Friday, November 14, 2014

Chilly Weekend in Michigan

When my only goal in going to Michigan is to spend time with family, then typically the visit is a low-key affair. This was the case on a recent November weekend, although I did get to try out three new restaurants! The weather was generally cold and gray, with some precipitation (not snow, though!) thrown in for good measure - the type of weather in which only indoor activities are truly feasible.

On Friday when I arrived, mom, sis and I had lunch at Sundance Grill. It was decent enough - bonus points for availability of breakfast items at lunch. After fetching the kids, we hung around out at home - reading, playing, and, after a great taco salad dinner, we watched "Frozen" in Latvian. Mom had recently traveled to Latvia, and trekked all over Riga to hunt down this popular movie - apparently the DVD was sold out in many stores. Even the songs in the movie are translated - the big hit "Let It Go!" is called "Lai nu snieg!" Some translated and dubbed movies can be difficult to understand, but that was not the case with "Ledus sirds."

One of my favorite places in Grand Rapids is Nordstrom Rack, so on Saturday a short visit there was necessary - and some good deals were scored. Whenever I am in this part of Michigan, I am always amazed by the number of tall people here. While this may sound silly, as a tall woman who tends to stick out in the DC area, I love seeing fellow tall women, as well as men who are taller than me. Seemingly mostly due to the fact that a good number of individuals living in southwestern Michigan are of Dutch heritage, I never cease to be pleased to walk around the Rack or any other establishment in the area, and spot numerous females who are 5'10 and taller, and quite a few men who break the six foot mark.

My nephew was excited on Saturday because the Michigan State University football team was playing that evening, and also because his grandpa (the family's orginal MSU fan) was taking him out to lunch. So, nephew and niece got dressed in their green MSU sweatshirts, and sis and I attempted to take some photos. My attempts were not particularly successful as you can see below! (But, hey, the kids are adorably anyway!)
Not sure about smiling...
Action shot!
Mom and I also stopped at Meijer Gardens, as they were advertising a holiday gift market. I was a bit disappointed, because I was expecting more artisans and less commercial items. However, it did give us a reason to swing by the nearby Clique Coffee Bar, which makes excellent cappuccinos!

Saturday evening we left the kiddos to their own devices (kidding!), and dined at Terra. Deliciousness! Sis and I shared the kale caesar salad and the beet goat cheese salad, along with a goat cheese/ham/apple pizza. For dessert we enjoyed a chocolate peanut butter turtle pie. The restaurant's selection is perfect for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone avoiding gluten or dairy, as menu items are clearly marked and there are numerous options for almost every diner. Every dish on the menu sounded worth trying! Service was friendly, helpful, and attentive - we never had to worry about our water glasses being empty. Terra is a restaurant worth seeking out if you are ever in the area. 

After dinner mom and sis headed home, while I ventured further into the city. A DC friend of mine  happened to be visiting friends in GR for the weekend, so we arranged a meet-up in Reserve, a restaurant and wine bar downtown. The three of them ordered dinner, and although I was quite full, I could not pass up the pork fat fries, which were amazing. One of the friends is of Dutch heritage and happens to be as tall as I am - we bonded quickly by discussing the challenge of finding shoes in our size. Based on the excellent service, our super comfortable booth, the ladies' raves about their meals, and my incredible fries, Reserve is another spot in GR I recommend.

One problem with these simple visits is that I take few if any photographs, so I have no other snapshots to share. Of course, the important thing is spending time with family, especially my niece and nephew. Hearing my two year old niece say "Daina" in her adorable way and getting three hugs from my nephew before I'm allowed to depart for the airport is far more valuable.

I was also still battling a nasty cold, which had left me feeling less than optimal in the time leading up to my visit and the trip itself. However, Christmas and my next sojourn to Michigan is a mere six weeks away!


  1. I must be the only person left who hasn't seen Frozen, much less in two languages! We finally got a Nordstrom's Rack here in Gville and I'm overjoyed with my new jeans and boots - the bane of a tall girl's existence ;)

    1. I'd only seen bits and pieces of it, so this Latvian-language viewing was the first time I watched the movie in its entirety. Sadly, the Rack used to have more large sized shoes than it does now. It's been quite a while since I've found a pair of shoes to buy there (either at the GR location or my local one). But at least they have *some* options!

  2. I haven't seen Frozen yet, but I feel like I know it already thanks to everyone else!

    Your niece and nephew are adorable.

    1. Yes, that movie (and especially the song "Let it go!") is everywhere!



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