A nice thing about living in the middle of everything is that we don’t have the time to explore any one area. When I lived in Ann Arbor, I knew the town backwards and forwards, nothing surprised me and after a couple of years I was done with the city. There was nothing new to see. Same thing when we lived in Toledo. Hell, the same thing when I have lived in any one place.
I know Big Rapids well. I do not know Mount Pleasant, Grand Rapids, or Traverse City, to name a few nearby cities, well at all. Every time we go to one of them or any place else say Newaygo, Ludington, or Manistee, we find new things to see and do. We have been to Grand Rapids a lot. Mama Lee’s is there, Target, Toys R Us, and a whole host of other places-like real bookstores. We have been there enough that we know certain areas really well as they are part of our “get the hell out of here for a day” routine.
With Barb’s latest rotation she found a new place for us to go, one really up my alley. I love markets and now that I can cook, understand how to cook, and know what to look for at markets I really love them. She took us to the Downtown Market. I think it was an old factory converted to a market and restaurant area. Outside was an open air market, complete with a doughnut food truck-it was closing up as we pulled in. 😦
Inside, a cornucopia of market stalls, shops, and stalls. We saw a wine and cheese shop. I know nothing about wine, but I do know cheeses and what I saw I liked. I would have bought some cheese and other goods, but when Barb described the market to me she did not mention all of the shops, just the sushi restaurant-Sushi Maki, which is why our cooler did not have ice packs in them. 😦
With no ice packs, I did not get cheese, any of the fresh fish at the fish market, nor pork belly. I have been trying to get pork belly here for…well for four years now. Farmers only sell at certain times, the local butcher wouldn’t sell it and then went out of business, and the meat department at Meijers looked at me like I had two heads. But there it was for sale. Barb has a grocery list. There is a Spice Merchants store; Spice Merchants is in Traverse City (an hour away), that is where I found Sichuan Peppercorns. Because it is an hour away I don’t get there often, but a Spice Merchants next to a fish monger, butcher, and sushi place I will visit often.
Determined to leave with something we hit the green grocer, where surprise surprise I found miso. Miso is like pork belly up here. I bought the miso and because our girl really wanted sushi we stopped at Sushi Maki. Sushi Maki is an excellent sushi counter. They have a very visual menu that is easy to navigate. The prices are good and the lunch prices are GREAT-2 rolls for 8 or 3 rolls for 12. Service is fast, friendly-the chef and I shared stories about our children eating spicy food after he offered me some spicy dip upon hearing me say that while the spicy tuna roll was very tasty it was not spicy-the spicy dip fixed that up good. If you are at the Downtown Market stop at Sushi Maki.