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Josie’s Southern Comfort Foods

July 30, 2021
  • 720 Shoppers Lane
  • Parchment, MI 49004
  • (269) 743-7117
  • Website
  • Menu

I’m so far behind getting to new restaurants in the Kalamazoo area.  My list keeps growing and growing but this has been the summer of the food truck for me.  I’m only eating out a couple days a week and I seem to keep finding food trucks on days I decide to grab lunch at work.  

There have been a couple of southern comfort restaurants pop up over the last year and I’ve been itching to give them a try.  They all seem to run in to the same problem for me though….lack of web presence.  I really like to know what I’m getting in to before I walk in the door and would really like to see a menu.  

One of those places did kick up their web presence recently after people have been asking for an online menu for months.  

Josie’s Southern Comfort Foods took over the space on Shoppers Lane in Parchment that Scooter D’s used to occupy near the Save-A-Lot just off Riverview Drive.  The business actually has two storefronts in the small stip mall.  One is the diner while the other is used for a variety of other things.  It’s been a pop-up boutique and now it appears it’s going to be one of those selfie places.  

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Stan’s Donuts & Coffee (Mag Mile)

July 30, 2021
  • 535 N. Michigan Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60611
  • (312) 929-2651
  • Website
  • Menu

We had a pretty great weekend getaway to Chicago.  J and I both grew up near the City…her closer to it than me…but we both did a lot of Chicago things when we were kids.  This weekend trip allowed us to do a lot of those Chicago things with our kids that we probably haven’t done since we were kids.  

Sunday night was rainy and kind of miserable but we made the best of it.  We spent the day at the Museum of Science & Industry then headed back to our hotel room to relax for a while.  

We were smart and made a reservation early in the day for pizza at Labriola just a short walk from our hotel.  Our plan was to walk down to Millennium Park after dinner and do that touristy thing by taking pictures at the Cloud Gate sculpture…or as you probably know it…The Bean.  

We didn’t really plan on getting dessert but there was a donut shop right next door to Labriola…in fact, they were connected so we didn’t even have to leave the building to get the kids a little something.  

Stan’s Donut is yet another place with a misleading address on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.  The address is on North Michigan Avenue but you’ll never find it if you look there.  The gourmet donut shop is on the raised pedestrian bridge over Grand Avenue in Chicago’s Near North Side.  The chain of Chicago shops is an off shot of the famous Stan’s Donuts in Los Angeles which closed last spring.  Rich Labrioloa (you know, the namesake of the pizza restaurant we ate at and that’s connected to this donut shop) worked with Stan Berman many years ago to make the Chicago shops possible.

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Labriola Chicago

July 19, 2021
  • 535 N. Michigan Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60611
  • (312) 955-3100
  • Website
  • Menu

What to do about dinner in downtown Chicago?  We learned the previous night that most places are running on reservation only so we got on it earlier in the day.  

I opened up my phone and started looking on OpenTable for places within walking distance of our hotel on the Mag Mile.  I kinda wanted pizza but definitely did not want Giordano’s or Lou Malnati’s.  I was open to Pizzeria Uno if we could get in to their original location just around the corner from where we were staying but I was looking much wider than the Chicago staples.  

We had walked to Navy Pier the day before and passed a sign for a place that said The Hungry Hound declared them the best deep dish in the city.  It took me a while to find it but they did have spots open for Sunday night so I booked us a table for four at 6:15.

Labriola Chicago is another one of those places that has an address on Michigan Avenue but if you go to the address, you won’t find it.  The restaurant is on the overpass bridge of Grand Avenue right off Michigan.  There’s a Men’s Warehouse and Pandora on the Michigan Avenue side.  If you walk past those buildings on the overpass that goes above Grand Avenue, you’ll find the restaurant on the north side.  

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Garrett Popcorn Shops (Michigan and Ohio)

July 19, 2021
  • 625 Michigan Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60611
  • (888) 476-7267
  • Website
  • Menu

Every trip to Chicago needs one thing to make it complete. Popcorn from Garrett Popcorn shop. Hell, I even fly through O’Hare if I get a choice on connection just so I can get bags of popcorn to take home.

We spent a long weekend in Chicago as our summer vacation this year. Navy Pier, Museum of Science and Industry, Lincoln Park Zoo…we did all the touristy things so why not make sure we get the touristy souvenir….Garrett popcorn.

We got our tickets for the Museum of Science and Industry for 11:30 Sunday morning. The bed at our hotel in the Marriott on the Mag Mile was super comfortable…even with three of us sleeping in it. The curtains really blocked out the light and everyone slept until about 8:30. Very unusual for us.

We got up and got moving around 9:00. J looked up the Garrett Popcorn Shop near us and saw they opened at 10. It was only a couple of blocks away so it *should* have been no problem for us to get popcorn and get back before we needed to leave.

We were wrong.

What seems to be the only Garrett Popcorn Shop in downtown Chicago is on Ohio Street but the address says Michigan Avenue. If you go to the address, you’ll find a Timberland store. You need to go around the corner on Ohio Street to actually find the popcorn shop. I remembered this because I actually visited this location in 2013 and had a hard time finding it then.

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Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago)

July 17, 2021
  • 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive
  • Chicago, IL 60637
  • (773) 684-1414
  • Website

I’ve been blogging since we moved from Illinois to Michigan 14 years ago. First, it was Mid-Michigan Dining when we lived in Lansing then I moved over to this blog when we moved to Kalamazoo in 2009.

One of my biggest regrets over the years was pigeon holing myself so much in the name. Why the heck would I blog about a museum in Chicago when the blog’s title tells you it’s going to be about food in Southwest Michigan?

I’ve never really addressed that before but I have written about many museums, zoos, concert venues, ballparks, and other entertainment options that don’t always involve food. Why? Because I blog like this is a journal. Most of our travels are focused around food but even when they’re not, I like having the record….so I write a blog that doesn’t quite fit in with the theme of this website.

J and I took the kids on a little mini vacation/long weekend to Chicago to do all the touristy things we don’t normally do. Our vacations normally involved zoos…and this one would to eventually, but our second full day in the City was rainy and miserable. There were no breaks in the rain to even consider a zoo.

J wanted to go to Shedd Aquarium, but two things…1.) it’s insanely expensive ($150 for a family of four just to get in) and 2.) there were no tickets left for Sunday by the time I started looking Saturday night.

I threw out the Museum of Science and Industry as an option. I remember really liking it the one time my parents took us there in the late 1980’s and it was indoors. J wasn’t too sure the kids were going to like it but we didn’t have any other options so I booked tickets.

The Museum of Science and Industry is located in Chicago’s Hyde Park Neighborhood (if that sounds familiar, that’s where the Obama’s are from). The museum sits just off Lake Michigan on Lake Shore Drive and East 57th Drive in Jackson Park. The building that houses this massive museum has an interesting history. It was originally built as the Palace of Fine Arts for the 1893 World’s Columbia Exposition. After the World’s Fair, the museum that eventually became the Field Museum was housed there before being moved to it’s current location further north on Lake Shore Drive. During the Century of Progress Exposition in 1933, the Museum of Science Industry opened after a substantial fundraising drive.

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Centennial Crafted Beer + Eatery

July 16, 2021
  • 733 N. LaSalle Drive
  • Chicago, IL 60654
  • (312) 284-5353
  • Website
  • Menu

Finding a place to eat in downtown Chicago on a Saturday night was harder than we expected.  It seems most places are reservation only and you can’t get a reservation at the last minute.  

J really had her heart set on dinner at the Sugar Factory but we couldn’t get a last minute reservation nor did we think we should probably get one in advance.  We never know how our day is going to go and trying to get somewhere at a specific time just makes the day all the more stressful.  

We had spent a good part of the day at Navy Pier then headed back to our hotel room at the Marriott to relax.  J told me to find a place to eat so I opened up OpenTable to see who had reservations available nearby for the four of us.  

There were a few pubs within walking distance of our hotel so it was just narrowing down which one. We picked the one that offered outdoor seating in the reservation.

Centennial Crafted Beer + Eatery is on LaSalle Drive near Superior Street in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. The bi-level bar opens up to a very busy LaSalle Drive and takes up a couple of storefronts and a good portion of the side walk.

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America’s Dog & Burgers (Navy Pier)

July 16, 2021
  • 700 E. Grand Avenue #121
  • Chicago, IL 60611
  • (312) 840-4000
  • Website
  • Menu

Our be a tourist in Chicago vacation got started in the most touristy way possible. We picked the kids up from my parents near Kankakee then headed back in to the City to Navy Pier.

The last time I was actually at Navy Pier would have been sometime in 2002. I took one of my friends daughter and her friends to see Beauty and The Beast at the IMax theater (which is no longer there.) Navy Pier looked a little different then. It was before the redevelopment that started in the early 2010’s.

We chose to park at our hotel on the Mag Mile and walk to the Pier. It’s about a mile or so from the Marriott we were staying in. A mile walk really isn’t that big of a deal anymore thanks to all the hiking we’ve done since the pandemic began last year.

J and I had spent the night before in Chicago without the kids. The kids had spent the previous week at my parents so we had to go pick them up. By the time we got back to Chicago and made our way to Navy Pier, it was a little after 2:00.

Our plan was to just get lunch at the Pier. We tried going to a couple of the bigger sit down restaurants but they had hour and a half to two hour waits. J was hungry and needed food so even though she put us on the wait list, we had to find food quickly

Navy Pier has a couple food court type options inside the Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and the lines didn’t look too long. J had gotten in line for Snow Dragon Shavery which is right next to a burger place. She stayed in line for drinks then sent me to go grab some burgers.

America’s Dog & Burgers, or ADB, is set up kind of in the middle of the Family Pavilion near the entrance to Navy Pier. It’s a fast food style set up with a queue leading to a cash register to order. Once the order is taken, you’re given a receipt with a number to wait for your order to be called.

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Snow Dragon Shavery (Navy Pier)

July 15, 2021
  • 700 E. Grand Avenue
  • Chicago, IL 60611
  • (312) 291-9046
  • Website
  • Menu

This weekend trip to Chicago we planned on playing tourist. It’s funny how when you grow up somewhere, you don’t always do all the touristy things. It was just a few years ago that I took my first trip to the Willis Tower (aka Sears Tower) despite having grown up just an hour from the City.

We know there are more things and better things to do in Chicago than Navy Pier but neither of us had actually been to Navy Pier in close to 20 years. I thought the kids would enjoy the Centennial Wheel (they did) so I forked over the $80 for us to get three spins around.

Our tickets for the wheel weren’t timed. We could go at any point in the day. We actually had to drive to my parents house near Kankakee to pick the kids up then when we got back to the city, I just went back to the hotel to park since I had already paid for the day.

The walk from the Marriott on the Mag Mile is about a mile. No problem. We do miles all the time on our hikes.

We got to Navy Pier around 2:00. We were after lunch so I was hoping we could find someplace to eat. We checked with Harry Caray’s and Margaritaville (Hey! It’s a tourist trap. Don’t judge me) but they had hour and a half to two hour waits. J put our name in anyway but she was hungry….no, not hungry, hangry. We needed to find something else.

There’s a small food court near the front of the Pier and that’s where we were. J noticed a dessert type shop that didn’t have a super long line so she got in line to get some treats.

Snow Dragon Shavery is a shop on the north side of the City but they also have this food court type shop in Navy Pier. The Shavery specializes in “snow cream” desserts. It’s kind of a mix between ice cream and shaved ice.

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Chicago Brewhouse

July 15, 2021
  • 33 E. Riverwalk 
  • Chicago, IL 60601
  • (312) 877-5766
  • Website
  • Menu

We were not going to be satisficed with just dinner and a couple of drinks when we had the whole night to ourselves in the City without kids.

We kicked off our long weekend in Chicago with dinner at Crushed By Giants Brewing Company but we wanted to do more. Our first idea was just a short walk from our hotel. We really wanted to hit the Sugar Factory at some point on our trip but as we found out, they’re only doing reservations and getting a reservation same day….or even a day out, was not going to happen. We popped in about 9:30 to see if we could get lucky but their last seating was 9:15 so we missed out.

J wanted to walk to the Riverwalk after that. She was in Chicago a few years ago for a conference and they found a great place to relax and have a few drinks along the Chicago River. Unfortunately, she couldn’t remember the name of the place.

The first place was stopped at had stopped seating for the night but they told us to “try next door.” We did just that and found the place J was looking for.

Chicago Brewhouse is on the south side of the Chicago River on the Riverwalk near the Wabash Avenue Bridge. The draw to this place is the outdoor space. They have an indoor area but it’s really small and most of it was closed off to just the servers. The patio space has the Riverwalk running right through it and we lucked out. They had a couple of “tables” for two.

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Crushed By Giants Brewing Company

July 15, 2021
  • 600 N. Michigan Avenue, 2nd Floor
  • Chicago, IL 60611
  • (312) 544-0322
  • Website
  • Menu

Vacation time!  

Last year really threw us off.  We have been doing zoo trips since the kids were born as our vacations.  We’re at a point now that we have been to pretty much every zoo in a five hour radius of Kalamazoo (Saginaw being the one exception for some reason).  We were beginning to plan a simple vacation last year doubling back to the Chicago zoos before Coronavirus put an end to that plan.  

We started feeling a little better about traveling this year but still had some hesitation.  Another thing we started in recent years was my parents taking the kids for a week in the summer.  We have to plan pretty far in advance due to childcare commitments needing to be made before school is out.  

We picked the week after July 4th.  J and I both took an extra day off so we could drive the kids to my parents in Illinois.  The plan was for them to keep the kids Monday through Saturday then we’d pick them up and spend a long weekend “vacation” in Chicago.  

We found a really great Priceline Express Deal that got us in to the Marriott on the Mag Mile.  We wanted the downtown experience and really got the room for a suburban price.  

J and I wanted a night to ourselves so we booked the room Friday through Monday.  We took off from Kalamazoo after work and headed to Chicago for a night without the kids.  

Driving in Chicago has never bothered me.  It can be a pain if you end up in the wrong lane but we made it the corner of Rush and Grand fairly easily.  I missed the valet lane at the hotel but I knew self park was a block past the hotel.  As I attempted to make it to the ramp, I realized the street became one way and I was in the wrong lane.  I figured, I’ll just go around the block….which is not something you can easily do in Chicago.  20 minutes later, I looped back around and got in the right lane to get us where we needed to be.  

Check-in took a while.  There was a rush around 8:00 when we got there.  There was a big AAU basketball tournament happening at McCormick Place that weekend and it seemed like every team was just arriving in town.  

We finally got to our room about 8:30, got dressed and headed out for dinner.  

There were a couple of places close to the hotel we wanted to check out but we figured we had a long weekend and we’d get to them all (spoiler alert, we didn’t…reservations are the norm and you can’t get them 20 minutes before you want to eat) so I picked the one that I figured would be the quickest and easiest on a Friday night.  

Crushed By Giants Brewing Company has an address of Michigan Avenue but the entrance is actually on the corner of North Rush Street and East Ohio Street just off Chicago’s Magnificent Mile in Chicago’s Near North Side.  The brewery is on the second floor of a building that also hosts an AMC Dine In Theater.  If you’re trying to find it from Michigan Avenue, the UnderArmor store is what you’ll see at this address.  

 

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