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The Morning Dish

February 24, 2020
  • 100 W. Michigan Avenue, 2nd Floor
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 226-3155
  • Website
  • Menu

If it feels like it’s been ages since I wrote a blog post actually about a place in Southwest Michigan….you’re right.  There hasn’t been a lot of new openings and we haven’t eaten out much when we’ve been home.

There have been a few recent openings that I’ll get to in the next few weeks, but this blog is about a place that’s been around for a while…it’s just a little hidden so it’s not a place we think of often.

The Morning Dish is inside the Radisson on Michigan Avenue and Rose Street in downtown Kalamazoo.  The restaurant is on the second floor at the top of the escalators.  For many years, this spot was known as Burdick’s For Breakfast.  I don’t remember exactly when they rebranded but it’s pretty similar to what that restaurant was.  Read more…

DeVos Performance Hall

February 17, 2020
  • 303 Monroe Avenue NW
  • Grand Rapids, MI 49503
  • (616) 742-6500
  • Website

Can we get back to (Michigan)?

I know…my blog posts have been all over the place and there hasn’t been much in Michigan let alone Southwest Michigan.  Don’t worry.  I’m getting there soon but I have one from Grand Rapids I have to do first.

J and I saw Hamilton a few years ago at The PrivateBank Theatre in Chicago.  It was awesome.  Wayne Brady played Aaron Burr and I will never not hear all of Burr’s songs in Wayne Brady’s voice.

We have listened to the soundtrack on a continuous loop since 2017 and our kids have really enjoyed the music as well.  When we saw it was coming to Grand Rapids, I instantly snapped up four tickets.

The show played for about two weeks at the DeVos Performance Hall on Monroe Street in downtown Grand Rapids.  The 2400 seat theater is part of the larger DeVos Convention Center Complex on the on Monroe between Lyon and Michigan Streets

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Cafe Versailles (MIA – Concourse E Satellite)

February 17, 2020
  • 2100 NW 42nd Avenue
  • Central Terminal, Concourse E Satellite
  • Miami, FL 33126
  • (305) 876-7000
  • Website
  • Menu

Time to go home.  We spent eight days in Miami working long, long days.  Our fly home day was Monday and the only flight from Miami to Grand Rapids is at 9:00 at night so we had a whole afternoon to kill.

We checked out of our hotel at about 11:30, headed to lunch in Miami Beach then rented a couple of lounge chairs at South Beach and just laid in the sun.  I listened to a couple of podcasts and just did some people watching.

We got the rental car returned just before 6:00 then headed into the airport to head home.  Miami International Airport is HUUUUUGGGGEEEEE.  We did a lot of walking and had to take two trams to get to our gate in the satellite of Terminal E.  We got our luggage checked in, through TSA, and finally made the long trek to get to our gate.

I wasn’t super hungry and there weren’t many options where we were at.  We passed a lot in the main terminal that I would have eaten but we just wanted to get to our gate.  We did pass a Cuban place just before we got to where we were going so once we got settled, I got back up to grab a sandwich while we waited.

The small sandwich shop was actually Cafe Versailles.   The Versailles Cuban Bakery is one of the most famous Cuban bakeries in the country.  The main cafe is in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood and the airport actually has five different Cafe Versailles spots in different areas of the terminal including one pre-security in Concourse F.  The one I was near was in the Satellite Terminal of Concourse E near gates E-30-33.

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Yardbird – Southern Table and Bar (Miami Beach)

February 16, 2020
  • 1600 Lenox Avenue
  • Miami Beach, FL 33139
  • (305) 538-5220
  • Website
  • Menu

Eight long days in Miami.  It was a lot of work but a lot of fun too.  I can’t complain about being sent to Southern Florida where it was 70 degrees all week at the end of January.

We hadn’t had any time to just relax while we were there.  Our work days were typically 14-17 hours long.  Our last day of work was Sunday.  We got back to the hotel at 3:30 AM.

We had to be out of the hotel by 11 AM on Monday but our flight didn’t leave until 9 PM.  This was the day we had kind of been looking forward to.  A day we could actually make it to the beach.

We left the hotel a little after 11:30 and set course for South Beach.  My co-worker told me to pick a spot to eat along the way.  Lucky for us, I had been eyeing one all week.

Yardbird -Southern Table and Bar is a group of six James Beard nominated restaurants located in major cities around the world.  The Miami location is in Miami Beach on Lenox Avenue and 16th Street just off Alton Avenue which is a major thoroughfare of Miami Beach.  We passed this restaurant everyday on our way to a parking ramp a little farther down 16th Street and I couldn’t wait to get back.

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BurgerFi (Pembroke Pines)

February 10, 2020
  • 15910 Pines Boulevard
  • Pembroke Pines, FL 33027
  • (954) 589-1612
  • Website
  • Menu

Finally, a day I didn’t have to work from 9:00 AM to 12:30 AM.  My Saturday was a little lighter.  I only had to work 2:30 PM to 12:30 AM.  It was almost a normal day but more importantly, a day I got to sleep in.

My co-worker needed to run back to Miami Beach to pick something up so he took the car in the morning and did that while I stayed in bed.  He got back to the hotel in Pembroke Pines around 1:00 and started working on stuff for that evening.  He asked if I wanted to take the car and go get something to eat.

We were staying in an area of Miami that was very commercialized.  There was nothing really close to our hotel other than a Cracker Barrel so I hoped on I-75 South to go back to the next exit.  There were plenty of choices there plus, I needed to stop at the Publix to pick up some cold medicine…I had been fighting a cough all week.

I noticed a burger place across from the Publix, so I went through the intersection to check it out.  It’s a chain…but one we don’t have really close to us in Southwest Michigan, so I gave it a try.

BurgerFi is fast casual burger chain headquartered in Palm Beach.  There over 105 locations in five countries.  The only Michigan location is in Northville.

The Pembroke Pines location is in the Fountain Square shopping center on Pines Boulevard at West Fork Plaza Way.  It takes up the corner of a large building anchored by Total Wine and More.

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Waffle House (Miami Gardens)

February 10, 2020
  • 19675 NW 2nd Avenue
  • Miami Gardens, FL 33169
  • (305) 409-1244
  • Website
  • Menu

Wednesday was another absolute brutal day on our eight day trip to Miami.  Our day started at 9:30 AM in Miami Beach and ended at 12:30 AM in Miami Gardens with barely enough time to stop for a bathroom break.  We survived the day on snacks and Pepsi.

I got lucky on Tuesday night and found alocal 24 hour diner in Hollywood.  We could have just done that again, but I got the idea to look for my favorite southern staple.  I mean, there had to be a Waffle House somewhere nearby, right?

Turns out, there was one a little over a mile from Hard Rock Stadium where we were working.  I convinced my colleague that he needed another night of greasy diner food so off we went.

The Miami Gardens Waffle House is on NW 2nd Avenue just south of NW 199th Street.  It’s a little hard to get to because of the way the road is configured with State Route 7 but I eventually figured it out.  They have kind of a weird set up here with people sitting outside the door taking and handing out take out orders.  I said we were dining in so she opened the door for us and we went looking for a table.

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Jack’s Hollywood Diner

February 7, 2020
  • 1031 N. Federal Highway
  • Hollywood, FL 33020
  • (954) 929-2888
  • Website
  • Menu

I knew the hours were going to be long when I signed up for this trip to Miami.  I don’t think I realized just how long they were going to be and how little time for breaks I would have until our first night there.

Day two in Miami saw our day start at 9:30 AM in Miami Beach.  At 2:00, we had to make the drive to Miami Gardens by 3:30.  Shouldn’t be a problem, but Miami traffic is awful.  We barely made it which meant no time to stop at a drive thru for lunch.

My day concluded at 12:30 AM.  We still hadn’t eaten.  there was no time for breaks between 4:00 PM and 12:30 AM.  There was very little around our hotel so I started looking for 24 hours nearby…and wouldn’t ya know it, I found one.

Jack’s Hollywood Diner is on Federal Highway near Hayes Street in Hollywood, Florida.  The retro diner is exactly what I was hoping to find when I put in the address.  The 60’s style diner has been in Hollywood for over 50 years.

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The Original Steve’s Pizza

February 7, 2020
  • 5866 S. Flamingo Road
  • Cooper City, FL 33330
  • (954) 434-7331
  • Website
  • Menu

It wasn’t just my colleague and I in Miami for a few days…we were meeting a group of people from the company from all over the country.

Sunday was kind of a hectic day as everyone was getting in to town and making their way to the hotel.  My co-worker and I had some errands to run when we got to to town and some of the others had things they had to do to.

We set a meeting for about 7:00 at our hotel.  This was the first time we were all meeting each other and it would give us an opportunity to go over our assignments for the week.  It’s always a little weird working with people you don’t know even if you all have the same objective.

We decided to make it a pizza night.  My co-worker was kind of the guy in charge so he grabbed a couple of menus from the front desk for local pizza places.  We randomly picked one and he put in an order for three pizzas and a couple of salads.  I volunteered to go pick them up since my presence at the meeting was totally necessary.

The place we randomly picked was Steve’s Pizza in Cooper City.  The small take-out/delivery pizza place is on the corner of Flamingo and Sterling Roads in the Countryside Shops shopping plaza.

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Firebirds Wood Fired Grill (Pembroke Pines)

February 6, 2020
  • 304 SW 145th Street
  • Pembroke Pines, FL 33027
  • (954) 364-9787
  • Website
  • Menu

I’d be a fool to turn down a trip to Florida in January….so I didn’t.

Work offered me a pretty cool opportunity to work in Miami during Super Bowl week. It meant long hours, short nights, and eight days away from my family, but J was on board because it was such a unique opportunity for me and  a chance for a lot of overtime.

A co-worker and I flew in to Miami International Airport pretty early on Sunday morning. We got our stuff, picked up the rental car, then headed to our hotel in Pembroke Pines about a half hour outside of Miami.

The hotel was having issues with their computers so we couldn’t check-in.  They got a maintenance person to let us into our room to drop our stuff so we could go do what we needed to do that day.

We were going to have to make a trip down to Miami Beach to pick some things up for the week ahead but first, lunch.

My co-worker just wanted to go to the Cracker Barrel next to our hotel but there was over an hour wait.  I was actually pretty glad about that.  I wanted to find something we don’t have in West Michigan.

He put it on me to find a new place.  As you will see over the next few blog posts, we were in a suburb of Miami that was very in to chain restaurants.  I did my best to find local or regional chains and stayed away from places we could eat at back here in Southwest Michigan.

I settled on a place called Firebirds Wood Fired Grill.  The restaurant is a chain of casual dining restaurants in twenty states.  The closest locations to Michigan would be in either Indiana or Ohio.

This particular Firebirds is on the corner of 145th Street and Pines Boulevard in Pembroke Pines.  There are a lot of of chain restaurants in the cluster of buildings surrounding The Shops at Pembroke Gardens open air mall.

Read more…

Finley’s Grill & Smokehouse (Oshtemo)

January 15, 2020
  • 5160 W. Main Street
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49009
  • (269) 342-4360
  • Website
  • Menu

Open skate at Lawson Arena the last weekend of Winter Break was  nuts.  We had just got L her own pair of skates that she really wanted to try out and B really wanted to try to skate for the first time so we went.  Wings West doesn’t have open skate until 6:00 on Saturday’s so Lawson it was.

L got used to her new figure skates and B had a blast.  He was so happy being out on the ice with all of those people instead of having to sit in the stands and watch like he usually does.  We never made it all the way around the rink but he would skate a few feet by himself before falling down, getting up, and doing it all over again.

Our time ran out just before 3:30.  We got the kids packed up and started heading for home.  J asked about dinner right as I was coming to the corner of Drake and West Michigan so I took a quick turn north. I figured we could decide along the way where to go.

The kids intially picked Applebees (they have tablets on the tables with games so they always want to eat there) but there was a wait already at 3:30 in the afternoon.  I’m not gonna wait at Applebees.  We have tablets at home they could play.

We walked back to the car and across the parking lot we see a restaurant that we’ve blown off for quite a while.  J suggested we go there and I figured why not.

Finley’s Grill and Smokehouse has rebranded since the last time we ate there.  They’re no longer just an American Grill.  They’re now also a smokehouse.

The longtime restaurant is in the Target shopping plaza on West Main in Oshtemo Township.  The parking lot is pretty small and most people were parking across the road in the plaza lot.  We saw a place next to the building so I pulled in the lot so we didn’t have to cross with the kids.

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