Some Reservations

Recipes.Rants.Reviews

Hop Cat…Don’t be scuured.

Hop Cat

25 Ionia Ave SW
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
(616) 451-4677

This was another lunch visit with some folks from the office. We were all surprised at how uncrowded Hop Cat was, being an established downtown Brewery and Eatery, we chalked it up to the ‘ice day’ and that a lot of people had to stay home.

The atmosphere at Hop Cat is really great, there is this kind of back in time feeling. Lots of wood, circular booths and a giant old scale. There is also the actual brewery that sits towards the back of the place, you can see all that is going on thru the giant windows that separate it from the rest of the place.

The beer selection is amazing, I wouldn’t expect anything less than that from a place called Hop Cat. Unfortunately this was a solids only visit, as much as I would have loved a liquid lunch, today was not that day.

We seated our selves and were met almost instantly with menus. Our drink orders were taken just as quickly and arrived shortly after. No complaints about the service, friendly, timely and efficient.

The menu was extensive and rather complete. Everything from small plates, salads, soups, sandwiches, burgers and large plates. There are lots of items I want to go back and try. Any place that serves a Large Corn Dog plate is okay on my list.

We ordered the Spinach Salad w/Bacon, the Turkey Club wrap and the Spicy Pulled Pork Sandwich.

The Spinach Salad was just as described, a Salad Made of spinach, not too exciting right? Well Hop Cat did there best to turn a bowl of spinach into something more, they added crumbled applewood smoked bacon, gorgonzola, apples, raisins and pretzel croutons, and tossed everything in a crisp raspberry vinaigrette. Not to shabby for a bowl of spinach. I was not the recipient of this bowl of leafy goodness, but next time I might just be.

Next the Turkey Club wrap with crack fries. Again a simple menu item, but Hop Cat steps it up with quality ingredients. A nice shaved turkey, a revisit of the applewood smoked bacon, aged cheddar and a tangy mustard. Only complaint here was the mustard, however it should be noted the orderer was not a huge mustard fan to begin with.

I ordered the Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with crack fries. It was decent, however not spicy, a bit of a disappointment. The pork was cooked perfectly tho, you could have shredded this stuff with a spoon. Super moist and just the right amount of fat still in the meat. Something a lot of places forget, everyone is so worried about getting rid of all the fat, they forget having a little bit of fat on the meat does wonders for the flavor. They served this with a side of coleslaw, and I have to say it was almost inedible, I struggle with writing that because everything was good. Hopefully it was just a bad day for coleslaw.

Crack Fries? You are seriously going to call your fries Crack Fries, how clever. Like there is any chance your fries are going to be so good that I can compare the addiction I may get to them to that of a crack addict. Well let me tell you something Hop Cat, well played! My neck hasn’t stopped itching in days, I am constantly nervous, have the cold sweats and can’t seem to keep my blood pressure under control, all because of your cleverly named and crazy delicious fries. Perfectly seasoned, excellently crispy and just the right size to make it possible for me to shove them into my mouth handfuls at a time. Again, well played Hop Cat, well played.

Lets recap, atmosphere is great, food is good, service is great and they have crack fries. I see no reason to continue. I will be back to drink and eat more crack fries, that is for sure. If you are downtown snooping around alleys looking for a new addiction, try Hop Cat!

Hop Cat on Urbanspoon

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Sandy’s Doughnuts…You’ve been warned.

All right Grand Rapids, consider yourself warned for not telling me about Sandy’s Donuts, thats one. Don’t let it happen again.

Sandy’s Donuts
2040 Leonard Street Northwest
Grand Rapids, MI 49504-3828
(616) 453-4259

How did I seriously not know about this place. Old School Donut at its best. I am a frequent visitor to some of the other area shops, but the Sandy’s Donuts experience it completely new to me, and I loved it. It had a kind of Stan Mikita’s thing going on minis Ed O’Neill as Glen, and the giant hockey player on the roof and the crazy drive thru..okay so it is nothing like Stan Mikita’s but wouldn’t that be sweet.

I took my two year old here for a mid morning snack on a recent rainy day. She was immediately drawn to the pink and purple sprinkles. She exclaimed at the top of her lungs that it was her favorite and she had to have it. Now usually I would ask her  not to yell, but to use her inside voice instead, but truth is I wanted to yell too. It was like a donut wonderland of awesomeness.

We took home a Pink and Purple Sprinkle, and Apple Fritter and a Creme Long John. You will notice the Creme Long John is missing from the photos as I am guilty of DUI-D, thats right, Driving Under the Influence of Donuts. Hi my name is Some Reservations and I have a problem.

The donuts were all extremely tasty and Sandy’s has catapulted its self to a ‘Best Doughnut in GR’ contender after only one visit. Now of course I will have to visit there many more times to be sure, lets call it research, it sounds better if I call it research…right?

The Long John was perfectly fluffy, with a excellent frosting and just the right sweetness to the creme, not all gritty and sugary like some places. Some places go so sweet it almost hurts your teeth. This cream was smooth and velvety, something that you would find stuffed in a cream puff or on a dessert plate at a fancy restaurant.

The fritter was also as close to perfect as you can get. Crunchy on the outside, nice and doughy on the inside. The cinnamon to apple to sugar ratio was spot on, each bite tasted just as flavorful as any other bite. Not like a bad fritter where there are only one or two good bites, and the rest is just filler, not at Sandy’s. Sandy’s doesn’t discriminate when it comes to spreading the flavor around.

I can not give a proper opinion of the Sprinkle Doughnut as the two year old in our house claimed it as her own. That is a battle you do not want to be part of. But I can tell you she said it was, “mmmm really really good.”

If you need donuts for the office or a meeting, or just want to treat yourself to something great. Make the trip out to Sandy’s, and give it a try.

So Grand Rapids or anybody else reading, who makes your favorite donut, and how often do you treat yourself?

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Sandy's Donut House on Urbanspoon

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