Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Grinch's Nightmare

Speaking of Christmas decorations... these ones may be a little less uniform.... but there's no lacking in Christmas Spirit. 
This is the holiday interior of the Broadway Bar, on the corner of Broadway and Sixth on the west side. The place is a holiday tradition of Grand Rapids' very own.
For 21 years, the family-owned restaurant has gone all out for the holiday. The start the day after Halloween, and take 4 weeks to complete this wonderland of lights, trains, garland, Santas, and reindeer. There;s even a projector screen that plays holiday movies all day long.

Stop on in to get your overdose of Christmas, but be sure to make a reservation first, it takes more than a little effort to get in here this time of year!

Friday, December 19, 2014

When Roy G. Biv Stops Over for Christmas

I'm not one much for holiday decorating myself, but I do appreciate a well-styled tree. And I'm quite fond of Inspired by Charm's ROYGBIV gradient tree here.
This tree is uniform and thoughtful, yet still playful and full of spirit. I especially like the Star Explosion on top.
I feel like Christmas benefits when colors other than Red and Green are added to the palette. This could almost become a year-round decoration.

Delivering Holiday Traditions

On December 6, 1964, families sat down to watch an animated special called Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for the very first time. The hour-long show went on to become the longest-running and highest-rated Christmas special in TV history.
To commemorate this beloved holiday tradition, USPS and Greg Breeding have designed 2014 Christmas stamps featuring Rudolph and his misfit friends. Still frames of the stop-motion animation produced by Rankin/Bass, will deliver a bit of nostalgia and joy to people all over the country this season. 

I'm Santa! Peppy and resourceful, yet perhaps a little skittish, Santa almost cancels Christmas because of formidable weather. But then he discovers a brilliant solution for his sleigh: the guiding light of Rudolph’s nose.

My favorite part of this is that he almost cancels plans due to incliment weather, cause yes, I do that. Guess I wouldn't be a very good postal carrier...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

(Food) Tour de Mexico

Sometimes I get obsessed with food, and eating ALL of it. So this summer we started a Mexican Food Tour of Grand Rapids, trying out many of the many Mexican places that we had never ventured to, in order to experience and compare them.

As means of comparison, with few exceptions, I ordered cheese enchiladas at all the locations. As well as Chips + Salsa.

1. La Huesteca - This place is just around the corner from my house, yet I didn't even know it was there.  This was the universal favorite for the group. Skip the chips, they're no good, but overall, it's very authentic place with decent tamales.
1811 Plainfield Avenue Northeast, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
2. San Jose Taqueria - By far the most authentic of our locations, and overall a fun eating experience. Good food, good tamales, good vibes. And I love drinking Coke out of the bottle.
1338 S Division, Grand Rapids, MI 49507
3. El Sombrero - Known for their tamales! In fact, they sell out of tamales daily... not  having known this... we got no tamales. However, we did get delicious, and probably the most unique, chips—though the lack of salsa almost cost them third place! The location and outdoor seating sealed third for them. Overall an authentic taste, great tortillas, and I loved the sauce on my enchiladas.
527 Bridge Street Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
 
4. El Arriera - A bit more American in flavors and proportions, this place was well rounded. Great salsa, great chips, good tortillas, and just really satisfying Mexican meal. The location prevented El Arriera from stealing the third place ranking!Southridge Center, 2948 28th Street Southeast, Kentwood, MI 49512 

6. Cantina - My favorite as a kid — it had been a decade since I'd been here, and the place had been completely redone. While the atmosphere is fun, it seems more gimmicky than authentic. The food was pretty standard American Mexican fare, BUT they did have some pretty amazing Cheese and Bean dips. Worth going back for more cheese. Good for larger parties. 
2770 E Paris Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 

7. El Granjero - The food here was good, and may even be more authentic than some of the ones I ranked above it, but in general, it just seemed middle of the road to me. The atmosphere was somewhat lacking and the meal was less memorable. 
950 Bridge Street Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
8. Maggie's Kitchen – Maggie's was hard to get to because of their weird hours. I ended up just stopping in for carryout one day. Really good tortillas but rather bland rice and beans. And again, skip the chips and salsa. I think this would have been a better as a dine-in experience, and I like to try them again sometime. The interior was surprisingly spacious and clean, would be pretty good for seating larger parties.  
 636 Bridge Street Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

9. Tacos el Cuñado (Downtown Market) - I think it was a mistake to not try the Cuñado at Bridge and Pine. Because, in my opinion, the one in the Downtown Market isn't Mexican food, it's hipster food. And if you want hipster tacos, go to Donkey.
435 Ionia Avenue Southwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
10. Cinco de Mayo - Good chips, good salsa, and overall good food. But I've never really thought Cinco was very authentic Mexican—it's not TexMex, it's just... a lot of cheese. Which has some appeal. 
114 Monroe Ctr NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 (+ Rockford)
 
11. Beltline Bar - The first stop on our tour is legendary in GR for their burritos. And yes, the burritos are HUGE... and could probably feed a family for a week. The veggie burrito was good, but didn't strike me as remarkable, and overall, the challenge to eat as much of it as I could, left me a little uncomfortable. However, I would rate their salsa highly (but the not the chips). The Beltline Bar loses points with me for inauthenticity—it seemed based on what Americans think Mexican should taste like and what we think Mexican restaurants should look like. It was also full of (white) Americans.
16 28th Street Southeast, Grand Rapids, MI 49548

The experiment could have gone on forever, and I know we left a few places out. But compromises needed to be made and deadlines drawn. A overall few learnings as takeaways from this adventure
1. The shadier the place looks, the better the food is going to be. 
2. Coke always tastes better from a glass bottle. 
3. Salsa as we know it, is probably not all that authentically Mexican.

Speaking of salsa... if you're looking for a variety of salsa in the American way, try Fajita Republic. I hate to call them out because it's so chain-esque, BUT they do have really fun salsa combinations — you can basically order a flight of salsas!

Anyway... I don't know about you, but I'm full. Time to let the beans and rice settle and plan the next eating adventure. Tiramisu? Mac & Cheese? The perfect fry? 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

CALENDARS ON SALE UNTIL WED 12/17

You can still get them in time for Christmas! I'm doing Calendars at $10 each thru Wednesday. Two designs available. Find them on my Etsy Shop!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Burger of the Week #190

Baker / product designer, Sam Ushiro, posts her adorable creations on instagram at instagram.com/clustercuss.

This post from October 28, is a mini pumpkin in a burger costume. It's so precious, I just can't get enough of the clustercuss feed!


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ever wonder what a tear looks like up close?

In The Topography of Tears, photographic artist Rose-Lynn Fisher has captured, dried and studied one of her tears under a microscope. The results are beautiful and interesting on their own. 
BUT, she didn't stop there:
"Eventually, I started wondering—would a tear of grief look any different than a tear of joy? And how would they compare to, say, an onion tear?"
Tears of Laughter
Tears of Grief
Onion Tears
The results show the emotional terrain of tears, and the chemical and hormonal make-up that changes as the body undergoes various stresses. 

I know that no two snowflakes are the same, but I find in interesting that this applies to tears as well, and even more interesting, that the situation and conditions that cause the tears affect this make-up — which I'm sure is true in the case of snowflakes too!

Oh, Science. 

Originally seen on the Smithsonian