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May 20, 2017
  • 826 E. Cork Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49001
  • (269) 459-8521
  • Website
  • Menu

Kalamazoo used to really be lacking of good Mexican restaurants.  Now, I when I say good, what I mean is the good authentic places where I can just order as many tacos as I can stuff in to my mouth.  We’ve had Mexican places like Los Amigos, which is delicious, but places like that I always think about as the “fancier” type of restaurants whereas what I really want is more comparable to a diner.  Quick, cheap, and incredibly tasty.

Tacos Los Brothers was really the first place that popped up recently that got me really excited about tacos in Kalamazoo.  Then, last week, we stopped in to Lolita’s Tacos which puts out some really delicious tacos.

This week, I finally made the decision to pick up lunch from a place that I’ve been passing for what looks like over two years now without really realizing it was open.

Quekas Authentic Mexican Food opened up a little over two years ago on Cork Street about a block west of Lovers Lane near Corkscrew Party Store.  The new owners took what used to be All Occassions Floral and Gifts and turned it in to a Mexican restaurant.  The building looks a little odd with what almost appears to be a gas station type awning over parking on the either side.  I have no idea what the property was before the flower shop.  That was long before my time in Kalamazoo. Read more…

Van Andel Arena

May 19, 2017
  • 130 Fulton Street West
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • (616) 742-6600
  • Website

I gotta be honest, I was one of the minority on the side of really wanting a downtown arena in Kalamazoo.  I enjoy going to Wings Event Center for hockey games, but I’d love to see more and bigger name concerts roll through town.  I know what you’re thinking, “But all the good concerts would still go to Grand Rapids.”  Well…..maybe, maybe not.

You see, J and I met about ten years ago in Peoria, IL.  There’s a great arena in downtown known as the Peoria Civic Center.  They get great shows.  I saw a lot of big name acts in that building during my five year stay in the Heart of Illinois.

During the time I was there, a city about an hour to the southeast built their own arena.  Bloomington, IL officially opened US Cellular Coliseum in 2006.  There were a lot of acts that started picking Bloomington over Peoria.  It was newer, had better facilities backstage, and was more intimate.  We didn’t see a lot there before we moved to Michigan, but I still see friends going to shows there all the time.

My only point in bringing this up, it sure would be nice to drive five minutes to see a show instead of 50.  Still, if we have to travel 50, Van Andel Arena isn’t bad place to drive to.

J and I haven’t been to a concert in quite a while.  I actually can’t tell you what the last one we saw was.  It may have been John Mayer, also at Van Andel several years ago before the kids were born.

Last December, J made a comment in passing that she would like to go to the NKOTB concert in Grand Rapids.  My parents were still looking for a Christmas gift for her so I mentioned it.  Lo and behold, she got the tickets for Christmas and they offered to babysit so we could head to Grand Rapids for a night to relive our teenage years.

Van Andel Arena is right in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids on Fulton Street between Ionia and Ottawa Avenues.  The arena opened in 1996 and is the home of the Grand Rapids Griffins, the AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings.

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Vander Mill Cidery and Restaurant

May 16, 2017
  • 505 Ball Avenue NE
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • (616) 259-8828
  • Website
  • Menu

Nights out are the best.  Last December, J made a comment in passing that she’d like to see the New Kids on the Block show that was coming to Van Andel Arena.  I passed along this information to my parents who were still looking for a Christmas gift for her.  They bought the tickets and offered to come up to babysit so J and I could have a night out in Grand Rapids.

We decided to make an evening out of it and do dinner before the concert.  I have so many places in Grand Rapids that I want to eat at, but I picked one I knew J would love.

Our first stop of the night was at Vander Mill Cidery and Restaurant.  J has recently become a big fan of Vander Mill’s Totally Roasted cider and I’ve wanted to check this place out since it opened in April of 2016.  I have a lot of co-workers that have raved about the place for the food, the cider, and the ambiance of the former beer distributing facility located on Ball Avenue just north of Michigan Street.

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Totally Brewed Cafe

May 15, 2017
  • 151 S. Rose Street #105
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 344-4500
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

I’m finally working in Kalamazoo.  I know I’ve mentioned it in passing, but late last month, my company opened an office in Kalamazoo and I got transferred down here.  No more nights and weekends.  No more spending two hours in a car commuting back and forth to Grand Rapids every day.  It’s given me more time at home with my family and dropped the overall stress level of both my wife and me.

When I first started working in Kalamazoo, I kept hearing about a coffee shop not too far away from my office that most of the downtown workforce knows well.  In the seven years I’ve lived in Kalamazoo, I don’t know if I even realize this place existed, but as soon as we moved in downtown, I knew it was going to be a place I was going to get very familiar with.

Totally Brewed Cafe has been in the Comerica Building in downtown Kalamazoo for about eight years.  The small cafe sits right on Rose Street across from the Kalamazoo County Courthouse just south of the very busy intersection at Michigan Avenue and Rose Street.

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Lolita’s Tacos

May 14, 2017
  • 2307 E. Main Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49048
  • (269) 532-1473
  • Website
  • Menu

J and I have been trying to eat out less during the week.  I’m working a somewhat more traditional shift now, so we’re having to pay for childcare for the first time since we had L over five years ago.  We always worked opposite shifts (her 3 Am to noon and me 3 PM to  midnight), so there was always someone home to watch the offspring(s).

We’ve been doing pretty good on cutting out the fast food runs and the “I’m tired and don’t feel like cooking” that comes with the lack of sleep and lack of help getting every one fed and ready for bed at night, so we decided to treat ourselves to lunch last Sunday.

We really didn’t have a plan on where to go.  We were tossing out the usual suspects for us.  Arcadia, Bell’s, Hopcat, Burdick’s.  All sounded delicious as they always do, but I pulled out something else.  Mexican.  A place we both have been hearing good things about for a while.

Lolita’s Tacos is on that weird corner of East Main and Humphrey’s in Kalamazoo Township.  The last time we ate in that building, it was a place called Big City Food Diner.  I don’t get out to that side of town very often…and apparently neither does Google because their last Street picture is from 2012 as well….so  I don’t know if there had been a restaurant in between or not.   Read more…

The Spirit of Kalamazoo

May 12, 2017
  • 154 S. Kalamazoo Mall
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 382-6249
  • Website
  • Menu

The first really nice day of spring, I blogged about our trip to Frosty Boy for some ice cream.  I mentioned we wanted to sit outside and there just aren’t a lot of places that have outside seating that were open yet.

I got a lot of feedback from the post saying I’ve been overlooking a place downtown.  A place that serves Plainwell Ice Cream.  A place with a patio in both the front and back.

This past Friday, we were downtown for Art Hop.  My company recently opened a new office in downtown Kalamazoo and I’ve been moved in to that office so I no longer have to drive to Grand Rapids every day.  To make ourselves part of the downtown community, we’re hosting artists for Art Hop.  I don’t have to be there, but the kids like going to where I work and we’ve never really checked out Art Hop before so we decided to spend a Friday night in downtown Kalamazoo.

About an hour after we got downtown, J said something about going somewhere for ice cream on the way home.  I said we should just walk over to The Mall right now and get some so that’s what we did.

The Spirit of Kalamazoo is on The Kalamazoo Mall just to the south of the Exchange Place alley.  The store isn’t really an ice cream shop.  It’s a gift shop for all things Kalamazoo, but they have an ice cream counter and some seating so they do qualify as a great place to stop while shopping on The Mall.

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Chester’s Chicken (Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo)

May 7, 2017
  • 491 W. Michigan Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 382-1122
  • Website
  • Menu

I eat more gas station food than I care to admit.  I just started with a new co-worker who was surprised that I can find meals when I stop for gas.  I’ll stop at a gas station somewhere and come out with a burger, a slice of pizza, or even a cold deli sandwich to go along with the three Pepsi’s I just bought.

My typical go-to when it comes to gas station food is Speedway.  Some of them, like the one in Wayland, have full-on cafe’s where food is made fresh 24/7.  Others have burgers, pizzas, Tornados and hot dogs waiting for you to grab at certain times of day.

One day recently, I went out on a solo task and left my colleague at the office.  On the way back, I stopped at the Shell Station on the corner of Michigan and Westnedge for gas and to pick up a Pepsi.  As I was standing there, I started looking at chips or a beef stick or something to tide me over and thought, that’s stupid.  Get some chicken.

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