kind of like "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids" on the breakfast table with giant strips of bacon, a huge stacks of pancakes, fried eggs, a banana, sausage links, and cereal bowl with blue berries, that kids climb around. It's pretty hilarious.

This awakened our appetite, so we headed to the East Hills district of Grand Rapids. GPS was our guide and it took us along Fulton Street where we discovered the Fulton Street Artisans and Farmers Market. We made a quick U-ey and ventured through. Lots of fresh local fruits, veggies, honey, bakery goods, and crafts. After buying an almond log and some greens, we moved on to our actual brunch.

Our original destination had been Marie Catrib's on Diamond Street, but we learned Marie had died just two days earlier. We figured the place would be closed in mourning and it looked dark when we arrived. Marie was born in Lebanon (she was one day younger than me) and had an illustrious career in the food industry including studies at the New England Culinary Institute and a stint at the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina.

She finally settled in Grand Rapids and became a pillar of the community in gourmet skills and in spirit. My favorite breakfast dish at Marie's is the Baker's Bowl, a puffed pastry, egg, and cheese dish. There is also a little deli market within the cafe which features Lebanese and other foods. Marie, wearing her little Amish-looking cap, will be missed.   www.mariecatribs.com

As a back-up we decided to try a nearby place called Gaia that friends Ron and Dixie had talked about. The entrance was a bit tricky, but once in it was a wonderful veggie alternative. I had the Jim White (black beans, brown rice, fried eggs, romaine, tomatoes, fresh avocado and scallions served with a flour tortilla) and Mike had buckwheat pancakes. We also had fresh squeezed OJ. It was half the price and sweeter than any we have had a Food Dance.

Service was a bit slow, but the food was delish. We will definitely go back and do recommend this place for breakfast or brunch to our veggie (or non-veggie) friends.   www.facebook.com/GaiaCafeGR

After a hardy breakfast we needed to walk off some cals, so we took a stroll down Cherry Street. This street has several more interesting restaurants and historical buildings, including Brewery Vivant (which looks like it was converted from an old church or at least a great replication).

We walked past a lovely white-columned building with engraving that said it was the D.A. Blodgett Home for Children (erected in 1908). Pretty fancy for its time. I looked this up later and it was established as a place for children made homeless by epidemics such as typhus and diptheria. Their services continue today.

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If you have visited any of these places, we would love to hear your comments. Or send us recommendations of places we should not miss.