Tag: Restaurants

Grand Rapids Restaurants You Need to Visit  – DOPES ON THE ROAD

Grand Rapids Restaurants You Need to Visit  - DOPES ON

 

In 2019, there was a huge push to eat more local, in-season produce and of course live a  more sustainable life. Something that Grand Rapids has been doing well before this year. When Meg Ten Eyck and I were invited by Experience Grand Rapids to visit this midwest city I knew almost nothing about the food. 

I found out that Michigan grows a greater range of produce than any state except California. That fact means eating locally grown, fresh and in-season produce has been a way of life for well, forever. By blending hearty and heavy midwestern food with a focus on fresh and seasonal you get some incredible combinations. I have no doubt you’ll enjoy eating your way through these Grand Rapids Restaurants as much as I did. 

 

Say Yes to Breakfast in Grand Rapids 

San Chez Bistro

Our first meal after getting to town was breakfast at San Chez Bistro. It set the tone for all the deliciousness we came to expect during the rest of the trip. The restaurant itself is two-tiered and brightly colored. The decor speaks with the same fun tone as the food at this Latin American meets Mediterranean spot. The breakfast empanadas with chorizo were to die for. The pro tip is to go ahead and double your order or the harissa sour cream, you’ll thank me later. They also serve tapas-style lunches and dinners!

Wolfgang’s

When you visit Wolfgang’s you can expect to leave absolutely stuffed. This homestyle breakfast and lunch spot is serving up some massive portions. If you go on the weekend expect a bit of a wait but trust me they have the fluffiest eggs I’ve ever seen. They also make homemade hash browns which I happen to believe is the highest form of potato. 

Anna’s House

A visit to Anna’s House means everyone in the crews getting exactly what they want. The breakfast menu here is gigantic. That big menu allows them to have options for all sorts of dietary restrictions. Vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free you name it Anna’s House has you covered. 

That Early Bird

If you’re looking for good vegetarian food in Grand Rapids look no further than That Early Bird. I think the coolest part about this spot is that the menu is super eclectic. Sure they have the traditional french toast and breakfast sammies but they also have vindaloo hash! The horchata iced latte is to die for. If you haven’t tried horchata its rice mike beverage popular in Latin America. 

Coffee in Grand Rapids

MadCap Coffee

Brick walls and, big windows and a lot of sunlight. Beautifully designed packaging. Knowledgeable baristas probably wearing beanies and or Blundstones. This place is oozing cool in every way. MadCap Coffee has three locations in Grand Rapids and we visited two of them. I really enjoyed getting to learn about the beans and the process from the Downtown Market location. 

 

Jam’n Bean Coffee Company

Struggling to decide if you want coffee or ice cream? Jamnbean is all about having both. The vibe here is cozy. It’s the perfect place to just chill with friends. I’m a coffee enthusiast but there’s a contingent of people who claim the ice cream is even better than the coffee. You’ll have to try both and decide for yourself. 

Beautiful women eating one ice cream in the street. Youth concept.

Outside Coffee Co

Outside Coffee Co is queer-owned, instantly making me fall in love a little more. As the name suggests Outside Coffee Co is well outside. They have fireplaces scattered about the space giving that perfect fall vibe. When it gets cold they put out adorable clear domes to stay warm in. I had what they call “chider” a chai tea and apple cider combo that was life-changing. 

Grand Rapid Brunch Spots to Indulge

Social Kitchen & Bar

Grand Rapids brunch lists will all include the trendy and vibrant Social Kitchen & Bar. The bunch menu has comfort food done in an elevated way. The thick-cut pork belly in bourbon vanilla glaze is sinful. Consider taking an Uber here because the bunch cocktail list is phenomenal. 

Electric Cheetah

I have a weakness for root beer the more unique the better. When I found out Electric Cheetah offered a full root beer menu I was sold. The brunch menu has a lot of American food favorites. The mac n cheese is what they’re known for so make sure to try it. This cool mural was just a few minute’s walks so I snagged a few pictures while waiting for a table. 

Terra GR

This Grand Rapids farm to table restaurant has a wonderful brunch menu. The Terra GR egg menu is a mile long but the woodfire pizzas grabbed my attention. They have a strong focus on being sustainable and serving local ingredients which is the type of business I love to support. They also have one of the best bloody mary’s I’ve ever tasted. 

Brown Butter Creperie & Cafe

When you come here expect a wait. I don’t mean that as a bad thing, I say to emphasize this place is so good people will wait! Brown Butter Creperie & Cafe is completely worth the wait. Crepes had a very important place in my early travel story so I think of myself as somewhat of a crepe critic. The crepes are thin and come in both sweet and savory options. They even have a crepe making class which I would 100% be doing if I live in the city. 

Great Restaurants Downtown Grand Rapids

The Old Goat

The Old Goat has a rustic-chic vibe that you could probably use the word hipster to describe. The place is the definition of stylish and chill. The service is great and makes for a good lunch or dinner stop. If you’re looking for food recommendations consider the cast iron pot pie or the garlic and white balsamic brussel sprouts. 

HopCat

HopCat is a brewery, in fact, it’s a great brewery in one of America’s leading beer cities. It’s no surprise that the menu here is everything you’d want to eat while drinking beer. Think chicken tenders, burgers and Fish and Chips. The food is great and no I wasn’t drunk when I had it. Pro Tip: their Cosmik fries were named the top 10 french fries in America by Food Network Magazine. 

Stella’s Lounge

The walls are covered in graffiti and there are 80’s arcade games to play. Everything about Stella’s Lounge is fun, including the food. It’s mostly a pub menu serving some killer sandwiches. They also have some vegan comfort food options, like a sweet potato burrito. If you’re into whiskey Stella’s has 200 varieties. 

Ando Sushi & Bar

Veggie sushi is one of my favorite things in the world and Ando Sushi & Bar serves the best I’ve ever had. The restaurant is modern and minimal with a really pretty bar. My eyes were about 7 times bigger than my stomach so I got to taste a lot. The udon was rich and a massive portion and all the sushi was super fresh. Seriously, you’ve gotta try one of the veggie sushi options.

Donkey Taqueria

A former service station serving up Mexican street food-inspired dishes. Donkey Taqueria has a large outdoor patio for sipping a cocktail on the warm days and the garage door flood the interior with light year-round. Their taco menu is awesome but I recommend ordering at least on the order of flautas. They also have a really fun cocktail menu.  

Butcher’s Union

Meat eaters only! Not really but carnivores are going to thrive here. The menu itself has a strong international influence which is always fun. Butcher’s Union offers a big shareable menu which I love. In my opinion, it’s the best way to try a bunch of the option. Some of the shareable options include beef tartar, Caribbean meat pies, and roasted pork belly. 

Downtown Market

I love me a great market and the Downtown Market is just that. One of the first things I learned about the market as they have a garden on the rooftop Which I think is awesome for so many reasons. Once we got in I was stoked to find so many different food stalls. Almost all offered an option to take food to cook at home or eat there. That includes the seafood stand frying up and serving some of the freshest fish sandwiches. There are also 3 full sit down restaurants connected to the market. If you have time I highly recommend finishing your meal with the MadCap coffee flight and a cupcake from Sweetie-Licious Bake Shoppe

 

This conversation was sponsored by Experience Grand Rapids. As always all opinions are my own. 

 

Best Restaurants in Pittsburgh: The Ultimate Guide to Pittsburgh Food – DOPES ON THE ROAD

Best Restaurants in Pittsburgh: The Ultimate Guide to Pittsburgh Food

For a long time, Pittsburgh was considered an upping and coming food city and maybe even city in general. Those days are over, Pittsburgh has arrived in all the ways. The Pittsburgh food scene is thriving right along with the rest of this beautiful city. Narrowing down the truly top restaurants in Pittsburgh is tricky. Luckily I went to college in a nearby town and have multiple friends who call the city home. Each one was seemingly more excited than last to offer up recommendations on where to get that good Pittsburgh food.

Possibly the most famous Pittsburgh food, a Primanti Bros Sandwich overflowing with coleslaw and fresh-cut french fries. All the meat and toppings are slapped between two pieces of white bread. It’s one of the Pittsburgh restaurants you can’t miss. I also highly recommend ordering a deli-style pickle to go with it. 

The other Pittsburgh classic is the Pierogi. This Eastern European classic has become a favorite in Pittsburgh. So much so they have a Pierogi race between innings on the Pirates games. If you haven’t had one you have to go with the classic potato topped with sour cream and chives. 

Amazing Diners in Pittsburgh

Pennsylvania, in general, has strong diner culture and that certainly can be felt here in Pittsburgh. If you’re looking for a hearty breakfast or lunch look no further than these top-notch diners in Pittsburgh. 

DeLucas Diner

There’s always a hot cup of coffee on and the floors are checkerboard. The vibe hasn’t changed in years but neither has the food and that’s a good thing. This Pittsburgh institution has been serving one of the best breakfasts in the city for over 60 years. In the mood for banana pancakes or an omelet with homefries, head here. 

P&G Pamela’s Diner

Pamela’s Diner is adorable. It’s so good it practically feels like it was designed for a photoshoot but then you realize it’s just that authentic. Everything is a shade of teal pink with family photos covering the walls. The claim to fame here, super-thin crepe style hotcakes. I’m more of a savory person so I went for the Trash Hash which is basically hash browns topped with sloppy-joe, cheese, and jalapeno. It was to die for. 

Micro Diner

Fluffy stuffed pancakes help make breakfast the real star of the show here. One of the best parts of Micro Diner is the fact that is open late. Making it the perfect place to grab a great meal after a night out with friends. 

Kelly O’s

The young gun standing strong among the other Strip District restaurant legends, DeLucas and Pamalas. Once you say, Diner, Drive-in and Dives made a stop here there isn’t much more that needs to be said. The featured dish on the episode was the haluski, I always follow the experts lead. 

 

Best Breakfast Spots in Pittsburgh

If you’re looking for breakfast in Pittsburgh but feeling a bit more than the dinner vibe, I got you. I happen to travel with a big-time breakfast lover so we’re always on the lookout. 

Pie for Breakfast 

The name alone makes you wanna go, right? Stay with me, it gets better. They also serve all-day breakfast and boozy coffee cocktails. As you’d expect they do serve a lot of pie and quiche but there is more to the menu if you want something lighter. 

Waffles, INCaffinated

Made to order, fully customizable waffles. Of course, they have some house favorite sweet and savory combinations to lead you in the right direction. The available toppings list is pretty extensive leaving you to get super creative if you want. I’m a massive chicken and waffles fun but the sausage gravy over a waffle, heart eyes. 

Cafe Moulin

Meg and I are massive crepe lovers. In fact, we actively search them out all over the world. The french style crepes at Cafe Moulin were absolutely delicious. The menu has a good selection of both sweet and savory offerings. The atmosphere is cozy and clearly French-inspired. 

The Vandal

The Vandal is just as cool, well designed and delicious as you’d expect from a Lawrenceville restaurant. The menu is unique and utilizes ingredients in super unique ways. There is a distinct farm to table vibe. We stopped in mid-afternoon and enjoyed some of their delicious cups of coffee in the window seats. 

Best Italian Restaurants in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh’s Little Italy neighborhood can be found in the Bloomfield neighborhood. However, you’ll find Italian restaurants ranking highly on many “where to eat in Pittsburgh” lists all over the city. 

Alla Famiglia 

When you go to Alla Famiglia expect to have the full Italian fine dining experience. You can very clearly taste the intention behind each ingredient. The food is served family-style while offering some great appetizer options like the Burratta. Plan ahead for a visit and make sure you have reservations. 

DiAnoia’s Eatery

We sat at one of the tables outside sipping on a couple of glasses of wine. When the food hit the table the first words out of Meg’s mouth were “theses are little pillows of heaven” after a bite of gnocchi. The restaurant and connecting market are beautiful and the food is insane. You can even go in that afternoon for some sandwiches with incredible meats and cheeses. If you’re going for dinner be sure to make a reservation it fills up quick. 

Lawrenceville Restaurant Favorites

SMOKE Barbeque Taqueria

The best way to describe this spot is pit beef and a taco shop had a baby. It’s as delicious as you’re expecting. The nachos are baked in a cast iron pan and have more cheese than I can describe, add brisket for extra magic. They also make in house sodas which always win me over. 

Cinderlands Brewery

I always appreciate a brewery of offers bomb food and Cinderlands does just that. The beers are award-winning but the brussels sprouts stayed on my mind. Monday is all day taco day if you’re down for that. 

Merchant Oyster Co. 

The lobster rolls are the house specialty at this Lawrenceville gem. You can also pick from an extensive selection of oysters hailing from the east and west coasts. When the cool weather rolls in keep in mind they have four different kinds of chowder daily. 

Morcilla

Consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in Pittsburgh, Morcilla won’t disappoint. Serving elegant Spanish food in an approachable way. The food is served small plate style so you can try all sorts of things. If you don’t know where to start, I’d recommend the charcuterie and croquetas 

Market Square Pittsburgh Restaurants

Downtown Pittsburgh restaurants weren’t supposed to wow us based on what I’d read. However, I was super pleasantly surprised at the quality options located in this part of the city. I would even consider some to be my favorite restaurants in Pittsburgh. 

Tako

At Tako Mexican street food and Japanese food are mixing it up. There is playful window seating ready for the warm days. The street-style tacos are best when you get a platter and can try multiple types of meat. I highly recommend going with the octopus, it was cooked perfectly. 

Butcher and Rye 

Butcher and Rye ooze cool from the moment you step in. The unique marriage of rustic and vintage decor is some of the best I’ve come across. The food is no slouch either. The contemporary take on modern classic completely knocks it out of the park. All that before I even mention the 8 shelves of whiskey. 

Revel and Roost

Just steps from Market Square you’ll find Revel and Roost. Roost is the upstairs event space and Revel is the downstairs event space. They have a versatile dinner menu with tons of dishes meant to share. Bacon-wrapped scallops or braised beef quesadillas are always a good move. 

Or, the Whale

Or, the Whale by the Travel Channel as one of the Hip Pittsburgh Destinations Where You’ll Want to be in 2019 for good reason. Located in what was previously a gymnasium the dining room is large and bold. The food is exactly what you’d hope for in a farm to table or sea to table restaurant. They are not taking any shortcuts that would sacrifice freshness. 

Vegan Restaurants Pittsburgh

APTEKA

A vegan restaurant that was recommended by both vegan and non-vegan friends. There is a very clear but intentional simplicity in the design. The food is all vegan with a strong eastern European influence. A few years ago the concept started with a Pierogi Pop up Restaurant and you bet those perogies are still on the menu. 

B52 Cafe

A Mediterranean spot offering a full vegan menu. They even have seitan which I appreciate being able to find. On Sunday’s you’ll find a beautiful brunch with the likes of latkes and thick-cut toast with cashew cheese. 

Onion Maiden

This completely vegan restaurant has a punk side. You’ll hear the distinct sounds of heavy metal playing as you devour your cabbage and shiitake dumplings. They specialize in making both Asian and American comfort food but in a seriously creative way.