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Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery

March 1, 2015
  • Jolly Pumpkin311 S. Main Street
  • Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • (734) 913-2730
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s been a long winter…but seriously, I don’t need to tell you that.  Getting out of the house has been difficult.  J and I spend so much time on the road in bad weather at work that when the weekend rolls around, we want nothing to do with crappy weather.

That cabin fever has really been settling in over the last few weeks.  We’ve been trying really, really hard to get out of the house for a while.

Last Saturday, after catching a kids music show at Old Dog Tavern, we wanted to find something to do in the afternoon.  We eventually settled on trying ice skating at Millennium Park, but during the search for something to do, I cam across the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.  It was too late in the day for a road trip at that point, but we put it on the radar for this past weekend.

A trip to Ann Arbor also meant a trip for delicious eats.  There are so many great restaurants in Ann Arbor that it can be hard choosing just one.  I, of course, chose one of the breweries and one that we have had great luck at in the past.

Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery is right in downtown Ann Arbor on Main Street.  This location is about fifteen minutes from the brewery and taproom in Dexter and one of three Jolly Pumpkin restaurants.  The three of us at ate the Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant, Brewery, Distillery near Traverse City when we went up that way this past fall.  The third location will be in Detroit where they are opening a pizzeria and brewery.

We walked in to the building just before noon on a Saturday.  They have both an upstairs area as well as the main floor.  At this time, only the main floor was open, so we headed back to the host station.  We were taken to a booth/table combo near the back of the space.  The area we were sitting in is actually a four top with two-tops on either side that share the same bench.  Luckily it was not that crowded.  That’s really not my favorite type of seating arrangement, but it does allow for more guests during peak times.

I grabbed the beer menu and found a cider for J right away.  Just like the restaurant in Traverse City, they had Nomad from North Peak which is a dry hard cider.  The cider is brewed in Traverse City , on Old Mission Peninsula using locally grown apples.  I don’t drink a ton of cider, but I tend to go for the sweeter varieties.  This cider is much, much drier than I’m used to drinking, but J seems to like it and I only end up finishing what she has left anyway.   Read more…

Wing Kingz – S. Division

February 27, 2015
  • Wing Kingz3648 S. Division Avenue
  • Wyoming, MI 49548
  • (616) 243-3333
  • Website
  • Menu

I was craving wings last weekend.  LIke, really craving wings.  Unfortunately, there aren’t really any good places in Kalamazoo.  As a backup, we tried to go to Buffalo Wild Wings but there was already a line out the door at 4:30 on Saturday night.  We ended up walking next door to Bilbo’s instead where I was able to get some delicious smoked wings, but I was still really, really craving wings the next day.

The next day, I was at work and not really doing anything, so I started looking for a wing place open in Grand Rapids on a Sunday.  There are a couple really good wing chains in the area, so I had some choices.

The place I settled on was the Wing Kingz on South Division Avenue just south of 36th Street in Wyoming.  The small shop is a carry-out place only.  I’m not even sure they have an “inside.”  It looks like all they really have is a drive-through window on the side of the building.

Before the building was a Wing Kingz, it was a Wing Heaven.  As I mention every time I write an entry on either Wing Kingz or Wing Heaven, I really want to know what’s going on with these two chains.  They’re practically the same.  Practically the same menu and every thing.  Oh, and a lot of the Wing Kingz locations are old Wing Heaven locations and Wing Heaven locations are popping up in new places.   Read more…

G & L Chili Dogs – Sternberg Road

February 22, 2015
  • 1133 Sternberg Road
  • Norton Shores, MI 49441
  • (231) 799-9199
  • Website
  • Menu

Working alone is not one of my favorite things to do. I enjoy the company of another person on some of the long drives and, more importantly sometimes, I don’t like doing my co-workers job.  It’s not that I can’t do it, I just don’t like it.  That’s why I chose the job I did, but sometimes, it happens and I just have to deal with it and do the best I can.  Fortunately, I usually get an easier version of my co-workers job than they would get, so it isn’t all bad.

Earlier this week, I got sent to the Muskegon area for a quick task while my co-worker headed to Van Buren County to do something else.  The task I was assigned only took about ten minutes and it happened to be right around dinner time, so I decided to make the best of the situation and stop in for a burger at a place I don’t get to often enough.

G & L Chili Dogs is a small chain of Coney Island-style places in the Muskegon area.  There are four restaurants total with two in Norton Shores, one in Muskegon Township, and one in Holland.  The first time I had ever eaten at a G & L  was at the other Norton Shores location last spring.   Read more…

The Tamale Guy and Co.

February 14, 2015

In my previous blog post, I promised you another blog post about food.  Boatyard Brewing Company on Kalamazoo’s Northside doesn’t have it’s own kitchen, but they take advantage of food trucks and catering companies looking for space.  It’s an arrangement that works well for both parties.  Boatyard has some tasty food to go along with their tasty beer and this small food vendors have a space to do what they do.

I woke up last Friday morning and checked my Instagram account like I normally do as part of my morning routine.  I noticed BBC advertising that The Tamale Guy was going to be doing lunch at their place.  When J got home from work, I showed her the menu for the day and asked if she wanted to go grab a couple sandwiches and some delicious beer.

The Tamale Guy and Co. is actually a caterer you can find quite often at Boatyard Brewing.  Their set-up is pretty small.  They have a couple of tables near the entrance to the brew-pub with their ingredients and a panini press.  They typically have four sandwiches, a couple tacos, chips & salsa, a quesadilla, and one or two specials…oh yeah, and tamales.

The first thing we did when walking in to Boatyard was stop by The Tamale Guy’s table and order food.  J and I each ordered a sandwich and we got L a quesadilla….although L and J ended up trading because Mommy’s looked better to L and J didn’t really care either way. Read more…

Boatyard Brewing Company

February 9, 2015

I hate that it’s taken me so long to write this review.  I don’t mean that I’ve been sitting on it for a while.  I mean it has taken me a really, really long time to get to this brewery.  I hate that.

Boatyard Brewing Company has been active on social media promoting their growing business for a couple of years.  They just opened their taproom on Paterson Street just to the west of Riverview Drive and the Kalamazoo River last summer.  In the nine months since then, I have been telling myself,  “I’m gonna go tomorrow night.  I’m gonna go tomorrow night.”  Yeah, that never happened.  I always made some excuse (usually it’s I’m too tired) and kept putting it off.

The thing that really kept J and I away is that they don’t have a kitchen.  We don’t mind taking L to breweries or bars as long as their is food.  When there’s no food, it just feels weird having a toddler in a bar, so we’ve never even discussed going for a drink.

They don’t have their own kitchen, but they do have several food trucks that will occasionally serve lunch or dinner.   It was finally one of those options that finally got us in to Boatyard Brewing for lunch.

The building that houses the brewing is the old Standard Oil Fuel Depot.  The very industrialized building is the perfect setting for a craft brewer.  They kept a lot of the existing features from the floors, walls, and ceilings, then added a large bar and some tables in what has become the taproom.

The first thing we did is hit up The Tamale Guy and Co. for food…but I’ll blog about that in a separate post.  This one is just focusing on the brewery since that’s what Boatyard Brewing really is.

Once I placed the food order at the make-shift kitchen near the door, J and L found a table while I headed to the bar for drinks.  I immediately selected the Scuttlebutt IPA and damn, did I make a good choice.  You really better like hoppy beers if you pick this one.  It’s a combination of a British and American IPA and it’s dry hopped with Citra hops which give it that really great citrus-y, pine-y hop flavor.  As I sit here four days later writing, my mouth is starting to water.  I really should go back and get a growler.   Yeah….it was that good.  Read more…

The Blind Squirrel Tavern

February 6, 2015
  • THe Blind Squirrel Tavern

    19 W. Main Street

  • Fremont, MI 49412
  • (231) 335-2147
  • Website
  • Menu

I don’t get to the City of Fremont all that often.  In fact, I’ve only been there twice…and both times, I’ve been with the same co-worker who has talked me in to dinner.

Last time, we stopped at a little sandwich shop called The Lunch Pail.  Unfortunately, they have gone out of business since last winter, so we had to find something new.  As we were driving through downtown, we passed a little bar that actually triggered something with my co-worker, so we turned around and headed back to find something eat.

The Blind Squirrel is on West Main Street in downtown Fremont.  There is an entrance off the street side, but it seems like most people used a parking lot in the back.  We didn’t know any better and found street parking, so we went in through the front.

The dining room and bar area is all the way to the back of the building.  I’m not exactly sure what the front of the building is used for as it’s really just a big empty room.  We just made our way down the hallway past the kitchen to the bar area.  We were looking to do carry-out, so we actually grabbed a couple of seats at the bar while looking over the menu.

The menu is nothing at all like what I was expecting.  They have a really great line up of specialty burgers, sandwiches, and dinner entrees.  I had a really hard time deciding on just one thing.  I’m pretty sure I could have thrown a dart at the menu to pick what I was going to eat and I would have been happy no matter where it landed. Read more…

Allstate Arena

February 3, 2015
  • 6920 Mannheim Road
  • Rosemont, IL 60018
  • (847) 635-6601
  • Website

Like most girls her age, L is obsessed with Frozen.  We’re not really sure how or when it happened.  We watched the movie a few times and we didn’t think she was paying attention but she soaked in everything and over time, the whole Disney Princess thing became a reality in our house.

Last year, my parents really wanted to take L to see Disney on Ice at the Van Andel Arena.  L didn’t really know anything about Disney at that point, but we went and she enjoyed the show.  A few month ago, we found out Disney was putting together a Frozen on Ice show and the weekend it was in Chicago, was also the weekend of L’s 3rd birthday.

It didn’t take long for us to rally the grandparents and scoop up tickets to the Friday night performance.  Instead of a birthday party this year, we just did Frozen on Ice and I think L had more fun with that than she would have with a party.

The show ran two weekends in Chicago.  One at the United Center downtown and one at the Allstate Arena.  Unfortunately, the weekend we could go was the weekend it was at the Allstate Arena.

The Allstate Arena is northwest of Chicago near O’Hare Airport in the suburb of Rosemont.  The venue sits right off the Jane Adams Memorial Tollway (I-90) just to the west of where I-90 and I-294 meet.  In theory, this should make it an easy venue to get to….in theory.  Read more…


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