Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Reveling in a Reexamination of the GRNow Gems

Earlier this year, GRNow posted a list of what it called "the GRNow Gems." Twenty-six different locations and activities populated what the website properly called "hidden (and not so hidden)." First on the list was Honey Creek Inn, a place I've not been to, probably because it's actually located in Cannonsburg--not Grand Rapids. Other oddballs technically located outside city limits included Herman's Boy in Rockford and Tokyo Grill in Kentwood, two more establishments I've not had the chance to experience. Herman's Boy sounds like it's straight out of the past in a really good way--unreasonably low prices in this evermore-expensive world and premises that include a deli, bakery, fudgery (is fudgery a word?), and a coffee grinder. Their website says you can get a bagel for 65 cents!! So much, all in a converted farmhouse. Tokyo Grill, according to GRNow's reporting, has better sushi than Ju, Sushi Kuni, and Maru--a serious claim, if you ask me. I'd love to find out for myself, but my vegetarian ways (yes, that means I don't eat fish) would make judging their sushi a little unfair. I could compare the veggie-friendly options and base my ruling on that but let's be honest: Sushi is all about the sea creatures inside.

Others on the list brought me pleasure because I've actually been to them and know how great they are. Honorable mentions Cult Pizza (you know I love you) and  Bartertown (same goes for you): These establishments are employee-run and serve up some of the best vegetarian and vegan food I've ever had, in this city and elsewhere. Their cooking is part of the reason that I'm still not eating meat--their concoctions proved to me, long ago, that a diet can still be delicious without meaty flesh.

Taqueria San Jose!! | Source: Eating Our Way Through Grand Rapids
Tacos el Cuñado made the GRNow list too. I hadn't been to this Mexican joint located on the westside until their head honchos decided to open a satellite location in the Downtown Market. Since opening there, I've been thrice: Once with a crew of my coworkers, once with my roommate, and once with my mother. The fact that I went here with my mother--she was visiting for my birthday--to have some of the best Mexican in town is saying something. But missing from the list in regards to Mexican is Taqueria San Jose on Division. Seriously, you need to try this place if you haven't yet. It's right across the street from the Salvation Army in an old drive-up restaurant. Go! Now! You won't know what you've been missing until you've touched one of their tacos to your tongues! And be sure to try their sauces--they're to die for.

More from the list: Hopcat and Founders, of course. Other obvious inclusions are San Chez Bistro, Madcap Coffee, Marie Catrib's, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket Baking Company, the Fulton Street Farmers Market, and Robinette's. Exiting the realm of consumable goodies, we have Frederik Meijer Gardens, "Antiquing in an Old Furniture Building," Heritage Hill, Redux & Argos, and Vertigo Music. A few of these surprised me, but they are welcome additions considering how fantastic they all are or seem to be. The list, with its greatness and its absences, reminds me just how fantastic we have it here. Grand Rapids has come a long way from its days of making primarily chairs and office furniture.  Of course, we could argue about what's on it and what's not and what should be there--everyone has an opinion based on their own experiences--but let's just cherish what we've got instead: We've got it all.