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Crafted Copper

April 12, 2022
  • 4520 Stadium Drive
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49008
  • (269) 250-5054
  • Website
  • Menu

Date night. That never happens.

I don’t have any family in the area and J’s parents spend winters in Florida. Getting a night where just J and I can go out is incredibly rare.

L was invited to her first sleepover this past weekend. We figured we would still have B at home but J’s parents just got back from Florida and offered to take him for the night. We were picking L up from here sleepover on Sunday and heading to East Lansing to see Hamilton for the third time. B was going to stay with Nana and Grandpa on Sunday anyway so they offered to just take him for the night.

What the heck are J and I going to do with a Saturday night with no kids?

We’ve been wanting to go to Brick and Brine downtown but didn’t want to deal with a wait. J asked me to make a reservation. The only reservation they had left was 9:00. That’s late for us. I assumed we’d be asleep by 9:00.

J told me to just make it and we’d find some place for drinks beforehand.

J’s suggestion was a couple of places downtown but then I threw out something a little closer to home. Some place we drive by pretty much every day

Crafted Copper opened up at the end of last year on Stadium Drive at Drake Road in the University Commons shopping center. The small space has been a couple of bars in it’s recent history. Mallory’s Irish Pub was the most recent occupant. Before that, Craft Draft 2 Go…which had some problems. Prior to that, this was a RadioShack location.

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Rollup Ice Cream and Tea (Comstock Township)

April 11, 2022
  • 5907 Gull Road 
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49048
  • (269) 254-8652
  • Website
  • Menu

My daughter is at the age where I’m trying to expose her to as many sports as I can.  I’m never going to push her in to anything but I want her to try things to see if she likes it.  

Right now, ice skating is all she wants to talk about.  She was just getting good at soccer but she’s over that.  Softball is just starting up.  There’s still some interest there but I think that will probably fade as the season moves on.  

She’s pretty tall for her age.  She’s head and shoulders above almost everyone in her class…including the boys.  I was that way too.  I was tall until my sophomore year of high school then everyone else caught up.  

We tried to talk her in to play basketball last winter but she had no interest.  About two weeks after signups ended, all of a sudden she wanted to play.  

I haven’t had the chance to introduce her to volleyball yet.   I loved playing volleyball growing up despite there never being any boys teams for me to play on.  

Premier Athletics ran a volleyball clinic last week to try to drum up interest in their spring season.  I signed L up without really asking her.  I just wanted her to give it a try.  

The clinic was on Thursday night at Haven Reformed Church on Gull Road.  The timing worked out where J could drop her off and I would go pick her up.  

The clinic ran until 7:30 which gave me a little over an hour after I got off work.  I was hungry and I don’t get out to that side of town very often so I started looking at my options.  

I chose to go to Rollup Ice Cream and Tea.  Not because I was going to eat ice cream for dinner.  I mean, I’m an adult…I totally could have.  But they also have some really delicious chicken sandwiches on their menu.  

Rollup Ice Cream and Tea in Comstock Township is on Gull Road near 26th Street.  It’s in the same shopping center with Penn Station Subs and Qdoba across from Meijer.  Before Rollup moved in, the restaurant was a Peachwave.  

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Pastrami Joe’s (Marshall)

April 11, 2022
  • 105 N. Jefferson Street
  • Marshall, MI 49068
  • (269) 781-8800
  • Website
  • Menu

I always loved getting sent to work in downtown Battle Creek because of Pastrami Joe’s.  They had the best sandwiches.  

The Pastrami Joe’s in Battle Creek closed though.  They had a hard time staying afloat during the pandemic because Kellogg employees weren’t working in the office.  That really cut in to Pastrami Joe’s bottom line.  

The restaurant eventually closed and now a Torti Taco is in the space on Michigan Avenue.  

Pastrami Joe’s didn’t totally go away though.  There was also a second location in Marshall and that one depends a lot on the lunch crowd from nearby Oaklawn Hospital so they were able to stay open.  

Pastrami Joe’s is just off Michigan Avenue in downtown Marshall on Jefferson Street.  The small brick building could be easy to miss if you’re not looking for it.  There are street parking options up and down the block.

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Bomba’s BBQ Tex Mex

April 7, 2022
  • 2814 Portage Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49001
  • (269) 359-7100
  • Website
  • Menu

Sometimes the quickest way to get from downtown Kalamazoo to Portage is to take Portage Street.  I know a lot of people complain about the one way streets and the speed along many of Kalamazoo’s streets but there really isn’t a good way to get downtown. 

Most cities have an Interstate that run through the heart of downtown.  Not Kalamazoo….and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  It just takes a little longer to go from North to South and sometimes, the most obvious route isn’t the fastest.  

I don’t know why but I seem to be going to the airport area a lot lately for work.  There are a couple of ways I could get there but I’ve been taking Portage Street a lot.  

Those trips up and down Portage Street kept bringing me by a restaurant in progress and mouth watered each and every time I drove by.  

A few weeks ago, I finally saw that OPEN sign lit up.  

Bomba’s BBQ Tex Mex isn’t new to the area.  They’ve been a pretty successful food truck and they even opened up a drive thru joint in Lawton.  They’ve made the move in to a brick and mortar restaurant by taking up a building on Portage Street just north of that weird Y intersection with Lovers Lane in Kalamazoo’s Milwood Neighborhood.  The business is an old Wendy’s but between the demise of Wendy’s and now, it’s also been an East Egg and, most recently, Ramen and Rice.  

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Alebird Taphouse & Brewery

April 7, 2022
  • 2619 84th Street SW
  • Byron Center, MI 49315
  • (616) 583-8457
  • Website
  • Menu

Just another weekend looking for a place to skate.

Kalamazoo hosted the USA Hockey 14u Tier II Nationals last weekend at Wings West and Wings Event Center. It brought in a lot of people and a lot of money to the area but also used up all the available ice in the city. L was itching to skate somewhere but as we leave winter behind, a lot of ice rinks close up leaving us fewer choices.

L and I both slept in a little late Saturday morning but when she got up, she wanted to skate. I started looking for someone who had an open skate sometime on Saturday and I could only come up with two places. The Garden Ice Arena in Stevensville and Walker Ice and Fitness Center in Walker. Neither were really close and both had noon open skates.

We quickly got everyone out the door and headed towards Walker. There was really no reason why I chose to go north instead of west. Both were about an hour drive.

Since we rushed out of the house, no one ate lunch. The Walker Ice and Fitness Center actually had a concession stand open so when we got there, J grabbed some slushies and popcorn to keep B happy since he no longer wants to skate with us.

L and I skated for about 45 minutes. She’s still breaking in new skates and is dealing with some blisters. A sore on her heel opened up and we didn’t have a bandage to cover it so she decided to just be done for the day. She got a little bit of practice in since she didn’t have any ice time at Wings West this week.

While L was skating I started looking for places to eat. I texted a co-worker who lives in Walker for ideas. He gave me all his favorite breweries…which I really want to meet him at for a beer sometime, but none of them had food. Yeah, we could bring food in but I was looking for a place that wouldn’t take that much work since everyone was going to be pretty hungry.

On our way up US-131, I noticed a sign for a brewery in Byron Center. I assumed since they had a highway sign they also had food.

Alebird Taphouse and Brewery is on 84th Street in what I guess you could call downtown Byron Center. The restaurant is in a historic building that served as a hotel that supported the local railroad station. The building has been several restaurants over the years but became a brewery in 2019. The building underwent some pretty extension exterior restoration in 2018 and they added a patio area to what used to be a parking lot on the west side of the building.

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Twine Urban Winery

April 6, 2022
  • 1319 Portage Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49001
  • (269) 270-3278
  • Website
  • Menu

I’ve lived in Michigan for almost 15 years and I still don’t understand why Spring Break is such a huge deal here. Growing up in East Central Illinois, we didn’t even get a Spring Break. We got Good Friday and the Monday after Easter off and that was it. The whole, “we have to go to Florida at the same time everyone else is going to Florida which makes prices insanely high” just seems stupid to me.

Our kids are one of the unlucky few who don’t get to bask in the sunshine at the beach. They joined some of those other unlucky kids for a a theater camp at The Civic instead. Both of our kids are little performers. L has done this camp a few times in the past but it was a first for B and oh, boy did he love it.

Theater camp ends with a performance on Friday afternoon. In the past, this performance was at 5:30 but this year, they decided to make it at 4:00. There’s absolutely no way I can be off work by 4:00 so I took the day off.

J’s got a little bit more flexibility at work but her birthday was on Thursday so she decided to take Thursday and Friday off. That means, we were both home without the kids.

We went to a late lunch at Bird Dog in Mattawan. We didn’t want to go back home after lunch but we still had about an hour and a half until doors opened at The Civic. I suggested Bell’s, but J had a different idea.

She had been wanting to try Twine Urban Winery on Portage Street for quite some time. We had the time so we decided to stop in to check the place out.

Twine Urban Winery is in on Portage Street near Washington Avenue in a spot of time known as Washington Square in Kalamazoo Edison Neighborhood. The tasting room for the Roche Collection wines is on the south side of this multi unit building. The last time I was in this space it was a Jersey Giant Subs.

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Bird Dog

April 3, 2022
  • 57649 Murray Street
  • Mattawan, MI 49071
  • (269) 668-4770
  • Website
  • Menu

We don’t do spring break. I’ve never understood why everyone in Michigan travels at the same time to the same destinations. Prices are clearly higher and I just don’t get why it’s such a thing.

J and I both work during spring break. L has been going to a spring break camp at The Civic Theater for a few years (minus the last two COVID years) and has loved it. B’s been wanting to do theater too so we sent him for the first time this year too.

The camp is pretty great. It’s an intense week. They learn a whole show in just five days. The kids are divided in to two groups..a younger group and an older group. Each group does like five songs.

The hard works is shown off at a performance on Friday. For some reason, that performance time was 4:00. Do people who work normal jobs actually get off work by 4:00? I sure as hell don’t and neither does J. We both ended up taking the day off so we wouldn’t miss the kids perform. “

Having time to go to restaurants without kids is rare for us. We both have so many restaurants we want to go to without kids…but most of them seem to open at 4:00 so that doesn’t work for lunch.

We did have one option for a place J has been wanting to take me to after she went with friends a few years ago.

Bird Dog is a “modern American restaurant” on Murray Street in Mattawan in what can be considered “downtown.” The building is right around the corner from the park on Front Street. The last time I was in this small building was 10 years ago when it was Farran’s Broaster Chicken. This building has undergone an extension remodel from counter service chicken joint to a kinda fancy sit down dining experience.

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April 2, 2022
  • 3408 Miller Road
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49001
  • (269) 213-1578
  • Website
  • Menu

When it’s J’s birthday, we do what J wants.

J wanted to go to a meadery she heard about a while ago. They don’t have food, which is usually a turn off for us because we need something to keep the kids busy, but she really wanted to go so we found a way.

Valhalla is the tasting room for Norse Nectar Meadery. It’s a on Miller Road near Milcork Street but it can be a little hard to find if you’re not looking for it. The meadery is in the back part of the building that has Alliance Home Health Services and Acclaim Home Care near the front. There is a large yellow banner hanging out by the road to grab your attention, but the entrance is actually near the garage doors on the green metal part of the building in the back of the parking lot.

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The Victorian Bakery

April 2, 2022
  • 512 N. Park Street #B
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 553-6194
  • Website
  • Menu

As a husband who’s really bad at presents, the first half of the year hits me hard. There’s about a two month gap between Christmas and Valentine’s Day, then about another month and half to J’s birthday, then about another month and a half to Mother’s Day.

J is the kind of person who just buys what she wants when she wants it so I really just have to ask, “What do you want? Send me a link.” Yeah…super romantic.

We do always try to find some kind of sweet treat for any of our birthday’s though in addition to presents. We’ve done cakes from Boonzaaijer Bakery, Bert’s Bakery, and cupcakes from a number of places including The Cupcake Zoo when they were open several years ago and last year at Holland Cakery ‘n Sweets last year when we took a spring break trip to Saugatuck for J’s birthday.

Somehow, in all these years, we have never been to The Victorian Bakery.

I was trying to figure out where I was going to grab a cake from while I was sitting at work yesterday. I was about ready to drive down to Boonzaaijer when I realized I was pretty close to Victorian Bakery. I had actually picked up some of their cupcakes from Midtown Fresh one time for one of our special occasions and figured I should just go straight to the source.

The Victorian Bakery is on the northside of Kalamazoo on Park Street just north of the railroad tracks. It sits in the same building as Park Street Market and shares a parking lot with them. It actually takes up three store fronts in the building

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Kickin’ Kurbz

April 1, 2022
  • Food Truck
  • Battle Creek, MI 49015
  • (269) 830-7538
  • Website
  • Menu

It’s getting to be food truck season again.  

I don’t typically sit down and eat a meal while I’m on the clock unless we’re traveling out of town.  I typically don’t have the time to sit and eat even though I’m supposed to have an hour lunch.

I always look for take out options when we’re outside of Kalamazoo.  Sandwich shops are my usual go-to but come summer time, seeing a food truck in a parking lot somewhere is like striking gold. 

My co-worker and I were on the west side of Battle Creek last week for an assignment. When we got done, I knew there were a couple of food trucks that usually park on 20th Street.  I’ve been wanting to try both of them so we headed that way.  

We found Kickin’ Kurbz open in the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet parking lot on 20th Street just north of Columbia Avenue.  This small food is more of a trailer.  It’s usually parked in this lot when they’re not doing catering jobs or other food truck events. 

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