Thursday, August 8, 2013

Vacay Recap Part 1: Grand Rapids

We spontaneously decided to start our vacation Friday after work (instead of the following Monday) with a weekend in Grand Rapids. I thought "if I can get a good deal on a hotel we'll do it." 

Well, did I ever! I highly recommend Hotwire (and I didn't get paid to say that). I ended up paying $65 a night for the Holiday Inn in downtown. We could not say enough nice things about this hotel. It was clean, walking distance to everything, free parking, friendly staff, newly remodeled, with complimentary bikes. Oh and did I mention room service?

My favorite thing ever.

It was the perfect treat to kick off our vacation. We ate fried pickles (amaze!), garlic fries, and beer battered chicken fingers. It was all divine. We enjoyed a quiet night in since it was pouring outside. Wah wah.

Saturday morning we slept in and then ate breakfast before we headed out for our "Beer Tour" as we affectionately called it because Grand Rapids was named Beer City USA for the second year in a row. What?! What?!

We walked to our first stop, Founders, which turned out to be our favorite of them all. I had the Rubaeus and it blew my mind. 

Garth had the sampler, but he agreed with me that Rubaeus was the best of the best. 

We shared the Beer Cheese Dip and it was incredible. It was just so creamy and cheesy and the bread complimented it so well. Oh gosh. It was amazing. Like so amazing we almost went back there again Sunday. But we had to follow our rule: No eating at the same place twice. 

Our second stop was Grand Rapids Brewing Company. We shared a beer sampler and fried pickles.  The John Ball Brown was my favorite and Garth liked the Bliss Blonde. Our waiter was awesome! He was so friendly and so excited that we were first timers that he bought our appetizer. I will definitely be back the next time we visit!

Next up was Hopcat. I totally loved the wall art on the ceiling. Very cool place. 

I had this Blueberry Ale that was so sour I actually couldn't drink it. Bummer drag. 

But they had this Cheese Ale Soup that was scrumptious. I could have eaten another bowl or four.

We walked around the city and explored a little. I don't know why I act like an idiot around statues, but it is a habit. I am so cool sometimes. 

Per my brother's recommendation we stopped at MadCap for coffee.

It was totally a place my brother would hang out. Very hipster and I bet the people here were his friends when he lived here. I loved the coffee art and it was good and strong. Just how I like it. 

We walked back to the hotel, took a swim and then took a nap before heading to dinner at Z's. My coworker said they had the best ribs and when I googled them they had won 7 years in a row for best BBQ ribs. Garth was SOLD. 

It was a short 5 minute walk and it exceeded Garth's expectations. He declared, "These are the best ribs I have ever eaten." And proceeded to ask if we could eat every meal since at Z's. I know we will be back. I'm not a huge rib fan, but (surprisingly) their Fettuccine Alfredo was delicious.

After dinner we came back to the hotel and watched TV and went to bed. It was a great first full day of vacation. On Sunday morning we slept in, went swimming, and had a lazy morning. Garth worked on homework and I read.

Around lunch time we headed over to San Chez because we heard they had great tapas and sangria. Sign. Me. Up. The restaurant was fabulous. It was such a fun atmosphere and our waiter was a doppelganger for Mossimo from The Wedding Planner.

They bring out this amazingly good bread with olive oil (with cilantro in it, why didn't I think of that?!). We ordered a few tapas to go with it - grilled bread with red pepper goat cheese and grilled artichoke with a garlic aioli. Oh my word. So indulgent and so delicious. YUM. I was in food paradise!

We walked around town after lunch and looked at the cute houses and people watched. We sat by the river with a coffee for a bit. It started to rain so we headed back to the hotel for a quiet night in. We swam at the pool a bit more, ordered room service again (seriously best thing ever) and hung out in the room. 

It really was a lot more fun than I expected. I loved everything about it. The food. The beer. The company (obvi). The city. It was just a wonderful experience and I'm glad we decided to extend our vacation! 

Next up: Traverse City!


Jen Caputo said...

Grand Rapids is such a fun city, isn't it? We go every winter for the Michigan Winter Beer Fest. Looks like you hit some great beer stops, you missed one of our faves though - Brewery Vivant!
Rubeus is awesome! One of our favorite seasonal beers that Founders make. Adam just brought home a 6 pack a few days ago and I was enjoying one last night :)

A. Faith Golden said...

Well it sounds like you had fun!

So, have you and Garth ever stayed in a Bed and Breakfast or do you prefer hotels? I was just curious!

I love a good hotel, but ever since we started staying in B&B's we can't get enough. :)